Returning from his holidays, the Sun on Sunday’s floor-crossing bigot Tony Parsons has revealed today that he has been saving up his litany of stupid, to expend it in one hate-filled, ill-informed, and ultimately pointless rant. His target, as so often, is the hated EU, who have incurred The Great Man’s displeasure by enforcing the tough border controls that he and his fellow Murdoch goons have been demanding for years.
“Europe needs to stop treating British holidaymakers like cattle if they actually want tourists to visit” is the headline, which is mild in comparison with the unhinged sub-heading “This week's carnage involving thousands of Brits only spells the start of longer and more mundane airport queuing”. Carnage? Did someone get killed?
Still, Parsons at least sets the scene relatively sensibly, if hyperbolically: “When British families flew to Europe for their summer holidays this week, thousands were greeted at their destination by airport queues longer than their flights … From Palma to Paris, Malaga to Barcelona, Amsterdam to Lisbon, eagerly anticipated trips were made miserable by pathetically understaffed passport controls”. Yeah, pathetic, them foreigners, eh?
Then he starts talking well, but lying badly: “The worst of the lot were the four-hour queues at Palma airport in Majorca - an island that would still be a semi-comatose fishing village if it weren’t for several generations of sun-loving, big-spending Brits”.
Where do we start? Palma de Mallorca had been a port city well before tourism hit the island. And Parsons forgets all the real sun-loving, big spending visitors - the Germans. And the Scandinavians. And the French. And those from the Benelux countries. His “fishing village” is hundreds of miles out, in any case - that distinction goes best to Benidorm, which is on the Spanish mainland. Still, details, eh?
If only the rotten foreigners had said sorry, Tone would be happy, or so he claims: “Tourists kept waiting for hours to clear passport control in Palma tell of being finally handed back their British passport without a word of apology or welcome”. When did the UK Border staff ever apologise for the never-ending queues for those returning to Britain?
Still, more Phil Space copy to write: “The alleged reason for so many holidaymakers starting their holiday in passport purgatory is that beefed-up security measures are now in place across the Schengen zone”. We’re not in the Schengen Zone.
Then it’s back to the blame game. “But these extra security checks were first proposed in December 2015 … and they have actually been in place since April … Our European neighbours have known for ages that these increased security checks would be operational during the peak holiday period … Why was nothing done to prepare for them? Why are there so few border officials at European airports?”
Let’s take this nice and slowly. The queues are worse now because there are more people passing through the airports. There could be more border officials - but they take time, and money, to train. What was done to prepare is assumed by Parsons. He doesn’t know.
But he does know that, despite all the clamour for more secure borders, Brits shouldn’t be subject to the tougher controls: “this is not security worthy of the name … This is not security that makes anyone safer … These added checks are merely a meaningless parody of security … The draconian security vetting currently being inflicted on innocent British holidaymakers will not save one life”. How do we know they’re all innocent?
The whole point of security checks is to ensure they are all innocent. Or did Parsons manage to miss that the UK Border Agency doesn’t do controls on the way out to EU destinations? The checking of ID has been pushed onto gate staff.
Never mind, let’s blame some brown and black people: “And the bitter irony is that as British tourists are tormented by witless EU bureaucracy, thousands of undocumented illegal migrants are ushered into the continent without any checks every day of the year, ferried in by the navies and charity boats that now act as a minicab service for the people smugglers … So if you fancy a fast track into Europe, don’t set out from Gatwick — leave from the coast of Libya in a rubber dinghy”. Ri-i-i-i-ght.
So Tony Parsons is suggesting it would be preferable for tourists to risk their lives in a dodgy inflatable boat, not knowing whether they will see land again, and then when they are fished out of the water, taken to a transit camp and left for God Only Knows how long to be processed. Yeah, that’ll sell well at the local travel shop. Not.
Anyhow, where does Tone suggest we all go on our hols? You’ll love this. “I am just back from Japan, which is fast becoming one of the hottest destinations in the world … More than 24 million tourists entered Japan last year … The queues to enter Japan get longer every year … most importantly of all, when you enter that beautiful, friendly country, you are handed back your passport with a smile”.
Get there by EasyJet from Liverpool, can you? No, thought not.
Let me put Parsons straight on his numbers. The EU member states of France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria and Greece all do better on visitor numbers than Japan, and all are more likely to be within the average Brit’s range on cost and convenience. Spain last year topped 75 million tourist visits. If Japan had to cope with those sorts of numbers, it wouldn’t matter how much they smiled, the queuing would be horrendous.
Of course, he could visit the one EU member state I didn’t mention that does better than Japan on tourists - the UK. Yes, if he thinks mainland Europe is so bad, why doesn’t he extol the virtues of his own country? After all, that’s what any good patriotic Sun columnist should be doing. Or is he too much of a snob to mix it with the lower orders?
That’s the problem for Tony Parsons and the rest of the overpaid Sun pundits - they just can’t relate to ordinary Brits, no matter how hard they try to pretend they can.