Thursday, 3 March 2005


Just seen a programme on TV - Dispatches - about all the scams operated by the Traffic Wardens. While a few years ago this all used to be the Police's responsibility, and one assumes less revenue-driven, many local councils now employ private contractors to issue tickets. Some councils even have revenue clauses in their contracts.

Totally abhorent. Clear examples of scenarios where privatisation is wrong. You bring the private contractor in and the focus shifts from keeping the roads clear, in this case, to generating revenue.

The programme put secret cameras (a) with a bunch of Traffic Wardens in Southwark, (b) inside the Congestion Charge HQ, and (c) inside the appeals department for some council up by Manchester. In all three cases they were unhelpful, and that is I think the mildest language possible, to the public. A guy who has never even owned the car in question gets bailiffs at his door because the Congestion Charge people reckon he owes them money. All common sense is dropped for the sake of procedures. Very crooked indeed.
Brings to mind a good article I found, of all places, the Telegraph. About a pensioner called Robert de Crittenden, who is challenging the issuing of fines without some prior court case. Here. Good luck to him, very interesting stuff.

For me, I have felt awful for the last 24 hours. Just cold symptoms, nothing serious. Came back from London last might and was shivering like nobody's business, felt terribly cold. Slept badly, since I woke halfway through the night drenched in cold sweat (well, I had gone to bed fully clothed!). So, it was the easiest thing in the world to turn over when the alarm went off this morning. I felt a little guilty because I can't really afford to lose the money, but I did feel achy. The annoting thing is that I still feel the same now, and I really must go into London tomorrow. Normally these things are 24-hour bugs, so let's hope I feel better in the morning.

Nighty, night.

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