Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Measured in Ounces

A stunning spring afternoon over Warwick castle and then back into Thanet, I spotted that the Thanet Way was closed westbound, with what looked like a car fire from the tunnel  outside Herne Bay.

A little earlier today, the London air traffic controllers routed me around the departing aircraft at City Airport and put me straight over the Olympic stadium, which is most unusual these days and gave me a great view of the work nearing completion.

Yesterday, I was on the train once again to London and Westminster and you may have seen from one of my 'Tweets' that I had yet another SouthEastern trains 'railway experience.' Hardly a journey goes by these days without them; invariably taking place somewhere between Westgate and Chatham.

This time, two sixteen year-old boys boarded the train at Favesham and sat across from me. I knew their age because they were discussing their birthdays, one white and one black with a nice set of dreadlocks.

The latter boy, then produced a large wad of notes and started counting them and they discussed the business the two had just done, apparently the takings at Faversham were £140 but I didn't catch how many 'ounces' were involved as it was really difficult to understand their teenage slang. Both were obsessed with buying new trainers; the most expensive Nike's of course, which they saw as a kind of status symbol.

The white lad's Blackberry kept going-off with messages every few seconds and then he decided to play the foulest rap music from its speaker you could ever imagine at full volume, for the entertainment of the passengers.

"Excuse me lad," I said, "Would you mind turning that down as I'm trying to have a nap."

Dreadlocks, who looked young for his age and his business experience, fixed me with a stare and said: "Why don't you go **** yourself."

A woman passenger, also tried but they just laughed at her and turned the volume up.

A number of strong and conflicting emotions went through my mind, including a powerful sense of violent anger. I could easily have grabbed the Blackberry and thrown that and the music out of the train but I suspect that someone's 'rights' would have been violated and I would have ended-up in a cell.

As it was, the passengers were relieved when the boys left the train at Chatham but on the entire trip to London,  I saw no sign of a conductor or guard and my ticket wasn't checked. I very much suspect the two boys had no ticket either as that's not an uncommon sight on the line when the conductor finally catches up with non-fare-paying passengers from time to time.

If there was zero tolerance and stiff fines for anti-social behaviour and fare-dodging then it might make a small difference and we might just possibly keep some of the characters I see off the trains. However, when I see the poor conductor faced with groups of teenagers fare-dodging, invariably nothing happens and he simply tells them to leave the train at the next stop. Can you blame him or her?

My final thought this evening is that we seem to be seeing a growing number of single young men arriving in Westgate, who look as if they have just stepped out of a Russian gulag. As an example, there were two of them smoking cannabis in the 'turret' above St Mildred's bay car park this evening; gaunt, dirty, tatooed and shaven-headed. I suspect from what I've seen walking around, that the probation service is now placing people in the cheaper accommodation here around Ethellbert and Adrian Squares, now it is becoming more difficult to use Cliftonville because of its special intervention status.

What we can do to monitor what I think may be happening I don't quite know, as the agencies or even greater London local authorities involved are under no obligation to inform the local council. I shall certainly try though!


Anonymous said...

An ever worsening problem, but you are right about not knowing what we can do. Until some government is brave enough to tackle the issue of low life, instead of appointing repetetive think tanks to make excuses for them, the peaceful majority will continue to have their lives blighted.

But then what happened to sorting out the Human Rights Act nonsense or getting immigration under control. All the fine words have led to nothing and we cannot even deport alien rabble rousers. Mind you Italy can so maybe it should be Gino for PM. Now that would be fantastico!

Gordon Blimey said...

They sound like proper young Thatcherites to me.

Anonymous said...

Gordon, They sound like proper young Thanet ites to me!