Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Terror Booklet

Is anyone else living in terror of the Home Office booklet that is shortly to be pushed through our collective letterboxes (at a cost, I might add, of £8mill)?

In order to cope with the fear and anxiety caused by this pamphlet, I have constructed this mini guide to it's more prominent stupidities:

1) Once the delivery has been completed, interested people may order additional copies in alternative languages OR braille OR spoken word. Multiples are not permitted. There appears to be total blindness (as it were) towards the idea that a blind French person (as an example) might want a French copy in Braille.

2) I do like their slogan: "Go In, Stay In Tune In". So, exactly what most people do of an evening anyway. Although they do make the point that if the building you were about to enter itself is on fire then it might be an idea to find a different building, or at least wait for a bit, just till it stops smoking.

I might just print up a T-Shirt with the slogan on. Just to see the response.

3) Basic First Aid. So basic, it essentially says: Unless you know what you are doing, leave well alone.

4) "To prepare for an emergency, you should take the time to find out: [...] How to tune into your local radio station." In the event of an emergency the government will seize control of all local and national radio stations. I just hope they remember to give them back afterwards. I would hate to meet someone who does not already know how to tune a radio.

5) Among the items recommended to collect in the event of an emergency:

Torch, Radio and spare batteries (presumably in case the power goes off), Mobile Phone. Like, where the hell are you going to plug it in to recharge it if the
power is off?

Other items: Cash and Credit Cards (Of what use is a small piece of plastic in an emergency?).

6) The list of useful contact numbers include the 'Foreign and Commonwealth office'. Presumably in case the emergency is of such a scale that the only bits of the UK administration left standing are various foreign embassies (or are we trying to export our terror on holiday, too).

The only other point to mention is that there are seperate downloads for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Presumably this is due to slightly different phone numbers. But the version for Wales is twice the size. No prizes for guessing why. Yes, if you live in Wales you are required to download *both* the Welsh and the English versions. I hope you're on a free internet connection, guys.

CCW

1 comment:

Scribe said...

The stuff is also available without having to grab large PDFs at http://www.preparingforemergencies.gov.uk/.

Some good things, I must admit:

1. It seems to have actually been issued in response to what the public want, rather than deciding it's what the public want, trying to persuade them it's what they want, then doing it anyway. Hurrah.

2. They haven't told us to keep up stocks of gaffer tape, parcel tape or any other tape to seal doors up with in the case of a bio-terrory thingy.

However:

1. I like the way page 1 re-states "Go in, stay in, tune in" followed by "get out, stay out and call 999" on page 2.

2. For some reason - I'm not completely sure why - this phrase amuses me:

"If you find yourself in the middle of an emergency, your common sense and instincts will usually tell you what to do."

One thing I'm intrigued by is the ability to use the information in the pamphlet to cause /more/ damage - just as anti-terrorism analysis elsewhere is kept secret to avoid terrorists figuring out how to attack locations,etc. OK, I'm being eccentricallyparanoid on this one, but I'll have to think about it just for curiosity's sake... :)