One of the (many) nails in the coffin of the last government was their continued obsession with the state keeping a close eye on everything that people did. The ID database wasn’t popular because of it, laws that encouraged councils to spy on applicants for school places weren’t popular, CCTV creeping into everything was getting unpopular, and one of the things that annoyed people about speed cameras was that they were being recorded all the time.
True, the bigger thing that annoyed people about speed cameras was that people kept getting fines for speeding when the road was perfectly safe, but the constant surveillance didn’t help.
So, how to get beyond that, and move to a place where they’re electable again? Simples: more of the same.
The new shadow transport minister has suggested that the country’s network of average speed cameras could be used to monitor and reward careful drivers with prizes, cheaper car tax, or by deducting penalty points from their licence.
Conscious that her party was perceived as anti-motorist when in government, Angela Eagle suggested such uses for the cameras “might make people understand there is a point to [them]” she told The Daily Telegraph.
“The speed cameras are capturing the data, the speed and number plates of the cars that go through,” she said.
“I have seen lately this idea actually if you were to use the information you get from them to have a lottery, have a draw of those who drive under the speed limit.
“There is an incentive for good behaviour which is perhaps better psychologically than a disincentive for bad behaviour.”
It’s nice that she emphasises just what is being recorded1 and then makes the mental leap that surely everyone must love the watchful stare of Nanny as she hovers over your shoulder checking that you’re not being naughty…
1 – although she seems to have neglected to mention the times and locations, both of which are very useful in drawing up a nice database of the movements of everyone in the land…