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Tag: Public Transport

Politics and the London Zoo
2013.04.15 21:00:38
Personally, I find it difficult to disengage or avoid politics, even on an outing with my children to the London Zoo. At King’s Cross Station I interrupted our journey to take my two boys to admire what I consider to be a rare and wonderfully imaginative innovation in Architecture and a marvel of modern engineering – the roof above Kings Cross Station. Of course, you can’t tell that to a child under 4, but I could get them to lie on their backs on the floor alongside the central column and get them to study the beautiful sweeping arches that hold up the enormous roof lattice above. A crowd was amassing with a high police attendance and someone was shouting with a broad Irish accent “Maggie Maggie Maggie! Dead Dead Dead!!” followed by a loud chorus of cheering and chants of “The bitch is dead!”. I asked one of the crowd what it was all about – “They’re protesting the cuts”. She was not impressed with my contention that unless there was a very large number of the British population willing to get serious they were wasting their time. She was less dismissive of this view when I reminded her that despite 2 million protesting in London against the Iraq war in 2003 we are still participating in wars all over the world; “Is this little mob going to make any difference?”. They just don’t give a damn about protest and they are militarising the Police and reshaping the law ready for the time when the world economy hits the fan and it all gets serious. While we conversed my 1-year-old son was pushing the double push-chair away and into the back of a group of police. As their alarm subsided I joked that it was probably the strongest resistance they would face all day. Meanwhile the “Maggie!” chants continued and I shouted back up the escalator shaft (at risk to life and limb) that if they didn’t have the balls to get rid of her while she was Prime Minister there was not much point raving now. At the London Zoo, wandering among the remnants of the procession of species disappearing in the wake of the human onslaught there were endless reminders of the FACT of Climate Change and the alarming rate of species extinction (which I first heard about at University more than 30 years ago) and efforts to persuade the masses that the loss of eco- and bio-diversity matters. As has been the necessity for some time, I fought off my rising anger and anxiety in order to present calm rationality for my day out with my boys; as best I could. On The Tube going back to King’s Cross an old lady (older than me) lamented the crowded conditions. I asked “What would things have been like if all the money spent on cars, petrol, motorways, traffic control and all the carnage of motor accidents had been spent on Public Transport?”. She agreed with my point and someone else joined the conversation. I told them that I had only recently come to understand, thanks to Monbiot, how we embarked on this madness. I had discovered that Dr Beeching, who had shut down the railways in the 1960s had been appointed by the then minister of transport, Ernest Marples - owner of the motorway-building company Marples Ridgway. I expressed the view that this was a criminal act of monumental consequence. Others tuned into the conversation and I began my usual rant about the psychopaths who currently run the planet and the consequent danger we are in with imminent environmental disaster due to Climate Change and economic disaster due to criminal mismanagement of the global economy. Once I began to see my folly I simply asserted that we are in deep shit and that all that was going to save us is conversations like this among ourselves leading to a broader awakening.

Tags: Public Transport | Margret Thatcher | Budget Cuts | climate change | Economic Collapse

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