Arms and a Man:
Wouldn’t it be nice to have your own personal State? The ability to make your own laws, to police yourself as and when you felt like it, to have things just how you want them? People of a certain age will recall the Ealing comedy “Passport to Pimlico”, where the inhabitants of that august London district declare themselves an independent country, and the rest of England cheers them on.
Well here’s news: it’s not fantasy, it can be done! The secrets are not difficult; you too can have a land fit for yourself and your close mates if you follow the methods below. Of course it does slightly depend what kind of person you are and what you do for a living, not every profession is open to this; your best bet is to become an arms dealer, they can do things normal people can only dream about.
Well then: suppose you’re now an arms dealer (you used to be, say, a Land Rover salesman, but realised there was more money in AK47s) and want to set up a suitable operational base ; so you buy up an old RAF base like, ooh, let’s say for example Faldingworth, Lincolnshire. Like any scrap car merchant, you want to bring in old ex-various-armies stock (Bosnian has been pretty good for a while), flog off what you can and break up the rest. You also want to have a lucrative sideline in blowing up old stuff that’s past its sell-by date, anything from bombs and shells to old flares and fireworks; there’s a lot of people who’ll pay you well for that. Trouble is, the bangs annoy people and damage their houses, so you’ll need to make sure their complaints don’t get in the way.
OK, first thing is you’ll need a council on your side. Ideally, this should already have a history of telling lies to its taxpayers and assuming that everyone outside its own offices exists solely to be duped and shafted. In the case of Faldingworth you’d be dealing with West Lindsey District Council, which is perfect; they’re so bent that they’ve got a Customer Services Department without any customers whilst going to great lengths not to admit they haven’t got any. You’d get on well with them. Never mind if you don’t have Planning permission for what you’re doing; they’ll ignore that and lie through their teeth for you, and not even bother to answer any public complaints about it.
Should you be so unfortunate as to have those stupid nearby residents get angry at the continued explosions and air-raid sirens which will be such a satisfactory part of your business model, you could always ask your little friends in the council to hold an external investigation; it’ll be OK as long as they remember to bring in the right external investigation company, someone like, say, Atkins. Atkins will see you alright, they don’t do “science” and are happy to cook results any way you want. Of course, they’ll have to measure the decibel levels of a few explosions, but (and here’s the good bit) they’ll ask you in advance which ones you’d like them to measure! So if part of what you’re doing is underground explosions which are likely to make shock waves and damage people’s houses from below, just make sure you pick a couple of nice air-burst explosions for Atkins to measure instead; they sound more impressive and obviously “nuisancey” than the underground ones, and you can control the loudness easier. And you’ll only need two or three; as I said, they don’t do “science” and are far too modern to worry about sample sizes.
Atkins are a very progressive outfit. Old-fashioned scientists waste time bothering about double-blind testing, trying to make sure that neither the experimenter nor the experimental subject know what is being tested at a particular moment, so they can’t skew the results; but Atkins are an innovative company who are way ahead of this game. They’ll ask you in advance which of your explosions are “most representative”; during the actual measuring, they’ll be on the phone to you asking things like “Was that the big one?”. Then they’ll write it all up in a report (or two, if the council’s feeling generous with taxpayers’ money) which look very impressive - they’ll contain photos of very sciencey-looking bits of equipment that aren’t actually set up to do anything except look really impressive to the plebs out there; the reports of course will fall to bits with contradictions if actually read, but Atkins are innovative enough to assume that no-one is really going to do that. If necessary, they’ll send some young fresh-faced wet-behind-the-ears lad to have a chat with you personally, and he’ll just repeat anything you feel like saying without the bore (or expense) of actually checking it. You want a bent report, you’ll be OK with Atkins, just stitch it up with West Lindsey District Council and the taxpayer will fund the lot at £15,000 a go. Simple!
If you happen to have a spare helicopter lying about, it helps if you can give a few council employees the odd pointless ride or two; they’re simple lads and this impresses ‘em no end, you’ll find it’s a very easy way of keeping them nice and docile and getting ‘em eating properly out of your hand as they should do.
Then of course you’ll need to deal with Health ’n’ Safety, Explosives Directorate, the people over near Liverpool. Explosives are quite dangerous things, even fireworks; remember that big disaster in Holland a few years ago, Enschede? With all those folk killed, houses flattened, thousands homeless, damage for 20 miles? That was just fireworks, only 177 tons, and you’ll be wanting to store lots more than that, maybe 600 tons or so of serious big stuff. So there’ll be lots of incovenient regs to get round. and that can be a real nuisance to an honest hard-working profiteer.
The first thing you’ll want to do is see if you can find an HSE employee who used to work at the site you’re interested in - at Faldingworth, for instance, a bloke called Evan Bale used to work there and now looks after it, so to speak, for HSE. You’ll need to make sure that nobody can say when your license started from, which is tricky because normally licenses always say when they start from and if you can’t tell people that, then they’ll start thinking there isn’t a license at all (though there still isn’t much they can do about it even if turns out there isn’t one). HSE have a stupid little rule that they’ve forgotten to cancel which says that when you first get a license for blowing things up, there has to be a public hearing about it in case people object to having the plaster fall out of their ceilings all the time; but you’ll instantly notice that if your license doesn’t have a start date, then no-one can say when the public hearing should have happened! Brilliant!
Your license, if it exists, will say that only you can blow things up, not other companies that you might want to rent space to; the best way round that is to lie through your teeth and claim the other companies are really “divisions” or “operating arms” of your own company; nobody will bother to check and if anyone approaches HSE about it, then whatever little friend you’ve got there can probably be induced to say something like “we recognise that the company structure involved is not a normal one” and then do absolutely nothing about it (Evan Bale said - and did - exactly this about Faldingworth).
HSE will also help you if you have a license and if someone starts trying to work out whether your bangs are actually being made within the area it specifies. HSE will be happy to sow confusion on your behalf by “accidentally” forgetting where the boundaries should be (assuming there are any visible boundaries, and that you haven’t flogged off random bits of your land to an untraceable Liberian-registered company funded by your wife just to help cover your tracks, as at Faldingworth). You’ll find HSE will be behind you all the way; invaluable!
Incidentally, should you be caught out doing something that would get most people’s (ie non-arms-dealers’) licenses taken away, like, for instance, storing detonators in with explosives, unfortunate little mistakes like that, the right move to make is to change your company name quickly and then it won’t matter because it will have been a different company that did it!
Once you’ve got your council and HSE nicely on-side, then you can really start to move. You don’t want folk going off with the impression you’re just some grubby little ex-car salesman in a baseball hat blowing stuff up, that will never do; you need to come on as something special. Tell ‘em you’re engaged on Secret Government Business, so secret that only you have security clearance to know about it; all those oiks out there, they were all brought up to grovel before Authority, they’ll swallow it without a blink. Tell ‘em really hard how you’re a James Bond figure, the Angel-Grinder of the North, a national asset and saviour; they’ll be so impressed, not one of ‘em will remember that if you really had signed the Official Secrets Act you wouldn’t be allowed to say so, so the very act of telling us you were top secret would prove that you weren’t.
By the way, if your site should (like Faldingworth) happen to have been converted for nuclear storage in the fifties, and be sitting on a huge underground complex of tunnels, galleries etc, always remember to claim there are no tunnels at all, even to people like your MP who might think they know better; it does no good to let people imagine that mere straightforward facts will help them at all, why should they? They’re not arms dealers. Just blag, blag, blag is the trick, you’ll soon get used to it; Down is the new Up! Oh, and remember to change the company name a lot and to have a completely different company name over the entrance; you can never cover your tracks too much. If people quibble, tell 'em it's to fool terrorists.
You’ll know you’re really flying when you find more and more that you can say to people who need or want to come into your site (you know, silly busybodies like - for instance - the police or emergency services): “I’m sorry, you don’t have security clearance to come in here”, and not one of them, not a single one, will have the wit to ask “Security clearance from whom, exactly?”
And now your mini-State is up and running. If police can’t operate there, if ambulances or fire engines are left waiting at the perimeter gate never to enter, then you can reasonably claim that the writ of normal law no longer runs on your property, you’ve created something quite outside the customary jurisdiction of the land! If you want to replace that system with new laws of your own, declare yourself president, send representatives to London under ambassadorial protection and privilege, who’s to stop you? “Privilege” means, quite literally, “private law”; and that’s what you’ve now got.
We know you can do this, we know this system works; the guy who runs the Faldingworth site, Richard Briggs, has already done almost all the things described here. Let’s run through the check list:
• ex-Land Rover salesman
• council assistance
• no planning permission
• helicopter joyrides for council staff
• staff proven to have lied their heads off for him, time after time
• two reports from Atkins, exactly as described
• HSE cannot give a start date for license
• HSE cannot say when a public hearing should have been held
• HSE aware that other companies are working under pretence of being an “operating arm”, but say it doesn’t matter
• HSE carefully obscure boundaries of just where license is supposed to operate
• company found to have kept detonators in with explosives, let off
• company changed name many times, wrong name on gate
• police and other services being told “you don’t have security clearance to come in here”
• MP told there are no tunnels (replies “yes there are, I’ve been down them”)
• BBC and Amnesty Intenational characterise Faldingworth as arms-dealing site
and (as they say) much, much more…….
If it works at Faldingworth it can work for you. Why be subject any more to boring old Parliamentary laws? The country needs innovative, enterprising business solutions; results will only be limited by your imagination. And by other people’s gullibility, of course. What are you waiting for?
© David Humpage 2015