Another grown-up contribution to press punditry
So far, so interesting, but the idea of doing as he is told for the greater good is clearly anathema to the loathsome Toby Young, who has been allowed a platform of another kind at the increasingly desperate Telegraph to announce to the world “We Londoners will explode with rage if we have to stand on the escalator … Abandoning a convention that has served the Underground well for more than 50 years is a step too far”.
This is, to no surprise at all, absolute tosh. Tobes initially concedes that the trial showed that escalator capacity could be increased by 30%, before it all gets very silly indeed: “So it makes sense, but there are a number of reasons to oppose this change”. Like what? “First, it’s a bit dictatorial … it … limits people’s choices”. Like the choice of not being able to travel because the network is full to the point of being unsafe?
It gets worse. “If I didn’t have that choice, I would feel very frustrated”. You’d feel worse if you couldn’t get into central London from Acton because of all the other selfish idiots clogging up the system. And worse: “if it decides to implement this change more widely, I hope it carries out a proper consultation”. IT JUST DID ONE. And worse: “stopping people walking up won’t help tackle Britain’s burgeoning obesity problem”.
Christ on a bike, the overweight aren’t going to be in any shape to walk up the escalator. And there are 101 other and probably better ways of keeping in shape. We’re talking about keeping the Tube and its users moving versus the whole thing seizing up. And it gets worse still: “it will be very, very difficult to enforce”. No it won’t - flashing sign at foot of escalator, job done. Plus good information. People then understand the new rules.
But there has to be a final slice of Tobes idiocy: “will Londoners want to stand two abreast? At the moment, it’s customary on escalators to leave an empty step between you and the person above and below you. To stand any closer would be an invasion of each other's personal space”. Like when you walk up and shove past all the unfortunate people standing on the right? If there’s room for that, there’s room for standing two abreast.
Sometimes it seems that Toby Young is being contrary for the sheer hell of it. For his sake, I hope that is the reason for this slice of self-serving idiocy. If he really believed that it was OK to behave in a way that had the potential to screw up the Tube, he might be dangerous. As well as unfit to run the West London Free School. Hello Tobes.