Friday 18 August 2006

I got my head checked by a jumbo jet...

Apparently the UK is seriously thinking about introducing passenger profiling on grounds including ethnic origin and religion.

Well, it makes sense doesn't it? After all, these terrorists who keep trying to blow stuff up are all Muslims aren't they? If we stop all Asian looking people from flying (Muslims, Sikh, Hindi.... whatever), and perhaps people with funny beards as well, then we shouldn't have any more problems. It'll mean that the rest of us normal folk will be able to carry as much cabin baggage as we like. They probably won't even need to put us through a security screen at all.

Naturally, this policy will mean that the odd innocent person will be jailed without charge for several days and that whole swathes of people will be discriminated against because of the way they look.... but surely that's okay if it helps us to WIN the "War on Terror", no?

It is, of course, a policy that the police have been sucessfully applying for many years. After all, how many coloured people legitimately drive BMWs?

Benjamin Franklin's words have rarely seemed more apt: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."*

Aren't we supposed to be a democracy? Can they do this sort of thing?

Oh, hang on, here's Ben Franklin again:

"A Democracy will vote away its rights."

Bugger. And here was me hoping that "Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner." (James Bovard)

Damn fool idealism.

* Perhaps it's better to say that this quote has been attributed to Franklin. See here for details. Well.... I am a historian.


  1. And I see that Mr Bush is getting into trouble with the Supreme Court over the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program.

    So this is the fantastic concept of democracy that we are so keen to impose on the rest of the world ?

    We need a benign dictatorship. A Taoist revolution led by yours truly.

  2. Now, now. You're being a bit harsh, I think. Racial profiling works: just look at the example of that foreign looking terrorist chap they shot on the tube.

  3. Haven't they been up to this sort of thing for years?

    I knew an Irish man in his early 30s who got stopped every time he flew to the mainland for years...

  4. I hope you chose the word "coloured" for satirical purposes.

  5. foxy - yes. I did.

    (I was actually going to end my post right there, but worried that some people might take it at face value)