Sunday, October 28, 2007

Jobsworths at the Airport

Returning from a few days working in Ireland, I passed across that River of Styx known as Stansted Airport a couple of times. As you know, the Styx circled Hades nine times which is about the number of circuits I made of the departure lounge during my stay.
One has plenty of time to ruminate on matters during these wastes of one's lifetime hours and I amused myself by noting that every airport scanner was manned by some ten jobsworths. Multiply that by the number of scanners and then by the number of airports and you arrive at a pretty hefty total. And I'm forgetting the bored operator who scans your shoes for gelignite plus the ones who ensure that your high explosive in placed in little plastic bags.
Now it then occurred to me that no government in its right mind would voluntarily throw such a large unskilled labour force onto the open market by doing away with the totally futile exercise known as airport security.
Neither would the airport be in a hurry to do so, having had to invest in the requisite machinery.
That plus the fact that the long delays predicated by the system means that bored passengers can fritter their money away in the so-called duty free shops so that the airports generate a substantial revenue.
All in all, this means that we cannot expect any change in the procedures even if every terrorist in the world had been accounted for.
Flanders and Swann used to have a song that ran “It all makes work for the working man to do.”
And in those days the word jobsworth had not been thought of.


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