Bolt-Holes For The Failures

Don’t you wonder what kind of bolt-holes the wealthy and powerful are building, now, against the new crop of threats? Other than the ridiculous “let’s colonize Mars with rich white people!” meme, they have to know the global warming hammer is going to drop soon and the die-back and displacement is going to be violent. They’ll want a “mineshaft gap.”

Via Atlas Obscura [ao] we have pictures of England’s ruling-class bolt-holes:

“Regional network of linked bunkers” – what? While everyone upstairs is experiencing “maximum brexit” we’ve got a great big bureaucrat-disneyland below ground.

The text of the article is interesting and worth a read. It says a great deal about a nations’ priorities when you look at what they were hoping to save from a disaster.

There was a time when I believed that if the people had an idea what governments have in store for them, they would demand tighter controls over their rulers, and would not trust them so much.

At this point, I wouldn’t trust any politician to do anything unless there were such strong controls on them that – for all intents and purposes – they wouldn’t be doing it. Isn’t that the point of constitutional government? To specify and frame what government can or can’t do. If that’s done right, we ought not to see the endless churn that we see, in which politicians keep trying to game the system for their own advantage.

The altar of St Liebowitz

The political leaders are the last people worth saving in a nuclear war. After all, their job was to prevent nuclear wars and protect the people. Let them stay outside and watch the horizon for the inbound consequences of their failure.


  1. EigenSprocketUK says

    “Wealthy and powerful”, “ruling class”, “bureaucrat Disneyland”? I don’t think you read the article in your own link. These people were mostly lowly council workers who were only going to survive a few weeks longer than everyone else. They were going to run out of water and die slowly, just like everyone else. Then they were going to limp home and look for the part-scavenged bodies of their loved ones, and try to bury them, and then dig a little pit in which to lie down themselves when the time came. They were reverse mine-canaries: they were expected to die last, but to do what they could to enable maximum civil defence while there was any still left.
    Most of these civil defence bunkers were tiny and would not have had any ruling-class in them. You might as well stencil on the door “Contents: Personnel, Ark-C class, government-spec, 10 for the temporary use of.”
    If you believe that crapping in a 1950s council-issue bucket for a month, under strict orders to stay away from fresh air for as long as you had any workable orders, is Disneyland then there once was a volunteer list at the council office to put your name on which might have briefly advanced your prospects in Local Govt employment.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    Yeah, if you think these death boxes were for the “ruling class”, you are misinformed. You should try visiting one next time you’re in the UK – there are more in good order than the linked article hints at, several of them functioning (if somewhat grim) tourist destinations. You can see the foot-wide bench three people were meant to share, eight hours each, for a bunk. You can follow the brown “tourists this way” road signs which start several miles out, humourously pointing the way to “Secret Bunker, 2 miles”. You can (at least in the one I visited), lay your hands on a full-size dummy Trident warhead – they’re startlingly small for a city-killer. And you can watch “Threads”, the BBC’s cold-war drama-documentary about a nuclear attack on Sheffield (the UK’s fourth-largest city). That has a pretty good sequence showing the likely effect of a nuclear attack on the bunkers set aside for the “ruling classes”. Spoiler – nobody lives.

    The actual ruling classes have bolt-holes for when the balloon goes up, and they’re a damn sight more luxurious than these literal shitholes. Most likely they’re offshore, probably a long, long way offshore. This island has got too small to keep anything like this sort of thing secret enough any more.

  3. springa73 says

    I’ve sometimes wondered – if the upper levels of government actually did survive a nuclear war in underground bunkers, and then emerged to try to run whatever was left of their country, would many people recognize their authority? I would think it more likely that such survivors as there were would be focused on staying alive and maybe if they could trying to establish some kind of local ad hoc government, and that they would ignore the politicians from the pre-apocalypse era.

  4. says

    Actually the high muckity mucks might have to worry about being capped by their own security detachments before the all clear was sounded, or even before the bombs hit. The minions might decide to make room for their own friends and family.

  5. says

    I really missed the bus on this posting; sorry about that. You’re all correct – these are not sumptuous palaces at all – they’d basically be slightly better graves. Threads represents what would happen to council officers and whatnot; it’s pretty grim.

    My mind had jumped to the more opulent arrangements of leaders. I have had descriptions from a friend of what the current bolt-hole for the US oligarchy looks like, and it’s better than anyone else is going to experience. That’s what always jumps into my mind when I think of this stuff. That, and Dienststelle Marienthal [dm]

    I still have bunker nightmares from reading Level 7 and A Canticle for Liebowitz when I was a kid.

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