I'm flying Ryanair Girona-Bristol tomorrow to get a bit of rain, and like everyone entering to the UK I have in mind the possible impact of strike action on the UK Border Agency. This time I suspect it will be non-white workers of the world who will suffer most, but I'm always been slightly wary of this service following a number of problems with them some years ago.
Having made the error of electing to be born in Belfast, I later compounded it by playing terrible gigs at British bases down the Rhine at a time when they were under more serious attack from the IRA. Whichever branch of the UK government it was that dealt with such things came to the wrong conclusion. And so, flying in every Christmas, on the first two occasions I was hauled out of the line by a scrawny old git who took me into a room and strip-searched me. The third time around I thought I'd struck lucky: a rather attractive girl called me over, took me into the room, suggested I remove my clothes and get comfortable, and then left ... and in came the scrawny old git.
The one airport where I've never had the slightest problem with border security is Girona. The reason is straightforward enough: Ryanair, effectively the sole operator, has made it clear that any inconvenience to it or its passengers will result in the dole for everyone except the Guardia Civil, who may be exiled to Guipúzcoa. The communiqué issued for the June 15 strike is a delicious example of the O'Leary negotiating style:
Ryanair calls on the agitators from [whichever union was trying to muscle in on the airport, which is de facto deunionised] to stop bothering Girona airport staff and to get in their buses and leave. Ryanair ... has asked the Guardia Civil to guarantee that airport handling staff can get to their jobs free from the harassment and intimidation caused by this clowns union, none of whom works at Girona Airport.
My favourite breach at Girona was a couple of years ago, with myself and the girlfriend determined to take a leg of serrano and a ham stand in hand luggage to fog-bound relatives. My scanner saw the ham, cracked up, and let me through, but the GF went through the other aisle with the stand, and on her unprepared scanner's screen appeared something resembling a really vicious medieval garotte, equipped with a massive screw and spike capable of wreaking havoc on flesh and fuselage. He started jumping up and down, but protest was registered, and over came the Guardia Civil to adjudicate. "No problem," he said, "Muslim fanatics don't eat ham."
If anyone else is on the flight and fancies a free stroll and a beer, we're planning to cheat the taxi and shuttle mafia by walking from the airport over to Keynsham and then take the train to Bath.
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