Because I forget stuff. Part of

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Originally posted February 21 2007 at 18:02 under General. 0 Comments. Trackbacks Disabled.

It’s Uncle Tony Again

Further Annoyed

If Mr Blair keeps this up he’ll be on the GMail quick contacts list! So, he’s managed to “respond” to the road charging petition. Actually this isn’t a response but a spin doctored restating of all the things he’s already said, with very minor tweaks, just like the the response to the ID card petition. This is seen as a “stealth tax” not because it isn’t out in the open but because of the historic precedent of road taxation not actually contributing towards anything to do with transport improvements. That’s not my main personal objection anyway though. I believe this is the wrong approach to start with. “Congestion charging” isn’t a magic wand to wave, especially before a much much better public transport infrastructure can give real alternatives. If you increase the cost of motoring (and not that most people travel at the greatest times of congestion through necessity, not choice, which is what makes them congested) then all you do is force people to pay more to do things they have to do, and leave them with less disposable income. That is of course bad for the overall economy. My second and biggest objection is the “big brother” nature of the whole scheme however, and how that would be disproportionately affect the private motorist (those going by public transport aren’t checked). No matter what the government tries to spin it is an obvious fact that for this to work you must track the movement of every car in the country, nothing less than that would allow the taxation scheme to work effectively. In his response the Prime Minister addresses this as follows:

any technology used would have to give definite guarantees about privacy being protected - as it should be. Existing technologies, such as mobile phones and pay-as-you-drive insurance schemes, may well be able to play a role here, by ensuring that the Government doesn’t hold information about where vehicles have been. But there may also be opportunities presented by developments in new technology. Just as new medical technology is changing the NHS, so there will be changes in the transport sector. Our aim is to relieve traffic jams, not create a “Big Brother” society.

So that’s OK then. The government won’t track you, they’ll get the private sector to do it so that they can have all your information too. That makes everything much better. And as I pointed out above I would go so far as to say ensuring that the Government doesn’t hold information about where vehicles have been an out right lie. Of course the government is going to need and have access to that information; how else are they going to know to tax you for being there?

The only good thing in this further spam of an email is that there is finally, at the bottom, an instruction to enable opting out of receiving further emails. This is still not enough, there ought to be that option when signing a petition so I don’t have to wait for an email to know how to opt out of receiving emails) and the wording (If you would like to opt out of receiving further mail on this or any other petitions you signed, please email makes it sound as if this may be all or nothing when it should be per petition (though it might be, it isn’t clear—it isn’t even clear if that’s an auto-opt out mechanism which just responds to anything sent to it, or if you should send a real intelligible email). It’s an improvement of sorts I suppose.

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This Crazy Fool

Dr Ian Scott
Croydon (and Gateshead), United Kingdom
Bullding Services Engineer (EngDesign), PhD in Physics (University of York), football fanatic (Newcastle United), open source enthusiast (mainly Mozilla)

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