Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


This Olympic Logo has no surface-to-air missiles.


It was just like any other day in East London for bank manager ALISTAIR HOLMES.  After eating his tea and crumpets and reading the LONDON SUN, he checked his letterbox prior to setting off.  He found the usual: One bill, two annoying adverts for pizza delivery and a yellow leaflet.  Not fond of pizza, he tossed those.  He saved the bill and glanced at the flier.  Then...imagine the shock Alistair had when he discovered the innocuous leaflet was not junk mail...but very important information from the MINISTRY OF DEFENCE!  As part of the national security operations for the upcoming Olympic games, surface-to-air missiles will be placed on top of Alistair's roof!

Not surprisingly, everyone in the BOW QUARTER RESIDENCES is up in arms about the MoD's installment of explosives on their homes.  In fact, the usually quiet, tree-lined red-brick buildings haven't seen this much hub-bub since 1888.  Back then, the structures housed the BRYANT & MAY MATCH FACTORY....the site of the famous "Match-girl strike." Over 1,400 workers became inflicted with "phossy jaw," a medical condition caused by prolonged exposure to phosphorous.  Anyhow...the historic buildings have long since been converted into 700 flats.   All that remains from the factory days is the iconic 100-foot high Lexington Water Tower.  Which...according to the MoD..."provides excellent view of the surrounding area and the entire sky above the Olympic Park." 

The Lexington Water Tower and the Bow Quarter Estates.
Okay...what exactly is the British Army moving to the top of the BOW QUARTER residences?  Specifically, they are constructing High Velocity Missiles (HVM).  According to MINISTRY OF DEFENCE spokesman (No...that's not a typo...Brits spell defense with a 'C'!).  These babies have a range of five kilometers.  Their main goal is to destroy "Pop-up" strikes by helicopters, which fly too flow for standard air traffic control radars.  The HVMs will be "a last resort to intercept aircraft that are coming head on."  All of which has many residents worried...won't terrorists just blow up the tower first?  Of course not!  In fact, the leaflet reassures residents: “Having a 24/7 armed forces and police presence will improve your local security and will not make you a target for terrorists." Whew! I'm sure that wonderfully worded phrase will calm folks!

While some residents are organizing a protest, it's all for naught.  Estate management already approved the measure months ago.  "I am happy with it," said Stephen Taylor, 51, who lives in a flat beneath where the missiles would be positioned.  "I think people are getting their knickers in a twist. There's a 'meet the missiles men' meeting on Saturday and there will be a kneejerk reaction of nimbyism." We here at the DUNER BLOG don't know what 'nimbyism' is, but agree with the sentiment.  When London won approval to host the Olympics five years ago, it was all joy and optimism.  Now that it's two months away, some of the less glamorous aspects of the international games are painfully apparent to Brits like Taylor:  "This latest development brings the sharp reality of London holding the Olympics much closer to home."

The Bow Quarter buildings are above and to the right of the stadium.
The real issue here was the Ministry of Defence's arrogant attitude toward the civilians involved.  It's hard for the world's most victorious army to get touchy-feely with average people...but c'mon!  You can't just xerox 700 flyers, stuff them into mailboxes and hope no one notices.  I don't care if it was color copies...the hard-working, tax-paying people of the BOW QUARTER deserve better!  And finally...we here at the DUNER BLOG promise our next blog about the LONDON OLYMPICS will be much more fun!  Any suggestions?

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