arsonists 1 - sanity 0

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2 car bombs found, unexploded, in London on Friday night.

A couple of idiots drive a Jeep into Glasgow airport and set it and/or themselves aflame.

Our glorious new, unelected, prime minister, “Fat Gordie”, went on the offensive (with his ministers following in lock step behind) and declared that we should get on with our lives as if nothing had changed. This all seems good so far, but the practicalities don’t quite agree with this lovely utopian vision – as I discovered today when trying to fly from Edinburgh to Gatwick.

These attacks seem odd in their planning and execution and not what we have come to expect from terrorists. Niq seems to mirror my own views in his blog.

The local radio spent much of the day talking about how bad the traffic was around the airport so I took the bus (not an unusual mode of transport for me to the airport) in the hopes it would make for an easier journey. Getting caught in a monster shower en route the bus stop didn’t really start the journey too well, but these things do happen!

The airport bus service is usually quite reliable, running every 10 minutes, but today I waited around 25 minutes for a bus to arrive. Once on the bus the journey to the airport went well until we got to the exit slip road – it was jammed with cars, busses and people walking in all directions. Slow progress towards the airport ensued, with the passengers getting more and more agitated. Quite a few passengers got off and walked towards the terminal, with the rest of us waiting as we inched towards the road blocks and police.

Once we reached the police road block we stopped and the police boarded to perform an ID check. They passed through asking for some form of ID – an exercise that became farcical when the man behind me had no ID but was allowed through after giving a brief explanation of why he was going to the airport. It was also at this point that I was approached by a policeman and told to delete any pictures that I had taken with my phone camera! After checking with him, he agreed I could delete just the ones that featured police, but the fact that the police were in a public place and doing their job didn’t seem to matter to him.

As we approached the terminal things took a turn for the odder as they had parked all the snow clearing vehicles on the road in front of the terminal – presumably as a form of defense to ram raiding by Jeeps! I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at this point as I can see no possible way that such actions can be reconciled with the statements made by politicians and their desire to ensure that life continued as normal.

The usual bus stops are next to the terminal, so they had been relocated to the drop off zone. Getting out and walking past the large yellow vehicles parked at odd angles on the verges and roads was surreal. Another ID check at the door of the terminal and I was inside!

The ID checks really struck me as being a step too far. The people who carried out the bombings on July 7th all had ID. Those responsible for the world trade center bombings all had sufficient ID to get onto the planes. So, why were the police checking ID’s? What the check really accomplishes I have no idea, but surely someone does?

Airport security have returned to requiring everyone to remove their shoes – which seems to be a strange, but inevitable, change. All belts had to be removed as well. Why these changes increase security is anyones guess. When will we get over our obsession with Security theatre?

Arriving at Heathrow I went to buy a ticket for national Express to Gatwick. The bus terminal in the central area was quiet, with the ticket desks all closed. The information counter was similarly closed, but the 3 self service machines had a queue in front of them. Only 2 machines seemed to be working, but eventually I was able to get a ticket. arriving at the bus there was a bit of confusion about whether we could all get on the waiting bus. It turned out that the drivers were busy selling tickets to anyone who turned up and wanted to travel – seemingly without any regard to the tickets being issued by the machines inside the terminal! Eventually one of the supervisors arrived and demanded that people with tickets be allowed on before any additional tickets were sold – instructions that they promptly ignored as soon as she walked away. How they manage to stay in business I have no idea!

If the aim of the people trying to blow things up and set fire to cars is to disrupt our lives, they seem to be accomplishing it quite effectively. Life certainly seems to be getting harder and harder with each act.

Eventually I got home, but the journey certainly took longer than usual…