Great little short film on YouTube, asking some of the age-old questions, and answering some more pertinent ones, like why I won’t be committing suicide with British Rail.
At least, so you could be forgiven for believing. Taking photos of buses can get you in some trouble these days. Perhaps now the British government would think twice about stepping in to prevent their own tourists from suffering judicial heavy-handedness. Even snapping a bobby in London could land you up to 10 years, under Section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008. You can see how important that “Counter” part in the title was felt to be; if they’d left it out you’d never be quite sure which way to interpret the act. Fortunately there are still some people willing to stand up for common sense. Nevertheless, the UK government policy seems clear. Whilst UK citizens have to accept being the people most spied upon by their government, the latter is taking every advantage to make sure the cameras only point one way. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
This is one of those posts which makes it to the draught stage and never any further, but as I was tidying up my WordPress install, I decided with a bit of reworking it’s something I still feel strongly about. The original title had referred to British public transport in particular, but in truth there is very little specific to the British experience.
Before I start my rant, let me plainly state that I am great supporter of the principles of public transport. That is not to say that I don’t see the use or take advantage of private transport, merely that I feel the balance in society is generally wrong, particularly in the first world, or whatever the preferred term is these days. These societies should be perfectly capable of providing for the vast majority of man’s annual miles, with our regular combinations of buses, trams, trains etc. and private transport being available to fill in the gaps where required. Being able to pack your bags, grab the kids and hit the road for a weekend away seems like a reasonable thing to do, but where is the logic of moving a ton of metal to work and back five days a week?
If there’s one thing that makes travelling by airplane an ordeal, it’s airport security. The fact that this is as oxymoronic as ‘British Intelligence’ is only half of the story, for that part of your journey which entails walking through the little arch that goes “bing” largely accounts for all the rest of the misery surrounding airports.
Now I can of course only pretend that this is a real ‘pet hate’—for starters, it is a pretty universal sentiment—since it serves its purpose pretty well. That of protecting innocent people? Oh no, there is no security at the airport per se! If you want to set off a bomb or open a phial of some contagious disease, in an area as crowded as the city centre, feel free. There are even bins provided for your convenience. But to make everyone feel safer about boarding the big bricks with wings, and of course for the protection of those big bricks with wings, passengers must arrive early, hand up their luggage for inspection, and file through security like cattle. Oh, and these days, of course you should throw away anything over 100ml!
How do you identify a student? Sounds like the opening to a joke, and in many ways this isn’t far from the truth. A great number of services and products come with discounts to students, and discerning who is eligible therefore requires a little more care and attention than simply looking out for tousled hair, hangovers, piercings and berets. Most higher education institutions produce student identification cards, which might double as library cards, security cards and/or university credit cards, amongst other things. However, the vast range of designs and stamps means that identifying a student card could prove as difficult as trying to identify a student by the first glance rule.