How’s this for a shocking series of events:
- Government thinks up marvellous new security technique that will save lives, at no cost or inconvenience to the public.
- Public says ‘huh?’
- Government quietly announces that it will cost a vast amount of money, will constitute a massive invasion of privacy and will be massively inconvenient both to those using it and the general public.
- Public says ‘er, not convinced’.
- Government runs small pilot scheme
- Public get annoyed by pilot scheme for being massively expensive, invasive and inconvenient
- Pilot scheme comprehensively proves that the idea can’t work
- Government decided to go ahead anyway, and doubles the initial budget
- Idea continues to prove that it won’t work
- Government scraps idea
Yeah, that last on doesn’t seem to belong, does it. Nonetheless, it appears to have happened.
The Brown government has changed its mind on placing security scanners at every London tube station and mainline train stations across the country, because the technology does not work and the public would not tolerate the long delays such scanning would require.
Despite doubts from London Underground after the original trials Gordon Brown gave the scheme his support in November 2007. London Underground questioned the practicality of the technology as well as worrying that the queues created would provide a new target for terrorists.
But today Tom Harris, Under-Secretary of State for Transport, said the project would be abandoned because achieving airport-style screening is not feasible using today’s technology, and the public would not stand for the delays caused and the invasion of privacy involved.
Now, if only they’ll realise the same thing about all those other wonderful government ideas that will never work, no matter how much of our money they throw at it. Like ID cards, children’s databases, bar-coding the populace, etc etc etc…