This post is in response to an article public in the Manchester Evening News online site.
Helen Tither writes:
Come on, I can’t be the only one who sucked my tummy in going through those x-ray body scanners at Manchester Airport. Rationally, you’re thinking, those security professionals don’t care about all my wobbly bits, but that doesn’t stop you posing like a desperate debutante on America’s Next Top Model.
Secretly, I reckon anyone moaning that the new generation of sci-fi scanners are an invasion of privacy is more scared of hidden flab than the moral weight of their argument.
Normally, being as prudish as they come, I’d be on their side. However, when it comes to being safe in the skies, I’d strip to my birthday suit and jump through a circus hoop if it meant arriving on the other side of the Atlantic in one piece.
What price are you willing to pay for the sake of safety – how many civil liberties are you willing to have stripped back before you board a plane?
The discovery of a bomb in a printer on a plane at East Midlands Airport brings that question into sharp focus this week. Not only did it expose potential safety flaws on cargo flights but, as the package had also been carried on two passenger flights, it should give us all pause for thought.
Yet before this latest scare, British Airways chairman Martin Broughton was calling for some security checks, such as screening shoes, to be relaxed, calling them ‘completely redundant’. While transport secretary Philip Hammond promised to investigate ways of ‘easing the passenger experience’.
This at a time when the terror threat to the UK is rated severe, meaning some form of attack is highly likely.
Surely, pushing those plans ahead now would be flying in the face of common sense? You know what would ‘ease’ my experience? Knowing that
there wasn’t a bomb on the plane for starters.
Forget cutting back the passenger security checks – ramp them right up, I say.
No doubt some will wail against the very idea of increased security checks. Civil liberties groups won’t like the invasion of privacy – it’s so uncouth to subject a potential bomber to a little frisking.
Jet-setting business types may well curse the inconvenience, but it’s not as inconvenient as getting blown out of the sky.
I was in departures at Manchester Airport the morning that hand luggage was banned – following the exposure of a terror plot to blow a series of passenger jets up over the Atlantic. The thought of hopping on a flight to America that day was truly terrifying.
Yet thousands of passengers did it, nevertheless reassured by the extra stringent security measures.
We can’t let Al Qaeda terrorise us into staying grounded, but the only way to tackle that terror is to make sure we are as safe as humanly possible in the skies.
So, stuff civil liberties and businessmen on deadlines. They could kit Manchester Airport out like Fort Knox and make us leap over barbed wire chased by sniffer dogs to get in, and I still wouldn’t complain.
I’d be safe in the knowledge that everyone else boarding my plane had undergone the same scrutiny. Flying without fear, surely that’s a liberty worth protecting in itself.
In an attempt to get an alternative viewpoint, I post this comment which I expect the MEN will never all to pass moderation because its against their policy to make their staff look like the idiots they are.
What a remarkable ill-witted and misinformed piece of propaganda this is. You manage to hit all the right notes. Only people with something to hide would be bothered, only fat people would be ashamed. You should be ashamed to call yourself a journalist.
For your information, the x-ray backscatter machines that you put so much faith in, were test by the Foreign Office for use in securing embassies and were rejected BECAUSE THEY WERE INEFFECTIVE. They cannot see bombs hidden in body cavities, they cannot detect nitrate type explosives and you can simply stick strips of material your body… and so long as it’s the same temperature and density, it’s INVISIBLE. So you may feel happy show off your genitalia, but it’s for nought.
As for “stuff civil liberties”, I’m disgusted how anybody on a paper that ‘claims’ to represent the people of Manchester could dare put that in any post, no matter how relentlessly and stupefyingly ignorant that post may be.
Of course the bit question over the devices is that safety aspect. A Government IA (impact assessment) into the devices highlighted safety limits on ionising radiation and safety limits. But FOI requests to the Home Office have highlighted that at no single point has any device been tested… and UK Border Agency staff (who operate the devices) are bared from using radiation dosimeters. Unlike medical staff who operate similar equipment. Why would that be Helen? Riddle me that