It was reported in the Daily Telegraph last month that passengers on domestic flights to Scotland may have to show their passports to police when they land, even though they will already have been required to prove their identity to the airline operator before boarding.
The move emerged after five Tory front bench MPs, including Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, were among travellers ordered to show their passports when they arrived at Prestwick Airport on Wednesday. Mr Grayling accused police of abusing powers designed to combat terrorists and warned it was “mission creep”.
He said: "It is utterly and completely unacceptable for any police force to be doing routine identity checks on passengers travelling within the UK. Do we want to end up with border check points at Gretna Green?”
There is no blanket policy to check every passenger on domestic flights but police forces in Scotland confirmed officers do carry out checks on a regular basis. Officers can ask someone to prove their identity and that can include showing a passport. Strathclyde Police, which covers Prestwick and Glasgow airports, said the power was under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Mr.Grayling and his colleagues were flying to Prestwick to carry out some political campaigning. He said it looked far from an occasional operation as the officer was sat at a fixed desk in the airport. He added: “No powers should be used in this way. Acting like this simply undermines the credibility of our security legislation and will heighten concerns about civil liberties.”
He's right, of course. "Anti-Terrorism", along with "The Environment" and "Racial Tolerance" has become one of the Holy Trinity that gives people in authority the excuse to do ... well, anything they want to, really. If you have a uniform and a badge and you're feeling a bit bored and want to throw your weight about by harassing someone in the street, it's easy enough: if they're smoking or eating sweets they're littering, if they aren't walking very fast they're loitering, if they're white they're probably homophobic or xenophobic, if they aren't white they're probably carrying drugs, and if you can't think of anything else they might have a bomb in their pocket. Simples!
But something rather more perplexing is about to happen at our airports. At Manchester Airport they're trying out a machine that allows to operator to examine the naked images of passengers. Some people think it's disgusting, others are embarrassed. Some are happy that it's there to protect them, but some people will believe anything. No doubt there were a few Jews who thought that arbeit really would make them frei.
Many people will no doubt be pleased that there is an option of being "patted down" for bombs and weapons in the old-fashioned way, but of course we all know that if the trial is considered a success that option will soon disappear. Actually, it'll probably disappear even if the trial is not a success, because it'll save money. One operator sitting on front of a screen costs less than two or three outside interacting with the public. From there it's just a short step to the idea that as terrorists have been known to blow up buses and trains, they should have these machines at stations and bus-stops too. In fact, why not install them all over the place, hidden in walls and doorways in shops and offices and the street? After all, it's to protect us, isn't it, so how can we object?
We append this entirely gratuitious picture of
naked women in case any of you have forgotten
what they look like. It's for your own good.
Mind you, we don't envy that operator at Manchester Airport, slumped over a screen all day looking at grainy images of fat men's hairy bollocks and saggy old tits. But - and here's the perplexing part - what no one's mentioned so far is that his day will be enlivened from time to time by images you don't see very often.
Muslim ladies in burkhas, for instance, will suddenly be revealed in all their ... whatever it is they keep under their robes. What would the Prophet say about that?
And then there are the children. Anyone else looking at images of naked children is a disgusting pervert, fit only for a single cell on the special wing with all the other nonces. But this is different, presumably.
There seems to be some sort of arcane pecking order at work here. Anti-terrorism trumps cultural sensitivity and paedophilia, is that it?
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
Copyright © 2009 The GOS