I watched two youths being ejected from the train at Westgate today with a penalty fine ticket which I'm sure will go in the gutter. It's not the first time I've seen this on trips to and from London and it appears the plague the part of the journey between Herne Bay, where they appear to get on and off and Westgate/Margate, if I'm still on the train.
It was one of those occasions where I sat and watched, wondering if they would behave themselves, they were big lads or would attempt to either abuse or assault the conductor or run-off, which I've also seen before. One sits there quickly thinking what the plan of action would be if the worst happens. After all the state does very little these days to reward or encourage citizen intervention; quite the opposite in fact as its often the good guy who finds himself arrested. I certainly wouldn't wish to be a conductor on the North Kent route. Remember the incident earlier this year when one poor chap was beaten-up by a gang with baseball bats at Birchington station?
Later this month, I'm in Brussels chairing the IP Crime Congress. Lot's of big names there, Gucci, Microsoft, Warner Brothers, Novartis, Electronic Arts and so on, all worried about the loss of revenue and brand value from counterfeit piracy and of course eBay, who are also speaking.
The big fear today lies in counterfeit prescription drugs which are in increasingly widespread circulation. Governments and particularly, the EU, don't appear overly concerned about intellectual property protection in areas such as music and movies, which opens a comparative gulf with the position of the United States, where lobbying has made it a significant issue. In the meantime, the UK, like other countries, has a love affair with cheap, counterfeit goods and each sale of a fake Gucci handbag or DVD, does its bit in funding the growth of the Russian Mafia, which some might say is the pension fund for the KGB but with the G8 summit on this month in Germany, I couldn't possibly comment!