Michael Bywater: btw

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The Independent Online

St Pancras Station reopened for business this week, apparently "heralding" a "new era" of rail transport. "Heralding" is of course different from "actually happening", but it would be graceless to complain that what has actually happened is the Eurostar terminus has been moved to a sleazier, shabbier and more inconvenient part of London. But at least there's "destination shopping" and the world's longest champagne bar, a pleasant change from the usual British experience, the world's longest wait. And trains? Yes, up to a point: that point being, were you heading for France, the French, with perfect timing, went promptly on strike.

At least you can still get into St Pancras and on to the train relatively unharmed, unlike in Vancouver where the Royal Canadian Mounted Police shot a Polish man who had got into a bit of a state after spending six hours unable to find his way out of the arrivals hall to meet his mother. What a swine, eh? So they shot him with a Taser gun. Twice. Shouting "Hit him again! Hit him again!" In public view. He died. The Mounties always get their man. Two Leeds policemen who (perhaps sharing their Mountie confrères' commitment to transparency) Tasered an unconscious man on a bus, learnt this week that they would not face charges. A spokesman said that Nicolas Gaubert was "mistakenly treated as a potential security threat when he was, in fact, in a hypoglycaemic state". An easy mistake to make. And people in comas are a notorious terror risk. Kick 'em when they're down; there's never a better time.

Unlike Bud Cesena, a school security head in North Carolina, faced last week with a 17-year-old pilot buzzing a football game in a rented light aircraft for a dare. Was it a terrorist attack? Or was it a prank? "I knew for sure someone would get hurt if I emptied the stands," said Cesena, "so did nothing." It was a prank. Man Keeps Head In Time Of Mandated Public Terror? Bad show, Bud. It couldn't happen here – especially now Gordon Brown has announced his new security theatre measures. What we said about St Pancras earlier? Forget it. There'll soon be baggage checks and security screening at major stations, along with ... sorry, we didn't mean "security theatre". We meant "important measures to keep us safe". All the same ... security, strikes, fuel surcharges, vehicle exclusion zones ... what can you do? "Get on yer bike" is the obvious answer; but Gordon also wants to do away with the Terror Risk of cycle racks, so the bike will be pointless, too. Unless you're like Robert Stewart, 51. Cleaners at his hostel in Ayr were "extremely shocked" to find him wearing only a T-shirt and simulating sex with his bicycle. You thought you could only simulate something that could actually be done?Apparently not. The court – no sympathy for pedalophiles in Ayrshire – put Stewart on probation and on the sex offenders' register. So if he moves in near you, you'll know. Lock up your bikes.