I take my hat off to The Big Man.No, I am not following on from David Cameron’s endorsement of Christianity in Oxford on Friday. Neither am I referring to the late Christopher Hitchens who would have revelled in a vicious response to the Prime Minister’s religious speech. The real Big Man is Alan Pollock: an individual who divides opinion as much as Hitchens does.

Pollock’s role in a YouTube viral “sensation”, saw him throw a fellow passenger off a train after he refused to pay for a ticket. The incident has sparked intense debate throughout the country with allegations of assault contrasting with compliments of heroism. Essentially it comes down to a question of civil responsibility. How far can you take the law into your own hands?

…unacceptable and inappropriate…

Stand up and you get pushed down

It is not surprising that bureaucracy loving lefties are condemning Pollock’s actions for being unacceptable and inappropriate. Our society has become so polarised into following protocol and legislation that an individual can’t display responsibility and initiative in a public situation without provoking a mass outcry.

Pollock is now facing charges after Sam Main, his foul mouthed nemesis, filed a complaint against him to the police. Where is the incentive to be a responsible, upstanding member of society? It is of no surprise that no one understood what British values David Cameron sought to endorse in the aftermath of the August riots in London. The only values that have any weight behind them now are those included in health and safety manuals up and down the country.

…the response would have been priceless…

Given his patriotic nostalgia to a Britain that existed only in the novels of Evelyn Waugh it was hardly surprising to hear the Prime Minister arguing that the Bible was central to British values yesterday. The reality is that Cameron is only too aware of the divisions that exist within British society, whether it be generational, financial or racial. His speech yesterday was a clear indicator that he is willing to appeal as many means of social control as possible, including religion. Had Hitchens been around to hear Cameron’s speech, the response would have been priceless.

It is a macabre coincidence that only days after the events on the train in Scotland, a ticket inspector in Essex was stabbed by youths who also refused to pay for a ticket. The two perpetrators did not need to understand Christian values to recognise the awfulness behind their actions. But they needed some kind of standard that had not been diluted by the media induced, irresponsible materialism that our nations youth now grow up in. The difference between right and wrong are human, not religious instincts. But religion is a medium in which they can be expressed. Cameron’s appeal to religious values, which should be extended beyond Christianity should not be seen as a long term solution considering the ever growing secularisation of society. But at least it is an attempt to address the fact that a ideological void exists in the mind of an individual who plunges a knife into the back of someone who is merely doing their job.

…choice between right and wrong…

Given the country’s bleak economic prospects, youth disaffection is not going to be appeased easily. And yet not laying down a clear marker of what is acceptable in society and what is not, won’t help anyone either. The fundamental decision taken by Mr Main or either of the knife attackers in Essex in their actions did not recognise a choice between right and wrong. Regardless of whether Pollock’s actions are classifiable as assault or not, he was doing what he believed was right. That is the justification of taking the law into your own hands.

Image courtesy of Alan Pollock


About The Author

History undergraduate at King's College London. Main interests in diplomacy and international relations but also enjoy writing about home affairs.

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