You don’t need me to tell you what kind of weekend it’s been in Glasgow. For the reasons we most dreaded we’ve become the centre of attention from around the world. In all the important questions asked there has been the glaring absence of two key questions: 1. Where were the highly trained bobbies that usually scare you to hell with their sub machine guns? 2. How come a couple of loonies in a jeep can roll up to the front door when the rest of us aren’t even allowed on the road that leads to the entrance?
I guess the reason no one fancies the questions is because the answer is simple. The rapid response polis weren’t there and anyone can drive up to the front door as longs as they drive unsafely and it looks like their vehicle will combust; told ladies in Morris travellers should be kept at a safe distance.
Sorry to sound cynical but for those of us who have the misfortune to use British airports with regularity it’s hard not to be. My firm belief is the public are far too long suffering in this country. There is nothing worse that queuing for hours only to discover a wide variation in the rules when you go through security. We were going through Glasgow recently when one of my esteemed musical colleagues asked politely, ‘Do we take our shoes off?’ As we watched the masses all go ahead of us without taking theirs off the security guy shook himself awake and quickly said, ‘Yes, shoes off.’ You can only imagine the look I gave to Jim.
The thrust of all this is pretty simple. It’s a real pain in the arse doing security checks. But no one minds because they feel, ultimately, they are helping keep everyone alive. What’s harder to stomach is meaningless drivel that’s put there to look efficient when everyone knows it’s a complete waste of time. Then to crown it all it ends up with passengers at the airport trying to land knock out punches on terrorists.
This is not saying the policemen at the airport were hopeless. They were quite the opposite – incredibly heroic. One of the most shocking photographs is of an off duty policeman hosing down a terrorist while clearly he must have been aware his only life was in real danger. God bless you sir.
However the reality which those in authority never give us the credit for realising is the glaring reality that if someone wants to blow something up there’s not too much any of can do. On Saturday the only bit of good news was the the terorists plan was only marginally more useless than BAA’s security strategy. Cold comfort.