Sunday 18 February 2018

Nicolas Lezard: No laughing please ... cheekiness and backchat have no place in the barely demilitarised zone of an airport

SO it has been confirmed: airports are where you not only have to make sure your nail scissors are safely packed away, but your senses of humour and perspective, too. David Jones, 67, made a comment to a Gatwick security official which essentially questioned the practice of allowing Muslim women with their faces covered to proceed unexamined.

Hauled over for an hour's stand-off during which he was asked to apologise to a female Muslim security officer who had been "deeply distressed" by his remarks, he refused to do so on the grounds that he had not insulted anyone, and had nothing to apologise for. Jones's case has made the news because he is the creator of Fireman Sam; those of us who have not originated a charming stop-motion children's series would not have been given a platform for our grievance.

Well, we all know we should keep our mouths shut near the metal detectors these days; and even refrain from making angry comments when a provincial airport is closed by snow, as Paul Chambers has famously learned to his cost with his tweet about blowing one up (and ours: I wonder how much the taxpayer has had to fork out for his mind-bogglingly stupid trial, conviction, and appeal).

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