There's a rather disturbing announcement on the South West Trains commuter routes into London, which goes as follows:
"Beggars occasionally board trains. Please do not encourage them by giving them money. If you see a beggar, please contact a member of staff."
I admit that I'm not inclined to give cash to people who wander the aisles of trains, but you'd have to be some real mean-spirited bastard to start grassing them up to the busies, wouldn't you?
The message also got me thinking about what actually constitutes a "beggar" in the eyes of the train operating company. Is it someone who begs? If so, are they a beggar when they first board the train? Or only when they first ask for money? Perhaps it's best to be on the safe side and alert the guard if I see any likely candidate lurking on the concourse, looking as if he might be planning one of his occasional boarding expeditions.
I think we maybe need to loosen up just a little. This is 2007, not 1937. And the destination is London Waterloo, not Berlin Hauptbahnhof.