The news has been quite busy this week over the security arrangements for the Olympics. Much was written about HMS Ocean sailing up the Thames and how there are Typhoon fighters at Northolt just in case.
However one of the more controversial ones is the placing of anti air missiles on an apartment block adjacent to the Olympic park. United Shades of Britain (Oh here’s a conflict of interest that’s on a Jeremy Hunt level) had an article published a few days ago:
By Jane McCallion
If you are in the UK, you are probably aware by now that being awarded the Olympics is apparently the equivalent of issuing some kind of giant “come at me bro” to all the terrorist organisations and deranged individuals in the world.
It is also unlikely to have escaped your attention that, having painted a giant target on the country, the way to deal with this threat is to deploy surface to air missiles in some of the most densely populated areas of London, the most populous city in Europe.
I’m not quite sure why the government has engaged in this strange and polarised rhetoric about how the Olympics are simultaneously the best thing that has ever happened to the country and the most dangerous thing to ever happen in this country, but they have. As such, there is a pervasive need to be seen to be doing something to address this hyperbolic threat. The most recent iteration of this is announcing that the roof of an apartment complex is the ideal place to locate a missile battery.
Yet this show of strength is impotent.
In a replay of 7/7, missiles will not save us. From Omagh to Oaklahoma to Oslo, terrorists have struck not from the air but on the ground, with homemade bombs hidden in unremarkable vehicles or about their person. And really, by the time the bomb is in place, it is sadly too late.
Even in a 9/11 situation, are we really going to start shooting down planes over previously mentioned densely populated areas and Olympic venues? From some of the busiest skies in Europe?
There probably are people out there who would love to blow London sky high during the Olympics, or crash planes, or release toxins. However, I trust our security services and police to stop them in advance, like they did on 21 July 2005, or with the liquid bomb plot. This is surely what we all want.
Missiles on rooftops and heaths are not reassuring, they are ludicrous and give the impression that the government has not only lost the plot, but lost control. If we get to the stage where we are blowing things up ourselves in the name of safety, then God help us all.
I can understand having Ocean docked, not only does it act as a launchpad for helicopters closer to the Olympic park but it had medical facilites and a pretty impressive command and control capability. However a few AA missiles will destroy a rogue aircraft but also create a shotgun effect of Aircraft debris. Naturally these missiles are a last ditch attempt to stop an aircraft and probably will never be used.
However thanks to the UK border force the chance of anyone being on these aircraft is slim since they’ll be still in Terminal 5 bitching to BBC that they’re 3 hours late.
I can’t help but think this is just the Government over reacting to a trillion to one chance. Security during the Olympics has to be number one on the priority list. Although this is OTT and offers little to no security and is more an attempt at some general trying to score a few brownie points. Although I have it on good authority there is a hunter killer submarine in Hyde Parks pond and Nelsons column has been replaced with a Trident nuclear missile.