Just as a quick follow-up to the previous post about the assault on the (alleged) fair-dodger, I was at Buchanan Street subway station in Glasgow earlier this evening, and a middle-class, well-spoken American woman cut in ahead of me at the ticket counter to complain that her ticket wasn't being recognised at the barriers. In an echo of the Scotrail incident, she was informed that it was a single ticket, and had already been used at Hillhead. But she stood her ground and animatedly insisted that she had paid for a return ticket. Now, naturally I'm deeply ashamed that I didn't do my civic duty at that point by rugby-tackling her to the ground and drawing at least a bit of blood, as any right-minded person would have done. (After all, if we tolerate this, then our children will be next.) What actually happened was that she was given the benefit of the doubt, and was handed another ticket without having to pay a penny.
So the Scotrail chap gets a close encounter with the platform at Linlithgow station for his trouble, while onlookers applaud, but the American woman gets a free ticket and no-one bats an eyelid. Why the difference? It's hard to escape the conclusion that what really matters to the summary justice brigade is what someone looks and sounds like, not whether they can actually prove that they paid for their ticket.