I love taking my shoes off at the end of a busy day. It’s the first thing I do when visiting my friends’ houses. But through the airport security, when I’m already being made to carry my outdoor coat, having removed everything from my pockets and decanted everything including drinking water and each of my many bodily fluids (blood, urine, sweat, semen and both vitreous and aqueous humours) into 100ml bottles sealed inside a transparent ziplock bag (or even worse, to dispose of them, never to be seen again), removing my boots is really the last straw. Especially when my two children are forced to do the same, because I would of course be packing explosives into the shoes of a nine year old and a twelve year old. Of course they completely ignore the oranges I’m carrying, each of which I have packed with liquid explosive; and the miscellany of consumer electronics with which I shall quickly improvise a mechanism in the aircraft loo to detonate the lot.
Alas, as I sit here in the departure lounge, one of my terrorist friends has just come through airport security with a litre of liquid explosive in her rucksack. They took the small cartons of fruit juice and the half-drunk bottle of Coke, but completely missed the big refillable bottle full of water. OK, it wasn’t liquid explosive, and she’s not a terrorist, but it does rather render the entire idiotic episode entirely bogus.
It’s all so bloody inconvenient. It’s also completely pointless. If there are people who want to kill us, they will find a way; whether that be exploding oranges or incendiary sandwiches. But keeping the populace in fear is very definitely an effective way of controlling us, as I have said before, and it shall always be so. If we want to cause people the ultimate inconvenience and make them really fearful, perhaps we should impose martial law and prevent all travel without central government clearance. And total expulsion of all fluids. And a DNA sample.
Of course that all presupposes that air travel will be able to continue as oil reserves dwindle and fossil fuels become gradually more of a commodity to fight over and more of an expensive luxury for a wealthy elite. Good news then that finally my warnings have been heeded, even after all these years. I wrote to the Prime Minister when that office was held by Mrs Margaret Thatcher, suggesting that they start trying to replace fossil fuels that were producing the greenhouse-effect, with less polluting, more sustainable bio-fuels made from excess crops, of which there were many at the time, and indeed still are. That was when I was 14 years old, which was in 1981. My letter wasn’t acknowledged at the time, though I note that a transatlantic test flight was recently completed using 50% bio fuel made from bacteria, so they (the Whitehall lot) obviously must have found it behind a filing cabinet, read it and thought it a good idea, albeit twenty-seven years later. Still, better late than never, eh?
Of course there are issues surrounding biofuels too. How sustainable are our efforts to produce them? Are they going to take up valuable horticultural land that should be used to feed the world’s growing population? Will biofuel horticulture continue to force food prices up? Are the production methods used going to create huge quantities of waste effluent that gives us another future problem we have to deal with?
Let’s hope our current generation of politicians start doing something about all the things we should be really scared of, and stop causing everyone maximum inconvenience when we’re just trying to fly home after a family holiday.