Are we being paranoid or…

By SallyB2 Last edited 128 months ago
Are we being paranoid or…

…is the government really and truly trying to squeeze every last penny out of us at the moment? Never in this Londonista’s long history of being fined for breathing out of turn have Jobsworths seemed so perniciously jobsworthy. Put one foot wrong, and the powers that think they are are trying to penalise you for it.

Londonist isn’t having a bad day, in case you are wondering what has triggered this tirade; hey the sun is shining and everything’s just peachy in the ista-verse. It was the story of another daftly issued parking ticket wandering across our computer screens that did it. In this case a lady in Waltham Forest (a council known for their somewhat batty decision-making) parked her car using four 50p half hour vouchers (£2.00/2 hours): when she returned she had been fined £60.00 because she should have used two £1.00 one hour vouchers (er, £2.00/2 hours – we thought we’d do the arithmetic for you in case you’ve had a long day) instead. On this occasion the council agreed to waive the charge, although they pointed out that the regulations are all in the small print.

Londonist’s friend the shop-keeper reports that tickets are now being routinely issued to all vehicles in a twenty minute loading bay regardless of whether they are loading or not: the principle seems to be to fine us in the hope that one or two of us are stupid enough to pay up. Three or four letters and goodness knows how much taxpayers’ money later…. Cripes, even Joan Bakewell’s had a run-in with the system recently. There are websites aplenty where you can vent your motoring spleen if you too are a victim of brainless ticketing.

But its not just traffic wardens: council inspectors of every shape and hue, customs officials, the CSA (remember them? Yup, they’ve risen from the ashes to start ruining lives again)…they’re all out to get us. Add on the stealth taxes – the proposed Olympic council tax levy, the congestion charge – and we can only think that the government is totally and utterly broke.

So what do you think? Is the bureaucracy getting worse where you are? Are our civil servants getting more and more penny-pinching? Or is Londonist getting delusional?

Well and truly clamped car courtesy of sarflondondunc’s flickr stream under the Creative Commons Agreement.

Last Updated 05 June 2008