Discussion of article from the Mail's columnists and RightMinds contributors
By Safe_Timber_Man
Membership Days Posts
Cattle-like queues, broken computers and rude staff: After his own abysmal experience, MAX HASTINGS asks if there is anything more soul-destroying than airport hell
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... -hell.html

Bless. More "now it's happened to ME it's awful, Do it to those pesky foreigners and inconveniences them as much possible. Not ME, though."

Personally I can think of a people having to go through far worse than airport queues - but then again the Mail don't give a fuck about the people I'm thinking of.

And what the hell is this whopper?
Last weekend, I only travelled to Edinburgh, and not thank goodness to one of those Mediterranean resorts suffering the current ‘Lucifer’ heatwave and where EU mandarin Jean-Claude Juncker takes personal charge of passport controls for British visitors.

Gather the luggage, lock the house, check passports, tickets, tranquillisers and prayer book. Climb into the car as if travelling to Tyburn for one’s own hanging.

It is time to set forth for the summer hols, starting with flights that most of us regard as enthusiastically as becoming guests of the Spanish Inquisition.

The modern shaggy dog tale is the airport horror story, which lasts longer than Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, and every human being who has ever flown boasts a full repertoire.

I have been to lots of wars, and am not much afraid of dragons. Like everybody else over 25, however, I collapse into a figurative heap when I enter an airport.

This is not from fear of crashing or being blown up by terrorists, but about facing the normal routines of flight as experienced this month by so many British people.

Last weekend, I only travelled to Edinburgh, and not thank goodness to one of those Mediterranean resorts suffering the current ‘Lucifer’ heatwave and where EU mandarin Jean-Claude Juncker takes personal charge of passport controls for British visitors.

We thought we had been clever pre- booking the car park, but at the barrier, its computer was down. We summoned human aid. (Inevitably, my wife Penny, was suspicious — usually rightly — that I had bungled the booking.) Eventually we got in.

Are you hopeless at squeezing into spaces in multi-storeys? This time I got away without scraping the car, but only by inches.

Then came the unflagging humiliations of the security channel.

Most of us are instinctively law-abiding, and thus haunted by guilt when we do things wrong. Security regulations seem to change almost every day from airport to airport about shoes, belts, watches, removing laptops from bags, quantities of liquids. I panic about them all.

This time around, Penny forgot to put her toiletries in a plastic bag, so faced a serious going-over and lost some expensive face cleanser.

The searcher at Southampton airport, which, since we live in Berkshire, we use whenever we can rather than a London airport, was a decent and friendly bloke, which assuaged her grief.

Most of the mob at Heathrow, by contrast, do their training at a charm school run by the Borgias. They specialise in giving you the full treatment — or rather, holding you on ice for the full treatment — ten minutes before the gate closes.

After security, one runs the gauntlet of all those shops reeking of cheap scent or expensive whisky. Seeing how steep is their mark-up over the local Tesco — one needs to be Chinese to afford duty-free — so it is maybe 20 years since we bought anything beyond soap.

Waiting for our call, Penny and I discussed flying. We know the security checks are essential, because the terrorist threat is very real: with millions of people passing through airports, this is bound to be an industrial process.

We are lucky, because we are still reasonably hale and hearty, and not convoying children. But the old and those with young go through hell in queues and jostling through the teeming throngs, especially at Heathrow or Gatwick, and little is done to prioritise them.

When Mary Soames was in her late 80s, she once told me she was flying alone to America the next day and felt nervous. I got her flight number, rang BA and asked if someone could look after her.

‘Who is Mary Soames?’, asked the woman in the press office dubiously. Winston Churchill’s only surviving child, I said, and a wonderful person in her own right.They would not lift a finger, of course, though I bet they would have done it for Adele.

And so back to our experience at the weekend. The airline shows a ridiculous safety video, in which a kindly hostess in uniform picks up some child’s teddy and returns it.

In reality, BA stopped being nice to customers about the time its old and great chairman, Lord King, died.

Most airports both here and abroad invite passengers to perform route-marches to the departure gates that Mo Farah would think pacey for a training session, and he would not be lumbered with a suit-carrier and wheelie-case.

The travelators are often either broken or moving the wrong way, and if you are hurrying, there will be a stationary group in front, with luggage spread across the band.

Then there are delays.

In my own worst-ever, a BA flight to New York kept us in our seats in the plane on the stand for four hours while they fixed a technical glitch; then announced that the crew was out of time; put us in a Heathrow hotel overnight; then crammed us into another plane without even a hint of a subsequent email apology that would have taken 30 seconds to despatch, if they had cared sixpence-halfpenny about what they had put us through.

Have you ever got satisfaction from a complaint to an airline or airport? If so, you have done better than me.

Having arrived at Edinburgh, we were confronted with what we were told was a 90-minute queue at the Avis desk to collect our reserved car, which would make us hopelessly late for our date in the city.

We decided to get wheels from another firm with no queue.

Back at the airport later, I tried in vain for either a refund or an apology. ‘There are bound to be delays at peak times,’ said the stony-faced Avis manager.

I said: ‘I shall never hire as much a toothbrush from Avis again.’

It was water off a duck’s back, of course: hard words from cross old fools mean nothing to her kind or her company.

We saw scenes last weekend, especially in the Edinburgh terminal, that would have touched the flintiest hearts. Written on so many faces were bewilderment and apprehension.

Only the young take such treatment in their stride, because they are fit and adaptable; this is what they expect. But I saw a mother struggling in vain to persuade a check-in desk woman — the self-check-in machines were broken — to accept suitcases that were apparently the wrong shape, while two small children wailed and cavorted around her, and an elderly relative hung behind.
Hardly any of us complains about anything that happens once we are safely in the sky, and I include the odd screaming infant across the aisle.

Our weekend Flybe flights were punctual, the cabin service crews helpful. Nothing that befell us was unusual, or unreasonable, or reflected sub-standard behaviour by anybody except Avis.

We MERELY experienced what flying is like for everybody — much worse for millions heading to the Mediterranean, or anywhere further afield than Bognor Regis.

Especially for the elderly, travelling on ships is incomparably less stressful than planes, as I can testify after doing a lot of boating in recent years.

The same goes for trains, outside rush hours. We moan about them a lot, but Eurostar and the domestic lines are usually a far better option than flights.

Chronic congestion in August reflects a witches’ brew of school holidays, overcrowded roads, airline cost-cutting practices and anti-terrorist security.

Beyond these things, however, most airports and especially the London ones are deplorably managed, lack an ounce of human sympathy, and deserve to be punished for it.

For a start, they could be charged with causing unnecessary suffering to helpless animals. For us livestock, the only answer I can see is for us to forget about abroad altogether, and stick with dear old home.
By Bones McCoy
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
Do you people not know WHO I AM?
I'm the historian and columnist Max Hastings.

Oh, in that case sir, would you mind stepping into inspection room B.
That's B for Bellend, or as you'll soon find - Bloody Sore Arse.
By Safe_Timber_Man
Membership Days Posts
One of the more bizarre Daily Mail bugbears rears its head again:

(and he repeats this demonstrable lie:)
"Dame Helen has been an impassioned populariser who — for instance — replaced traditional Easter Egg Hunts at Trust properties with ‘Cadbury Egg Hunts’.

This wording is, of course, designed to appease those who deplore regarding Easter as a Christian festival because it might offend other religions."

MAX HASTINGS: After 40 years my wife and I have quit the National Trust because it is pursuing an obsessively politically correct social agenda
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/artic ... Trust.html
The National Trust is making headlines again.

We say ‘again’ with a certain weariness, because in recent years an organisation that was once so boringly virtuous that it could have worn a halo nowadays gets into as much trouble as a Bake Off judge in Nazi fancy-dress.

The cause of the latest row is an online survey of its 65,000 volunteers, which invites them to describe their own ‘gender identity’ and ‘sexual orientation’, offering multiple choices of transgender, gay, bisexual, lesbian, straight or prefer- not-to-say.

Some of the public-spirited people who give their time to support the work of the National Trust are dismayed — even disgusted — that they should be asked such an insanely irrelevant question.

A spokesman for the organisation says its purpose is to ‘make the Trust a more relevant and accessible place to volunteer’, because some gender groups are under-represented.

The survey, the spokesman emphasises, is entirely voluntary. Its findings will be collated without names attached.
It is, nonetheless, hard for some of us not to gape.

The Trust exists to preserve great buildings, landscapes and estates for the benefit of future generations. For more than a century it has fulfilled this role with wonderful success.


However, under its outgoing chief executive, former civil servant Dame Helen Ghosh, the mood music from the NT has changed dramatically.

Its traditional priorities of emphasising beauty and heritage have been overtaken by a preoccupation with social engineering and, explicitly, ‘accessibility’.

This is a grisly word, but one much in favour with those who insist that rap music is in no way inferior to Beethoven.

At the coalface it seems to mean that if insufficient people, especially those from minorities, like an old place the way it is, steps must be taken to rebrand, refurbish, remodel, repaint and recycle it in a form that might find favour with new readers, viewers, and visitors.

Dame Helen has been an impassioned populariser who — for instance — replaced traditional Easter Egg Hunts at Trust properties with ‘Cadbury Egg Hunts’.

This wording is, of course, designed to appease those who deplore regarding Easter as a Christian festival because it might offend other religions.

Gender seems a big issue on Dame Helen’s agenda. At the NT’s Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk, volunteers were recently instructed to wear Gay Pride badges. Those who refused were reported to have been relegated to back-office chores.

There have also been serial rows about the Trust’s management of some properties where it has wilfully breached conditions imposed by former owners surrendering their ancestral estates to its care.
My wife and I this year cancelled our membership, after 40-odd years, not in anger, but because we felt unwilling to continue giving money to an organisation that wishes to use it to pursue zealously an obsessively politically correct social agenda, rather than to protect its great historic properties.

If we had not taken that step already, we should have done so this week, because the new NT’s volunteers’ survey seems both insulting and silly.

It invites speculation that when Dame Helen reads the findings, she will wag a wise finger and say: ‘Ah, I see that we need a lesbian recruitment drive at Petworth!’. Or call a meeting to discuss how to find more transgender volunteers for Hidcote.

The only possible defence of this nonsense is to acknowledge that a host of other institutions are going the Ghosh way, in pursuing an obsession with gender issues.

Scarcely a day goes by without some university debate about ‘sexual identity challenges’.

A school in Lewes, East Sussex, has made news by banning girls from wearing skirts, and one in Wales spent tens of thousands on gender-neutral loos more suited to a Las Vegas nightclub.

Equalities Minister Justine Greening wants the law changed to make it effortless for people to change the gender on their birth certificate.

Among under-30s, there is far fiercer debate about the case for those gender-neutral toilets than about funding the NHS, national security, countering Muslim extremism or reducing the terrifying national debt.


Some of us find this dismaying because it reflects a bizarre sense of priorities.

It is entirely welcome that the centuries-old persecution of homosexuals has been brought to an end — in the Twenties one of my own great-uncles was imprisoned for being gay; equality of the sexes, acceptance of sexual preferences, is taken for granted everywhere except in a few bastions of conservatism.

But some of us old prigs ask: though mankind always has and always will talk obsessively about sex, do we need to bang on so much about individuals’ sexuality?

Now that the gay rights battle has been fought and rightly won, how many people really want to define themselves by a sexual preference, rather than by what sort of human being they are?

I yearn to open a magazine or switch on TV without hearing a hymn of praise to the joys of being gay. I do not doubt that those joys are very great, but they seem no more interesting than for me to eulogise how much I like women.

And so to transgender — yet another of the NT’s multiple choices for its volunteers.

There seems no possible objection to adults making such a choice if they genuinely feel they have been born in the wrong body.

But it seems insane to allow, never mind encourage, the very young to take the huge step of changing gender. As adolescents we are all, by definition, hopelessly muddled about all sorts of stuff.

Many teenagers go through phases of favouring one form of sexuality, only to change their minds a year or two later. This is normal.

What does not seem normal is for the medical profession to acquiesce in very young people changing their gender, before they are old enough to vote.

Yet there is immense political and social pressure to support such a policy, to encourage the young to consider a gender change much as they might a new hairstyle.

The Gender Identity Clinic at the Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust in London saw just 100 teenagers when it opened in 2009, but last year interviewed more than 2,000.

The Lewes school speaks of supporting the ‘small but steadily increasing number of transgender pupils’ as if it was inviting applause for raising its quota of Oxbridge entrants.

It was once observed of the pundit Malcolm Muggeridge that he embraced Lord Longford’s Seventies campaign for Christian virtue only when he became too old to continue a lifelong career of adultery.

Likewise, it is risky for anyone over a certain age to express an opinion related to sex, because it is apparent to our children and grandchildren that we are past being stakeholders in this matter.


So I plead guilty to belonging to a generation that regards it as common sense to suggest that the human race gets along better by sticking to going to bed with each other, perhaps even having an occasional shot at reproduction, rather than to rabbit on about the merits of multiple sexual choices.

Next March, Dame Helen is to become Master of Balliol College, Oxford. It seems unclear how her stormy reign at the Trust qualifies her for this new role, but presumably she plans to make the poor place more ‘accessible’.

Balliol’s hapless students may escape scrutiny of exam results by their new custodian. But in the current obsessional mood, they seem likely to face some searching interrogations about their sex lives.
By Daley Mayle
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
Phone rings:

'Hello, Max speaking.'

'I want a 1000 cunting word on how much you hate the cunts at the National Cunting Trust.'

'Paul... I... I might have a problem with that as I've been a member of the National Trust for forty years.'

'Listen cunt, cunting resign.'

'Usual fee Paul?'


Call ends
By mr angry manchester
Membership Days Posts
You do get asked the question on forms here and there. I just tick the appropriate box and don't give it any thought at all. To me its just like the question about previous claims or convictions , yes/no on a motor insurance form. You just tick it as appropriate and don't get worked up about it.
By Andy McDandy
Membership Days Membership Days Posts
Because the NT is nice. Decent. Respectable. It's for People Like Us. People who want to coo around a nice decent stately home. Not like That Lot, who are insisting on being allowed access to Our Things.
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