The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 17 November 2015

Image: GCHQ 2014

Knowledge gap

With so many questions still unanswered regarding the Paris attacks on Friday, the need for better intelligence is clear. To that end, UK prime minister David Cameron has revealed that his government will be investing in security and intelligence and 1,900 new officers will be provided across MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. Countries around Europe are likely to follow suit. Yet the push for increased intelligence might not be enough after years of cutbacks and relying on the US. “It’s really difficult to see how much of a difference it will make,” says Stephen Dorril, a lecturer at the University of Huddersfield and the author of MI6: Inside the World of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service. “It takes time to infiltrate these organisations because they don’t have a set structure.”

Image: Reuters

Safety checks

As politicians, news gatherers and security experts begin to build up a step-by-step account of what happened in Paris on Friday, questions are being asked about the city’s security infrastructure. Canadian company Genetec is a global leader in the sphere of physical security and public safety. According to vice-president of product management and marketing, Andrew Elvish, it’s important to recognise that some events like this are all but inevitable: “It is terrible but the number one thing to realise is that you can never thwart every single incident like this.” Elvish believes that Paris has a “very robust system, in terms of its maturity” and argues that, once the dust has settled, a more pertinent question may well be: “How much worse could this have been?”

Image: Getty Images

Play on

Football likes to pretend it’s more important than it is but for a moment this evening the beautiful game has a chance to prove it has a broader meaning beyond 22 men kicking a ball around a patch of grass. The international match between England and France is an opportunity for the former to show solidarity and the latter to show defiance. While the sound of 70,000 English fans struggling to sing the words of La Marseillaise is hardly going to have Isis quaking in their boots, it may bring a lump to the throat. The other thing to note tonight is the unparalleled security operation: while international sporting events will continue after Friday night’s attacks, security will be far tighter and far more obvious for a long time to come.

Image: Tom Jamieson

Blind spot

After tragic events on the scale of the Paris terror attacks, an iconic image tends to emerge that encapsulates the tragedy. One would expect the same for Paris, a city that was host to world-class photographers attending the Paris Photo fair (which was cancelled on Saturday). Yet so far there is no single defining image of the attacks. Photographer Tom Jamieson, who was staying in the 11th arrondissement just 20 doors down from one of the attacks, says he was barricaded inside in the immediate aftermath: “It was complete chaos.” For photographers across the city, “access was so restricted” as authorities tried to contain the violence; many shots captured were from great distances. Jamieson was only able to get shots of soldiers standing on the street below, guarding against an unpredictable threat. The lack of a clear view is as much a symbol of the attacks as anything else.

From Monocle 24

Image: Reuters

Paris and beyond

Listen to Monocle 24’s coverage of Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, including expert analysis and reporting from the ground.

From Monocle Films

Sami side of life

The new Sami parliament in Finland is a proud symbol of how far the indigenous people of Europe’s north have come over the past century, from being a culture struggling for survival to a thriving community.

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