Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Oh, That Bias

The Jeremy Vile Vine Show on R2 continues to carry daily worship from the central temples of Idiotaria. Today's disgrace was an item asking 'is worth travelling to America' ? And what brought this on ? Simple, a bloke travelling to America had a really bad time there (You remember how after the Caroline Dickinson case the Beeb kept asking whether it was worth going to France ) ? And what was this bad time ? He was arrested and deported after he was found to be subject to an Interpol warrant issued by the government of Quatar. In other words he was refused entry becuase he was, at least on paper, a fugitive. It's bad enough that the L3 have managed to destroy Britain's immigration system, but now they're trying to claim America is a Nazi state because they won't join us in the sewer.

Needless to say, the complainant hit all the L3 red buttons: he was 'treated inhumanly', his wife was traumatised, he was 'degraded' and subject to 'verbal abuse'. And, indeed, there are grounds for complaint in his treatment. He alleges he was held for forty-eight hours without food or water, hand and ankle-cuffed for the whole time. Yet even this is not as straight-forward as it appears, the lovely Jeremy kept repeating that the complainant was only suspected of fraud - sort of like Harold Shipman then, who was initially investigated for forging wills. Plenty of major felons have been initially busted for minor offences, only later being identified as the serious offenders they are - take the Yorkshire Ripper, initially arrested for picking up a prostitute. In a nation at war, there is a natural tendancy to take seriously any sign of suspicious behaviour amongst would-be entrants. Yet, not once was it suggested that any of the blame may lie with the people who issued this warrant in the first place.

Nope - to JV this case suggested that people should give up on America. Never mind that four million Britons travel there each year, one case like this was one too many. There are only two million Muslims in Britain yet twice as many Britons have blown themselves up in an Israeli bar as were detained in this latest incident, but I'll bet JV doesn't think there's any conclusions to be drawn from events in Paddy's Bar. Certainly, given that even Captain Hook got British citizenship, we can't hardly complain that British passport holders get a hard time from US immigration.

The thing is, of course, that there really are grounds for complaint here. Being held for 48 hours without food or water, having abuse screamed at them and the like is no way to treat the citizens of a (nominal) Ally. The Foreign Office should have called in the US ambassador, the Brit-hating thugs manning that facility should be fired. This isn't unreasonable, but to try and spin it into some kind of broadcast denuciation of an entire nation is not just insane. Quite simply, it's bigotry in its purest form.

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