COBRA is the British Government’s emergency response committee set up to respond to a national or regional crisis. Standing for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A, the COBRA Committee comes together in moments of perceived crisis under the chairmanship of either the Prime Minister or the Home Secretary.
At COBRA meetings, decisions and a possible response, sometimes simply a press conference, are made under real or imagined conditions of emergency and/or crisis. *
The committee can evoke emergency powers such as suspending Parliament or restricting movement. Such emergency -based responses have ranged from tackling Ash Dieback disease to the deployment of military hardware on civilian rooftops during the London Olympics.
Emergency and crisis-based politics are becoming increasingly common as modes of contemporary governance in an age of hyped terrorism and economic and environmental crises.
As far as we are able to clarify, the COBRA Committee has been meeting since 1984 and has met in recent years in response to:
2007 Car bomb explodes at Glasgow airport.
2007 Two car bombs found near Tiger Tiger nightclub, London.
2007 Foot and Mouth outbreak. 2009 15 British Naval Crew are captured in Iranian territorial waters.
2010 Eyjafjallajokull Volcano eruption in Iceland.
2010 Discovery of bombs in ink cartridges on UPS airplanes bound for the U.S.
2011 No-fly zone over Libya.
2011 Summer riots in London.
2012 London Olympics.
2012 Ash Tree Dieback disease.
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2013 British and international hostages held in Tiguentourine gas plant in Algeria.
2013 Lee Rigby killed in Woolwich, south London.
2013 British hostages held in Westgate shopping Centre, Nairobi, Kenya.
2013/14 Mass floods and tidal surges across United Kingdom.
2014 Seven ‘suspect packages’ sent to Army Recruitment offices in United Kingdom.
2014 Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 shot down over Ukraine.
2014 Continued outbreak of Ebola disease in West Africa.
2014 Islamic State (IS) force thousands of Kurdish Yardis to flee their homes and take refuge on Mount Sinjar, Iraq.
2015 Attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, Paris.
2015 NHS workers propose nationwide strikes over pay.
2015 Possible Greek exit from the European Union.