Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Calder's Comfort Farm: Norman Baker, trainspotting and terrorism

My latest column for the New Statesman has been posted on the magazine's website:
"Trainspotting may be an activity of limited, and indeed questionable, appeal, but it is not a criminal offence and it is not a terrorist threat.”
When did this innocent activity become such anathema? Baker would not have felt a need to be condemnatory if he had been, say, defending sadomasochists against Jacqui Smith’s goons.

1 comment:

John H said...

This is not of course a joking issue. As an ex-trainspotter I am adult enough to realise that what we did as kids isn't on. You can not wander around maintainance depots. Also the attraction and interest of many of our stations is much diminished and the the attractiveness of the hobby is questionable.

That isn't the point though. The point is that the hobby does appeal to people who are loners, more elderly and perhaps have less developed social skills. The numbers of spotters have also fallen below critical mass.

You then create a jobsworth security environment and the harrassment starts. Nonsenses like suggesting you need to ask permission to take a photo. You give a man a uniform and he feels he has to use it. His boss has CCTV so "what on earth are those two doing on platform 2".

Society is as bad, fed on a paranoia of paedophilia, woe betide the 40 year old bloke on the bridge with a camera....

Or perhaps he's a terrorist??

Its good to laugh at trainspotters, ha ha. The issue is the word you used in the NS "Conformity". Lets beat up the trainspotters first, then, the morris dancers, crochet fans etc etc. Or shall we blokes just all conform to the model of being sports mad(zzzzzz). Not a monoculture I want.

Anecdote.. I once thought of taking a photo of a train passing Vickers Gun Range sidings in Cumbria. It crossed my mind I was technically in the jurisdiction of the Cumbria Constabulary, British Nuclear Police, British Transport Police and MOD Police. Is that a record? Still doing nothing wrong. MOD plod won the race to move me on.