Clowns & Jokers

Stuck in the middle.... Left, right, centre. It's a mess out there.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Selective Hearing

I was interested to read in the Times that Sweden have gone one better than London with congestion charging having had the time to observe ours in action. Living right in the heart of the congestion zone I am a bit screwed if I wanted to, for example, take my little car to the supermarket to stock up on a shedload of stuff - since it means purchasing a weeks worth of congestion credit to do so. Forget going there on a Saturday when the charge doesn’t apply or late at night when the charge doesn’t apply (and when I could benefit from the 24 hour opening hours) - since there will always be a queue to get in and park.

I don’t bother so everything gets delivered now. For which I pay a big fat delivery charge but im past caring. In fact I think I might spend less shopping on line because you miss all those cunning special offers (“12 shamppos for the price of 10!!”)

Interestingly (if youre bored) London and Stockholm both have the same number of drivers entering the charging zone each day but drivers in London pay more and are five times more likely to be fined. Funny that, really, what with Ken in charge. Drivers in London have to remember to pay each day and can do so at a shop, by text message, online or by ringing a call centre. In principle that’s straight forward enough but actually it’s a real effort so who can be bothered. Only those who really have to drive i suppose.

In Stockholm, more than 60% of drivers have a credit card-sized electronic tag fitted on the windscreen behind the rear-view mirror. This is read electronically by beacons on overhead gantries that straddle the road at 18 points of entry to the city. The system then deducts payments from drivers’ bank accounts by direct debit.

Stockholm’s mayor, Annika Billstrom, said: “We have learnt from London’s mistakes (replace London with Ken) and have a more modern system which the motorist sees as fair (not in Kens vocabulary). We do not want to penalise people for forgetting to pay (Ken does). We recognise that it sometimes takes a while to get round to remembering” (Ken couldn’t care less. Ken just hates everyone).

See, that’s a nicer approach. Plus Stockholm’s system has cut twice as much traffic as Ken Livingstone’s scheme, despite drivers paying an average of only £2 a day!

“HRH the Mayor of London” raised the flat-rate daily charge by 60% to a whopping £8 last summer without any consultation. Then cunningly sent out consultation forms to people already paying the charge to ask if other London Zones, like Hammersmith, should be exempt or not. They are HARDLY likely to say yes are they. So Hammersmith gets the scheme now too. And Ken gets to say he consulted ‘everyone’. Clever eh.

Stockholm will also have a referendum on September 17 to decide whether the scheme should continue.

So there we have it, if it were needed - further proof that Ken is a despot.

I’ve no problem with CCTV in London at all. We’ve lived with it since the happy days of Irish terrorism and by and large they do make me feel safer, are good for catching terrorists as we saw last summer etc. The Swedish system they describe above is (apparently) far less intrusive.

The latest cameras here are SOMETHING ELSE!

Here’s a cluster I spotted recently straddling a residential road in Lambeth. And that’s only half a section – this thing stretched out over half the street.

Compare with regular versions:-

I gather that TfL are heading to Stockholm and plan to bring the new system to London in 2008. We''ll see how fair the system ends up once Ken gets hold of it.

Whilst on the ranting topic of Ken.... (bear with me here). A few months ago I wrote again to his office and asked him why I had been accepted and then unaccepted onto the housing scheme for first time buyers. I got a reply a few days ago. I was told in no uncertain terms that as Im not a ‘key’ ‘worker’ I cant join their special club.

‘Key’ ‘workers’ is a term used by Ken Korp to highlight the ‘much more desperate’ plight of public ‘service’ workers trying to get onto the housing ladder. Private sector workers -who earn the -SAME MONEY- don’t get a look in, ya see.

Ken’s response was that he sympathized with my plight and was trying to widen the term to include bus drivers.

Eh? (mental image cue SouthPark: “Drugs are bad kids mmmkay?”)

I used the term PRIVATE WORKER about 20 times. At no point did I mention that I drive a bus for a living. OR that I was remotely concerned about bus drivers getting onto the housing ladder. Id make a crap bus driver. What was he trying to tell me?

The following week I get a great big pull out colour newsletter telling me how Ken is ‘listening to me’ and ‘working with me’ for a better city.

*sarcastic evil smile*.

It also has a ever so helpful small detachable section for me to request the brochure in Urdu (and maaaaany other languages). Just in case.


At Thursday, 06 April, 2006, Blogger Hellpig said...

Urdu WTF ?

Great job taking some of the slack from the pub.

Alison that is a serious grouping of surveilence cameras,at least the techs will have jobs for some time.

America will at some point,some are,start to use this approach.We have ticketing camera's but no toll camera,as of yet.

At Thursday, 06 April, 2006, Blogger Tom Tyler said...

As you said back in October, surely everyone is a "key worker" in some sense? (except for estate agents, I suppose). What Prescott means by "key worker" is "key to ensuring NuLab stays in power", as all these public-sector armies of diversity awareness officers, hospital line managers and target monitors, and police "community development strategists" know that they would be out of a job were it not for this ultra-Statist government.

At Thursday, 06 April, 2006, Blogger Alison said...

'from the pub', sorry hellpig dont get u..? do u mean i just came back from the pub? yes i did. urdu was just one of a nos of languages the blurb could be translated into. wtff? because this government would hate for people to mix and learn english.

tom - one day id like to think they will be. just cant think who to vote for at the mo. what about you?

At Thursday, 06 April, 2006, Blogger Hellpig said...

"Pub Philosopher"

At Friday, 07 April, 2006, Blogger Rastaman said...

No no Hellpig, that's Phlub Pilosopher. It's his day off.

Holy CRAP, Alison!!!! You have to PAY to go to town to shop? A CONGESTION FEE? No kidding? I can't imagine it. My God, you poor people must be getting packed in like sardines in a tin. And you have to get on some kind of government special list to buy a home? Hard to imagine. I just bought a very modern 3 bedroom, 2 full bath home with a workshop and modest deck on a nice lot by a huge lake, surrounded by forest, for $90,000. No waiting in line. But then, I'm wonderful.

There's a lot of open space in the UK. Don't you have community planning so people can move out of London and spread out to new, maybe more vertically built suburb communities with appropriately planned shopping centers?

We too are growing cameras on street lampposts but that's a good thing for the most part. It catches criminal acts and gets the bad boys put away frequently. It could also be the future infrastructure for a "Brave New World" form of government and probably will as long as complacency is the dominant tendency among the populace. The price you pay....

Back to reality (God I hate doing that) it sounds like maybe time you thought of moving to a less populous area, if you can stand leaving your friends behind. Not much likelihood of things getting better, now, is there?
In the meantime I strongly suggest you request additional brochures in Urdu, Swahili and Sanskrit for your "immediate family members". Should be good for a helluva laugh.

At Friday, 07 April, 2006, Blogger Alison said...

Its all to do with traffic calming Rasta. The scheme operates in peak time rush hours. The traffic's no different to LA only in London our mayor is tackling the congestion problem. just not that fairly, even handedly or with any foresight. The usual socialist cock up.

No we dont have to get on the scheme. House prices are sky high worldwide but cities like London have been affected a whole lot more. The average house price for London is nearing £300k. The government is trying to give first time buyers a foot hold on the property ladder by subsidising some of the cost. Only as I found the scheme isnt open to everyone. We are all key workers, without us private sectors workers public sector would fizzle out. Another socialist cock up but as Tom says all designed to keep jobs. The midsight of the socialist is a curious one at best, egotistical at worse!

Yes you guys need to get on board with CCTV. And phone tapping. what was all that fuss about? Where do you suppose the information regarding terror suspects comes from that leads to uncovering these people.

But anyway thats a whole other topic :)

I dont want to move out of London Rasta. The countryside is gorgeous. But Im living in the best city on the planet and would like to stay put!

At Friday, 07 April, 2006, Blogger Rastaman said...

Fine! Stay there then!!! :)
From the bottom up... We have CCTV all over the place. A case in point, a child raper/murderer was sentenced to death here recently, his abduction, raping and killing of an 11 year old girl having been caught on a building security camera.

We've had legal wiretapping since before I was born. A judge has to give the ok for it based on at least a small amount of evidence, this can be done in secrecy and quickly at any time of day or night. The problem with Bush is he authorized wiretapping without this prior permission, as if he could start writing his own laws. His problems over this are far from over.

None of you seems too happy with Socialism. Why don't you get rid of it? Socialized medicine in Canada has had it's ups and downs, and government price fixing over there also has had its problems, but overall it seems to work well for Canada and the reason, I'm sure, is that they never went apeshit over it the way the UK has, stuffing it into every crack of daily life.

Still, you have a lot more freedom than most of the rest of the planet. Gotta take the bad with the good. And yes, L.A. is extreme. The traffic in So. California is mind-boggling. I moved away in the 60's and while I really miss the way it was, that's gone forever and there's no going back. Too bad too, it was a helluva lot of fun while it lasted. So if you can still enjoy London, go for it. Love it while it lasts.

At Friday, 07 April, 2006, Blogger Alison said...

Socialised healthcare works in France too. Extremely well. But yes weve allowed socialists to develop something akin to a Big Brother state here. With their ID cards, and their ASBOs and their bans on everything. Oh and the prevailing PC orthodoxy and multi culti worship. The latter affects you also..ACLU etc. I read the ACLU recently banned the Boy Scouts in a state in the US and then supported the establishment of a uniquely Muslim American Boys Brigade. wtf?

To me multiculturalism, is the worship of the primitive and backward and is simply a godsend to men like Ken Livingstone who want to appear liberal but were never comfortable with themselves and couldnt handle sharp tongued women (Marguerite Thatcher). B/c of course multi culti serves to subjugate.

Blimey that was deep for a Friday end of day.

I think in reality im a centrist who tends only to veer off when confronted by moonbats. Really i should just sport the t shirt that reads 'i see dumb people'.

Re Bush etc - do you know im not sure if a judge has to give MI5/6 the nod here to undertake tapping? But strangely the evidence is not permissable in court which makes nailing the buggers that much harder.

To produce enough evidence to ensure the CPS dont throw the case out must take ages and be frustrating when youve heard enough conversations to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.

'Love it while it lasts' *lighhearted* or 'love it while it lasts' *yr days are numbered* ?? ;)

At Friday, 07 April, 2006, Blogger Rastaman said...

That's one of the reasons we require a legal court order for wiretapping. Illegally obtained evidence can't be used in court. Bush's little methods could really screw things up.

About the ACLU, they can't ban anything. They're just a bunch of left wing lawyers supposedly protecting our freedoms and ending up weakening the system instead. Like their attacks on the Boy Scouts for refusing to allow homosexual adult troop leaders on the one hand and supporting a homosexual pedophilic organization (NAMBLA) on the other. Probably the ACLU is filling up with homosexuals. They are attacking the Boy Scouts every chance they get but they can't stop it, what they've been successful in doing is taking away the use of public places for Scout activities that the Scouts have enjoyed for nearly 100 years, and preventing any government funding, because the Scouts require a belief in God to join. The Scouts can still meet on private lands and get private funding. They've been around a lot longer than the ACLU.

As you probably know, there is a pretty strict separation between church and state in the US. Some of our right wing Republicans have been trying hard to change this and I wish them all the worst of luck and a severe anal hernia. It ain't broke. Don't try to fix it.

I hadn't heard about an Islamic camp tho, will have to dig into that one.

Love it while it last because the only constant is change.

The city will continue to grow and become more congested and crime and traffic will worsen. That's just the nature of cities. And is why I suggested looking for a place away from it. Real estate never gets cheaper, it goes up in direct proportion to the increase in population. 30 years from now, will you be wanting to live in the neighborhood you live in now? Considering the changes you've already seen in it?


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