Thursday, 30 November 2006

Surveillance, Gas Guzzlers and the Government

I have a theory; in fact I’ve had this theory for some considerable time and it all relates to the “Big Brother” attitude of the Government and how they are trying to limit our movements. There is nothing they would love more than to price the motorist off the roads but then have no stealth taxes coming in to invest in alternative public transport. In short we’d have no alternative but to stay within walking distance of our homes. Add the much hated ID cards into the equation and while they are about it, compulsory tagging, and the Labour party righteous would have us exactly where they wanted us.

More surveillance than Russia
It is a fact that we now have more closed circuit surveillance cameras watching us than in any other country in the world. Blair and his merry men try to tell us that they are security cameras; perhaps they are but who are they providing security for? They probably allow Government ministers to feel more secure but hardly the British people. This is proven by the fact that the police never seem to be able to apprehend the criminals that operate in spite of the fact that they know they are being filmed. Put the offenders on Crime Watch and the quality is so poor that nobody can recognise them, which only poses the question of why are they there in the first place? We are watched constantly, everywhere we go and a part of my theory relates to a belief that Big Brother wants to know where we are every minute of the day. The Labour party are paranoid. If they believe that security cameras help us and protect us in our fight against terrorism, then why didn’t this surveillance prevent the London bombings?

Surveillance cameras are a feature on every motorway but they aren’t being used to prevent the country reaching total gridlock. Shouldn’t the purpose be used as a means to re-distribute congestion? If the Ministry of Transport really wanted to help ease traffic congestion then shouldn’t they be providing early warnings of impending gloom on the roads many miles before we ever get to the snarl ups? With the technology we have at our disposal why is traffic not re-routed say ten, fifteen or even twenty miles before a major incident? I don’t know the answer to that but somebody in the Ministry does. To the contrary it seems that the Government actually wants to delay our journeys and perhaps the underlying reason could be because they are trying to force us to rid ourselves of our cars by creating organised pandemonium on our roads so that it is becoming almost impossible to complete a simple journey on time. Could there be some underlying plot to force us all to stay where they know where to find us? If we all remained at home and did our work on the internet then no doubt a Government agency would be planting spiders or some other gadgets into our hard drives that tell them exactly what key strokes we are making,. This is assuming of course that they haven’t done so already!

Motorway madness
The whole system in this country seems to be arse-about-face. They are widening the M1 south of Luton as everybody knows but this is going to take at least a further two years to be completed. Is this because the Government are trying not to spend any money on the project because whenever I drive through this eternal balls up I am yet to witness more than two or three people actually doing any work. It seems nobody does anything at weekends or between the hours of 5.00pm and 9.00am.on weekdays so that doesn’t allow much time for my 2-3 three workers to complete a major road project between tea breaks. At one time, when a major highway required repairs, there would be teams of men working shifts twenty-four-seven to get the project finished in the shortest possible time. Even with this kind of input the projects were generally running behind schedule. On this basis if we start to believe that the M1 widening scheme below Luton will really be completed by December 2008 then we must be in cloud cuckoo land. Apart from some bridge supports and a load of mud what else has been achieved? I really pity those poor souls that have to drive through this crazy chaos everyday because it is enough to put you into a straight jacket and send you screaming to the psychiatric ward. At first I thought the aim was to raise the revenue to pay for the scheme from the specs speed cameras (oops … don’t I mean safety cameras?) that watch over us like hawks These were installed “to protect the work force” (sic) by ensuring that nobody drives at over a 50 mph average speed. My theory however can be shattered by the fact that hardly anybody ever gets out of second gear to get anywhere near this speed so the Government coffers must be pretty empty on that score. Hence, no money to pay for the construction work. I can just see Brown trying to balance his books and wondering where his next billion is going to come from.

What is to follow is an extra M1 junction being planned between 13 and 14 in our neck of the woods. How many years is this going to take and how will this affect the dreadful problems that befall those trying to cross the motorway at Junction 13? You might recall that it took them around 12 weeks simply to repair the supports and structure of the bridge that carries the Willen Road from Tongwell that caused diabolical chaos for anyone travelling into Milton Keynes from Newport Pagnell, Bedford or Olney everyday. God forbid, building an entire new junction doesn’t bear thinking about!

Somebody in the Ministry of Transport came up with the bright idea of allowing peak time traffic to use the hard shoulders of the motorway. A section of m-way was tested in the West Midlands and the civil servants were jumping about congratulating themselves. As usual the scheme doesn’t seem to have been thoroughly thought through. First of all the hard shoulders on motorways were built to allow broken down vehicles to be parked clear of fast moving traffic. If the lane is to be used as an additional carriageway then what happens when the inevitable does happen and somebody does breaks down? My guess is that the following traffic will simply plough into the back of the stationery vehicle causing death and destruction because drivers won’t be able to stop in time. The result will be mayhem. Another point relates to the construction of the hard shoulders. As they were never built to carry a volume of traffic, how long will the surfaces stand up before they too need replacing?

Let’s price the motorist off the road
It seems that Blair’s boys are really trying extremely hard to stop us using our cars. The theory I have this time is that they are really hell-bent on pricing us off the roads. In so doing this will leave empty roads to allow only official ministry vehicles and the stinking rich to move about the country unimpeded as they once did in Soviet Russia and Communist China. If motorists think we’ve had it tough already with the highest fuel taxes in Europe, road tax charges based on engine capacity and income tax penalties for driving company cars, beware because this is only the beginning. The Borough of Richmond already looks set to impose huge parking charges on Chelsea tractors; Red Ken promises to follow suit with a thumping £25 congestion charge that will be forced on anyone driving a car bigger than his and there is talk of charging us for every mile travelled on our roads. At least the 4-wheel boys will still have the option of running amok by cutting across the fields. How long will it take for other sheepish councils to follow these charges by making their own once they realise how much they can raise to fund their jollies through yet even more stealth taxes? As I don’t think the Mayor of London owns a car (he prefers a thing called The Tube) then this will eventually mean everyone will be expected to pay the increased charge.

The vanishing taxes
An issue that these goody-goodies seem to forget is the amount of VAT the Government already collects every time a car dealer sells any new car let alone a fuel hungry 3-litre or Chelsea tractor that raises loads more. The road tax charges are also higher and, because big engines guzzle more fuel, there is also much more revenue for the Treasury to collect from the big-car owners in fuel tax than from someone driving a Smart car. Get rid of thirsty cars and where is the Government going to turn to replace this revenue? Of course, silly me, it will have to come from those the cigarettes smokers and enjoy a few drinks! Imagine the next budget … fags £20 a pack; a pint of beer £15. You think I’m joking but who would have believed five years ago that 20 cigarettes would cost about five quid? Perhaps they might also raise the VAT level to say 20 or 25% thus crippling businesses even more. We’re led to believe that this is all being done to help us save the planet by cutting done on exhaust emissions. Who are they trying to kid more especially as punchy Two Jags Prescott now has a third to carry his croquet set? Of course it would be a wonderful vote winner for the Blairites if we all scrapped our cars and bought electrically powered hybrids that chugged along at 5 mph while we searched for a mains outlet to recharge the damn things. The Government (read police) would also lose their revenue from speed (sorry … safety) cameras. The Greens would simply have a field day. But, as a reporter on the BBC pointed out, wouldn’t the amount of emissions being blown into the atmosphere during the actual construction of these hybrid cars totally outweigh the cause? Of course they would. But wait, the best bit relating to the demands to save the planet is still to come. Somebody has already produced figures to suggest that even if we all did everything we’re being told to do in this country to protect the environment, it would all be completely fruitless because it would take the Chinese just 64 days of normal, everyday fossil fuel burning in their great polluted cities to undo everything we had achieved! Bloody marvellous isn’t it? So why are we burning so much energy even thinking about ways that we can save the planet?

I am afraid with this Government it is all about doing what they tell us to do … but don’t criticise Labour for not setting a good example. Maybe I’m the one who is paranoid.

This article was previously published on

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