The amount of taxpayer money soaked up by the post 9/11 pretence at airport security must run into the hundreds of millions. How many shoe searches? How many sheep yard herds of frustrated travellers shuffling toward hypersensitive metal detectors? How many confiscated nail files? All for our own good of course.

All just slivers of comfort and convenience willingly sacrificed in the noble cause of fighting terror and making the skies safe for the innocent traveller. What piffle.

If one thing is proven beyond doubt by the bikie brawl at Sydney airport it is that the gestures of the past decade toward airport security are nothing more than a highly expensive, inconvenient public relations posture. Never mind the strictest security strictures imaginable, all you had to do to kill on the check-in concourse, was reef a lump of metal out of the ground and swing it with a will.

Proof that in this instance governments have acted not because through acting they could make us safer, but because they needed to be seen simply to act.