Thursday, September 6

MI5 chief held up for an hour by airport immigration - WHY?

So the MI5 chief Jonathan Evans was held up for an hour by Heathrow Immigration. For those who do not know, MI5 is the nodal domestic intelligence / anti-terrorism agency. See here for a detailed overview. And so the head of the main chap is reduced to queueing up at Heathrow's notorious immigration hall to get in. The only other immigration hall which is worse than Heathrow's is Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport which is dark, dingy and full of green suited stony faced ghouls.

But this is gobsmacking for two reasons. One is that the main gateway to the United Kingdom is so poor that visitors have to queue up for an hour to even get to the immigration control desk, then the whole long palaver to collect baggage, walk out, get a car, and then sit for another few hours in traffic or suffer from stinky slow underground carriages.

Well, BAA, the firm which owns Heathrow, is notorious for poor inefficient service. I still fail to realise why the government is dithering while Rome is burning? The government should realise that the privatisation of BAA was a spectacular mistake although not at par with the privatisation of the railways and underground. But still, just imagine the cost to the economy. Penny wise Pound Foolish.

The second thing which amazed me was that a senior British official will queue in the first place. If you are in almost any other European, American or Emerging market, this kind of person would have his/her own channel through which he will be zoomed through while ordinary mortals like me would simply sit and smell the miasma in the immigration hall. Only in the UK will queueing be required for even senior officials.

Remember the stink when Tony Blair jumped the queue on the road and drove on the bus lane? People were not upset it was Tony Blair but the fact that somebody actually jumped the queue.

But seriously, Heathrow has to be fixed and fixed very quickly otherwise the UK will suffer even more. Everybody is moaning about Heathrow but for some reason, the Prime Minister is not really doing much about it.

All this to be taken with a grain of piquant salt!!!

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