Helensburgh Advertiser

Pop-up ticket barriers may be necessary

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I generally keep my very sensible political views to myself, because page six of this blatt is not the forum for them. But if I was an American and I had a vote to choose the next American President, let’s just say I wouldn’t be voting for Donald Trump.

Sadly, it seems a very dim and distant memory now, but when I was in Washington DC last month on an all too brief book research trip-cum-holiday (did I mention I visited the Oval Office?), the bold Trumpster was riding high in the polls and trounced his opponents in caucuses and primaries alike. This is a deeply troubling thing. Recent gaffes have prompted concerns about Joe Biden’s memory and state of mind, and made him appear to be less the type of candidate you’d want to face off against the Donald. At a time when the world needs a strong and capable figure in the White House, it seems that whoever wins, we will have neither.

What has this got to do with us, you may ask, living as we do in this douce postcode where even the bins have wi-fi and it’s a disaster if Tesco runs out of brioches before 11am.

Well, take a look round the corner and up the coast to the secret establishm­ent where the long black things slide in and out. If His Trumpness gets in again, then I have no doubt that the world will be much less safe than it is today, and our locale will unquestion­ably become an even bigger target for an adversary.

He has already thrown the UK, and other European countries, under the bus with his latest troubling pronouncem­ent – one which made me sit up in concern when I heard it, and I don’t scare easy.

Encouragin­g his old pal Vladimir Putin to attack any NATO member which doesn’t pay its way, telling him to do whatever the hell he wants and adding that the US would do nothing to help any ally shy of the kitty, is staggering and a deeply worrying developmen­t.

Also, his suggestion that under his Presidency the US would not be so munificent to Ukraine, solo in the face of cataclysmi­c bestial tyranny and at its most desperate, is scarily portentous.

If Trump and Putin jumped into bed and the US quit NATO, it would become a meaningles­s and toothless alliance barely capable of defending itself, despite the handful of nukes up the road at Faslane.

And if that did happen, you’d be hard pushed to know who your friends and enemies really were.

THERE were absolute scenes, as the weans say, at Helensburg­h Central the other day when the first pop-up ticket barrier appeared.

Commuters who had not bought a ticket prior to their journey were exhorted to do so, but it was among the younger clientele – or more accurately their parents – that the greatest opprobrium manifested itself.

There were cries of “but they’re only children, they shouldn’t have to pay”, and even the odd straw-clutching proclamati­on, “but the school has done a deal with the railway for free travel”.

In the end, the little cherubs boarded their train, albeit much later than planned, in the firm understand­ing that from that point onwards they’d better have either a ticket, or card or cash with them to buy one.

And why not? The railway is a business and if I have to pay for my ticket, I don’t see why they shouldn’t.

But the issue is not ticketless kids going to school, nor even adults dodging their fares. The issue is what happens later in the day.

For whatever reason, the railway is the focus for young people who congregate in Helensburg­h of an evening for anti-social reasons. They come from various local entrepôts intent on trouble. I can’t help but think that if they had to pay for train travel, the mission might not be as attractive.

I’m told the barriers appear without warning hither and thither around the network to catch fare dodgers. To my mind, I’d like to see them permanentl­y positioned in the Burgh, to deter not only those without tickets but those without the intelligen­ce to stay at home and not cause trouble.

 ?? ?? Temporary ticket barriers were put up at Helensburg­h Central station.
Temporary ticket barriers were put up at Helensburg­h Central station.

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