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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Six ways the UK has changed
After 11 September, people agreed life would never be the same again. But how has ordinary everyday life in the UK really changed?

Online surveillance

Governments, including Westminster and the EU, are more prepared to seek the right to monitor e-mails and web browsing; the public seems prepared to accept it, although there was a backlash against a plan to give even minor public bodies, such as Royal Mail, the right to look at people's e-mails.

E-mail surveillance graphic
Who's looking at your e-mails?
Internet service providers and telephone companies, are now required by law to retain their customers' records. This includes e-mails sent, websites visited, phone calls made and received, and records of where and when mobile phones were used. Authorities investigating matters to do with national security can have access to these records; it is unclear at the moment how much access authorities looking into less serious crimes can have.

Race relations

Race relations were already on the agenda before 11 September - weeks earlier there had been riots in Burnley, Oldham and Bradford.

Since then, though, there has been a massive increase in awareness of Islam among the general public, although many Muslims believe their religion has been unfairly represented as being extremist.

Most Asian groups believe race relations have worsened, and that there has been an increase in attacks on Muslims. Some Muslims believe the security services are targeting them unfairly.


The UK economy had already hit the long grass by September 2001. That makes it hard to isolate the impact of the terrorist attacks, although we are a long way from the crisis many had predicted in the immediate aftermath.

Trader with head in hands
Times have been hard in the financial world
It's been a case of mixed fortunes over the past 12 months, with household spending 3.9% up on the previous year and property prices continuing to surge.

Globally the effects have been on specific markets, such as aviation and tourism. The UK suffered a 9% fall in foreign visitors last year and the stock market fell 21% over the last 12 months. The UK's flag carrier, British Airways, came close to "meltdown" after the attacks, according to its chief executive Rod Eddington.


While Britain has weathered terrorist attacks for a generation, this marked a step-change in paranoia levels, especially for city dwellers.

Talk of dirty bombs, chemical, biological and nuclear strikes, coupled with suicide tactics, have raised fears that any future attack could kill many thousands. And the UK's close links with the US identify us as an obvious target.

Even the sight of a low-flying aeroplane in a built up area is enough to set off some peoples' alarm bells.

Around the 11 September anniversary, police have asked the British public to be "alert but not alarmed".

Airport security

To anyone who has been though a departure gate in the past 12 months, the effects are only too real. Rigorous security has led to lengthy queues which, in turn, has brought forward check-in deadlines for some operators.

Baggage x-ray operator
Security checks are tougher
Even the most seemingly innocuous accessories - nail clippers, knitting needles, tweezers - are now banned from hand luggage. A BBC survey last month found 15,000 banned items were being confiscated every day from passengers at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick airports.

Frisking of passengers is more common, and some are now asked to remove their shoes, while, on board, metal cutlery has been replaced by plastic.

Everything else

Hundreds of incidents have been blamed on 11 September, although many may well have happened anyway - something known as "terrorgoating".

Cheese shelf at supermarket
Sensitive: The cheese market
There were scores of redundancies in the airline and tourism industry. But the impact was claimed much more widely than that.

Other things blamed include a downturn in the fortunes of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?, as advertisers withdrew because of a lack of "feelgood" factor; a fall in CD sales; a drop in the amount of champagne and other luxury goods sold; even a rise in prices of pony rides at a stable in the west of Ireland.

Private Eye has chronicled many instances of changes that 11 September has supposedly created, including people thinking fashion is "too frivolous", people turning back to rock 'n' roll, increased consumption of lager and the following press release statement: "Since 11 September, sensitivity has been the watchword for all decisions made by the Stilton Cheese Makers' Association."

Some of your comments so far:

How things changed for me is the over-use of the term "in light of the events of September 11" by certain companies as an excuse to cover up their own incompetence. As an example my car insurance company increased my premium by 15% because of the terrorist risk and at the same time changed by insurance policy to exclude claims on account of terrorism. So why the increase?
Justin Hayes, Ireland

This is just another excuse to erode individual freedom. The only real difference since 9/11 is Big Brother is really watching you.
J R Smith, Thailand

I really am surprised that so many people have noticed that everyday life has changed for them. Since 11 September I made a conscious decision that I would not let it change my life one little bit. I cannot honestly say that everyday life has changed one iota for me. Even when flying abroad on holiday or business.
Martin Hollands, England

My husband and I got married in June and naturally we wanted to take out some wedding insurance as so manythings can go wrong with the big day and it is all very costly. There is now to my knowledge only one insurance company in the UK that will cover military personnel even at civilian events. No-one wanted to insure our wedding day because my husband is in the Army. That did not happen before Sept 11 last year.
K Biggs, UK

It hasn't changed my life one bit. Even before September 11, I had to worry about suspect packages and bomb scares, paying the mortgage, keeping a job that I hated, family and personal problems. Although Sept 11 was a terrible event, it wasn't the first time in history that thousands of people were murdered in the same instance. Nor will it be the last.
DF, London, UK

I look at all the other passengers who are getting on the plane with me very carefully.
Rachel Harraway, Italy

As if I didn't think Britons were racist enough before 9/11, things have just gotten much worse for Muslims. Thanks Bin Laden, you really messed things up for everyone.
Rizwan Khan, Northern Ireland

I don't think the world change on Sept 11 2001. We all found out that things had change along time ago but were not aware of it until then.
Martin, Canada

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