Central London was brought to a standstill last night after an explosion of politeness ripped through the city. The spontaneous outburst of avuncularity was attributed to Martin Kimble, 27, a graphic designer from Muswell Hill, who has since been labelled a 'homegrown extremist' by the Met.
In a police statement it was confirmed that "[The young gentleman] exited the tube station at Charing Cross and proceeded to acknowledge the presence of another human being in broad daylight, by making eye contact and nodding imperceptibly at him before uttering the words "alright, mate." The greeting that rang out could be heard by shocked residents several streets away. The man then continued calmly on his way, as though nothing untoward had happened."
Commander Ian Dyson went on to say "In thirty years of service this is the worst case of reckless affability I have personally witnessed. Left unchecked, it could only lead to a street-level Armageddon of handshakes and small talk between strangers that would be impossible to police."
A Taciturn Response unit was immediately deployed and the area sealed off. "We would hate to see impressionable children become embroiled in this sickening practice," explained Chief Supdt. Ken Stewart of the anti-Altruism squad. "If anybody finds themselves a victim of it, I would urge that they ring our Hotline immediately."
Under questioning, the man admitted he had recently returned from a brainwashing camp in the North of England, where his head had been turned by open displays of friendliness and cameraderie. "It was a moment of madness," he was reported as saying. "I don't know what came over me. When I eventually came to my senses it was like waking from a bad dream."
The man agreed to undergo an intensive course of haughtiness, although experts admitted it may take months if not years before he returns to his natively churlish state.
Mayor Boris Johnson advocated the levying of a 'congeniality charge' to discourage further displays of fellow-feeling. "This jihad of joviality strikes at the very core of our national security," he warned, in a post-prandial junket from the Wigmore Club. "Our City's smooth running depends on the semi-oblivious and routine contempt of its citizens toward any life form within their immediate vicinity. What if the cells of one's own body decided to 'stop for a chat' or engage in perfunctory small talk with one another, eh? where do you think we'd be then? Pass the lube, Maurice."