Friday, 20 June 2008

Is This Your Flying Saucer?

You have to hand it to the Sun, they know how to grab attention. Earlier on, while taking the opportunity to actually sit down and read the papers for the first time this week, I was fascinated to see the headline, "Cops chase a UFO over Cardiff."

I was even more intrigued by the rest of the story, which, complete with excitingly drawn diagrams, breathlessly explains how, "Stunned police gave chase to a UFO after it attacked their helicopter near a military base." Assuming, for the moment, that the story is not a complete fabrication (and how could it be - the Telegraph mentions it too!) I can easily see how Cardiff's finest would be tempted to set off in hot pursuit.

Someone, or something, zooms past a police vehicle at a fair old clip, and instinct cuts in. Whether the plodmobile is a push bike, a panda car or a helicopter, the urge to chase is irresistible - it's a learned reflex, in much the same way that dogs just can't resist chasing sticks. In a way it's quite commendable, and certainly borders on the heroic, even though it's not, perhaps, the smartest thing to do.

I mean, what would they have done if they'd caught up with this mysterious object? Flashed their search lights and ordered it to pull over? "Excuse me, Mr Alien, is this your flying saucer?" And what if the (allegedly) little green occupant had replied, "Yes, Occifer, and this is my ray gun. Allow me to demonstrate..." It's a health and safety nightmare, and I fully expect the constabulary, if not the Government, to issue UFO-chasing guidelines any day now.

But, come to think about it, what would an alien be doing in Cardiff, anyway? It's a pleasant enough place in its own way, and, having spent quite a bit of time there recently, I've developed an almost masochistic fondness for it. But it's hardly going to be top of the must-see list for any planet hopping tourist, is it?

If there really is a grain of truth in the story, I should imagine that the clue lies in the close proximity of the military base. Again, it's hard to imagine any top secret military hardware being developed in or near sunny Cardiff when there must be any number of more secluded, godforsaken locations... no, ok, maybe not. But even so, it's only slightly more plausible than a visiting alien space craft.

So what are the alternatives? Hoax? Maybe. An excuse (such as it is) for three officers taking a police helicopter on a swift jaunt to North Devon? Unlikely. A cover up for something else entirely? Perhaps, but it's a bit paranoid. At the end of the day, I suppose it doesn't really matter - whatever really happened on June 7 in the back of beyond. The story has provided a little light entertainment after a long, busy week. Who could ask for more?

Billy Seggars.

No comments: