Saturday, September 20, 2008

Beware the Nazis lurking in the privets

IT’S WITH a weary sigh that we read news of plans to fine drivers who fail to turn off their engines while waiting at a level crossing or in a traffic jam. Apparently traffic wardens in West Sussex, where a trial will take place, will be empowered to leap from the bushes and slap a ticket on your windscreen costing you £40, or just £20 if you pay up straightaway without griping.

The justification for this further tax on motorists is, of course, ‘global warming’. As if it would be anything else. Mind you, it comes as no surprise to learn that this ‘problem’ arises in an area governed by a council that has just appointed two Air Quality Managers, salary unknown but probably not shy of £40,000.

Let’s think about this sensibly. Anyone who has driven down a motorway in recent months knows that there is a national obsession with saving on fuel costs. Five mile-long convoys of vehicles trundle along at 55mph in the middle lane many of them, remarkably, driven by people under 70 who aren’t wearing a Trilby. Swerving to avoid them are the rest of us, rolling along at a compromise 75mph. The outside lane is only occupied by white van men and company car drivers, usually reps in cheap shiny suits with Ginsters pasty crumbs all over their laps. They don’t pay for their petrol so they don’t care.

So I think it’s fair to say that most of us would take the opportunity to save a few bob without the interference of the fine-flinging Nanny State.

Now I have no problem with turning off my 3-litre Turbo Nutter 4x4 at a level crossing. I know that I’m going to be there for some time and therefore it makes sense. But how do you judge how long you’ll be delayed in a traffic jam? It could be one minute; it could be 10 minutes. Sometimes traffic crawls; sometimes it stops and starts and then stops again. It’s completely unfair to expect us to second-guess the ticket-happy traffic Nazi lurking in the privets.

And what about this? The AA reckons that running an engine for a minute produces fewer emissions than turning it off and turning it on again, so where’s the gain? Their spokesman, Paul Watters, says: “We hope councils will not adopt a heavy-handed attitude with this. There is a huge difference between running the engine for less than a minute at the traffic lights and idling for a quarter of an hour.”

If Mr Watters expects the Powers That Be to be in any way reasonable, I suspect that he hasn’t been out much lately.

OF COURSE, we’re all getting hysterical about the imposition of stupid law after stupid law. It’s all media over-reaction, isn’t it?

Well let’s whizz down to Whitstable in Kent, where Daniel Cope, 13, put up posters on walls and lampposts near his home appealing for help when his beloved tortoiseshell cat Millie went missing.

The response was immediate. Within three days his mother, Heather, received a visit from a ‘community warden’ who informed her that the posters breached a ban on fly-posting under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act and that she would attract an £80 fixed penalty fine unless they were removed.

Daniel has now taken down the posters. His pet cat is still missing.

Is this the Britain you want to live in? It’s certainly not a country of which I can be proud.

WHICH BRINGS us to Lymm Services on the M6 in Cheshire. Emma Faulkner, a cruise ship waitress, was driving home from London to Lancashire just after midnight when she began to feel tired. Obeying the tiresome and usually useless messages on the overhead displays, she pulled into the services and had a kip. She awoke at 4.30am and continued her journey safely.

Weeks later, she received a letter demanding £50 because she had outstayed the service station’s two-hour parking limit and been photographed by an advanced number plate recognition system and automatically fined.

A spokesman for the car park operators, Parking Eye (and isn’t that a sinister name?) says: “The signage within the motorway service station is very clear, stating that if a motorist wishes to park for longer than two hours there is a fee.”

So that’s all right then. Never mind road safety, never mind the risk of dropping off and piling head-on into a people carrier full of children. As long as the signage is clear, the people who run Lymm Services can wash their hands of any kind of public responsibility with a clear conscience.

Is this the Britain you want to live in? It’s certainly not a country of which I can be proud.

THERE APPEARS to be much outrage in the national press because Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, when quizzed on television about the value of the State pension, said: “I think it’s about thirty quid now, isn't it?”

No, Nick, it isn’t. The basic pension is now £90.70 a week for a single person and £145.45 for a couple.

So what do we deduce from this? Either Mr Clegg thinks that a pensioner can heat and eat on an utter pittance, or that Mr Clegg, ex-public school, ex-Oxbridge, million-pound home-owner, and a man who has never had a proper job, is so removed from reality that he simply doesn’t know that “about thirty quid” is what I spend on fags and booze every day, rather than what we expect the people who have served us all our lives to live on in their final days.

Is this the Britain you want to live in? It’s certainly not a country of which I can be proud.


Blogger cartermagna said...

In Yeovil the fortnightly bin collection has been in place for over 2 years. This also includes very strict recycling practices; plastics, cans, glass and food. Woe betide anyone not putting their scraps in the little brown bucket.

My point? It's saving on collecting the rubbish and doing the things council bloody well should be doing that finances the rest of the fodder for your column. It doesn't seem fair anymore Bazza and that's for sure.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous arescee said...

value of the State pension, “I think it’s about thirty quid now, isn't it?”

And this from politicians,- that elitist group of muppets, that deem themselves, as being fit to run our countries and merit the high salaries, perks and fiddles that they award themselves, alledgedly to attract "The correct calibre of people".

Goes to show how much study they put into their liviehood then eh! or how much care, effort or service they actually put in before their usual pre-election war cry, that they only do it to "serve" "their" Country.
Where the hell is "Their Country" anyway? because it certainly doesn't seem to be this one they are serving.

Is this the Britain you want to live in? It’s certainly not a country of which I can be proud

The rot started from the top, it needs to be amputated and buried in the empty pits it created!

4:53 AM  
Blogger Grumpy Goat said...

Is this the Britain you want to live in?

Well you know where the airport is. Or if tofu-knitting is more your style, the seaport.

I voted with my feet more than a decado ago. Britain is a nice enough place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

6:10 AM  
Anonymous enbilly said...

I suspect the two-hour limit in Lymm Services carpark was intended to prevent gippos, tinkers, travellers, spongers and similar riff-raff from taking up permanent residence. Still, for £50 they should have brought her 'breakfast in car' with the newspaper of her choice.

Mind you £50 is quite a modest fine. My local council recently set the maximum fine for not picking up a dog turd at £3500! Meanwhile they leave their stinking dogshit bins unemptied until the stench is gut-churning.

And what's so surprising about a politician being a clueless, out-of-touch prat?
What a choice we will have at the next General Election - 'Corporal' Clegg, Greedy Gordon, Lord Snooty or one of the minor fascist outfits (UK Independence, BNP, Greens, Nationalists etc.)

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an idea - make the politicians live with the results of their policies. This means they, and their families, get to use the NHS, state schools, and draw a state pension, rather than the gold lined setups they seem to have for everything these days.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Shug Niggurath said...

I doubt that there's many people who bother keeping up with developments are proud anymore.

This is a depressing country now and as soon as the parents and in-laws shuffle off the mortal coil it'll be Canada or India (seriously!) for me and mine.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here`s an interesting point (yawn)!!! Pet insurance companies which pay for your animal treatment and save you pet charges often offer to "pay for your printing costs" to put up posters when Fido and Tiddles go missing!!!

Does that mean they should pay the anti social behaviour fnie then???

Answers on a post card to all you eager legal beadles out there...

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I`m thinking of setting up a militant group called "Why the hell should I still pay my £5.30 bridge toll on the second severn crossing when three times this week there has been a hold up at the tolls for over 10 minutes.

How hard can it be to get money from car drivers - are people bartering??? A frigging goat for each way sire...that`ll do nicely.

I wouldn`t be so angry but they are always welsh and dont give a shite.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baz - you seem to have missed an important point, and that is with all these people turning their engine off, it is inevitable that skinhead/pikie/chav/freeloader* will be unable to start their 10 year old Orion, thus clogging up the roads even more than they are.

*delete where appropriate

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And another thing: does this mean that all buses will have to turn off their engines when picking up people for fear of being fined? They could be there for 10 minutes while some old dear finds her change.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old Dears has bus passes. They don't fumble for their change.

3:57 AM  
Anonymous VanensMagt said...

i whole heartedly agree with the message youre sending, ..and as a supporter of the true aspects of Nietzsche and those I view as true European pioneers, I must say that its up to humans to fight for their lives to be the way they want them, instead of relying on government owned religions sectors and cities, and labels and laws. It's not anarchy that i suggest, only openmindedness and some individual pride for what matters. perhaps britain is no longer what it was, (certainly its not) but we should be loyal to ourselves, as we're all we've got. let the day to day bullshit slide, if you have the will. cheers.

9:16 PM  

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