What would Annie Besant say?

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My boys have been playing recently with the Marvel Trading Card game (inc, TM), in which cards are won or lost by comparing their attack and defence strenths. Magneto for example is “attack 60”, “defence 60”, a weaker attack than the Hulk, but a pretty similar defence. This begs the obvious question: what attack and defence strengths would you give to an East London private housing block?

Residents of Lexington House in Bow Quarter, which was once part of the Bryant and May site where the 1888 matchgirls strike took place, woke up this morning to the news that a High Velocity Missile System is to be housed on the estate’s water tower.

This is useful, indeed necessary military technology in the event that London is bombed during the Olympic Games by military aircraft belonging to a hostile state.

But seeing as it is 65 years since London was last actually bombed; what real threat is this designed to protect us from?

Various local residents have been quoted to the effect that they feel scared by this development; I can’t help but agree with them. The idea of large quantities of military explosive being housed in the proximity of my home would distrurb me, too. In fact it’s no to feel that this is precisely the point. Neo-conservative politics seems to be premised on the insight that a public that is nervous of security concerns will tolerate a greater militarisation of their lives. Even when the only credible security concern is on your own “side”. It’s what the Italians, in a previous generation, used to call the strategy of tension.

It is another way in which the Olympics are making London a worse place.

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