I’m sure that those of you reading from within Norn Iron can remember the good old days of security checks, closed roads, closed town centres, all that.
For those of you from outside: here’s a sample: the security gates on major roads that could turn most of West Belfast into one big holding pen; the housing estates that could be closed to all road traffic merely by the judicious parking of a single armoured car; every car getting to within a mile of the airport being stopped and ID checked; the men in the little huts around Belfast city centre checking everything, the ban on vehicles in parts of the city centre.
Basically, the huge amount of rules, regulations, high tensile steel and concrete that attempted to stop terrorists getting to their targets.
Those both within and without Norn Iron will also likely remember this: the bombs still went off. People still died. Property was still destroyed. From Royal Avenue to Thiepval Barracks – hell, to Downing Street – these fortifications didn’t stop terrorist attacks.
So will someone please take this ‘security expert’ to one side and ask him what he suggests to make airports completely impervious to terrorists?
A terrorism expert has warned that UK airports are still vulnerable, one year on from the attack on Glasgow Airport.
Security consultant Chris Yates said many of the changes put in place at Glasgow had been copied at other airports around the world.
But he said that although some “weak points” in airport security had been addressed, others remained.
There is one glaring “weak point”: the general public need to be able to get to the airport, otherwise there isn’t any point in having the airport. And no matter how much you harden the target, that weak point will remain. All the rest – the nonsensical bans on picking up passengers from the terminal, the little bags for fluids, all that – is merely theatre. Smoke and mirrors to provide an illusion of security.
But we accept it; we accept the re-emergence of the huts at points of access and the concrete bollards. We accept the queues to produce our bags of toothpaste. We baa and shuffle along like the sheep that we are. And if we don’t we’ll get added to a list somewhere, in all probability.
It makes me a little sad, it really does…