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This email was circulated earlier:
IMPORTANT -- RADIOACTIVE SOURCES/SUBSTANCES
[We are] under scrutiny with regard to radioactive sources and substances, as a consequence of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Please note that these must be kept in a suitable locked container when not in use. Also, we need to keep up to date records: to this end will anyone in possession of anything radioactive please let me know a.s.a.p.
-- Department Safety & Radiation Officer
Yep. That's right. Terrorists who are, presumably, planning to blow up London or make Birmingham glow in the dark aren't going to do something truly evil like breaking a padlock. This is the same mentality which means you have to eat with plastic cutlery if you have the misfortune to need to consume food in an airport. At least that can be justified on the basis of reassuring the public, whereas presumably the people who actually work with radioisotopes from day to day are well aware that locking them up is Not Going To Work.
Do you think this means I should not bring my glowing key ring to work? If I kept it in a locked container, it would make it difficult to use the keys to which it is attached....
Apparently, some radio nut has been listening in on police and `security service' conversations and publishing frequencies and transcripts on the web; the Today Programme made an enormous fuss about this, and got a few rentaquotes from politicians and an MI5 officer complaining about how terrible this is and how the man responsible ought to be punished and radio `scanners' banned.
(Note that the BBC, fulfilling its traditional rôle of responsible public broadcaster, did not quote the URL of the web site concerned, presumably for fear that its alert listeners would be able to distinguish reality from the hysterical early-morning claims of its investigative reporters.)
Not once did they address the question of why the police were broadcasting this sort of stuff en claire, nor how likely it is that terrorists and criminals will obey a ban. Nor, indeed, did they mention the whole TETRA cock-up....
It appears that the police and the BBC are taking this bit of monkey business about as seriously as it deserves....
It's very sad that even during this outpouring of patriotic fervour most people can't find it in themselves to buy flags which are really Union Flags or to hang them the right way up. Unless ``We Surrender!'' is the message people are intending to send....
This is all done with wwwitter.
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