Peter Rhodes on arresting journalists, destroying drones and a long line of ex-premiers

In this age of revolving doors in Downing Street, no fewer than seven former prime ministers lined up for the Remembrance ceremony in Whitehall on Sunday. At this rate, any guesses on how many ex-PMs will appear next year? Eight? Ten? Twenty?

Former prime ministers among the line-up on Remembrance Sunday
Former prime ministers among the line-up on Remembrance Sunday

Liz Truss had a strangely vacant air in the line-up. It was probably not the Remembrance Sunday she had been expecting. Tony Blair, not yet 70, looked simply ancient.

The arrest by Hertfordshire Police of three journalists covering a Just Stop Oil demo on the M25 is chilling enough. But what makes it more sinister is the response of the local Conservative police and crime commissioner, David Lloyd. He told the BBC: “The reason that Just Stop Oil are continuing to do this is that they know they will get publicity if they do it.”

In other words, a public servant, elected “to hold the police and the chief constable to account on behalf of the public”, seems to think editorial decisions should be made by the police. Lloyd's words clearly rattled Downing Street where a spokesperson insisted it was vital that journalists are able “to do their jobs freely without restriction”. Lloyd himself has issued a half-baked apology for the arrests and declares: “I'm a huge fan of a free Press.” Yeah, right.

Anyway, glad that's sorted. So in future, reporters and photographers covering demonstrations will not be treated as criminals? Don't put money on it.

In the 1930s the development of radar was spurred by the hope that it might turn out to be a death ray, capable of knocking enemy bombers out of the sky. It didn't happen but 90 years on, Britain's first-ever laser weapon has scored its first “kill”. In trials, the £100 million DragonFire prototype reportedly destroyed a drone more than two miles away.

The good news for our armed forces is that DragonFire doesn't require shells or any other type of ammunition. The bad news is that each laser shot requires a massive amount of electricity. Imagine the scenario. An enemy drone is dispatched to destroy the UK's National Grid and put all our lights out. DragonFire destroys the drone - but all our lights go out.

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