Friday, 7 November 2014

Writing - Shared words, misleading news and war games

It's great when someone uses your words (see yesterday's blog) it is a superb feeling. The guy who is going to use my work said that he would make the appropriate reference to the author and I was about to exercising my self-effacing gene saying it was ok that he didn't have to when I stopped myself. I just expressed gratitude instead. It is important to recognise your own successes no matter how small. 

Now to other uses of words.

I saw the above film when I was in my early teens around the time JFK was facing the Russians over the Bay of Pigs and blockade of Cuba. There was real fear over the possibility of nuclear war and various drills and exercises took place in preparation for the aftermath of such a conflict. Well guess my surprise when the following information was released recently under the thirty year rule.

In 1982, a secret Home Office exercise tested the UK's capacity to rebuild after a massive nuclear attack. Files recently released at the National Archives detail one short-lived proposal to recruit psychopaths to help keep order.
More than 300 megatons of nuclear bombs are detonated over Britain, in the space of a 16-hour exchange. Many cities are flattened - millions are dead from the blast, millions more have survived and suffer radiation sickness. In bunkers are 12 regional commissioners with their staff, ready to come out and take charge. How do they do this? How do they restore order and begin to rebuild?
This was what a top-secret Home Office exercise intended to test in 1982, according to documents recently released at the National Archives. Optimistically termed Regenerate, this was a war game covering the first six months after the nuclear exchange of World War Three. It focused on one central region, the five counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire.
Officials imagined what would happen after the bombs had dropped. They knew the most likely targets in the area, and predicted how "rings" of damage would affect the country. At the epicentres of the bombs, there would be "unimaginable" damage, on the outer ring "broken panes" and "debris in the streets". The scientific advisers estimated 50% of the country would be untouched - though survivors could be affected by radiation fallout.

One of the Home Office Science Officers suggested the following,

"It is... generally accepted that around 1% of the population are psychopaths," she wrote.
"These are the people who could be expected to show no psychological effects in the communities which have suffered the severest losses."

Hogg suggested psychopaths would be "very good in crises" as "they have no feelings for others, nor moral code, and tend to be very intelligent and logical".

It would make a great story!!! However, this was almost 20 years after the events around the Cuban Missile Crisis when most of us would have naturally felt that the danger had been averted.

Misleading News

My father, God rest his soul, used to follow the news avidly and yet one of his sayings was 'don't believe everything your read in the newspapers'.  There was a prime example this week concerning the fiscal impact of migrants on the British economy.

Independent - reported that over 10 years the UK economy had benefited by £20 billion from EU migrants.

Daily Mail - non EU migrants cost the UK economy £120 billion over 17 years!

Both of these facts were from the same learned report. There are many reasons why the news was manipulated in such a way but as citizens don't we have the right to unbiased reporting so that we can make our own minds up?

God Bless