It’s been a while since I had a rant about government, hasn’t it? OK, no it hasn’t; it’s been a day. But I’ve never let such a fact get in the way before, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to let it stop me now.
And this latest rant is brought to you by the letters T O L L and the words bastarding thieving bastards.
The story is headlined Nationwide road tolls ‘outlined’, and mentions that ‘toll’ word again in the first paragraph. Which I think would be good; I have no problem with a new toll road, bridge or tunnel being made, provided that the use of it is optional (as in ‘there are other decent routes available’). The Severn bridge meets that ‘optional’ standard; so does the Dartford Crossing; so does the new M6 Toll Road. But that’s not what is actually being proposed. Oh no; it’s actually closer to our old friend, congestion charging.
Yes, it’s the old black box in every car routing, and national standards for charging. Does it mention any reduction of other taxes in return for this new one (for that is what it is)? No, there is not talk of reductions. Does it talk of any new service, or improvement in existing service, to be provided by this new tax? It does not; the tax would serve as a deterrent, apparently.
So, new taxes, offering nothing in return, and empowering the state to have a full log of everyone’s movements. In what possible universe could this be considered a good thing?
Furthermore, the article has a summary of some of the legislative agenda for the next parliament. And, seeing as how I loved the last one so much, I thought I’d take a look at it as well.
Mr Straw is drawing up the list of bills to be included in the Queen’s Speech in the autumn.
In another letter obtained by the newspaper, Mr Straw is reported to outline 13 bills expected to also be included.
They cover criminal justice; consumer protection; digital switch-over; criminal trials; free bus travel for pensioners; further education; new powers for the London Mayor; health and social security; House of Lords reform; local government; organised crime; pensions; and Child Support Agency reform.
- criminal justice
- Yay! Yet another criminal justice act. I didn’t realise that they were supposed to be annual things. I do so wonder which of our rights they’re going to be taking away this time.
- consumer protection
- I’ll hazard a guess as to what this represents: more regulation. Sorry, that’s incomplete. I meant to say ‘more badly thought out regulation, which will waste money, curtail business and not help consumers in any way’.
- digital switch-over
- Now, I like digital tv. It’s a geeky thing, it offers lots of extras, it’s all good. Forcing people to spend money that they shouldn’t have to, however, sticks in my throat.
- criminal trials
- … or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Lack of Fair Trial
- free bus travel for pensioners
- How to say that government shouldn’t be spending that much money without sounding like a bastard for curtailing the ‘right to travel for free’. Oh wait, there is no right to travel for free. I probably still sound like a bastard, though.
- further education
- They’ve screwed the primary schools. They’ve screwed the secondary schools. Now, it’s the university’s turn.
- new powers for the London Mayor
- Unless it’s the power to be hung, drawn and quartered, I’m just not interested. Unless his Clarksonness gets the job, of course.
- health and social security
- … or: How I wasted billions of pounds in return for 0 improvements in service.
- House of Lords reform
- Hang on, that was on the list last time, wasn’t it? It was. So I’ll just repeat what I said then: “reform? sure they’ve already neutered it and packed it with lackies… what further
damage‘reform’ can they do?”
- local government
- Oh dear. What silly powers are they going to give themselves now?
- organised crime
- Considering that government is the biggest organised crime there is, do you think that they’ll get round to sorting that out?
- I’m sure they’ll be abolished by the time I’m retireable anyway, so why bother getting worked up about them?
- Child Support Agency reform
- And there was much fear generated by just how badly the pooch can be screwed on that issue. I suppose that I’ll take solace from the knowlege that it seems to be worse down south.
Oh my aching blood pressure. All that nonsense has made my head hurt…