Friday 10 January 2003

A modest rebuff to the state

Many years ago I read about a Texan multi-millionaire who would blast his television with a shotgun every time Lyndon Johnson appeared on the screen. Given that: (a), Johnson was a fellow Texan, and (b), Johnson was President of the USA at the time, business was brisk in local electrical retail outlets. It has always been an ambition of mine to emulate this heroic gentleman, but sadly I have yet to achieve millionaire status. But now a heroine has arisen in Glasgow:
The contempt with which some drivers regard officialdom was made blatantly clear yesterday, after it emerged that a woman has racked up parking fines of £28,000 in three years.
In a free society roads would be privately owned with charges set and collected efficiently by the operators. In the bizarre world of government roads, the demon parker is an "offender":
"She is probably our worst offender in terms of the number of fines, but she is by no means the only one of this scale. The council refused to name the motorist, but The Scotsman understands that she lives in an affluent suburb of Glasgow.
The lady in question pays her fines, albeit a bit slowly. But what about this:
The council last year collected £4 million in parking fines, resulting in £600,000 profit for the local authority.
How on earth the Glasgow City Council is able to determine what is a "profit" is beyond me. Are the parking charges too low? Is this woman a problem for the city or a useful profit centre? Whatever. You can't imagine a private road company being so disorganised.