The war on toiletries

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s chief executive, issued an ultimatum to the government yesterday to restore “normal” security procedures at Britain’s airports within a week or face legal action.At a press conference where he sat in front of a union flag with the words Keep Britain flying and beside a Winston Churchill lookalike, Mr O’Leary said he had asked the transport secretary, Douglas Alexander, to restore the pre-August 10 security measures, which include fewer body searches and fewer restrictions on carry-on bags.

If things did not return to normal by Thursday, Mr O’Leary said he would ask for an unspecified amount in compensation from the government, which he said airlines were entitled to under the Transport Act. The government says the measures were taken under the Aviation Security Act and there are no grounds for compensation.

Mr O’Leary also offered his views on the “war on terror”. “The way to defeat terrorism is, one, to arrest the bloody terrorists, and, two, keep the system working normally,” he said.

By keeping in place the emergency measures Mr O’Leary said Britain had handed the terrorists a victory. “They must be rolling around the caves in Pakistan laughing,” he said.

He said the measures were “completely insane and ineffective” and the product of “a committee of Keystone cops”.

Come, come, Michael. That’s a bit hard on the Keystone boys.