17th April 2008, Flying from Tallinn to Riga
A short flight down to Riga. The Baltic States are now in the Schengen zone so no need to go through immigration, unlike the ridiculous situation when entering the UK, whose government continues to emphasise its semi-detached relationship with the rest of Europe.
I read in the in-flight magazine an article by Bertolt Flick, the CEO of Air Baltic, that there is some prospect that the EU might get rid of the ban on liquids in hand baggage. He writes that he has serious doubts that they ever contributed to safety. So he should. As anyone with a moderate knowledge of chemistry will know, this policy is devoid of any basis in evidence (surely if it was so easy to make explosives from household liquids we would be seeing bombs going off in European capitals every week?). We must thank the European Parliament, whose members have been asking some quite penetrating questions (even if the European Commission has failed to answer them, citing secrecy – the argument of the truly desperate). The Parliament is pushing through long-awaited legislative measures to bring some basic common sense to the often bizarre array of security measures that simply serve to make air travel in Europe even more awful than it would otherwise be. However, I am not holding my breath. This will involve some governments admitting that they got it seriously wrong and, given that some still believe there are WMD in Iraq (and also presumably fairies at the bottom of their gardens), this may take some time.