Here I am in the cabin of an XL airliner on the Costa del Sol, favourite holiday destination for thousands of British holiday makers. As you can see, the cabin of the aircraft is empty. It is empty because the aircraft has been grounded – the airline company has gone tits up.
Earlier I spoke to one family from Southend-on-Sea who told me that they had saved up their dole money for six months to come out here and now they can’t get home because the government lost their data and the giro hasn’t arrived in their bank account. One family I also spoke to, whose children were sitting on the floor crying, told me that “it was a bloody disgrace that Gordon Brown had failed to support the airline company” and that they would be voting BNP at the next election.
The airport terminal looks more like a United Nations refugee camp full to the gunnels with disconsolate and very angry Brits, some of whom have been binge drinking for hours on cheap lager and sangria. A group of Millwall FC supporters on a sponsored hooliganising weekend told me that they will riot in the streets of Benidorm if the British government doesn’t act immediately to get them back to ‘Blighty’.
Frankly, with a good percentage of these stranded tourists, the country would benefit considerably if the Spanish authorities could be persuaded to intern them, but that, for the present, seems unlikely. I have just heard through the earpiece that our American friends have five very large aircraft at the airport now under the command of the CIA and that the US Government is quite happy to fly stranded Brits to a secret destination in Europe for further questioning as the CIA has just discovered that Taleban are a bit thin on the ground in Benidorm. David Milliband, the Foreign Secretary, is considering the implications behind this offer and is expected to make a statement, live on television, shortly.
It seems that this crisis is on a scale not seen since Dunkirk, except this time it will be an armada of aircraft operated by airlines which have not been closed down by the banks instead of small ships. Fortunately I was not so daft as to actually holiday out here and will be on board one of the CIA aircraft fairly soon in what President Bush is now calling “Operation Brit Bailout Part III” in what is believed to be a reference to the occasions twice, in the last century, when the Yanks had to bail the Brits out during World War I and World War II.
This is Charon, reporting from Benidorm.