1 September 2010

Stormtroopers

They're back. In our towns and cities. Strutting in their uniforms. Glowering at passers-by, taking note of everything in the very vanguard of what seems to be a neo-Nazi takeover. Talking of vanguards... sometimes you see them in pairs, riding in little white vans. They themselves ignore parking restrictions as they leap out of these armoured vehicles to nobble unsuspecting motorists. Yes folks, it's the parking enforcement officers. Like amoeba under a microscope, they are multiplying.

I'm really getting sick of it. Every time you go out you need to take a pocket full of change for a parking ticket. When you're finally parked up, your excursion is always punctuated by frequent time checks as you witness your precious parking time diminishing.

In Sheffield, parking restrictions are fanning out into the suburbs with "residents only" streets and an array of ugly black ticket dispensers from which change is "not given". Why?

In seeking to entrap motorists, councils have devised a whole catalogue of confusing and variable signs. "Taxis only after 6.30 pm", "No return within two hours", "Fifteen minutes free parking with ticket", "No loading", "Disabled access required", "Enter car registration number before purchasing ticket" and so on. It's the stuff of nightmares. One can so easily feel like Winston Smith, looking over one's shoulder for Big Brother's roving eye.

Motorists pay for their licences, annual car tax and over-priced insurance. We pay excessive maintenance bills and duty on the petrol provided to us by corporate cartels. Then when we go out to park our cars we're treated like cash cows and criminals. As I say - I'm sick of it. Instead of devising ways to bleed money out of us, councils should instead be finding ways of providing free parking facilities for hard-pressed citizens.

I know it's not the stormtroopers' fault. They're only earning a crust. They didn't make the system. But didn't they also say something like that when quizzed in 1945? So I'm going to take a few out. I've got twelve camp beds set up in our "underhouse"/cellar area and a big fishing net in the back of the car. When nobody's looking, I'm going to bag me my first parking enforcement officer this afternoon. I've been logging his movements through my binoculars. I suspect that he will squeal like a stuffed pig so a gag will also be necessary. Now where's my old Hull City scarf?

6 comments:

  1. Great idea, YP. It's not that bad here but it probably soon will be.

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  2. I don't mind paying to park in a proper car park that someone has built and has to maintain, but why do we have to pay to park on the street? The only cost to the council are the bloody machines that take our dosh.

    As for the gutter gestapo, I can think of just one in the last few years who let me off for being five minutes late getting back to my car. Must have been his birthday.

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  3. Do you mean you have to pay them cash on the spot? Here, you receive a citation and then either mail the money in (guilty as charged) or appear in person in traffic court in front of a judge.

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  4. I am always incredulous that there seems to be no shortage of parking enforcement officers, yet our police force is understaffed and there's no guarantee someone will show up in an emergency.

    By the way, this school year, I plan to walk to my daughter's school (2 miles/3.2 kilometers away) and have her walk home with me at least part of the way and take the bus the rest of the way. I'm tired of using gas and having to navigate what feels like an obstacle course for two measly miles and then have to find a parking spot.

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  5. Chortle. I love the image of twelve meter men and/or maids trussed up with footie scarves languishing down in the cellar of Pudding Towers. Poor things.

    But I got cross when the dispenser in Queenstown wouldn't accept my credit card and the note I stuck on my dash was ignored. Forty bucks! Greedy beggars!

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  6. Our county has no money, but they got a federal grant to inspect for abandoned wells. Soooo it's OK if the county dump pollutes our water, the county has no money to clean that up. But if a farmer has a well that hasn't been used in over a year, some county yahoo is going to come tromping through the weeds, find it, and demand that it be properly capped. I just got a letter from the county about this yesterday. But now, thanks to my buddy YP, I know what to do about it. I have a basement. I have a cot. I have a padlock. Thanks for the inspiration.

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