Why can't our own Cybermen zap the WikiLeaks man?

Assange: Inside a prison van on his way from court

Assange: Inside a prison van on his way from court

This may seem like a silly question, but what is ­Julian Assange doing in Britain? He is an Australian who has been hacking into American government computers from a bunker in Sweden, where he is wanted on rape charges. Frankly, he’s none of our business.

If the Guardianistas want to work themselves up into a lather of self-righteous indignation, let them get on with it. Out here in the real world, the fate of the ­WikiLeaks founder is a matter of complete indifference to most of us.

How did this circus end up clogging the pavements outside the High Court in ­London, with a bunch of snappers dressed up like Nanook of the North clambering all over a security van from the Scrubs via ­Television Centre?

The script could have been taken straight from one of those Eighties’ conspiracy ­thrillers, such as Edge Of Darkness, or the other one about GCHQ with Michael Caine. They’ve even disinterred a couple of old Leftie hams — Aussie hack John Pilger and superannuated Trot Tariq Ali — for the sequel.

Last time I saw Tariq, he was ­sitting in a curry house in Crouch End boasting to some soppy birds with split ends in Laura Ashley smocks and CND badges about how he’d single-handedly brought down President Nixon and stopped the war in Vietnam.

In his mind’s eye, Pilger probably thinks Watergate was down to him. Soundtrack by Jimi Hendrix and treble Pulitzers all round. Maybe it’s the Antipodean connection which attracts him to the androgynous Assange.

Come to think about it, at second glance Assange could be Pilger’s kid brother.

There’s also an ex-military type, who put up bail and seems to have wandered off the set of The Wild Geese.

If this really is a CIA conspiracy, it’s not a very good one. Why bother fitting up Assange on a couple of dodgy rape allegations when you could have him topped in a heartbeat and be back in Langley, ­Virginia, for a pancake breakfast, side of sausage and easy on the maple syrup?


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Surely, if he really was a clear and present danger to America’s national security, he would have been secreted away in the night by Joe Don Baker on a NetJets special out of the private terminal at Stansted and would by now be billeted in Club Gitmo, wearing an orange jump suit and sharing a cell with Sheikh Mohammed Wossisname, the 9/11 mastermind.

In the movie, Assange would have died in a mysterious car accident on the A4 or been found under a tree in Oxfordshire with his wrists slashed and a dodgy dossier in his back pocket.

When you stand back from it, none of this makes any sense whatsoever. Why are we wasting time and money dragging this through the British courts?

Until a couple of weeks ago, few of us had ever heard of WikiLeaks. And now that we have, none of us are any the wiser.

Assange may fancy himself as The Whistleblower, but his revelations are pretty low grade. None of them pass the ‘Oi, Doris!’ test.

The problem with this kind of ­pantomime is that it takes on a life of its own.

And it’s how you end up with a blogger in a Lone Ranger mask and an iPhone headset being interviewed on the lunchtime news and threatening to bring down the entire British banking system unless Deep Throat is given a walk and a pound from the poor box pronto.

I’ve no idea how the presenters keep a straight face. Why do they give these people house room?

And this is where we get to the serious bit. You knew it was coming, didn’t you? We are asked to believe that a crowd of onanistic losers with laptops can collapse the likes of PayPal and Mastercard in a keystroke.

We’re also told that the Yellow Peril is bombarding us daily from cyberspace. Yet somehow, we manage to keep buggering on.

Here’s the conundrum. If a spotty bloke in a bedsit can cause chaos in a sophisticated government computer system, why doesn’t it work the other way round?

If the Cybermen can get into the CIA and MI5 mainframes, why can’t the Funny People simply raise the deflector shields, set the phasers to stun, and blow the little oiks out of the water?

If spy satellites can read a number plate from outer space and obliterate a Taliban Land Cruiser from a command centre in Tampa, why hasn’t WikiLeaks already been ­obliterated in a puff of smoke?

Ask a silly question . . .

Gary cartoon

Years ago, Scarborough Council erected an ugly wire fence across the footbridge which ­connects the town’s two cliffs in an attempt to stop suicides.

I remember suggesting that instead of trying to deter jumpers they should turn it into a tourist attraction.

They could announce that Friday night was jumpers’ night and situate a strategic skip at the bottom to catch the corpses.

Better still, it could be televised. Anneka Rice would jump off with them and interview them on the way down. At the time she seemed to spend most of her time leaping out of helicopters.

A small step for ­mankind, a giant leap for Channel 4 . . . The show could have been called: End It With Anneka.

Anyway, I must have planted a seed. This week, Swansea police were confronted with a bloke threatening to throw himself off a multi-storey car park. They sent for a bouncy castle.

While counsellors attempted to talk him down, a crowd gathered urging him to jump.
(Older readers may remember Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s brilliant Derek and Clive tapes, which featured a similar routine.)

Eventually, he was persuaded to desist. But what if he had jumped?
By the time he hit the deck, the bouncy ­castle would have propelled him straight back up again.

I have visions of him bouncing up and down like Zebedee for hours while Old Bill tried to catch him. Boing, boing, boing . . .

I wonder what Anneka’s up to these days. Sounds like one for C4C.

This isn't balance, it's Balls

After the 1997 Labour election landslide, the Tories couldn’t get arrested. No one was in the slightest bit interested in what any of them had to say about anything.

Their then awkward, ­callow young leader, William Hague was routinely ridiculed as a boy trying to do a man’s job.

Even I bought into it, ­casting Hague as Kenny from South Park.

The BBC’s idea of balance was to have spokesmen from the different wings of the Labour Party.

If Blair was the Government, Brown was presented as the official Opposition. There wasn’t a Conservative in sight. Even the (first) resignation of Peter Mandelson was treated as a death in the family.

Man with a plan: Fomer Labour minister Ed Balls

Man with a plan: Former Labour minister Ed Balls

So we might have expected a similar period of silence from the Labour Party while their nerdy teenage leader finds his feet.

Instead they are lauded as if they are a proper Opposition. Gordon’s partner-in-crime Alistair Darling is wheeled out as an expert witness to tell us where the Government is going wrong on the economy — ignoring the trivial fact that he helped get us in this mess in the first place.

Ed Balls is billed as the man with a plan, even though he carried Gordon’s bag for 15 years.

Because the BBC so hates the Coalition, it builds up Labour as a government-in-waiting and never asks any shadow minister about his or her own record in office, while ladling on the woe about the ‘cuts’.

Meanwhile, ministers are routinely monstered. I don’t have any problem with that. It’s what this column does for a living.

But please don’t pretend that what we are fed in exchange for our licence fee is anything approaching ‘balance’.

Ainsworth and Mr Pastry

Onward and upwards

This column doesn’t usually stretch a sketch across two days. So forgive me for returning to the scene of Tuesday’s ‘crime’.

Apparently, I got a bit of a kicking on the Jimmy Young show over my criticism of Little Britain protester Jody McIntyre.

It’s a pity the BBC chose to ignore the Sky and ITN footage of him abandoning his wheelchair and trying to scale the railings at Westminster.

And allow me, courtesy of my friends at Mail Online, to point you in the direction of McIntyre’s own web page, in which he boasts in some detail of his role in the invasion of the Millbank Tower during the first demo.

‘It was an epic mission to the top. Nine floors; eighteen flights of stairs. Two friends carried my wheelchair, and I walked.’

Even more like Andy than I imagined.

Yeah, I know.