It’s that man again

I can’t resist linking to one of the best interviews with Michael O’Leary I’ve read. With the normally voluble and equally opinionated ex-Telegraph edtior Dominic Lawson, for once almost shut down by his interviewee. O’Leary’s latest riff is that he might be interested in taking over one of the South East airports BAA is likely to be forced to divest. Here, he grabs the zeitgeist:

“It would be very hard not to improve any of the London airports. We’d staff security queues properly, and passport controls – which are a joke at the moment. We have people being delayed one or two hours just to get back into their own country..

Q. But there’s still the long wait for security checks, even if you don’t put any luggage in the aircraft hold, isn’t there?

A.”Yes, but that is not the airports’ fault. That’s the noddies in the Home Office because they decided they’d got some incredible intelligence that lipstick was the new weapon of mass destruction: that Osama bin Laden had spent years in a cave in Pakistan developing a range of lipsticks unknown to Estée Lauder or anyone else, which were clearly the new weapons of mass destruction

Being one of thousands queued up recently for half an hour at 6.30 in the morning at the new nightmare security check lay-out at Terminal 1, I give two cheers for O’Leary – not that he can do anything about Heathrow or is ever likely to. Like everybody else, I was ordered curtly to “stand on the white line” while a tall, Dr Who stick insect peered at me.
“This is the new biometric scanner but you haven’t told me about it ” I complained.
The official at least had to good grace to apologise.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

Living History 1968-74

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