Listening to the news on the way home, I heard an item that left me absolutely speechless – a woman in Dundee, Scotland arrested under terrorist legislation for walking in a cycle lane! The Times ran the story this morning under the headline Two Wheels: Good, Two Legs: Terrorist Suspect highlighting one of the most farcical aspects of the whole case, that if the woman had driven her car, or ridden her bike along the same stretch of road, she wouldn’t have been doing anything wrong. (So a good tip for terrorists there, if you want to blow up Dundee Harbour, go on your bike…)
Frankly I thought that an 82 year old was arrested under terrorist legislation for shouting ‘Nonsense’ during a speech by the Home Secretary was a bit crazy, but this is just stunning. Whilst I can well see that there are security concerns over a sea port such as Dundee, why are the rules only applied to someone who is walking, rather than cars? Surely a car or van loaded with explosives could do much more damage, so in view of the risk, why aren’t cars restricted rather than just pedestrians?
However the negative publicity of such crazy, ill thought out rules as this only go to add to concerns that terrorism and security is being used as an excuse to deal with problems that aren’t really about security, whether that is someone walking along a cycle lane, or an embarassing pensioner at a party conference. The more these kind of crazy stories come out, the less seriously people will take the extra measures that we have to deal with. Really, there needs to be a limited set of properly thought out restrictions to protect real targets, rather than this ever increasing number of crazy rules, and bizarre uses of legislation under the excuse of security.