Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The magical Tin Leg of Money

A FEW weeks ago I wrote about the plethora of so-called authorities now allowed to legally spy on us – all in the name of national security - by intercepting our post, reading our emails and tapping our phones.

While accepting that the security services and the cops should have such powers, as long as they were underwritten by a judge, I complained that it was dangerous in the extreme to give the jobsworths at our local councils spying rights on the basis that once they had them they were sure to abuse them.

Soon after publication I had two angry messages from local government bods. How dare I brand them Little Hitlers (although I had done no such thing) and that I ought to know that they could conceive of no situation that might cause them to invoke such Draconian measures.

Yeah, right.

Fast forward a month or so and the story breaks that a couple from Poole in Dorset had been under surveillance by their local council for two weeks for threatening national security by allegedly sneaking their three-year-old daughter into a local primary school when they didn’t live in the correct catchment area. (If only Osama had thought of that one, eh? Packing our schools with children from too many streets away? That would teach the infidel running dogs a lesson or two.)

When I say under surveillance, I mean the full James Bond monty: followed on school runs, tracked throughout the day by council officials, and watched at night to see where the family slept (they owned two homes, one of which was in the right catchment area).

It further transpires that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 has also been used by local councils to spy on dog-owners suspected of not cleaning up after their pets and to place surveillance cameras in old baked bean tins in lay-bys to catch fly-tippers.

Now both of the above are clearly anti-social acts (although I reserve judgement on that terribly middle class ‘crime’ of school-blagging’), but do they really deserve to have powers intended to fight terrorism used against them? Why can’t our councils deploy one of their bin police or traffic wardens or one-legged, black, bicycling lesbian outreach workers to stand by the side of popular footpaths and shout: “Oi! Pick that up, mate!”

Isn’t that more cost effective than having two nerds from the planning department going out at night with infra-red goggles, those shoes with a compass in the heel and a cyanide capsule just to photograph Mrs Goggins from Number 32 letting her toy poodle Tony do a whoopsie on the footpath?

I HAVE noticed a new badge of honour on the scrote estates – the single, aluminium NHS crutch. You can see them in Lidl or stood smoking outside flat-roofed pubs; seemingly healthy members of the underclass with a crutch dangling ineffectually from one arm, supporting nothing more than a benefits claim.

And watch the papers for more evidence. Most of the stories about charity fraudsters, eBay conmen or thieving junior accountants feature a picture of the alleged miscreant, crutch wobbling harmlessly in the breeze. Only this week a “sicko from Scarborough” who conned Tom Cruise and John Travolta by posing as the grieving dad of dead actor Heath Ledger (yes, I know, weirder sentences you will never read) appeared outside the Crown Court, crutched-up and seemingly only a gasper away from an oxygen mask.

(This chap is a bit of a belter if we’re honest. He’s got 40 previous convictions for dishonesty and has a tattoo claiming that his mum died in the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. Unfortunately – or even happily, I think - she was alive and well and living in Doncaster on 9/11.)

The Daily Mail this week attempted to draw the family tree of Shannon Matthews’ dysfunctional family. It was Mission Impossible from the start; the chart, littered with multiple children by multiple fathers, ended up resembling the formula for DNA. Still, they helpfully highlighted those family members in jail or on bail for perverting the course of justice, benefits fraud or, in one case, serving life for murder. I can’t help but think that it might have been a greater public service if they’d flagged up the clan members who dangle the magical Tin Leg Of Money while queuing up to buy their scratchcards.

MUCH HAS been made of the impact of economic immigrants from eastern Europe on modern life. The lentil-eating Lefties claim that they make us all richer; the hard-pressed public services in places like Norfolk complain that their children are swamping schools to the point that it’s no longer necessary to employ covert surveillance of middle class parents because they’ve all moved away anyway. (Let’s face it; who wants little Hermione to come home speaking fluent Albanian?)

My own experience of the new migrants is overwhelmingly positive, to an embarrassing point. The Polish waitresses in my favourite gastropub are charm personified – a million miles from the surly, resentful, slack-jawed English dole scum who occasionally turn up for work. The organic farm shop where I buy my carrots, artfully smeared with mud, is manned by Lithuanian crop-pickers.

But the most impressive bunch of grafters are the Romanian gypsies who run the car-wash operation at my local Tesco. I often struggle to get my car back from them, such is the care they lavish upon it, and all for a tenner. And you know what? Not a single one of them has a magical Tin Leg of Money dangling from their arms.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should see the crew of Big Issue sellers round our way, not been here long enough to learn Ingrish

2:58 AM  
Blogger Thud said...

Genuine Romany selling the big issue is definetly a sight to behold.

3:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The car wash guys round my way are brilliant. £6 for the outside or £10 for the full monty including an air freshener. There's a team of about 8. You wouldn't get your average chavscum out of bed for the money that they must be earning. It's easier to just keep collecting the benefits & inbreeding.

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Al said...

Re: surveillance by local authorities: Where do they find the budget to mount such operations, which are notoriously expensive? And who actually performed the surveillance? Are local authorities paying local private investigators to do this, do they now recruit staff especially for this type of work, or do they draft staff of off more mainstream local government work? In any case, is this really what most of us want our taxes spent on? Maybe these councils should concentrate on getting the basics right, like emptying our bins every week.

1:19 AM  
Anonymous peter carter-fuck said...


Why should local councils bother to empty the bins when they can just fine you for having the temerity to fill them?

Get with the programme: this is NuBritain 2008, they are the masters now and we are the serf class. The RIPA powers given to councils and the like were never anything to do with national security, they were about embedding the total surveillance state so that we can be kept in our place, which is at the bottom of the pile, but paying for everything these fuckers do to us.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Ninth Stage said...

"The magical Tin Leg of Money"? I thought you were talking about Heather Mills. Now that is one magical money making tin leg!

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, without wishing to defend the council (as if!), I quite like the idea of catching flytippers, although I think they should just employ snipers rather than going to the trouble of putting camera's in baked bean tins...

2:51 AM  
Anonymous Al said...

I'm all in favour of catching fly-tippers, but the guy who got a crimnal record for over-filling his bin would probably have got off scot-free if he'd chucked the lot over a hedge somewhere.

I am currently trying to get rid of a damaged wheel and tyre from my wife's car (don't ask!) bit my local dump won't accept it and can't tell me anywhere that will. The only way I could get rid of it, legally or illegally, is to fly-tip it somewhere. I have no intention of doing so, but these teo stories give me more sympathy with those who do.

6:00 AM  
Anonymous Al said...

Please excuse dreadful typing mistakes in my previous posting. It's difficult to type and look like I'm working at the same time.

6:02 AM  
Anonymous small fries said...

It is if you should be doling out Big Macs

3:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is incredible, youve been to my town!

Our Lidl is a scant two minutes walk from a flat roof pub in the same block.

8:48 PM  

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