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Home > Politics

Terror Alerts: Get Your Fear On

15 July 2006

'This is a government announcement. Due to recent intelligence garnered by MI5 on an embarrassing Fake Sheikh piece that's going to screw Prescott in this Sunday's News of the World, the Terror Threat level is to be raised from Level One: Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down to Level Four: Oh My Hairy Arse-crack, We're All Gonna DIE!!!

'Should the perceived threat become more severe, and the Blessed Tony becomes drawn into the whole tawdry scandal, the Home Office reserves the right to raise the threat level to Level Five: So Fucking Scary We Haven't Thought Up a Name for it Yet. However, if it's all blown over by Monday, we'll stick it back to Level Two: Shady Geezers Made Me Spill My Pint or Level Three: Jim Davidson Entertaining The Troops. Don't say we didn't warn you.'

Thank you for that, John Reid. We are, now, officially terrified. Terrified of the fact that we, as a nation are at level four-out-of-five on a scale that doesn't even officially launch for another two weeks. By the time it finally hits the front page of the MI5 website like the sound of a fresh greenie hitting Michael Winner's asparagus consommé (Motto: 'Scaring you shitty for the good of the Empire'), it'll be off the end of the scale.

We would point out that we didn't need colour-coded Scare-o-meters back when the Irish Republican Army were running around blowing people to bits, but then we had governments with their own brand of lunacy that didn't involve the kind of control-freakery we suffer today. Even then, there was the perfectly usable Bikini Alert system, which did exactly the same job, only sexy.

Tony may think the rules of the game have changed, but it's the same game it ever was, only the adversaries have changed. It's just the fear that's different, not understanding al Qaeda as they thought they could measure the Provos, a fear they pass onto the public.

The Sun, as you'd expect, is all for it, predicting that there will even be alerts posted 'at train stations and bus stops' to ensure that we, as obedient, terrified citizens, remain vigilant. We've been so vigilant since the announcement, our buttocks ache from the dreadful tension, and a security sweep of our luxurious offices found a book of matches on top of the toilet cistern, left by persons unknown. Our security level has been raised to Level Six: Trip to Matalan for New Trousers.

If the American experience is anything to go by, the whole system will be utterly discredited within - let's be charitable here - about six months. We can foresee a time, just before Christmas, where the terror level will be ramped up, but 'we cannot be specific about the threat'. The US Homeland Security system is seen as little more than official crying wolf for this very reason, and any doom-laden announcement is greeted with healthy scepticism.

Of course, the whole concept is, to use the technical term employed by the security services, utter bollocks, and it grieves us to see that not one of our elected representatives on either side of the House had the front to get up and say so. We don't need to be told how scared we should be. That's what Abi Titmuss is there for.

Still, you can't fault them on the idea. Well, maybe a bit. We feel, however, that by adding a sprinkling of celebrity endorsement, the tabs and the Take-a-Breaks of this world would lap it up, and we'll have the bold, effective warning system that those Home Office wallahs can only dream of. Think outside the box, chaps:

Level One: A guided tour of David and Victoria's new summerhouse

Level Two: A guided tour of Wayne and Colleen's new outhouse

Level Three: Barrymore presenting Celebrity Synchro Swimming

Level Four: The unshaven Jade Goody many-tentacled woe

Level Five: Jeremy Clarkson taking a Honda Civic from behind

We cannot, however, beat this priceless work of art.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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