Anyone who doubts patience with antisocial behaviour is on the wane in Britain should check out the internet comments the hit YouTube video Scotrail No Ticket has attracted.
There’s more to the story but basically a sweary albeit weedy teenager refused to leave a train when failing to present the right ticket to an elderly conductor. The situation was resolved by Big Man, a burly passenger, bundling the youth off the train to the applause of the compartment.
Comments on the Daily Mail website were mostly those to be expected from right-wing media supporting Big Man’s vigilantism.
But surprisingly a good number of comments on the liberal-with-a-small-l Guardian website were in favour of Big Man’s hands-on approach too. Both newspapers link to the video.
Generally speaking not enough is done to stamp on loutish behaviour in this country. If I were on the Scotrail train, delayed by the Mexican standoff between the ticket collector and yob, I would have led the cheering at Big Man’s intervention.
But in hindsight there are some aspects – and we only have the video evidence to go on – of the situation that bother me.
Big Man took a chance the yob might be carrying a weapon but otherwise the outcome of the heavyweight/flyweight contest was never in doubt. Might he have been so bold if the miscreant wasn’t literally a pushover?
In any case I don’t know why the conductor held the train when it should have been open to him to phone ahead to have police evict the yob at the next station or two.
He may have had it coming but by the letter of the law the yob was assaulted. Big Man in throwing the yob on to the platform risked causing serious damage to the teenager – something not warranted by a dispute over a train ticket.