Alex Massie

Department of Modern Life

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Clive Davis returns from holiday:

As we came in to land, we put our watches back to March to take account of the weather. Then we faced the interminable midnight wait at passport control as members of the secret service sifted the terrorists and arms smugglers from among the long line of tired families clutching their holiday souvenirs. Then we tried to make our way to the long-stay car park, unaware that the shuttle buses had been temporarily moved to a different part of the airport. (No one seems to have bothered putting up a sign announcing this inside the terminal.) Ninety minutes after our flight touched down, we finally set off on the M11.

It could have been worse, Clive concludes. He could have landed at Heathrow rather than Stansted. Or, for that matter, JFK or Charles de Gaulle.

Or he could have the wrong name. The wearying aspect of this tale of how a seven year old boy is considered a terrorist threat is that it's not much of a surprise at all. But then flexibility and common sense have no part to play in the new security state.

UPDATE: Though tempting, using these luggage tags - "Note to Security: Have Fun Rifling Through My Underwear" - would seem the perfect way to ensure your bags are subjected to extra searches and/or accidentally lost. [Via Reason]

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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