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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Pie protests – so very British

I’ve no idea what sort of chaos and mayhem will be caused at the Leveson inquiry today as Jeremy Hunt gives evidence.

There’s bound to be some sort of disruption as the Culture Secretary gives evidence.

Was he biased towards Rupert Murdoch or not during News Corp’s £8bn takeover bid for BSkyB? Will the inquiry into media ethics find out? Will we tune in to learn something new, or in the hope that Mr Hunt might get a custard pie in the face?

As protests go, we’re usually a reserved and quite well-behaved nation.

If we want to register our opposition to anything, we generally don’t trash and smash things – which is why the student demos and the London riots caused such shock to the nation.

Normally, when we protest, we do something quite silly but ultimately harmless – like flinging a custard pie at Rupert Murdoch when he gave evidence to a House of commons committee on phone hacking, swimming between the rowers in the Oxford and Cambridge boat race or just shouting at former PM Tony Blair at the Leveson inquiry.

The disruption caused leaves us with an abiding sense of silliness, as though we’ve just watched an episode from Carry On Protesting.

In many other countries, any one of these incidents could have ended in disaster, death and despair. In a way, I admire these protestors for their pluck and I support anyone’s right to peaceful protest.

All these incidents were at small-scale events which were high-profile to us Brits but of no interest or importance to the rest of the world.

They were also occasions where it should have been nigh-on impossible to breach security.

My concern is that we now have two massive events that billions will be watching and for which it will be nigh-on impossible to guard.

The Jubilee and the Olympics.

A huge amount of time, money and manpower is being spent on ensuring safety and security for these occasions.

If we can’t get it right for the small-scale stuff, what hope have we of coping with such huge, historic events?

We have to be ultra-vigilant all the time.

Those who want to cause disaster or death only have to be lucky once.

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