Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

Home

www.google.co.uk


Recent Comments


Monthly Archives


Most recent entries


Search


Advanced Search


Other Blogs I write for

Brian Micklethwait's Education Blog

CNE Competition
CNE Intellectual Property
Samizdata
Transport Blog


Blogroll

2 Blowhards
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adloyada
Adventures in Capitalism
Alan Little
Albion's Seedling
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Alex Singleton
AngloAustria
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Biased BBC
Bishop Hill
BLDG BLOG
Bloggers Blog
Blognor Regis
Blowing Smoke
Boatang & Demetriou
Boing Boing
Boris Johnson
Brazen Careerist
Bryan Appleyard
Burning Our Money
Cafe Hayek
Cato@Liberty
Charlie's Diary
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
Chicago Boyz
China Law Blog
Cicero's Songs
City Comforts
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Clay Shirky
Climate Resistance
Climate Skeptic
Coffee & Complexity
Coffee House
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Contra Niche
Contrary Brin
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Скрипучая беседка
CrozierVision
Dave Barry
Davids Medienkritik
David Thompson
Deleted by tomorrow
deputydog
diamond geezer
Dilbert.Blog
Dizzy Thinks
Dodgeblogium
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
dropsafe
Dr Robert Lefever
Dr. Weevil
ecomyths
engadget
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
English Cut
English Russia
EU Referendum
Ezra Levant
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Flickr blog
Freeborn John
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
ft.com/maverecon
Fugitive Ink
Future Perfect
FuturePundit
Gaping Void
Garnerblog
Gates of Vienna
Gizmodo
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
HE&OS
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Ideas
Idiot Toys
IMAO
Indexed
India Uncut
Instapundit
Intermezzo
Jackie Danicki
James Delingpole
James Fallows
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Jihad Watch
Joanne Jacobs
Johan Norberg
John Redwood
Jonathan's Photoblog
Kristine Lowe
Laissez Faire Books
Languagehat
Last of the Few
Lessig Blog
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Alone
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
listen missy
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Londonist
Mad Housewife
Mangan's Miscellany
Marginal Revolution
Mark Wadsworth
Media Influencer
Melanie Phillips
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael Jennings
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
Mick Hartley
More Than Mind Games
mr eugenides
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Natalie Solent
Nation of Shopkeepers
Neatorama
neo-neocon
Never Trust a Hippy
NO2ID NewsBlog
Non Diet Weight Loss
Normblog
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
Oddity Central
Oliver Kamm
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
phosita
Picking Losers
Pigeon Blog
Police Inspector Blog
PooterGeek
Power Line
Private Sector Development blog
Public Interest.co.uk
Publius Pundit
Quotulatiousness
Rachel Lucas
RealClimate
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Rob's Blog
Sandow
Scrappleface
Setting The World To Rights
Shane Greer
Shanghaiist
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sinclair's Musings
Slipped Disc
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stephen Fry
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Style Bubble
Sunset Gun
Survival Arts
Susan Hill
Teblog
Techdirt
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Agitator
The AntRant
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Croydonian
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Filter^
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Futurist
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Sharpener
The Speculist
The Surfer
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
things magazine
TigerHawk
Tim Blair
Tim Harford
Tim Worstall
tomgpalmer.com
tompeters!
Transterrestrial Musings
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Unqualified Offerings
Violins and Starships
Virginia Postrel
Vodkapundit
WebUrbanist
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours


Websites


Mainstream Media

BBC
Guardian
Economist
Independent
MSNBC
Telegraph
The Sun
This is London
Times


Syndicate

RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0
Atom
Feedburner
Podcasts


Categories

Advertising
Africa
Anglosphere
Architecture
Art
Asia
Atheism
Australasia
Billion Monkeys
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Books
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Brians
Bridges
Business
Career counselling
Cartoons
Cats and kittens
China
Civil liberties
Classical music
Comedy
Comments
Computer graphics
Cranes
Crime
Current events
Democracy
Design
Digital photographers
Drones
Economics
Education
Emmanuel Todd
Environment
Europe
Expression Engine
Family
Food and drink
France
Friends
Getting old
Globalisation
Healthcare
History
How the mind works
India
Intellectual property
Japan
Kevin Dowd
Language
Latin America
Law
Libertarianism
Links
Literature
London
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
Movies
Music
My blog ruins
My photographs
Open Source
Opera
Other creatures
Painting
Photography
Podcasting
Poetry
Politics
Pop music
Propaganda
Quote unquote
Radio
Religion
Roof clutter
Russia
Scaffolding
Science
Science fiction
Sculpture
Signs and notices
Social Media
Society
Software
South America
Space
Sport
Technology
Television
The internet
The Micklethwait Clock
Theatre
This and that
This blog
Transport
Travel
USA
Video
War


Monday March 28 2011

Last week I journeyed out to faraway Strawberry Hill to dine with Patrick Crozier.  In the train back from Strawberry Hill to Vauxhall, I did some snapping, of signs:

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

As I say in the title, all of these signs were in just my bit of the carriage, in other words in about one third of one carriage.  Three times all that is what there is in the whole carriage.  The rest of the economy is shot to hell but the sign makers are thriving.

imageOn the right there, is the door of the train, after I got off at Vauxhall.  In all cases click to get the original photo, which has been “lightly sharpened”, but is otherwise exactly as first taken.

Nag, nag, nag.  Regulation, regulation, regulation.  Law, law, law.  Health and safety, health and safety.

Not that it gets in the way of the journey, or of one’s enjoyment of it, unless you choose to get in a grumpy old tizz about it all, as I choose not to.  This is nagging with a very light touch.

More annoying are the announcements over the loudspeaker along similar lines.  Those do interrupt the journey somewhat.

Most annoying of all are the announcements over the loudspeaker about health and safety which you can’t quite decypher, and which you consequently fear may be of some significance, to do with closed stations or connecting lines that are malfunctioning.  On the whole, nagging noises on regular trains such as this one was are easily decyphered and hence reasonably easy to ignore.

Loudspeaker messages on the Tube are something else again.  The background noise is much louder, and just about anyone working for the Tube seems to be allowed to seize the mike and orate, in any style he or she chooses, and in any number of different accents.  Tube workers who fancy themselves as showbusinesspersons are numerous, and particularly annoying.

Compared to all that, the signs in these pictures of mine are positively benign.  But I suppose that is how the Nanny State gets itself dug in.  It does nice nagging, and nasty nagging.  Which gets you almost liking the nice nagging.

Although, it does occur to me that there is one slightly annoying feature of some of these signs, which is that it is not immediately clear whether something is being encouraged, referred to, or forbidden, especially if a graphic is unaccompanied by explanation.  This particularly applies to those signs on the outside.  Are push chairs with children forbidden, or positively welcome, or what?  Forbidden I think.  In which case, this is nagging of a rather more serious sort, certainly given the emptiness of the entire train at the late hour when I was travelling on it.

I wonder how many of those signs CrozierRail would have:

You’d have to have something for the Alarm (or communication cord as we used to call it) and oddly No Smoking signs (as CrozierRail will have some Smoking carriages).

We won’t be needing the bicycle sign (as there will be no bicycles) and as I don’t really think people with bulky objects (such as bags and babies) really need any advice on where to put them we won’t be needing those particular signs.  Ditto people who are bulky objects, such as the disabled.

The emergency exits are obvious and I really can’t see much point in a First Aid Kit.  Maybe one in the guard’s area.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about “priority” seats.  Part of me thinks if you want a seat you should pay for it.  And another part says if you have to ask people to be civil then you are wasting your breath.  But then another thinks: “Well there are emergency situations in which perhaps people could do with a reminder.”

I am also not sure about the emergency door release.  I’m inclined to keep it so I guess I’m going to have to keep the sign.

Posted by Patrick Crozier on 28 March 2011

>And another part says if you have to ask people to be civil then you are wasting your breath.

Depends who’s doing the asking. I noticed, during the few months I travelled regularly in the Munich U-Bahn with my heavily pregnant wife, that it would usually be the nearest old lady who would vigorously prod some young man to give up his seat. If I had done it it could have caused confrontations, whereas the reaction to the old ladies was usually instant obedience.

Posted by Alan Little on 29 March 2011

Oh, there are lots and lots of social and cultural factors mixed up in this.

Riding the trams and buses in Lisbon, there seems a strict hierarchy of who is supposed to give their seat up to who. Children are expected to give seats up to adults. Adults are expected to give seats up to the elderly (where “the elderly” at times seem to be interpreted as roughly “anyone over 55"). Pregnant women have priority over anybody else, and yes, it is the old ladies who enforce all this. The Portuguese are generally the nicest of people, but heaven forbid being in a seat on a Lisbon tram that an old Portuguese lady considers herself entitled to.

As a personal story, a couple of years ago I was riding the London Underground with my parents (who are both about 70). The carriage was crowded and for some reason we got separated slightly. I found a seat, but it was several minutes before they managed to work their way over to the section of the carriage I was in. I stood up to give my seat to my mother (because, well, she is my mother) and the young woman sitting in the seat next to me looked slightly panicked for a moment, and stood up and gave up her seat to my father. Sort of an “Oh God? Am I supposed to give up my seat to the elderly here?” response. (In fact, my father gets slightly miffed when things like this happen, as he doesn’t like it when people imply he is an old man). Like much of London, she was likely an immigrant of some kind, and she was insecure about what the social conventions are here. So signs can perhaps sometimes help, although they can never perhaps convey everything about what the local conventions are.

I think one reason signs might be helpful in London is that the English are not as forceful in this way as some other people. “Would you mind giving up that seat to an elderly person? The sign over there says you have to” somehow comes across as not as hostile as simply demanding it because it is the right thing to do.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 29 March 2011

<raving maniac>

I particularly dislike those Tube drivers who take it upon themselves to criticise London Underground.  For instance, last week on the Metropolitan Line:

Driver: ‘Apparently, it’s a Good Service on all lines.  If you can believe that’

Now, I don’t mind other people criticising London Underground.  Indeed, the horrible screeching sound of the Bakerloo Line trains heading north into Paddington is to me the very sound of English communism, but when the parasites who work for this communist organisation take it upon themselves to slate London Underground, it really is very depressing, as even they don’t seem to support the communist structure they have spent so many decades constructing.

And please, don’t get me started on ‘Good Service’.  It should of course be ‘Standard Service’ or ‘Service as Advertised’.  That the communists call it ‘Good Service’, when they just about manage to get the creaking thing running for ten minutes without any apparent faults (though with always the fear that it’s all about to fall apart again), is perhaps testament to the underlying failure that is the heavily-subsidised London Underground operation.

Just imagine what it would be like if it was fully communist, and could not rely upon hapless private taxpayers to keep propping up its ineptitude with subsidy.

That screeching of the Bakerloo Line really would be absolutely unbearable, along with all the grubby shambolic stations, broken escalators, and all the other stigmata of government-run operations.

No wonder so many people are riding bikes around London, these days.

And another thing, ....

</raving maniac>

Posted by Andy Duncan on 03 April 2011
Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.