Part 98: Nuclear Bunkers


We should be more angry about nuclear bunkers. We should, in fact, be rioting in the streets, wielding flaming torches. I should be on horseback right now, riding into London, naked but for an ornamental chastity belt, toting a spear with which to start the revolution. But I’m not. I’m sitting on my sofa, naked but for a leopard-print dressing gown, The Hairy Bikers on mute, picking listlessly at a bowl of lukewarm pasta.

I think relationships are partly to blame for anesthetising our collective rage. But I’ll get to that later.

Nuclear bunkers, for the uninitiated, are massive blast-proof underground caverns, equipped with computers, ‘decontamination rooms’ and canteens, that the British government built all over the country during the Cold War. They were intended to protect MPs, the monarchy and, perhaps, if there was space, a few useful civilians, in the event of a nuclear Armageddon. The public – that’s us – were not informed of their existence, despite the fact that many millions of pounds of our hard-earned cash were spent on planning and construction.

Then, as now, the powers that be liked to pretend we were all in it together.

Then, as now, that was a lie.

The British government were intending to let us – including me, who was, at the time, a cherubic blue-eyed baby showing early signs of genius – melt to death, while they retreated underground for a decade, hoping, by the time supplies ran out, the world would be habitable again.

We should not forget this.

But, now that the imminent threat of nuclear attack has retreated and the secret’s out, we’re happily pretending this colossal act of betrayal never happened. The nuclear bunkers lie deserted. A few have been converted into tourist attractions – frequented entirely by primary school classes and the kind of middle-aged, middle-England couples who holiday within reasonable driving distance of Nantwich.

And we sit on our sofas. And we watch Dragon’s Den. And we do nothing.

How have they done it? How have they managed to hoodwink us into accepting this outrageous state of affairs?

By diverting our attention.

This is why they have raised student fees, why they pay newspapers to feed us stories about kittens*. It’s why they allow Twitter to exist. It is why they make a great big fuss about non-issues like benefit fraud, hoping we’ll turn on each other so they can return to drinking champagne and eating caviar smeared blinis, assuring us that the wealth will trickle down, if we work hard and behave properly.

We can’t trust a single thing they tell us.

We know this, but yet, like cuckolded lovers, we refuse to believe what is right there in front of our faces.

It’s bollocks. It’s all bollocks. It’s all predicated on a lie.

And what’s worse is that they know everything about us. They know, for example, that sex and romance provide the best distraction of all. This is why they promote marriage above all else, why they incentivise it via tax breaks, why they sent men into protest groups to seduce women who were getting too close to the truth. It is why there is a Royal Wedding every time the going gets tough.

We mustn’t fall for it.

Being single isn’t just a life choice anymore. It isn’t merely the result of your interpersonal inadequacies. It’s an act of resistance. It is protest. It is riot. And, while I salute those comrades who have joined with me in this gesture of civil disobedience, I do think less of those who haven’t. I believe it’s only right that the coupled among you should go ahead and organise the revolution, in a show of allegiance (and to prove you’re not fatally distracted from the greater good), while I stay here, and finish my pasta.

*This might not be true.

*Image by luigi diamante at

2 thoughts on “Part 98: Nuclear Bunkers

  1. Cathy says:

    So true. Although the only time I did anything about this was as part of YCND when we had a night-time vigil outside one, and that action, too, might have been partly precipitated by designs upon one of my other protestors. However, this is the most astute analysis of the spectacle I have read since the Situationists.

    • elfinkate says:

      I still can’t quite believe it happened.

      On a related note, apparently, when I was a baby, my mum took me on a CND march for nuclear disarmament and a conservative looking lady watching the march got very angry and shouted, ‘take that f*cking baby home!’

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