I blame the unions.
<waits for the boos to die down> and also the politicians.
Okay. Ready? Two true stories.
Heathrow Terminal 5- I landed, my plane was late and so I missed my connecting flight with the same airline. The airline knew that I was going to be late before the original flight had departed (it was a 2 hour delay on a 1.5hr flight), knew what my onward journey was going to be (with the same airline), knew exactly when I arrived... and still we got directed to the unstaffed 'customer services' desk. An hour later in that queue (a queue formed entirely from the subset of passengers on my flight who had onward journeys) I missed my next connecting flight. A while later I reached the front of the queue and had a woman type hand-type things from my ticket and passport into a computer before issuing me with a ticket for the next-but-one connecting flight as I'd likely miss the next one.
While we were waiting for someone to figure out which connecting flight was best I asked why this process hadn't been automated (i.e. flight is flagged up as being late, computer rebooks passengers on the next available flight in order of class then group-bookings then alphabetically. So you turn up, get told 'your flight's late, go over there' and with a swipe of your passport you're presented with a new ticket and a voucher for a free coffee). I was told that in order to get construction of the terminal approved they had to create x number of jobs. And this was one of them- literally a job for the sake of providing a job rather than being efficient or providing a better customer service.
So this is moral 1. Things are NEVER designed to be as efficient as possible, and it's not always the rich getting the kickbacks- sometimes it's the regular guy-on-the-street who wins at the expense of thousands of other people per day.
On another trip I was returning from Amsterdam by sea (I fix and maintain robots on boats, that boat was heading back to the city hosting my next job so I arranged to stay in a spare cabin rather than flying back). I arrived at Aberdeen harbour (yes, the one on the TV- it's actually one of the boats that's been featured on it), disembarked from this boat from Amsterdam carrying a pair of hefty offshore bags and a rucksack, jumped into the back of a waiting blacked-out BMW X5 and drove off.
Now in this case the bags contained clothes and spare parts rather than anything from Amsterdam- rather a wasted trip, really- but there was no way the port authorities knew that. They could have been filled with coke for all they knew. And no-one mentioned that I was entering the country on a different passport to the one that I'd left on.
Britain is one of the most poorly guarded countries I've been to, possessors of one of the worst sets of Border Control arrangements in history and tends to attract the most unhelpful staff outside of the TSA.
AC because I'd rather it didn't get any more difficult for me to do my job...