Trying, with limited progress, to be a responsible member of the electorate and keep informed about the activities of my MP, Lee Scott (Conservative, Ilford North). I feel there have been worse Conservatives than Lee Scott. He’s local, dedicated and currently turning his attention to London’s buses. Lee, Daily Hansard Debate 456 (43) 8th Feb, Column 1035, http://www.parliament.uk/publications/index.cfm):
“One of the main reasons why people in my constituency do not wish to travel on buses is the safety factor. Recently, bus drivers in my area have refused to travel along certain routes because of antisocial behaviour by young people.”
It’s true, there are some horrible people on the buses. I’ve chided as many as I can but I’m simply spread too thin, and if I get stabbed I literally will be. However:
“When I was a child—my memory serves me well; that was a long time ago—I got the No.148 bus from the Green Man roundabout to Ilford every day to go to school. Was I ever told off for misbehaving on the bus? I was. In those days, you got a clip round the ear and you did not do it again. I got the clip and I did not do it again. However, I used the services all the time. I want a first-class service for the people of our country.”
This charming piece of oral history struck a chord, having only the other day demanded that a top deck-full of passive Redbridge residents deliver to me whomever it was playing music out of their phone, only for the music to stop and the bus fall silent like a classroom full of naughty children until I eventually gave up, turned back round and sat down, at which point it all started up again. I found them in the end, when the bus emptied a bit but they were defiant, if uncomfortable. Sometimes I wonder why I bother appealing to reason and empathy when I could get so much further with sarcasm and ridicule. Somebody smoking too – smoke on a wet bus is a particularly revolting odour. I doubt a clip round the ear would have achieved much though, unless perhaps the entire bus had been queueing up in solidarity to deliver it. Even then, the whole bus rallied in solidarity would probably have done the trick without the corporal punishment. Matt and I went to Lee Scott’s hustings last election. I think he only shone because the Labour MP who lost her seat to him was spent and derelict despite her brave red uniform – hostage to government policies she probably had nothing to do with. The hustings questions were awful, about half were to do with the environment and the other half, immigration. This is Ilford North? I thought, a newcomer. I can’t forgive any of the candidates for not being independent (actually, the sole independent was a puffed-up ignoramus).
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