Official Complaint

In Standpoint Dalrymple comments on Britain’s infamous immigration officials.
Certainly in my experience, now considerable, of arrival in this country, I have seen much more rudeness by immigration officials than by passengers. They often speak to foreigners with insolence and treat them as if conferring upon them a privilege in their personal gift, or as if (against their better judgment) they were granting prisoners release on parole. One might have supposed that all this unpleasantness at least served the purpose of preventing illegal immigration; but as we can see from the results, this is hardly the case. The rudeness is only a crude manifestation of petty bureaucratic power. Incidentally, no one intervenes to protest, because he knows that he will only make trouble for himself. 
What this notice conveys to the alert Briton is that officialdom is now not so much an endangered and therefore specially protected species in Britain as a powerful caste that stands in almost feudal relationship to the serfs below (without, however, the corresponding noblesse oblige).
(h/t Dave L.)

4 thoughts on “Official Complaint

  1. Terry Wall

    I have had personal experience which is more about the fact that due to faults in the official emigration, I ended up having to travel 14000 km back to my home country to carry out a scan of finger prints and photo. This could have been done in the UK and would have saved wasting many tonnes of carbon being added to Global Warming. Five and a half months later, I was granted visa to re-enter the UK. The fact that I was a New Zealander and son of a man who fought with the UK to free itself from Nazi oppression seemed to downgrade my entry into the UK to create a new business. If I had claimed political asylum I would have saved myself nearly $10000 and cost the British taxpayer the cost of providing me with a home and income. The arrogance of the Embassy in NZ was embarrassing for all who claim to be English. Blatant discrimination and incompetence was the profound impression. Thank god I am now out of the UK and back down under.

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  2. Andrew S

    I was recently reading a short story by the American-Bengali writer Jhumpa Lahiri; the story was very well written in my opinion but at one point in the narrative there’s a scene where someone arriving at Heathrow Airport is greeted in a friendly way by an immigration official. I couldn’t help smiling slightly when reading this because it was simply not something that would ever happen in my experience. The last time I passed through passport control at a London airport the person checking my passport continued carrying on a conversation with a nearby colleague for the entire duration of my interaction with them in the rudest possible way and that’s not an unusual experience.

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  3. Jaxon

    “Thank god I am now out of the UK and back down under.”

    A very severe criticism indeed…

    to quote TD

    “For example, on his arrival in Saint Petersburg, border guards and customs staff subjected him to a minute and pointless examination the like of which he had not remotely experienced anywhere else, though he was a well-traveled man. “Each of these men discharges his duty with a pedantry, a rigour, an air of importance uniquely designed to give prominence to the most obscure employment,” he noted. “He does not permit himself to say so, but you can see him thinking approximately this: ‘Make way for me, I am one of the members of the great machine of the State.'” Unlike less reflective observers, Custine asked why the Russian officials should have behaved with such a manner, keenly aware that men inhabit a mental and not just a physical world and that their conduct is determined by their thoughts about the world as they have experienced it. He surmised that these border officials had been deprived of all true discretion and were deeply fearful themselves of the power to which they were subordinate. Custine described them as “automata inconvenienced with a soul”: a description true, perhaps, of all bureaucrats fearful for their jobs but truest of all where power is both arbitrary and completely centralized, as it was in Russia. Their conduct was the revenge of men constrained to behave like machines: a revenge not upon the author of their servitude, of course, for that was impossible at the time, but upon those who fell within their extremely limited power.”

    Sometimes it seems certain people were put on the Earth to find an opportunity to say “I’m not being funny!”

    Maybe I ought to carry around a piece of paper witht the words “Quite, how bloody unfunny you are!”

    But perhaps that’s just petty and… well, unfunny.

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