Tag Archives: government cuts

20mph zones


20ishGood drivers don’t need them, bad drivers will always ignore them. 20mph zones are appearing everywhere these days, and no-one would deny speed reduction is advantageous in many locations, but what should be done about drivers who won’t adhere to the limit? Prosecute, I hear many shout, and yes, that would have the desired effect.

Well, not in all areas. In over a year Lancashire police have not prosecuted a single driver for speeding in 20mph zones. So either all Lancashire drivers stick to speed limits or… ??

When questioned on this point the PCC gave this response… 20mph speed zones

Good enough, would you say?

Not for me!


Why do cars…


Cars reflect drivers personalityNot true in every case, though there’s a strong argument to support the theory. Butched-up pickups driven by guys who can’t be bothered with seatbelts, who’re on the phone as they drive, and who think speed limits are for everyone else. Expensive 4×4’s (the Chelsea tractor), designed for off-road terrain, yet driven by a female accompanied by 2 kids on the school run, the aim of which is to “be protected” from every other road user. Then there’s the boy racer, been driving 5 minutes yet knows it all, car trimmed with every conceivable gadget designed to make the motor sound faster than an F1. There’re many other examples, and I haven’t even touched on white van man!

It’s also true that many traits crossover between drivers.

When we get into our cars it’s as though we put on a cloak of invincibility. We become the best driver around, and all the problems are down to other “idiots”. Heaven forbid anyone less able than ourselves should be on OUR road when we are using it. Here comes road-rage!

Vanity – Image… Come on people, grow up!!

Some might say “why aren’t police tackling these problems?” Cuts, in funding from government, but that’s a different issue (too big to deal with here).

Why can’t we police ourselves? Whatever happened to courtesy? It’s simple enough; traffic laws are there for everyone’s benefit, and apply to everyone! Ignoring them isn’t clever, that just makes you one of those idiots you so vehemently despise.

If everyone drove as though they were carrying their most precious cargo, every journey, roads would not only be safer but a lot less stressful too.


What’s wrong with society?


CrimeSocietyI won’t attempt to provide a definitive response to that question, what I will do is put forward my thoughts on how things can be improved in at least one or two areas.

Take for example Crime. The government wants to save money, so public sector resources such as police are logical targets. The police are continually under pressure to solve more & more crimes with fewer & fewer officers. Why are there more crimes? Because there are fewer officers to prevent them!

There are various levels of crime though, ranging from the petty right up to, well, anything you care to name. Clearly the major crimes such as murder, robbery etc attract most police resources, which necessarily means that there are fewer officers to deal with the lower level crimes.

However, with very few exceptions, most criminals begin small & work up. What starts out as stealing a bar of chocolate from a supermarket can easily progress to street muggings and even on to armed robbery. Obviously not every criminal develops that way but the point I’m making is that if they get away with small crimes then the temptation is there to go for bigger rewards. 

The same thing can be seen on our roads. Someone gets away with parking where they shouldn’t; others see it and do the same. Then having got away with that one, it’s only a small step to not wearing a seat belt, or speeding, or using a mobile while driving. All relatively low-level offences in isolation but what if everyone drove around ignoring the rules? There’d be chaos & devastation.

It’s easy for police to say “we don’t have enough officers to deal with minor crimes”, but those are exactly the crimes they should be focusing on. Punish the minor crimes and deter the progression to anything bigger. Nip it in the bud, as the saying goes.

Clearly though it’s not as simple as that. In order to bring about such radical policing policies there’d need to be changes in other areas of law too, like the way offenders are dealt with (courts, prisons etc.), and that would then have a knock-on effect for other sectors. A massive undertaking.

I’ve hardly scratched the surface on this subject and it’s already becoming complicated, so to imaging any politician would have the will to embark on such changes is wishful thinking at best. That doesn’t alter the fact that the theory is sound. As a former Prime Minister once said, we must get “back to basics”, get the foundations right & the rest will follow just fine.

So “Mr Policeman”, the next time you see someone breaking the law don’t look the other way because it’s too much trouble. Make a start at doing your bit. ACT!


When it’s needed


Stair liftFor people who get around easily it’s sometimes difficult to understand the problems for those who can’t. Even walking up stairs can be a major obstacle. Take the case of a person who, because of hip and spinal problems, struggled to climb the stairs in their home. This person thought a stair lift would be a solution, so applied to the local council for financial assistance (these items can be expensive).

The actual process of installation would take one day, with possibly a few hours previously for preparation work. This person started the application process. After 2 years a physical assessment was done and it was agreed a stair lift was necessary. Great they thought, help at last. But No, not yet. They were told that it could be another 2 years before their application is approved, if indeed approved it is. If not, the 4 year wait will have been in vain.

The point here is this; when such a mobility aid is required is it reasonable to expect a person in difficulties to wait 4 years? Clearly not! These delays are always put down to financial pressures, so why then is the UK government still sending £Bn to other countries? There’s something fundamentally wrong with a system that puts foreigners ahead of its own citizens!

Update 07/08/14I’ve managed to obtain a copy of the documents that were required to be completed in order to apply for the grant mentioned above. Up to 62 pages of information had to be provided before the council would even consider the application. If that isn’t designed to deter applicants I don’t know what is!

Totally reliant on technology


PlatesFrom 1st October 2014 the tax disc (or road fund licence) is to be abolished, after 93 years. Vehicles will still be required to be taxed but there won’t be the familiar paper disc displayed on the windscreen. This is, according to the government, a move to reduce unnecessary paperwork and cut hassle, all leading to monetary savings. So what’s happening instead of the tax disc, how will we know if a vehicle is taxed or not?

The government say “most on-road enforcement action is now based on using Automatic Number Plate Readers. These cameras use the number plate rather than a visual inspection of the tax disc.” So, unless you have access to ANPR and the database you won’t know the tax status of any vehicle. Not important some may say, but wait, what about the “neighbour” who always had a “tax in the post” sticker on his screen or the one who just never bothered with road tax at all? You pay your road tax so why shouldn’t they? The government want us to report wrong-doers, but under this new system you won’t be able to.

There’s also another, more sinister, problem. As the checks are to be done using only the vehicle registration number this opens up opportunities for unscrupulous people (let’s call them criminals) to physically steal (or just clone) the number plates from a legitimately taxed vehicle and transfer them to their own (same make/model/colour). For all practical purposes they’d then be driving a taxed vehicle, and would only get caught if further checks (i.e. VIN or Vehicle Identification Number) were carried out, something that is beyond the scope of ANPR cameras. Maybe now it doesn’t seem quite such a good idea…

So, are we to expect a rise in the theft of number plates? Certainly those “security fasteners” (modified screws) that companies sell at somewhat inflated prices will become more of a necessity. It may encourage more people to tax their vehicles, or it may just encourage crime. It remains to be seen just how beneficial, or otherwise, this move turns out to be. One thing’s for sure though, I’ll be keeping an even closer eye on my number plates from October!

P.S.- What about those “funny” plates, the ones made to read like something other than the index number of the vehicle; ANPR cameras can’t cope with those, so the driver gets away with it..?


Maybe Not Dickens


BoEWith the British people facing austerity unseen for decades it’s clear that the government are strapped for cash (or so they say), hence all the cuts in public spending etc. It’s also the reason we’re being told to be more self-reliant; expect less from the state and provide more for ourselves.

Certainly the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has made it clear that he has no intention of increasing the interest rate anytime soon, despite having previously indicated it would happen as soon as inflation & unemployment falls. This being intended to keep mortgages low and help people spend.

Well, guess what, inflation & unemployment are both down (according to the governments “O.S.A.”), yet there’s no sign of any increase in interest rates. A good thing some may say, but wait. With incomes continuing to fall behind expenditures, meaning people are getting poorer, how – rather what – are people supposed to spend. It can’t be “credit”, living on that is the reason for this predicament in the first place.

Going back to the “self-reliant” theme; savings are what many people are relying on to get by, yet with interest rates at their lowest for years there’s virtually no return on savings or investments, so how long can people expect those to last?

It’s about time politicians and financiers realised they need to redress the balance between spending & saving. Far too much emphasis is placed on the former, yet without savers there’d be no spending!

Let’s see savers get some thanks for their efforts for a change!

UK in Need


Flooded BritainAt the first mention of disasters anywhere in the world the UK government immediately get out the cheque book. Time and time again we see £M being sent across the globe, even though we face cuts at home. But when the UK is hit by unparalleled weather, and the subsequent horrors it brings, which countries reciprocate?

Indeed, it was only recently when MP’s began to feel the true strength of anger amongst the British public that they reluctantly announced they would “divert” some of the overseas aid budget – to help us in this country. Too little, too late!

MP’s from all sides are making concerned noises, in an effort to retain their jobs at the next election, though even now, in the face of the devastation communities across the UK are suffering, overseas aid is still a ring-fenced area for this government.

The UK is not facing these adverse weather patterns alone, we know that, but we MUST make our politicians understand that they have to look after British people ahead of all others – or maybe they expect other nations to support them at election time!

It’s the old story, years of neglect by subsequent governments are coming back to bite the British people on the arse! If only a fraction of the cash sent abroad had been spent on maintaining/updating resources in this country, we wouldn’t be in the predicament we are today.