Yes, it’s an obvious thing to slag off, but still, this new public terror threat nonsense is simply so predictably alarmist it’s going to be delightfully easy to ignore. (Which is why, as one of those tediously obsessive bloggers you’ve all read so much about in the Guardian and Independent, I’m not going to.)
Still, launching the thing on “severe”? That’s so predictable it actually almost surprised me for a moment.
We’ve also got the new website intelligence.gov.uk (contradiction in terms, surely?), which seems to be the modern equivalent of those Second World War “that shifty-looking chap in the raincoat and trilby could be AN EEEEVIL NAZI SPY” posters, with helpful, all-excusing advice like
“Public vigilance is always important regardless of the current national threat level, but it is especially important given the current national threat.”
There’s also the moderate entertainment of wondering what happened to the missing “the” in the sentence on the welcome page:
“From here you will be able to get an overview of the provision of intelligence in support of Government…”
First, check out the logo of the main page – a spy agency logo designed by a 14 year old with an illegal copy of Photoshop and an evidently under-developed interest in onanism that has given him far too much time on his hands:
But it’s on the THE THREATS page that the real “BE SCARED LIKE THERE ARE TERRORIST ZOMBIE WAREWOLVES CHARGING AT YOU ON GIANT RADIOACTIVE SPIDER-DEMONS” nonsense begins to appear.
First up, the (utterly non-political for an independent agency, obviously, with its prominent placement and bright Labour-red backing) quote:
“The [security] threat we face is not conventional. It is a challenge of a different nature from anything the world has faced before – Prime Minister, Tony Blair”
But that’s not the worst of it. Check out the new headline logo for the “THE THREATS” subpage:
All that’s missing is a bunch of exclamation marks to further underline the THREAT and pictures of screaming women clutching dead babies to their emaciated, fallout-addled chests.
The biohazard symbol, the indeterminate semi-phallic objects (that may or may not be missiles packed with DEADLY TERRORIST TOXINS that will be flying towards us with only 45 minutes’ warning), not to mention the – really rather brave, if you think about it – link to their dinky little page on weapons of mass destruction. (Remember them? Bless…)
But how silly of me! These new threat levels are meant to enable us, the public, to make informed decisions about how to lead our lives in the light of an eeeevil new menace. They are designed to reassure us that the all-knowing powers that watch over us are in control and doing their best to assure our safety. They aren’t designed to scare the bejeezus out of us at all!
Nope, no alarmism in launching terror threats, let alone so soon after the anniversary of the 7/7 attacks – that’s why MI5 picked such a tranquil image of the wreckage of the World Trade Centre to promote the sodding things on their utterly bizarre website:
Nice one, spooks – really sensitive and not at all designed to elicit an emotional response that you can manipulate to justify yet further erosions of civil rights in pursuit of the phantom menace. (No, not the crap Star Wars prequel.
It’s a shame that we’ve had so many scare stories now that I – like most people, I imagine – am now utterly desensitised. Hell – a rucksack-wearing Osama bin Laden himself could run up to me on the tube muttering twisted prayers, rubbing himself with nuclear waste, snorting ricin, and fumbling desperately for the big button marked “BANG” on his “Made in Palestine” bomb belt, and I’d simply ignore the bugger and go back to my book.
We’re all threated out. The war on terror is boring. Get a new act, already. Your predecessors could get away with dining out on “eeevil Communists” for such a long time because that was the age before the internet and the iPod. Attention spans were longer. Terrorism is, like, soooo 2001. And hell, that’s so long ago that Hear’Say were number one and chavs were still called kevs or neds or scallies or pikeys.
What was I saying again? Meh…
See? You’re boring us with all this terrorism nonsense. It’s summer, you’re politicians. You shouldn’t be working at scaring the populace, you should be on a four month holiday in the Seychelles or waltzing round Los Angeles or something.
Christ, HOW long until the next general election? I don’t want to get rid of Labour because of their policies any more, simply because they’re so damn boring.
Come on, people, launch a war on tedium and give us something to get excited about for a change – give up on these incessant streams of unoriginal and entirely ignorable PR stunts and give us something inpirational for a change. Don’t make me turn this blog into a cute kittens and “w0t i d1d 2d4y w1t ma fr3nz” fest out of sheer desperation, please?