Magazine article The Spectator

Third Degree at Heathrow

Magazine article The Spectator

Third Degree at Heathrow

Article excerpt

From Andrew Hamilton Sir: In my experience the overzealous and politically correct airport security in America (High Life, 2 September) is being replicated in this country.

At Heathrow security recently, off to see my son in Shanghai, I couldn't resist asking the body-searcher whether or not I resembled a Muslim terrorist (I am 59, white, grey-haired and an accountant). The gentleman looked rather embarrassed. But his young Asian colleague said, 'You shouldn't have said that, just stay where you are, I'm calling the supervisor.' The supervisor appeared and after an animated conversation turned to me and said, 'You are in deep trouble, wait there.' He then made a phone call in which he ordered, 'Police please, this is an emergency.' As we waited for the police to arrive, everyone at security stopped working and the queues grew longer. I was just trying to calculate how I was going to explain to my wife that our visit was off, when four heavily armed policemen arrived. …

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