Monday, October 18, 2010

National Insecurity

So, we can ditch all our old-fashioned, not to mention expensive, weapons and defence systems, as the real threat to the UK lies in cyber-attacks. I must confess that I when I first heard that the government was now facing a cyber security threat, I thought that they meant that the Cybermen had finally eclipsed the Daleks as the main threat to our defences. Personally, I would have thought that the Sontarans were a more credible threat, bearing in mind that the Cybermen had been consigned to the void, but what do I know, eh? Obviously, some spotty faced hacker in Vladivostok is a greater threat to our security than, say, rogue states with weapons of mass destruction, or regional instability in the Middle East. His computer viruses will apparently bring the country to it's knees by disrupting our banking system, or something. (Actually, wasn't that the plot to a Bond film, and, more to the point, didn't the banks actually achieve that kind of financial meltdown themselves? Perhaps rogue bankers and their bonuses of mass greed should be classified as the greatest threat to UK security). Call me cynical, if you like, but I can't help but feel that the timing of this new security assessment makes this seem suspiciously like some kind of spurious justification for massive cuts in defence spending.

Whilst it's true that, for the foreseeable future, the UK isn't likely to see a threat to its security along the lines of that posed by the Warsaw Pact back in the Cold War, the reality is that threats requiring a conventional military response tend to come from out of left field, when you are least expecting them. Just ask Mrs Thatcher about the Falklands. Then there are all those international military commitments the Foreign Office likes to get us involved in, not to mention disaster relief, anti-terror security, the war on drugs, etc, which all require the presence of actual conventional forces. But hell, the likes of 'Gorgeous' George Osborne at the Treasury will tell you - most of these things are luxuries we can do without, so it doesn't really matter if we slash defence expenditures. As long as we've got our own geek with a broadband connected laptop, we'll be able to combat the real threat: cyber terrorism. But all this ignores the real threat: alien invasion. Just how does the coalition government propose we protect ourselves when the flying saucers start landing? Trust me, a firewall isn't going to be much use in the face of a Dalek invasion. And don't think we can rely on viruses (of the biological variety) to halt the aliens - they've cornered the market in anti-flu jabs. No, film after film has conclusively proven that overwhelming military force is essential to repelling extraterrestial threats. So, if you don't want to see your granny being chased around her retirement home by slavering Martians, start lobbying this irresponsible government now to hold back on any rash defence cuts. It isn't fewer tanks they need, but more laser cannons mounted on those tanks!

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