Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Let the Train Take the Strain

You will see from my 'Tweets'  that the type of incident now attracting considerable news attention today and shown in the video below, isn't unusual on SouthEastern services into Kent.

Yesterday, I had an unpleasant journey on the high-speed from St Pancras to Faversham and I should add that from experience, this isn't unusual, as you may find from earlier 'Blogs.'

What was different on Monday was that I was compelled to intervene, as a teenage girl, keeping very bad company, was pinned to the seat opposite and was being held down and prevented from leaving the train at Sittingbourne, by one foul mouthed youth with the help of another.

What's doubly bad about the train, is that this kind of incident is very personal and  invades your private space. I recall writing in a previous blog entry, how all the passengers once got-up and left one carriage to a group of drunken youths but this time there was nowhere to go.

On this occasion, the reluctant threat of direct action was enough for them to let the girl go and the ringleader, spent the rest of his journey breaking wind, swearing and making an unusual hi-pitched screaming sounds to the amusement of his mates.

I had a word with the female guard when the group had gone and she re-appeared a little later and she told me it wasn't unusual and implied that her job is very stressful; I'm not surprised. However, for a number of moments, I sat there balancing the consequences of becoming physically involved, against the very real risks of prosecution if I did. Where I wonder does one draw the line these days in taking a stand to defend property or community or even fellow passengers?


Tom Clarke said...

Which all begs the question, Simon, that have we come too far now to turn the clock back and is our nation changed for the worst regardless of what any of us do?

That we need some proper Conservative governance and policies is beyond doubt, but will we ever get such again. Are we not now forever condemned to centre road, politically correct administrations leaning slightly to one side or the other, but incapable of making any real difference.

Tony Beachcomber said...


The trouble is that this sort of behaviour has always been with us and it really is down to how much exposure you have to it.
Anyone living a bit of a sheltered life may find such an incident a bit of a shock. However, people like myself who have to put up with this behaviour perhaps two or three times a day do know how to deal with it. On the whole 99.9% of youngsters are fine so I don't think there is any need to rush out a right wing agenda.

DrM. said...

I beg to differ Tony!

It may always been with us and you can hark back to the London apprentice boys in the Middle Ages if you like but today is very different than say, 15 or even 20 years ago as most people will I'm sure testify.

In the not so distant past I never felt threatened or intimidated beyond very rare and isolated occasions. These days it's far from unusual for people to experience this kind of loutish behaviour in our major cities and frequently on public transport. I'm no wilting middle class lilly either but like much of the general population, I despair how far unrestricted liberalism and a total lack of impulse control among the young has sent us.

I suspect the the lady guard on the train would have something to say as have several others I have spoken with following other incidents in the past.

Peter Checksfield said...

With all due respect Simon, the reason you didn't feel threatened 20 years ago is because you were (almost) a young man yourself! Things change as we get older.

I agree totally with Tony, most youngsters are respectful & well-behaved. Certainly no worse when I was growing up in the 60s & 70s.

DrM. said...

Clearly subjective then and I can remember the Mods and Rockers in the 60s too but today is different and is reflected in the anti-social behaviour statistics. It really lies at the feet of dysfunctional families of which we have rather too many, costing the State far too much to manage, as revealed this week.

Michael Child said...

Chaps, I can tell you that from the perspective of a small shopkeeper the general falloff in ordinary behaviour is making it progressively more difficult to trade. Not sure that it is all down to the youf though, just a general changing of the level of what is acceptable in public.

My oldest children are around 20 and my youngest 10 and I would say that 10 years ago there was a perceptible reduction in bad language when I passed with them, not so evident now.

There has also been a noticeable increase in nighttime problems in the town centre that I am aware of living where I do.

Not really sure if this is due to the type of government, here, Conservative at county level which is responsible for policing I think, nor has there been any marked change going from Labour to Conservative or vice versa at national level.

Perhaps the conscription around the world wars helped with self-discipline and also more people who just wouldn’t put up with antisocial behaviour.

I suppose that nearly all forms of leisure being linked to and financed by alcohol consumption don’t help. Not really sure what effect the expanding recreational drug scene has, I would expect the stoned to be pretty docile, but imagine some of the other stuff about makes things much worse.

I guess unemployment doesn’t help, particularly youth unemployment, when I was in engineering I watched some pretty unsavoury apprentices being licked into shape by the group who had previously been pretty unsavoury apprentices.

I would guess the old secondary modern school system worked better for the youfs with non-academic abilities, more dignity - responsibility for them in the workshops and so on.

On the whole when it comes to badly behaved youth, I think those who suffer the most are the rest of the youth, the vast majority of whom are well behaved.

Peter Checksfield said...

I think I'm fortunate Michael in that it is far quiter here in Westbrook on a friday or saturday night than it was when I moved here nearly 13 years ago, though that's admittedly due to the fact that most of the nearby pubs & clubs have closed down (Escape was especially troublesome).

Anonymous said...

anon again!
I think that the action taken by the Guard and biggish passenger was absolutely correct.
The lad obviously stroppy and probably a school bully type, needed this treatment to make the point clear to him.
I think he's bound to be one of Britain's 1 and-a-half million unemployed youngsters that the Conservative Government is causing to increase at a daily rate.

Anonymous said...

Increased unemployment, reduced police force, a recipe for disaster. If you think this is bad try visiting a Jobcentre or even A&E on a Friday/Saturday night.
Bad language and antisocial behaviour do not necessarily run hand in hand. Often what we find offensive is normal language for many people. This is in fact encouraged by many films mainly American where the language I find offensive. If this is promoted by these films as the norm then can you blame those that cannot think for themselves for adopting it as a means of communication.

Anonymous said...

The moment the boy swore in front of children was when I lost all sympathy for him. I would intervene every time, I have always stood up and offered help, and will continue to do so. It is the fact that people don't intervene that allows this sort of behaviour from disrespectful youngsters. If you shout louder than them, they generally back down. I am a 50 year old woman and have seen men bigger and stronger than me hide their faces rather than stand up and help. I am not a have-a-go hero, just an individual who cannot abide bad manners. In the 3 times I have intervened, I have won every situation, but then, having no fear helps ! I am scared of nothing but spiders ! The adults need to take control to reclaim our trains/buses/streets.