Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cabinet Office Briefing Room... eh?

There is something very dramatic about the name COBRA! The centre of the United Kingdom Government's response to any crisis is a committee made up the PM and other people as needed.  It has co-ordinated responses to crises for as long as I can remember: foot and mouth, terrorism, and of course the recent riots.

On twitter @Puffles2010 retweeted a silly quiz question by @TheBigShow1976:

"Easy," said hundreds of people, "Cabinet Office Briefing Room A." As did I when I woke up this morning and read the tweets.  But apparently not... @DavidAllenGreen (blogger Jack Of Kent) replied...

There then followed several discussions, and he issued the challenge to find an official source for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A, as opposed to just COBR. I joined in and had a look round t'interweb.

The official cabinet office website says
In the most serious cases, the central government response will be co-ordinated through the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBR).
and other official sites all refer to COBR (try searching for "COBRA", all hits are local government and refer to business advice, whereas "COBR gives emergency response details).

A rummage did turn up an archive glossary which suggests that COBR is pronounced Cobra, so this might not be a media fabrication. However I do wonder how the letter A got attached. I imagined an exchange between a journalist and a civil servant.

CS: The committee is called COBR
J: COBRA? What does that stand for?
CS: Cabinet Office Briefing Room
J: and the 'A'?
CS: eh?

and the rest as they say would be history. Sadly another illusion bites the dust. The question what does COBR B do is no longer alive.

PS Blogger is an awful piece of software. Is Wordpress less bad?

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