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UK Y2K supremo says plan for Armageddon

Nothing to worry about - just lay in food for two weeks and prepare for the collapse of civilisation

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Could the UK government's Y2K policy get any worse? Until yesterday one would have thought not (Registers passim), but one would have been reckoning without the redoubtable mispeak powers of Action 2000 head Gwynneth Flower, who has issued a statement stressing the need to plan for something close to Armageddon. Flower's earlier greatest hits included musing out loud that Bill Gates could help in dealing with Y2K, see Microsoft's Y2K site and here for why this wasn't a good idea. The aspect of her statement which has - oh yes - caused widespread panic-stricken writing of headlines in the UK's Sunday papers is her advice that every household should lay in two weeks' supply of long-life foodstuffs in preparation for Christmas next year. Flower, it seems clear, is anticipating the possible breakdown of power supplies, transportation, communications systems, cookers, microwave ovens, refrigerators… This is all terribly embarrassing for the British government, which has been (largely) soft-pedalling the potential mega-disaster aspects of Y2K, but which seems to have accidentally appointed a crazed survivalist to look after the details. Flower intends to issue a leaflet next year explaining what sort of things it will be important for people to have in stock, and we'll look forward to that. But in the meantime she might care to browse a few of those helpful Web sites that tell you what to do when law and order and society break down completely, how to defend yourself Communists, perverts and invaders from Tau Ceti, and how to kill with your bare hands. We might be able to help too. The Register's more senior members of staff remember growing up among the debris of the British government's more paranoid wartime constructions. Large air raid shelters that anticipated a Luftwaffe paving of Eastern Scotland that never happened to any great degree, huge blocks of concrete and dragons teeth sprinkled along the coastline, in the odd belief that the Tay Estuary was a prime target for the panzers… Gas masks, spam, blackout curtains, home armies parading with broom handles, dried eggs, melting down iron railings for Spitfires - yes, if we start now, there's still time. ®

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