TWO MEN with megaphones have been inadvertently amusing some users of Dalston Kingsland and other overground stations around the Olympic Park.
One of them told Loving Dalston he was there to control the crowds going to the Olympics. It was midday and about 30 people were waiting on his side of the lines, a similar number on the other, where his colleague stood, megaphone at the ready.
“Well, yes, it’s true,” he said, “the numbers have been less than expected.”
Then why not tell the boss so you can go back to your usual work at..?
“Liverpool Street,” he volunteered. “Well, the truth is, I’d rather be here, standing on the platform. It’s easier.”
But the cost, two men hanging about for eight hours, is that fair on the taxpayer?
“Yes, you and me.”
“Oh, that’s not my problem.”
It is likely, however, that the public will never know the true addition to its tax bill: one Olympic legacy is likely to be less openness in society.
For example, when Loving Dalston was about to take the picture above, a station official rushed across the foyer to say that photography was forbidden. A rejoinder that the location was by any definition a public place did not impress the anxious official. Security, Olympics and terrorism were mentioned.
A similar swift action by an official happened in another public building in an adjoining borough the same day.
The right to take photographs in public is fundamental in this country. After several court cases within the last five years, police commanders have had to confirm that right to their forces.
These two examples of restriction are minor ones. They have been reported here to indicate the severity of a clampdown that seems to have been ordered from high up. Once democratic rights are infringed, they are difficult to re-establish.
Transport for London has not responded to a request to comment.
* Emboldened words in Loving Dalston articles are hyplerlinked so readers can see background or get further information should they wish.