Supposed Scandal of Weak Border Checks for the UK: No Harm Done

I’ve allowed blogging to go slow again, now I’ve settled into the second semester at university, I hope to pick things up again.  For now a news item in the conservative UK newspaper, The Telegraph,  ‘500,000 passengers allowed to enter Britain on Eurostar without border checks’.  Eurostar is the Channel Tunnel rail service.

Key quotes

Checks against the Home Office Warnings Index were not carried out on about 500,000 European Economic Area (EEA) nationals travelling to the UK on Eurostar services from France, Mrs May admitted.

Mrs May also said students from low risk countries had been allowed to enter Britain even when they did not have visa clearance.

biometric chip reading facility had been deactivated on 14,812 occasions at a number of ports between January and June 2011.

Secure ID checks were also suspended a total of 482 times between June 2010 and November 2011, including 463 times at Heathrow alone, and most of these were between one and four hours.

 

And what harm was done?  There are issues here about public agencies carrying out government policy and discrimination between different countries, which should not be ignored.  However, the main thrust of the story is that it is somehow very dangerous not to have intrusive and time consuming checks of everyone entering the UK, even from France, a peaceful friendly country, with which we have an effective passport union through common membership of the European Union, which is based on principles of the free movement of goods, services and labour.  That is people are supposedly able to move freely through the European Union to further their economic opportunities.  Clearly border checks do not enhance such a process.  And where is the harm to the UK in the ‘failure’ of border checks?

The scandal is not the failure of checks, but the whole control freak security state anti-foreigner anti-free movement mentality of those border checks.  They have been shown to be unnecessary and in fact are counter productive, though that is an argument for another day.

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