Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Why cannot we be more like the French?



Why cannot we be more like the French? The reason I say this is because of an incident that occured a few evenings ago when I was waiting at a snowy Hanley Bus Station for the 18 bus back to Leek. The 6 o'clock service was cancelled and a group of around 20 waited for the next bus that was supposed to turn up at 6.20.

 I have to say this is a regular event.

Of course it did not and the next bus was due at 7.10.

I knew what was to happen because I had been caught out by First in October. When I was waiting nearly two hours for a bus then and eventually a bus turned up at 7.10 but not before a heated exchange between a bus driver and a group of passengers. First did not help the situation and the member of staff only escalated the situation and eventually threatened to call the Police after a certain amount of swearing from some angry youths.

On this occasion the passengers were so accepting of the situation. I was saying to them that they ought to complain, but was met with the comment that it was pointless and nothing would come of it. Amongst the passengers was a young couple with a very small baby which by now was wailing with the cold. Eventually I went up to the staff area overlooking the bus station and spoke via an intercom persuading an inspector to come down to explain the situation to the frozen passengers.

He did and after ten minutes re-appeared and organised a special bus to take the passengers to Leek and places in between.

You see I told them complaining in an assertive and polite way can work

However I was struck by how defeatist the passengers were and unwilling to challenge the situation. They were good at moaning, but not very good at trying to resolve the situation. In short many people are bovine.

Why cannot we be more French in the way we challenge authority?

 Over recent years we have seen the activities of Joseph Bove the French farmer and his anti Mcdonalds campaign, the occupation of closed factories, riots in major cities and the rise of an Anti Capitalists party which has challenged the orthodoxy of the French Socialist Party with an eclectic mixture of traditional communists and members with more contemporary motivations ranging from feminism to climate change.

The example of Bove is especially relevant in the case of Leek as recent months have seen planning applications for large supermarket complexes much to the irritation of the independent shop owners of the town