Ann Onymous evades the security system of Westminster. And manages to get out alive to tell us about it.
So Britain’s Security Service has carried out a review of potential damage done to its current anti-terrorist UK operations after Channel 4 exposed plots against European targets last night. Before everyone tries to fit under the nearest table/ into empty baked bean tins for shelter, we must remember that the vast majority of security alerts are sent out to keep us on our toes: plots so vague and details so scant that average Bob genuinely wouldn’t be able to prepare for an attack. A review is needed. But not on the potential damage done to the UK’s anti-terrorist services. The press already think we’re doing an okay job at keeping terrorists at bay (as long as policemen stop leaking papers) and instead are focusing on the gaping funding holes to overseas servicemen.
What does need to happen however is a lot closer to the policy-makers themselves. No use sitting in the palace of westminster worrying about how the public perceives your national security system, if your office is at threat itself.
Yes, I’m talking about the shoddy security at Westminster. God, it’s awful. Here’s what happened in August:
Get off the bus, striding past the police outside St Stephen’s entrance. Glance up at Big Ben. It’s half three. Past lunch. The MPs working over summer will be back in their offices. The tours have finished. Reach the barriers; the huge concrete slabs designed to stop anyone ramming a vehicle in to the 19th century facade. Of course the best way to destroy the whole building would be to blow it up from the inside. Not that we’re attempting that in some V for Vendetta ’10 coup. Gulp.
There’s some woman blabbing on about missing her tour to the security personnel. I smile at the gatekeeper, holding up a filofax and making a “get this pleb out of my way as I’m on a deadline” face. I dressed the part: black jacket, heels. Fortunately I look about 30 when i put on two layers of foundation, but added lipliner for good measure. Lets just pray they believed I was one of these pre-pubescent go-getting media types.
I’m past. Hell, they even shepherd the unfortunate tourist out of my path. “Step aside please, Madam.” Containing my shock by outing on a “serious media” face (think john snow wryly chewing immodium tablets) and headed to the policeman at the second barrier. “Hello. I’m here to see Tom Smith. I’m with The Times.” “Okay.” No media pass needed. No name-check. I even held up a copy of the paper as proof that I was ‘with’ it. Apparently now anyone owning a copy of a newspaper is now a hack.
So I headed down the “long slide to happiness, endlessly”, or minus Larkin, walked down that long grey ramp to the glass doors. Glancing at the roof, I recalled the Greenpeace protestors who managed to scale the building with such ease – bedding and all. I throw in some loud fake phone calls to associates as I wait in a queue of 3 or 4 elderly ladies who lunch (with MPs). There’s a separate queue for V-VIPs, probably Jesus and David Cameron. Mandy’s probably still using his tunnels. I expect Gove and Hague never actually have to leave the building. There’s a security guard (not police officer) on the revolving door, clenching a pile of white cards. Oh no, I don’t have any ID. I’ve got a provisional drivers licence, but that’s got a fine-able old address on it. Plus, if I have to speak to him he’ll notice I have the voice of a child.
But he’s not checking ID. He’s handing out white passes attached to black string. He gestures for me to put it round my neck. I nod sternly, avoiding making any actual noise. Plunging my weight into the revolving doors, I head towards the bag checks….
To be continued