A Crisis Commentary 09.09.16

This week observing crisis management in the news and first hand:

We’ll begin with the crisis averted – the junior doctors strike for September was called off amid fears for patient safety – the remaining 3 for this year are still scheduled to take place though.  Still, one strike at a time. Now for the more chaotic…

We learnt that the Thames is not an impenetrable moat and that a certain London based airport may want to check their ‘regular security inspections’. Just four days after this tweet they failed to prevent nine Black Lives Matter protesters from coming ashore via dinghy (air side), laying out some banners, erecting a large wooden tripod on the runway and then chaining themselves to it and each other. It’s amazing they didn’t have time to put a brew on too.lca-tweetIronically our MD was on route to a client, another airport, to deliver crisis management training, however his flight was cancelled after it took the police over 6 hours to arrest and remove the protestors. We wondered how long it would have taken to remove them had they co-ordinated protests to happen simultaneously at Gatwick and Heathrow; something tells us they wouldn’t have allowed London-wide air traffic to come to a grinding halt.  (We’re still waiting on the flight refund and struggling to wrap our heads around the logic behind the protest).

We also learnt that nuclear waste should not be stored in degradable plastic bottles apparently – it would seem that someone forgot to mention this in the safety briefing to those working at the UK’s largest nuclear fuel reprocessing and decommissioning site. The BBC’s Panorama programme uncovered fears that a fire in a nuclear waste silo or one of the processing plants, “could generate a plume of radiological waste that will go across Western Europe”. So, no biggie then.  In addition, claims have been made that the site is massively understaffed. The site in question had enough staff in the office to issue a statement refuting all claims.

It was a bad week for airports and airlines all round after a certain British airline experienced yet another IT glitch on their check-in system, meaning that people had to queue at the airport to check-in and drop-off baggage. Now this may not sound like a crisis, but this didn’t just mean that British people had to queue (which we do so well as a nation), this meant that other people had to queue… the ones that don’t know how to queue… yes, now you’re seeing the problem.  Fortunately no fights broke out, that we heard of. ba-boarding-passPersonally we quite liked that staff at the airport remembered that they actually knew how to write by hand and didn’t need a computer to do it for them #retro.

Calais’ ongoing crisis made the headlines again as lorry drivers, farmers and local residents staged a protest blocking the main route into Calais, the A16, and the entrance to the Channel Tunnel. They have been demanding that the migrant jungle be demolished after the dramatic increase in violent measures used by migrants to gain access to vehicles bound for the UK.  One does have to wonder though which companies are still sending their lorries through Calais, knowing that the delays will cost them; and why are tourists still booking ferries to the port knowing the dangers? Do they know there are other cross-channel routes available?

And lastly Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift broke up; ‘Hiddleswift’ is no more. The nation will probably not enter a period of mourning.