A short reflection… My wife until very recently was using a skin cream she had bought here (Florida). Then she read somewhere on the Internet that it has been banned in the UK because it contains several carcinogens. When she told me this I declared “Well, you’re not going to use it any more!” at which she looked pityingly at me, as though she wouldn’t have reached that decision without my having told her, and said that she had already thrown the jar of cream into the rubbish. But why, I wondered, was that cream on sale here when it allegedly (and the allegation is strong enough for the Dept. of Health in Britain to ban it) gives you cancer? And that raises the whole knotty problem of protection of the citizen versus corporate freedom. After all, tobacco gives you cancer but while its use is to some extent regulated, it is still legally manufactured and sold. I have neither the time nor inclination to go into the whole question of pressure on governments, corporate bribery lobbying, and all of that. And I suspect you don’t have the inclination to read it!
However, there is one thing that does make me pause for thought. Fairly recently, i.e. a few months ago, I discovered that the European Union operates an airline blacklist. There are 92 airlines from various countries round the world that are forbidden to enter European airspace because their safety records and/or maintenance procedures are suspect. Flying coffins, in the vernacular. When I saw the list, to be honest, I didn’t recognize more than a few names, and most of them seem to be African or Asian airlines. And chances are I will never use them -- I certainly have no plans to book a ticket any time soon with North Korean Air Koryo for example. One of them, though, I recognized straight away, because I flew with them once, back in the 1980s. Maybe they weren’t so bad then!
But, why are the airlines on the list that are capable of intercontinental flight banned from Europe but permitted to land in North America? Is Europe over-cautious, or North America more carefree? Is there a North American blacklist in the works? Or is the lack of one a knock-on effect of deregulation? All those questions, but my tired old brain has no answers!