Tomorrow, or today or on Sunday 23rd April 2023 (depending when you are reading) the UK’s emergency alarm system will be tested for the first time.  Unless you turn off your phone completely. Or put it on airplane mode. Or take the battery out. Or turn off the notifications.

When we went to Iceland pre-pandemic we learned they had the same system, or similar, for artic gales or volcano eruption.

The thing is, they also knew what to do after the bell had tolled.

Do we?

The alarm could alert us to nuclear or chemical attack. And we would…what exactly?

Or cyber, or flood or fire…so we would know in advance and …..

You can see where this is going.

Alarms make us scared, alert, hypervigilant…more stress….more anxiety…more conformity ….

In the Second World War when the air-raid sirens went, people knew to move to underground bunkers, or stations, or not, their choice. They had a choice.

An alarm is only useful if there is a plan for what to do after it has gone off.  Think about it, an alarm that goes off at the weekends when you don’t need to get up after all is just a nuisance.

The thing is

alarms have been going off for a while now:

The Civil Rights movement in the sixties set the alarm that Black Lives Matter….

The Equal Pay Act said women should be paid the same as men …..

Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring in 1962 about DDT and how we humans were destroying our life support system…

‘In 1856 Eunice Newton Foote was able to conclude that increasing carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere would cause warming.’(Yes it was a woman who first noted it)…

So actually, alarms have been set off for quite some time now, Rosa Parks, the Ford Factory Women, Carson, Foote…ignored…can you see a pattern or am I imagining it?

The thing is, the likes of you and me, we hear the alarms and do our bit. We recycle, we try to treat people with dignity, as we would like be treated.

It is not you and me who need to hear the alarms…we hear then…loudly

The bell tolls for those in power, those who stand by and watch the rich get richer and the poor poorer where in the UK, the ‘poorest fifth of society has only 8% of the total income, whereas the top fifth has 36%.

as the IPCC warn of the dire consequences of climate change in the same year as Rishi Sunak bows to lobbying by the aviation industry and decreases tax to increase flights

etc etc

You see what I mean.

But people are sounding the alarm for the government

as  they have before: Malcolm X, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Greta Thunberg, Mandella, The Pankhursts did before..and all who ran, walked, sat, stood and died for those causes.

“We’re expecting around 40,000-50,000 people to be outside Parliament over the weekend.” say Extinction Rebellion…sounding the alarm

You see,

unlike us

the government know what to do

There are solutions:

and more and more solutions for poverty, racism, gender based violence

It is just that you have to listen to the alarm and then


to save life

prevent harm

mitigate threat

build positive alternatives


Otherwise…you might as well turn the alarm off and enjoy your Sunday


Thank you Jon Lydon for your photo


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