Nigel Wickenden asks me directly in your pages what more MP John Hayes, as minister for Security, could do following the Paris terror attacks on Friday, November 13, to reassure the public, other than, I assume, turn up on a Radio Tulip roadshow the following day.
I hope you’ll allow my reply because that is a good question. You see, I served 23 years at sea in Royal Navy ships, circa 1963 to 1986, defending the realm: and I can tell your readers that on several occasions, when even the slightest threat was perceived against our national security, all leave was cancelled and we were ordered to return onboard to exercise preparedness.
So when a full-blown terrorist attack takes place in Paris, directed at our nearest and closest EU/Nato neighbour, may I be forgiven for assuming that certain alarm bells involving UK national security would have been ringing, and, if so, then surely a re-called Minister for Security would have been at his desk the very next day, digesting what, if any, were the implications for UK security, rather than taking part in a radio roadshow.
It seems in the eyes of some, however, that this assumption may be totally wrong; because things are done differently nowadays... and there is no need to recall the Minister of Security and call him to account and that we should all keep calm.
Today’s headline in one national newspaper (Daily Express) proclaims ‘Now we face jihadi missile attack’.
Against this current background, some people, like Mr Wickenden, may well believe that Mr Hayes has everything under control.
Sorry Mr Wickenden, but I don’t – and I will continue to call him and others to account.
Meanwhile, I’m still awaiting a reply from Mr Hayes to the letter I sent him about current airport security operations, specifically highlighting the possibility of terrorists infiltrating on-site catering/logistics supply and baggage handling commercial operations.
Finally, as an old sailor, I can tell your readers with certainty... that if a ship was in any sort of danger, you’d be unlikely to find the skipper playing bingo with the passengers.