The residents of some of London’s more upmarket blocks of flats have been most put out to discover that the army is considering mounting missile systems on their roofs.
They are Olympic anti-terror measures which often create more of a sense of dread than anything terrorists might be doing. Ironically terrorists might inspire revulsion, horror, anger or even grim determination not to waver in the face of their attacks, but day to day they don’t really create terror.
The fear bit we tend to do to ourselves with missile systems, armed police and security checks.
The people in the London flats found out about the missiles after leaflets were pushed through their doors. In America it would have been a team of agents in reflective sunglasses sweeping through their homes checking for security risks before the residents were deemed suitable to have missiles mounted above their heads.
In this country it is organised as though the Neighbourhood Watch were issuing the missiles. What good would missiles really do any way? They are supposed to be a precaution against people trying to blow things up but their main feature is they blow things up.
The MOD issued a statement saying they would only be used as a last resort. Do they ever fire them just to see what happens?
It’s easy to be smart about it but I had a chastening reminder this week how vulnerable we all are to attack from above.
I went out to my car on Monday morning and the driver’s door was absolutely covered in bird poo. I cannot imagine the size of the creature that did it. We are talking about easily over a pint. I was going to have to peek through the gaps in the bird poo to check the road was clear at T-junctions.
What kind of bird can get off the ground with over its bodyweight in fluid sloshing about inside it? The alternative, that it was more than one bird, is breathtaking.
Let me be clear this had to be an in-flight excretion. I hadn’t parked under a tree. There were no wires upon which a bird could perch to perform this superavian feat of bowel evacuation. Hitting my car door, in bird terms at least, was an unlikely Dambusters-style triumph for whatever did it.
For more than one bird to have been involved they would have had to swoop down one after the other in formation, each one scoring a hit and pulling out of the dive so they could rise above the houses on the other side of the road.
I admit if I had seen it, the first couple would have impressed me, but by the time six and seven were going in I probably would have used missiles if I had them.