In an attempt to wheeze a bit of life into his flagging mayoral campaign, Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick has called for bus drivers to become 'have-a-go heroes' and tackle crime and anti-social tomfoolery on their double-deckers.
The former cop inveigled bus drivers to take action against criminal activities on their rides. He cautioned that they should pick their fights carefully, and "choose which crowd to take on", before (rather like the playground bully) wading in "if it's smaller children". What happened to picking on someone your own size?
"Bus drivers have got to take some responsibility...if they see something happening - they've got to take action"
We thought their prime responsibility was to navigate an articulated vehicle through the choked and stressful streets of London whilst simultaneously dealing with drunks and ticketless morons who hold everyone up with their pusillanimous entreaties to ride for free.
Surely the wider issue here is the fear and loathing Londoners harbour toward their fellow passengers, and in particular our adolescent co-citizens. The behaviour of young people has been stigmatised to the extent that only a handful of brave people ever intervene when something untoward goes down. Stories like the tragic case of Richard Whelan - murdered when he asked a man to stop throwing chips at his girlfriend - are rare yet have been allowed to dictate public opinion to the extent that the perception is getting involved will end in disaster. The story of Crocodile Dundee II star Ernie Dingo chasing off a few bullies while indifferent Londoners waltzed by shows how reluctant we are to step in.
It's a bigger problem that a cheap and easy claim in a Mayoral race is going to fix.
Image courtesy of fotofill's Flickrstream