Richard Ord: Missing drones and atomic trombones

Hats off to the police officers in charge of the Gatwick drone investigation for their unique approach to the probe.

Thursday, 27th December 2018, 9:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 4:17 pm
A drone yesterday.

The airport, for those unfamiliar with the headline making event, was shut down for days due to reports of drones buzzing aircraft in the area. Flights were grounded leaving thousands of passengers stranded. ‘Eco warriors’ were blamed and a couple were arrested. A damaged drone was recovered. Then it gets interesting...

The arrested pair were subsequently released without charge. Police then questioned whether there was a drone at all. Detective Chief Superintendent Jason Tingley, of Sussex Police, was wheeled out to explain the ‘never a drone’ theory.

He said: “Of course, that’s a possibility. We are working with human beings saying they have seen something.”

I’m confident that by the end of the week, police will be questioning whether any planes were grounded at all.

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Reporter: “But there were thousands of furious people remonstrating with airport staff. An airport spokesman went on TV and told us all about it.”

Police: “And was this airport spokesman a human saying something?”

Reporter: “Erm, well, yes.”

Police (shrugging shoulders): “I rest my case. Now move along. Nothing to see here.”

There are, of course, more pressing concerns on the national stage. Like who has been leaking the Queen’s Christmas speech?

I wrote this column on Christmas Eve, yet there were many reports saying that the Queen was using her Christmas Day message to promote “peace on earth and goodwill to all” claiming it is “needed as much as ever”.

It is widely reported that she was aiming this at those at loggerheads over Brexit.

She was expected to say: “Even with the most deeply-held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding.” Easy for her to say. She lives in a castle.

As does the King of the Waltz Andre Rieu who I saw performing in Newcastle with his Johann Strauss Orchestra. He called for peace too. He said: “If, in wars, we can have peace at Christmas. Why not all the year round?”

Adding: “If I was Prime Minister, I would replace all soldiers’ guns with violins.”

Would it really make that much of a difference? Armed forces battering each other over heads with violins? It would soon escalate. Violins would be swapped for the heavier guitars, then double basses. Pretty soon the arms race would see hordes of military with sharpened tubas and pump action cymbals. One nation would get their hands on an atomic trombone (the technology already exists) and, well, I don’t need to spell out the consequences to you all.

Never trust the word of castle dwellers, my mum used to say. Thanks to Sussex Police, I’d advise extending that to all humans whether they live in fortified accommodation or not. Makes life easier.