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Friday, October 16, 2009

One git doesn't mark the collapse of civilisation

An extraordinary story has passed through the Twitterverse (London section) this morning. It concerns a London Underground member of staff who has been caught on a passenger's video camera behaving appallingly to a member of the public. Jonathan Macdonald has posted a sober account of this incident on his blog together with video. That seems reasonable and responsible behaviour to me and will no doubt result in some kind of disciplinary hearing.

What disturbs me is the tenor of the comments beneath his post. If you set up any kind of digital pillory nowadays, the people who are first on the scene seem to have difficulty identifying where a genuine grievance finishes and non-specific rage about the world begins. Too many people seem to treat this incident as an excuse to vent on everything from pony tails to political correctness, from Boris Johnson to fare rises, from the economic climate to London Transport training budgets, rather than accepting it for what it is, an isolated example of very bad behaviour. I've been travelling on the tubes for 40 years. Most of the tube employees I deal with are polite and helpful, albeit sometimes lacking in polish.

Sometimes a git is just a git and not a symptom of anything.