Stormclouds over London
Intelligence reports of a potential surface-to-air missile attack on a flight in the Heathrow area has caused the Home Secretary (David Blunkett) to take unprecedented steps. These have involved the staioning of thousands of police and troops around Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and other airports since Tuesday. There have been several arrests, most pronounced "not significant", and, amazingly, a 37 year old Venezuelan man has been arrested in Gatwick airport, after smuggling a live grenade on an inbound British Airways flight from Caracas and Columbia.
Of particular note in this current situation is the public distrust of the Government's motives. In our hearts, we realise that such measures would only be taken by the authorities on substantial evidence. But, after last week's debacle (the manifestly misleading Iraq dossier), nobody can believe the Government to have motives beyond 'the end justifying the means'.
Falklands veteran Simon Weston claimed today that "the government had such a history of spin and lying that voters no longer knew what to believe".
The Tory's Oliver Letwin joined forces with Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes on to write a letter yesterday asking for time to discuss the current situation in the House of Commons ahead of the half-term recess. They wrote: "We both believe that - whilst the actions being taken are entirely justified - it is important that the public be informed by all parties in the House that this is not a stunt and that it should be taken seriously."
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed a single Nimrod maritime surveillance aircraft has been flying over London, "to aid communications on the ground".
No wonder the British are cynical.
Posted by nathan at February 13, 2003 11:54 PM
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