The House of Commons has just wasted nearly ?2 million of public money on a single alleged "security screen" which is somehow meant to protect the Chamber of the House of Commons from chemical or biological weapns attack, presumably by terrorists.
According to the debate in the House of Commons yesterday, ?600,000 has already been spent on a temporary screen installed over the Easter recess and a "builder's estimate" of ?1.3 million to be spent on a permanent one with more architectural features next year.
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There will be Members who question the value for money of both temporary and permanent structures. The temporary structure has cost ?600,000; the proposed permanent structure ?1.3 million. I appreciate that that will seem a considerable sum to our constituents"
There is no such screen in the House of Lords, only part of one of the galleries is being "protected", the Strangers' Gallery where some, but not all, of the Public and Tourists can view the debates in the Chamber of the House of Commons. The frontrowsofthisGallery,and the Press Gallery etc are not so "protected".
The air supply to the Houses of Parliament is that of a draughty old Victorian building, and obviously does not have a filtered air supply equivalent to that of a Level 4 containment Bioweapons research laboratory - the "security screen" simply cannot protect MPs from these weapons.
The "security screen" can drown out the shouts of protestors, and its looming presence is presumably psychological pressure to enhance the "bunker mentality" of MPs when voting for Anti-Terrorist measures.
Any chemical or biological attack, anywhere in the entire Houses of Parliament, no matter how small, will cause an evacuation and decontamination routine which will gather exactly the same amount of media and press overkill saturation coverage for terrorists as a bomb or shooting incident.
The alleged justification for this "security screen" is not, apparently, to protect members of the public, or even indivudual members of Parliament, to somehow to protect Democracy itself.
There is absolutely no chance of this "security screen" being effective.
It should be made clear that killing or injuring all of the UK Government and Opposition will still not be enough for terrorists to claim a victory over our Democracy - we will elect new Members of Parliament. If our soldiers and security forces are willing to put their lives at risk, then so should the Members of the House of Commons.
Parliament has a disasterous record of ineptitude over the building of Portcullis House, where each MP's office cost over ?1.3 million each, following an illegal tendering process which gave the contract for the bronze roofing to the highest bidder. Questions must therefore be asked about the ?2 million being wasted on this "security screen" - was there a proper competitive tendering process ?
All that this "security screen" has done is to help further isolate the Members of Parliament from the general public, and to attempt to hide the smell of panic rising from the floor of the House of Commons. This is yet another small victory for terrorism.