Airport security, EU borders and tabloid hypocrisy
Chaos! Carnage! Apocalypse! Ok the last one hasn’t been printed by any UK newspapers when reporting on airport delays this week, but you’d be forgiven for assuming they had.
In the news over the last couple of days have been the long delays across European airports for EU travellers and commuters as the union decides to tighten its border controls across the Schengen travel area, which doesn’t require passport checks.
The EU, following on from a series of terrorist incidents and attacks last year have made the decision to tighten security for those EU citizens travelling from outside the Schengen area. This, in turn, has caused large delays for travellers at airports as the increased checks have caused large queues.
In some airports there are reported delays of up to four hours to get through passport control and there are consequences stretching across the continent. British airliners such as EasyJet, Ryanair and Jet2 have been texting existing customers to warn them to allow an extra three hours before their flight to ensure they make the plane and don’t get stuck within the delays.
This has caused many to criticise the airports in question for low staffing levels and being unprepared for the delays which the fresh checks could cause, and that’s a fair assessment as people from all over the world are getting stuck for long amounts of time, sometimes without food or water.
What did raise eyebrows, and sniggers, was that the Daily Mail and Daily Express were absolutely outraged by these developments, having recently been absolutely outraged by lax EU border controls.
Yesterday the Mail ran the headline SHAMBLES AT EU AIRPORTS – and British families suffer most.
Now, it’s hard to know realistically what the Mail and the Express expect the EU to do in such circumstances. Having been rocked by a number of terror attacks the union has taken the understandable steps to tighten its security, and you’d expect the Mail and Express to perhaps applaud the action.
There’s a laughable and predictable edge to this story, though, as they are presumably furious that British people, or let’s be honest…white people, are being asked to go through these checks, delaying their holidays.
Having spent the last two years campaigning for a hard Brexit, one where the UK has tough border controls and where we are completely outside of EU co-operation, it’s easy to laugh at the ridiculous expectations from the publications that whilst people from the EU should absolutely face stringent and arduous security checks at our borders, British people should sail through security because..you know..they’re going on holiday.
There’s fairness in the expectation that European airports adequately staff their airports to handle the extra demand caused by the increased security but it’s difficult to escape the feeling that Mail and Express readers are about to get so furious that half of them may suffer a stroke when the real inconvenience of leaving the EU becomes apparent.
If we consider that we’ve not even left the union yet, and that Sterling hasn’t presumably dropped as far as it can against the Euro, this time next year may see Sterling being less valuable than the Euro and British holiday makers paying much higher prices for flights and accommodation. This is, and always would have been, a direct consequence of leaving the EU and it’s not unreasonable to expect Brexit’s biggest cheerleaders to face up to the reality that they have helped to bring about.