Vol. 3, Issue 18, July 26, 2005
UK Brews World's Largest Pot of Tea as Anti-terrorist Measure
The United Kingdom, still reeling from the worst terrorist attack it has seen in decades, has finally focused its energies and taken a step forward in coping with the nation's woes by producing the world's largest pot of tea.
"Our first reaction was very hasty, very American if you will," said British prime minister Tony Blair. "Increased security checks and the introduction of heavily armed police into our streets, the targeting of suspicious persons: we've rushed in a bit, and that hasn't worked out as well as we'd hoped."
Indeed it hasn't. British police recently chased down and shot a suspected terrorist in the subway, only to later realize that the victim, Jean Charles de Menezes, was an unarmed Brazilian man who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"Of course we very much regret this incident," said Blair. "I think we all realized how far things had gone, you know, five bullets in the head - that smacks a bit too much of the Los Angeles police, doesn't it. Not the way we prefer to go about things. So we took a collective step back and reassessed the situation."
The task was accomplished by converting the Millennium Dome into an enormous teapot with a 95 meter spout.
"We pretty much just turned on all the hot water taps and made sure the doors were closed," said Clarence Poltiss, director of operations at the Dome. "We lowered several tons of Typhoo teabags through the roof, and so far it's worked out pretty well. They did have to set off some munitions in the basement to get the overall temperature high enough for brewing, but I'm assured only conventional weapons were used."
All residents of the United Kingdom are entitled to a cup of the tea. If they are unable or unwilling to travel to the Greenwich peninsula where the Millennium Dome is located, the government has indicated it will mail them the tea in "high-quality thermal plastic pouches."
Observers are cautiously optimistic about the program, informally dubbed "Cuppa Steel" after the famed London security perimeter known as the "ring of steel."
"While at first glance such a project may seem somewhat counterintuitive, it must be said that it does have several positive features," said Glen Torrence, a political analyst for the Times. "For one thing, brewing millions of gallons of tea is vastly preferable to shooting random suspicious people wearing bulky coats. For another, this is arguably the most useful thing that's been done with the Millennium Dome since it was built." The Dome was financed by the British government to celebrate the arrival of the 3rd millennium; it has been plagued with cost overruns and management issue from its inception and even its original sponsors later declared it a bad idea.
"In addition, this is a very inclusive gesture which really shows the British government reaching out to all its citizens in a uniquely British fashion," added Torrence. "By embracing its entire population in a quintessentially civilized and introspective manner, the UK may well do more to deter future terrorism than it might have by adding more armed guards to the streets."
"It's as least as effective as anything we've done," admitted U.S. Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff.