Sunday, 31 October 2010

Pointless checking at airports?

There's been much in the news this week about checks at airports. From British Airways Chairman Martin Broughton slamming the checks the Americans insist on but don't bother implementing at many of their own airports to the news that the bombs found inside printer cartridges at East Midlands Airport had been partly transported on passenger flights and not just cargo flights as first reported.

I think I probably agree with MB mainly because of the number of times I've inadvertently gone through with things I shouldn't have and have gone completely undetected. I once kept my laptop inside my bag (you're supposed to have it checked separately) but nobody noticed. I have taken bottles of water through, a nail file, various liquids in excess of 100ml and once I even took a parliament bottle of whisky through. I should explain that none of this was deliberate, I just (like everyone else) forget what goes in the hold, what goes on with you and what needs to come out the bag for them to check separately.

Once I remembered after I'd been through and went back to confess to a bottle of water!

But the point is that each time my bag has gone into that machine that searches it and each time there have been contraband items (which apparently have the potential to do great harm) and they've never noticed.

And although I was obviously not carrying anything damaging, the same can't be said of those bomb containing printer cartridges. (Good on the person who spotted them at East Midlands.) I didn't realise the USA had insisted on the checks. Nor did I know that they don't carry them out themselves. It begs the question why we are "kowtowing" as Martin Broughton said, in the first place? I'm inclined to agree with Mr B. Why don't we just decide what checks are actually necessary and then do them properly? Simples as they say on some TV ad!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Questioning Question Time

I have a cure for low blood pressure. It's called Question Time and it comes on of a Thursday evening around 10.30pm on BBC1. It's about politics in Britain. Sorry, PARTS of Britain. Apparently, according to the host David Dimbleby last night, the guests on the panel can only talk about things if they are related to the whole of the UK.

That's what he told Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last night when he ruled her answer to be unacceptable on the basis that she was explaining how the Scottish Government was dealing with the economic crisis and that only affected Scotland.

So what exactly was the point in having anyone from the Scottish Government or indeed the Scottish Parliament there then? Was he expecting her to answer on the basis of what she would do were she in power in the UK? How absurd!

If the rule is that panellists can only talk about UK wide issues I have 2 questions.

1) Why did David Dimbleby then, out of the blue, start talking about the Scottish Government decision to release Al Megrahi from a Scottish prison? And why did he ask all of the panellists for their opinion EXCEPT for Nicola Sturgeon, a representative of the government that actually made that decision? She got her point in but she really had to fight for the right to speak. Shocking.

2) Can we expect that all future programmes will stick to this absurd ruling and does this therefore mean I no longer have to sit through the panel talking about education and health like we all have the same education and health services but knowing that NONE of what they say applies in Scotland?

On the second point I'll be watching closely and I'll be emailing the show if they break their new rule. I'm expecting repetitive strain injuries galore!