The UK Home Office "e-borders" database scheme continues to march forward, with the government announcing last week a £1bn splurge investment and trumpeting successes thus far. The basis of e-borders is a requirement on airlines, ferry companies etc to submit comprehensive details of all passengers and crew to be carried in …
Getting our own back
Just to be bloody awkward about it, can Britain please start fingerprinting Americans when they come here? Sorry USAians, it's your fault.
America is great, but the immigration sucks.
Not content with giving us miniscule green forms containing dozens of tiny hidden checkboxes, and a tricky quiz asking if you've ever been a member of the Nazi Party (but strangely not Al Qaeda), the US has decided we all need to be fingerprinted with a gazillion dollars worth of fingerprint technology and our eyes scanned with a $10 webcam.
It takes forever, the technology is slightly less reliable than a hamster-powered Austin Allegro and it's not exactly the 'Welcome to America' you need after eating ready-salted polystyrene in a British Airways thrombosis-special veal crate.
So we should welcome Americans the same way - but this time with BRITISH technology. The fingerprint scanner will cost even more than the American one, but it will be finished in walnut trimmed green leather, and the webcam will be stuck on with parcel tape.
After no more than thirty or forty minutes, happy Americans will step out of the dank bowels of Gatwick South to be welcomed by an upside-down Silver Jubilee surplus Union flag, a large banner drawn by local children reading 'WELCOM 2 BRITUN' and a burly minimum-wage guard stretching a latex glove.
As long as the data is open
... as long as they're transparent with what's outstanding against you name ... I'm sure that lots of people in the UK have hazy recollections of their twenties where to odd bit of council tax wasn't paid and CCJ's were levelled. As long as they allow the now responsible older people to go in and sort this out so they can go on holiday ... I guess that will be ok.
We do treat the Americans the same way, have you not seen that there's an hour and a half long queue for the yanks to come through at Heathrow? Admittedly we could make them queue carrying heavy weights, sit them in very uncomfortable chairs or something but the old adage "no sense no feeling" will kick in at that point.
You know what this is really for don't you?
It has nothing to do with illegals, criminals, NHS bill dodgers or any of that twaddle.
This is simply a blatant attempt to reign in all the video club ne'erdowells with outstanding fines at Blockbuster.
"No, sorry sir, we can't allow you to board the plane for your 5000 quid holiday in Bemuda - not until you pay back the 6.75 you owe on your video rental account."
And it's easy to see how this came about, Blockbuster being a transatlantic organisation.
Simply put I suspect US collaboration - with the Kingpins of video rental successfully lobbying Parliament and Congress for cross-border checks, to catch would-be DVD thieves fleeing either country. You know, catching that particularly malicious customer that never returns his copy of Alien 3, and then refuses to pay the very reasonable 70 quid for a replacement disk.
This'll pay 'em and no mistake.
UK should be barred from European Visa Info Sharing
""Airline liaison officers have stopped nearly 180,000 people from boarding planes in the last five years. That's the equivalent of two jumbo jets a week," boasts the government."
Indeed, one of my work mates (a French guy with a Phillipine wife) had his wife barred from the plane flying to the UK. He had to cancel his contract over it, even though his wife has the legal right of UK entry without a visa.
The EU should bar the UK from the European Visa Info Sharing system. The reason is simple, the UK illegally requires visas for spouses who have EU residence cards.
It's not legal, and the spouse could still enter the UK with their EU Residence card, and there would be no basis for refusing them entry. But by using this preapproval system, the person can never get to the UK border, because they can't get a flight or ferry ticket to be allowed to go.
This 'preapproval' system they use bars legal EU travelers to the UK.
The EU law is 2004/58/EC, Art 5, Sec2 "For the purposes of this Directive, possession of the valid residence card referred to in Article 10 shall exempt such family members from the visa requirement.".
Also explained by introduction item 8):
"With a view to facilitating the free movement of family members who are not nationals of a Member State, those who have already obtained a residence card should be exempted from the requirement to obtain an entry visa"
The UK didn't win any special concessions over this, and have to implement it, but they did their little racist tricks anyway. What they did was define 'Residence Card' as a 'card that confirms the holders right of UK Residence on the date of issue'.
""residence card" means a card issued to a person who is not an EEA national, in accordance with regulation 17, as proof of the holder's right of residence in the United Kingdom as at the date of issue;"
The effect is to block non UK issued EU Residence cards from being accepted. Blocking spouses of EU Citizens from entering the UK without a visa. At the same time, they've increased the documents required for that visa, adding financial requirements to it.
It's really shitty what they did, it doesn't even have a veneer of legality about it.
Chavs Stay Home!
This is great, well it is if you have ever been on Holiday recently and your departure lounge has been stuffed full of Chavs who you just know, dont work, live on benefits and crime, owe pot loads of cash in criminal fines and are probably wanted by the Plod for one or several crimes that funded their little Magaluf bender.
I reckon it would be chaos for a few months with Burberry clad ne're-do-wells scrapping with security or the Plod but the message would get out eventually and departure lounges would be once again nearly pleasant. In the mean time it would be great entertainment for the 3 hours before you fly check in period watching the latest chav family tantrum.
Of course it means that Chavs will just have to spend their crime proceeds in the UK but at leasts it better then costa del crime.
Imagine it, a government Policy that actually made sense, is dangerously close to common sense, introduces a little of the fairness back into society and supports the domestic tourist industry as well. Blackpool will be happy!