Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Engineering Reasons To Fine Us

There’s going to come a point where there’s nothing left for the State to fine us for.

The latest map-cap, draconian, bleed-the-bastards-till-they’re-dry scheme, dreamt up by the West Sussex branch of the Brown Dictatorship, is to issue fixed penalty notices to drivers who don’t switch their engines off when they’re sitting in traffic jams.

Apparently the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations give that State the right to “request” drivers to switch off vehicle engines when being run “unnecessarily”, and to issue fixed penalties of £20 to those drivers who refuse to co-operate. This ridiculous idea is going to be piloted in Shoreham-by-Sea and will, of course, by rolled out across the rest of England the moment it meets the standard government success criterion, namely “Does it give us another chance to tell everybody what to do ?”

It speaks volumes about the nature of the relationship between State and individual that a council is sufficiently resourced to police this kind of thing. It touches on a theme that Womble On Tour is only starting to wake up to – just how closely we are being watched. In this case we’ll have traffic wardens (sorry, Highways Agency Traffic Officers) crawling all over us the moment we get held up in a traffic jam.

If I was a car bore I could go on about the fact that if you keep turning the engine off and back on you can get through more petrol than if you just keep it running, or about the strain you’re likely to put on the battery etc., but instead I’ll just point out that with petrol at £1.10 per litre, people are quite capable of making up their own minds about when it makes sense to turn their engines off and don’t need some freedom-hating fascist in a peaked cap banging on their window.

I’m glad I’ve stopped biting my nails; I reckon there’s a fine coming for that, too.

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