Friday, October 09, 2009

Nanny knows best!

Today's Metro (p30) and the BBC (Wednesday night) have a story about Nottingham City Council's expansion of fixed penalty notices.

"Offences such as leaving a car engine running [...] attract fines from £50 to £300."

WTF? It's an offence to leave a car engine running? It's expensive, certainly, at £1.29/litre, but how the hell is it a crime needing punishment?

I suppose they're going to ban turbo timers (devices which keep the engine idling to allow a turbocharger to cool down gradually) as well? Given that engines are hopelessly inefficient just after starting, forcing people to stop and restart their engines when their passenger pops into a shop for a one-minute errand, will pollute more, waste fuel, waste battery power, wear out starter motors and generally make life worse. So that'll be another stealth tax - in the same vein as speed bumps - from government deliberately inflicting damage on motor vehicles...

Apparently these fines will be meted out - unaccountably, no doubt - by "Community Protection Officers". That raises the question of whether they exist to protect the community, or to protect something from the community, because I don't think fining people for keeping their engines ticking over or leaving their bins out is particularly public-spirited.

A thought for such authoritarian governments: you are accountable to us, not we to you.

- KoW

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