So, everyone should have their Protect and Survive booklets by now.
What’s all that about, then? “Go in, stay in, tune in”? What? We’re to turn the TV on?
There are sixty five million people in this country, near enough. (Slightly less, year on year- the UK population is dropping.) Imagine there was a WTC type attack on London. Let’s ignore the fact that, substantially, this is impossible, as we just don’t have any buildings that large. But let’s say it happened. Three thousand people die.
Three thousand divided by sixty five million? One in twenty-one thousand. I’ll take those odds. Those are better odds than I have on crossing the road without getting hit by a truck. Six people in 100 000 die of road traffic accidents every year in the UK. That’s one in 16700, or thereabouts. These odds are considerably better than the average person gets on cancer (one third) or heart disease (50%) or smoking-related illnesses (15%, plus probably a good chunk of the other two.)
So, let’s say it cost the government nothing to design the booklet. Since those civil servants would have been drawing a salary in any case, this is close to true. And let’s say it cost them a pound to print and distribute each copy. That’s close enough. There are twenty one million households in this country.
Twenty one million pounds. That’s a lot of money to spend on a booklet that contains, substantially, no information at all, and which does not, in any meaningful sense, reduce the possibility of a terrorist attack.
Couldn’t they have spent that money- our money!- on something more useful? Like hospitals? I would wager that twenty M spent on hiring doctors and nurses, buying some latex gloves, disinfectant and mops would save more than three thousand lives a year just in the reduced MRSA cases in just one major hospital.
Or maybe they could spend it on a healthy school meals programme. Healthy kids become healthy adults. 21M goes a long way in school dinners.
Or they could spend it on paying some traffic cops, instead of putting up cameras which actually do not detect dangerous driving at all.
Or they could spend it on training schemes for inner-city kids who would otherwise end up at least triplespazzed up on crack, doing gunmurder to get the money for their clarkey cats.
Or… or… or…
Why the hell did I vote for these evil surveillance state propagandists in 1997?