Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Ingsoc airways

A vintage scene from behind the Iron Curtain:
An elderly couple hears that there will be a delivery of meat at a local store. The husband hurries off to the store. After he has waited on line in the freezing cold for several hours, an official car pulls up and some KGB men get out. They tell the people on line that the meat delivery has been canceled, and that everyone should go home. 
This is too much for the old boy. "Is this why we fought and suffered in the Great Patriotic War?" he calls out in exasperation. "Is this all we have to show for sixty years of socialism?"

One of the KGB men comes over to him. "Pipe down, Grandad," he says. "That's subversive talk. You're old enough to know what would have happened if you'd spoken like that in Stalin's time." The KGB man makes his hand into a gun shape and points it at his head. "Go on home now and stop making trouble."

The old boy goes home. Seeing him empty-handed, his wife says: "Oh no! Don't tell me they've run out of meat again!"

"It's worse than that," says the old boy. "Now they've run out of bullets!"
Why this old Cold War joke? Because the KGB man's attitude is still alive and well as this BBC item demonstrates:
Former fireman Mr Jones, 67, was on his way to Faro in the Algarve, where he now lives.

He was asked to place his belongings, including his scarf, into a tray to pass through the scanner.

However, as he did so, he spotted the woman pass through the area without showing her face.

Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme, he recalled how he said to officials: "I wonder what would happen if I covered my face with my scarf.

"It was a quip. And I expected the guy to say: 'Yeah, I know what you mean mate' but when I got to the end and was putting all my stuff back on, I was bagged by a security guard."

Mr Jones said he was told: "You've made a remark which someone finds offensive. Come with me."
And here's the kicker (emphasis added):
He denied making an offensive remark, saying it was "an observation, nothing more", but he was told he should apologise to a Muslim security guard who was nearby when the comment was made.
Imagine such a scene occurring in 1943 with a German who somehow getting a job running a security post in England.  I would have thought that a Muslim security guard working at an airport where he is employed thanks to the heightened security measures due to terrorist attacks by Muslim Jihadists that we are at war with would be a bit more circumspect about what he takes offence at. 

This is not what one expects to find in a free society.  This sort of petty tyranny is what one expects from the Gestapo or the Stasi, not in Britain.  Never mind the farcical, totalitarian idea that a man can be detained because he said something that someone finds offensive, no matter how unreasonably.  The appalling notion that a security guard can demand an apology from a member of the public for what offended him is ghastly and everyone involved in this incident and their immediate superiors should be sacked and publicly shamed.

These airport guards, like the police, are public servants and they should conduct themselves accordingly.  I've never called a policeman "sir" in my life and the idea that I should is laughable.  And I certainly wouldn't do so to a rent-a-cop who is only slightly higher on the evolutionary scale than a traffic warden.  It's one thing to haul a man in for insulting a constable to his face in a manner liable to cause a breach of the peace.  It's another thing to think that a freeborn Englishman has to tiptoe around some jumped up little Himmler in an ill-fitting uniform and latex gloves whose job it is to molest the travelling public as part of farcical and ineffective screening process.  It is monstrous and should not be allowed to stand.

There are only two positive things I took away from this incident.  The first is that Mr Jones is consulting with his solicitor about taking legal action and the second is that I thank Heaven that it didn't happen to me.  The moment the apology was demanded, I'd have ended up in chokey after letting rip such a bellowing verbal outrage that it would have set off every car alarm between Brighton and Croydon.

1 comment:

Cthel said...

Interestingly, it appears that the "issue" was dropped once Mr Jones called the police. Perhaps they reminded the guard's supervisor that they didn't have a legal leg to stand on.

I hope that Mr Jones decides to pursue the matter in court, and wins.