BAA humbug!

‘We should invade North Korea.’ Why Korea? ‘They’re trouble.’ Why are they trouble? ‘Their attitude.’ That’s the voice of the American man on the street, apparently. I’m quoting an old video still doing the rounds on YouTube and office emails, entitled Who should the US invade next? It features an Australian ‘reporter’ supposedly doing a vox-pop survey of ordinary people’s opinions as to who George Dubya’s next target should be. Some other answers: ‘Iran’ Why Iran? ‘I think there’s a revolution happening there soon,’ and ‘Italy’ – no explanation given. It’s funny, though not as funny as when the interviewer brings out a facetious map and asks people to pinpoint their chosen targets. Maps with North Korea, Iran and Iraq all printed on the continent of Australia elicit no cries of ‘it’s not over there!’ from people, and the lesson we take away is that Americans, despite their impact on it, are ignorant about the rest of the world.

For instance, did you know only 7% of Americans even own a passport? It’s true. I learned that statistic from the University of Facts I Pulled Out Of My Bottom To Support My Prejudices. Did you study there too? Actually all I could find about American passport ownership was that the European Travel Commission supposedly believes the number to be closer to 18% – this may or may not be true, it’s a long website and I honestly don’t care enough to find out. The point is: putting the lazy, racist, anti-American prejudices aside, do we really want to be a country with no experience of or interest in the rest of the world? Because if we do not, we need to question what Plane Stupid are trying to achieve.

Plane Stupid is the group eventually banned from protesting outside Heathrow Airport over airport expansion last week. I find their name inspiring (I myself want to put a stop to donkey and mule-related methane emissions and am starting a group called Dumb Ass) and their overall aim of taking radical action to save the planet admirable. But since only a few percent (real figures exist, I heard them on Radio 4) of global carbon emissions (and even fewer of UK carbon emissions) are produced by commercial aviation, or indeed aviation of any sort, why are we picking on the airlines? Because they are softer targets, isolated examples of emissions that are easy to identify and to denounce. But that is as lazy as an island race denouncing Americans as insular. Checking on the greenhouse gases emitted in producing, transporting, cooling, wrapping, housing, and feeding the clothes in your cupboard, the food in your fridge, the tv shows you watch and the packaging around your organic vegetables, that’s harder. But then, that stuff is harder to give up.

Don’t get me wrong, BAA, who initially wanted to ban a total of five million people from being in the vicinity of Heathrow, including the entire RSPB , are bullies of the first division. But then what do you expect? Of course they are power mad! They’re the airports! Have you been in an airport recently? They’re dilly with the power. Even before 9-11 being on a plane or in an airport (though thankfully not a stewardess) was pretty much a relinquishment of your basic rights and freedoms. You don’t believe me? Here’s an experiment: when someone says ‘what’s in the bag?’ in your local pub, say: ‘a bomb.’ If you’re not an obvious Muslim, you should get away with it (if you laugh and don’t just start running). Try the same in an airport. Where comedy is prohibited, power has gone mad. Sadly, picketing over that won’t make any difference either. Enjoy your holidays.

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One Response

  1. I’m in favor of taking Canada. Where our founders failed, I think we can succeed. 🙂

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