The way ahead
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taken the title of this essay from that of a film I recently saw on the Talking
Pictures TV channel. Made in 1944, it aimed to boost civilian morale at a time
when civilians needed to be convinced that 'one final push' would take us to
victory – which, of course, it did.
apart from drawing the obvious parallel between our situation in 1944, and the
one we are in now, I shan’t dwell on the film, as my aim is to consider where
we are in regard to holidaying abroad later this year.
far as foreign holidays are concerned, we are in a tangled and complicated
place, with talk of 'vaccine passports', 'travel corridors' and destinations
designated red, amber, or green. Also, any travel – which can’t happen anyway
until after 17 May – carries a threat of mandatory, and expensive, quarantine
and health tests on one’s return.
tourism industry, in the UK and worldwide, is in dire straits. A few days ago
it was revealed that airlines have already lost some $48 billion dollars. Some
of those airlines are screaming blue murder at a proposal by Heathrow to
increase its fees, which, they claim, they would have to pass on to their
the record, Heathrow already charges the highest landing fees of any airport in
at Heathrow and other UK ports of entry, the few arriving passengers have to
queue for hours to get through immigration formalities.
should not be surprised that the Border Force is buckling under the strain, as
it has failed to perform effectively ever since its creation in 2012 from the
ruins of the equally inept Border Agency. I have no idea how it can be
improved, as it is under no real pressure to do so.
from the travelling public which funds the Agency through its taxes, and in
particular the Government’s punitive airport departure taxes, do not, of
course, count as pressure.)
taking the staff out of uniforms and putting them back into civilian clothes
might help. Or making them refund part of our Departure tax if they take too
long letting us in – an idea I floated here some time ago.
for 'vaccine passports', various governments, the World Health Organisation,
and other interested bodies, are trying to come up with a solution acceptable
to all. The EU is making much of its progress towards a 'Green Pass' – whatever
that might be.
that has a photograph of its bearer, cannot be forged, and can be scanned
electronically to confirm said bearer’s state of health is one suggestion.
means that the little piece of paper you got from the vaccination centre (and
which you are keeping safely in the wallet with your Bus Pass) won’t do. An 'app'
on a smartphone seems to be the preferred solution, if current newspaper
stories are to be believed. Though I’m not versed in the technicalities, I
wonder if it will suffice, as the person who presents the phone to an
immigration officer may not be the person whose details are in it. Not to
mention the fact that many people don’t own such devices.
doubt a solution will be found. The politicians say this will happen in two or
three months. I prefer 'eventually', as it is less likely to result in
disappointment. One bright spot is that members of the European Parliament
believe that fully vaccinated travellers (that’s us, folks!) should not be
required to undergo quarantine, self-isolation or testing.
a pity MEPs are not always as sensible in their deliberations and decisions.
things stand, are we to be confined to 'green' destinations only, reached
through 'travel corridors'? If so, what happens if the Government back home
decides to downgrade a country’s status to 'amber' or 'red' when we are in the
middle of our holiday?
enterprising insurance companies add a section to their travel policies, to the
effect that, if such a situation occurs, the cost of our unexpected quarantine
would be covered? Are they even considering it? I wish they would tell us.
in all, the prospects for international travel are in quite a muddle, even as
the domestic situation appears to be speedily improving. Never mind: "It
will all come right in the end and, if it is not yet right, then it is not yet
that quote is from a film – 'The Most Exotic Marigold Hotel' – but you knew
that. However, it brings me back to the film I mentioned at the start.
Way Ahead' began life as a 40-minute training film made in 1943 for the Army
Kinematograph Service, but a major in the Army Film Unit realised its
potential, and persuaded its director and script writers that a longer version for
public consumption would be a winner.
perceptive officer was David Niven. The director was Carol Reed and the script
writers were Eric Ambler and Peter Ustinov. To comply with army regulations, so
they could work together during the making of the film, Private Ustinov was
appointed Niven’s batman. Both appeared in the film, of course.
did Trevor Howard. It was his first film role, but so brief that his name doesn’t
appear in the credits.
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