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Sunday 18 October 2009

The naked truth

Something perplexing is about to happen at our airports. At Manchester Airport they're trying out a machine that allows the operator to examine the naked images of passengers. Some people think it's disgusting, others are embarrassed. Some are happy that it's there to protect them, but some people will believe anything. No doubt there were a few Jews who thought that arbeit really would make them frei.

Many people will no doubt be pleased that there is an option of being "patted down" for bombs and weapons in the old-fashioned way, but of course we all know that if the trial is considered a success that option will soon disappear. Actually, it'll probably disappear even if the trial is not a success, because it'll save money. One operator sitting on front of a screen costs less than two or three outside interacting with the public. From there it's just a short step to the idea that as terrorists have been known to blow up buses and trains, they should have these machines at stations and bus-stops too. In fact, why not install them all over the place, hidden in walls and doorways in shops and offices and the street? After all, it's to protect us, isn't it, so how can we object?

Mind you, I don't envy that operator at Manchester Airport, slumped over a screen all day looking at grainy images of fat men's hairy bollocks and saggy old tits. But - and here's the perplexing part - what no one's mentioned so far is that his day will be enlivened from time to time by images you don't see very often.

Muslim ladies in burkhas, for instance, will suddenly be revealed in all their ... whatever it is they keep under their robes. What would the Prophet say about that?

And then there are the children. Anyone else looking at images of naked children is a disgusting pervert, fit only for a single cell on the special wing with all the other nonces. But this is different, presumably.

There seems to be some sort of arcane pecking order at work here. Anti-terrorism trumps cultural sensitivity and paedophilia, is that it?