On the Edge…

Just echoing what Ken MacLeod said recently on his blog: well done on BBC Digital for repeating the excellent 1980s dark political thriller, Edge of Darkness. It’s the first time in years I’ve seen it and, although in some ways it is very much of its time, it still has a strong contemporary message too – depleted uranium stories being buried anyone?

Bob Peck was excellent as the dogged detective investigating the death of his environmental activist daughter, digging (literally) into the murky world of nuclear waste (guided by the ghost – or hallucination – of his daughter), while Joe Don Baker as the mad CIA agent with a fixation for the TV show Come Dancing is fab. One of the strongest images to me however was of a freight train hauling a cargo of radioactive waste through the night past British cities. It reminds me of the quiet, nocturnal convoys carrying nuclear weapons to and from Faslane, the prime naval base on Scotland’s west coast for Royal and US Navy submarines. Dark trucks trundling along on the motorways through Glasgow as the city slept; transporting nuclear weapons right through the middle of the most heavily populated area in the country.

Perhaps that is why those of us who remember those days take the terrorist threats our governments want us to believe in so much (why not? Gives them more power over us after all) with a pinch of salt. It’s not that we aren’t concerned – we have, after all, the tragic proof of what can happen. But when you lived with the fact that at two minutes notice all life on Earth could be annihilated very little else will scare you that badly. Or at least that’s how I try to comfort myself whenever I watch the news and see the blank, vacant, empty gaze of George Bush’s eyes and remember the awful arsenal this idiot wields without thought. And then realising, as with those night-time convoys of quiet death, that there was far more evil lurking in the shadows that we barely glimpse, going on all around us, all the time. Where is Codename V when we need him?