Cut ties with reality
It was tough for the BBC, but they got through it. The problem was: how to make the story of the chaos at the migrant center at the old Manston airport, which could lead to the resignation of the Home Secretary, without acknowledging that the root of the problem was a huge increase in the number asylum seekers? They were hungry for the story because they could smell Suella Braverman’s blood on the wind. But it is, I think, against the guidelines of BBC producers to suggest that Britain might have a problem with illegal immigration. How, then, to stick to Braverman without implying that there are plenty of Albanians flooding the country?
They sidestepped the issue by repeatedly questioning an SJW hobgoblin from a migrant relief charity to insist that while it seemed like there were a lot of illegal migrants, there were none. not really. This clown has appeared on virtually every BBC radio news program and even made an appearance on Newsnight in an opening packet that seemed to say that all illegal migrants are absolutely lovely people who only want a better life for themselves. By this dodge, the company was able to castigate Braverman and the government for letting too many migrants in, while b) suggesting that there weren’t too many migrants coming in and they should all be allowed in. enter anyway. As a general rule, the BBC only takes an interest in immigration and asylum seekers if there is a chance of slamming the government for being mean to them. Credit, spirit, at the world to one which allowed Nigel Farage to put forward the proposal that Manston should once again become an airport, specializing in one-way flights to Tirana.
Another lack of curiosity about what struck me as interesting news came with the breaking of two undersea internet cables in the space of a week, one from Shetland to the Faroe Islands, the another from Shetland to the Scottish mainland. This latest “accident” ensured that the islanders were effectively cut off from the world for a few days. The government’s immediate response – perhaps before it could know for sure – was that a fishing vessel was responsible, and the press generally settled for it. There were fishing boats in the area at the time, but the later arrival of a Russian “research” vessel raised an eyebrow or two. Shortly after, a similar cable was cut in the Mediterranean, cutting internet links from Marseille to Lyon, Milan and Barcelona. The company responsible for the cable, Zscaler, described it as “an act of vandalism”, although it always refrained from using words like “Putin”. Or ‘Russkies’.
Of course, domestic trawlers have indeed cut various undersea cables – but much more in the past than recently. Today, boats are equipped with Kingfisher Bulletin technology which allows skippers to know what is hidden under their hull and thus avoid untimely snags. Bill McKenzie, chairman of the Fishing Vessel Agents and Owners Association (Scotland), doubted the idea that the cables had been cut by fishing boats. “I’ve tried to think of the number of times trawlers have snagged a cable and I can’t think of a single one in the last ten to 15 years. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, just that I don’t remember it,” he told me.
So two such offenses in the space of a week is a bit of credulity, isn’t it? Of course, coincidences like this happen – that’s the essence of statistics. But when you add in the French cable cut, the odds of such a coincidence begin to seem infinitesimal. And that’s before we consider the bizarre explosion of the Nord Stream undersea gas pipelines, which the Kremlin and a number of QAnon madmen say was a joint venture carried out by London and Washington.
There must be at least a suspicion that the Russians are both metaphorically and literally testing the water – demonstrating the kind of chaos that could very easily be sown in Western Europe and the UK in particular just by cutting a few cables. Even so, there doesn’t seem to be any particular appetite to tackle the issue – which is in itself puzzling because it’s not as if this form of Russian mischief is entirely unknown, or our vulnerability to it.
As Alexander Downer reported last week Spectator, in 2017, Rishi Sunak wrote a report for Policy Exchange on our cable network. In it, he said the following: “A successful attack on the UK’s submarine cable infrastructure would pose an existential threat to our security. Yet the exact locations of these cables are both isolated and publicly accessible – jugulars of the global economy that are a singularly attractive target for our enemies.
Meanwhile, Shetland’s fishermen complain long and loudly about the growing infrastructure congestion around their islands, whether it’s internet cables or the cables that come with the growing number of offshore wind farms. Shetland rely on their fishing industry, but with each increase in wiring it makes the activity more and more dangerous and increases the likelihood of a boat snagging a wire.
Shadow Defense Secretary John Healey has asked Parliamentary Questions about the level of security given to our undersea cables, having been rather blithely assured in an earlier question that the Shetland incidents were just an unfortunate accident. Well, if that’s the case, we should expect many more such “accidents” since the majority of our most important cables aren’t buried under the seabed or even pushed into a trench. . They’re just lying there, fully exposed to anyone who might harm them, inadvertently or otherwise.
Neither the Ministry of Defense nor the National Maritime and Coastguard Agency responded to my questions about this.