The story that started life as a way of getting readers to “look over there” when British Gas demonstrated that the Tories’ election promise to cap energy prices was little more than hot air - hiking electricity bills by 12.5% - is back with a vengeance today, as the Daily Mail screams “As EU border chaos hits holidaymakers, Britons warned … GET TO AIRPORT 3 HOURS EARLY!” The Northcliffe House bunker is clearly an irony-free zone.
But do go on. “Holidaymakers trying to return from Europe this weekend have been told to get to airports at least three hours early amid fears of mayhem at passport control … Airline bosses say thousands of UK travellers could miss flights as airports struggle to cope with new EU border rules on one of the busiest weekends of the year … There was chaos earlier this week as UK tourists were left queuing for up to four hours at passport checks in Spain and France”. And what are these new rules?
It seems “travellers from outside the Schengen free movement zone are subject to stricter vetting at passport control”. And? “Instead of a few seconds, the process can now take up to ten minutes. Airports have been accused of failing to prepare for the tougher checks by employing more staff to cope with the holiday season influx”.
So let’s get this one right. The Mail (and the Murdoch Sun, and the rest of the anti-EU press) has been banging on about having strict, tough or whatever border controls for years now. “Open borders” have been decreed Streng Verboten by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, with Mail readers regaled by headlines such as “The true cost of our open borders revealed” and “The true cost of the EU's free movement rules”.
We were told how Theresa May “put regaining control of Britain's borders at the centre of her plan for Brexit”. The Sun wanted us to know that “Brits say control of borders post-Brexit is more important than staying in the EU’s single market”. The paper got Jacob Rees Mogg to pour cold water on the idea of open borders continuing after Brexit: “If free movement and the ECJ continue to apply then we are still in the EU which I and others would oppose vigorously”. He has not been stuck in the passport queue at Palma.
But no-one at the Sun or Mail allowed the thought to enter that stricter border controls might be a two-way street. All they wanted was for Brits to hate the EU and everything about it. So while all those holidaymakers watch EU nationals who are travelling within the Schengen area pass through airports without all the delays, they know that it’s A Very Bad Thing. It’s foreign and we noble Britons are well out of it.
What the Europhobic press cannot, and will not, admit is that the delays now being experienced at airports across Europe are the logical consequence of what they have been shouting for. The inmates of the Baby Shard and Northcliffe House bunkers don’t have the spine to ‘fess up to those queueing that they are the press bosses’ cannon fodder, the Fourth Estate’s own useful idiots, that they have been had for mugs.
The rage at those EU passport queues shows that Irony is indeed dead.