Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Welcome to Britain?

I've been out of the country over Easter - only to other EU countries - but the sense of freedom there is fantastic compared to the UK.

I started off by flying into Valencia, Spain. Heading for Passport Control I lined up to show my passport to one lone security guy in a kiosk & then walked to pick up my bags from the luggage hall. That was it - security checks over - the pleasures of Spain and the rest of Europe lay open at my feet.

Over the weekend I saw very few police and didn't see any drunkeness or fighting in the streets either. I went into both smoking & non-smoking bars. Over there, despite the grip of the EU, freedom of choice still exists.

I flew back into a small local UK airport, negotiated about 10 zig zags to reach the entrance to 'Security'. This was represented by three men & women in white shirts/dark trousers that we had to show our passports to. Behind them were 3 or 4 big blokes in suits standing with their arms folded. Behind THEM were about 8 - 10 men & women in black or navy outfits standing across the entrance to the luggage hall. Big notices 'Remove your passport from any folder' - obviously the mother of whoever designed these notices forgot to teach him/her the basics of British good manners and the use of the word 'Please'. Another round of notices saying it was 'forbidden' to take any photographs - the mantra of 'Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear' doesn't seem to apply to officialdom being observed by us plebs.

When we went into the luggage hall, the men & women in black/navy continued to circulate around that area eyeing the passengers up and down. They had flash tags on their uniforms which I think said either 'Border Agency' or 'Border Control Agency'. Looking back, I saw one passenger who had been 'passed' by the passport checking person being stopped & pulled to one side by one of the blokes in suits - he was subsequently allowed to continue into the luggage hall.

Amongst the passengers were some ex-pats returning for a visit - they made some very scathing remarks and I don't imagine they'll be visiting again any time soon. 'Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear' is the great Labour mantra. I had nothing to hide but I certainly felt I had something to fear in that a supposedly democratic country considers it's quite OK to greet visitors to the UK and its own citizens in this impolite and intimidating manner. The airport is in a supposedly tourist area. As a tourist I would have been repulsed by my initial sight of the UK. I doubt I would ever bother to visit again. Why not visit and spend my money in a country that welcomes me with smiles and open arms?

As a resident, I looked around and felt a wave of depression sweep over me at the thought of what Britain has become under Labour and its totalitarian Socialism/Communism. Will May 7th bring any good news with it?


Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

Hi Ruth - I do that 20 to 30 times a year and I can feel the ire rising as I exit the plane.

I've been hassled by Special Branch - who wound their necks back in / retreated from attitude when they realised that I knew my rights and could cause them a blizzard of paperwork

My attitude has changed from tired resignation to to "fuck you - and fuck the horse you rode in on" - you can push it as far as you like pal - a bed in a cell sounds rather fine to me - bring it on.

Ruth said...

I think part of the problem is that the British attitude is very much 'Oh don't make a fuss, what will people think?' I think we need to get over that & make an almighty fuss - about everything!
Thanks for commenting

Little Black Sambo said...

I felt so humiliated and angry the last time I returned to this country by air that I resolved never to travel by air again - and that was Bristol, which I dare say is not as bad as some places.

Ruth said...

It may be worthwhile trying again - see my blog today. Thanks for commenting.