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Thursday, March 31, 2005

 

School dinners – the new political football

Is there anything politicians won’t do for votes? TV chef Jamie Oliver gets a bee in his bonnet about the low nutritional value of school dinners and all of a sudden he’s ‘Been in consultation for months with a member of the cabinet’. Oh yeah? Which cabinet is this, then? The kitchen cabinet? Mayhap the Welsh Dresser? Perchance he’s been talking to the fridge again (Don’t we all)? Like anybody believes that the politicians can change kids’ eating habits when their parents have tried and failed.

What tools will the politicians employ to bring about this dietary miracle? Fixed penalty notices for pupils not eating enough of their cabbage and sprouts? Fines for schools whose pupils do not consume their target of green salads within each term? Consumption diet plan forms for the Dinner Ladies to be completed under penalty of being smothered in Chicken Fricassee flambé if they don’t meet their ‘targets’?

I have something very simple and succinct to say to all the various political parties on this subject: STOP INTERFERING! Stop trying to regulate and manage every detail of everyone’s life. Try getting one of your own. Let people grow up or kill themselves by eating, drinking or other means. The human race is populous enough without trying to preserve every single life. Let the dummies edit their own DNA from the human race. Trust me, this is the best way. It’s a pretty well used process called evolution, which will be working long after we’re all fossil remains – quit trying to buck the ecosystem.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

 

Its Only A Parking Ticket!

Just thought I’d share some of the typical threats made to the average Parking Enforcement Officer (of whatever title) on an average day;

  • “Me and my mates are gonna follow you home and torch your fuckin’ house”
  • “I work at (Fill in location here) hospital and you won’t get
    treated if you need it”
  • “I catch you out of uniform you’re gonna need a
    plastic surgeon”
  • “Watch your back crossing the road, you bastard”

Most common insult from passing vehicle (In order of popularity)

  • “Get a real job”
  • Various obscene gestures indicating;
    • I do not think your parents were married
    • Please indulge in sex and travel simultaneously
    • I think your partner is unfaithful
    • You masturbate too much
  • “Wanker!”
  • “Bastard”
  • “Fucking bastard”

Most common physical threat (In order of popularity)

  • Vehicle driven at speed close to you (Last minute swerve /
    accelerate)
  • Indicated physical violence (Raised hand / fist)
  • Vehicle driven at speed right at you (Where you have to jump aside)

This is just the routine stuff. All of the following threats (and others) were made against myself and members of my shift in the past week (From 22nd March to 29th March 2005). All of them were reported in writing, stating time, date, vehicle registration and description of person making the threat to management who have promised to report these to real Police etc.

Like that’s going to happen.

Incidentally, management pulled me off patrol this morning having seen my incident report from Sunday. Senior Manager was sympathetic about threat, but I was told in no uncertain terms that I should watch my own language.

Sometimes you get the feeling that justice happens to other people.

After all, it’s only a bloody parking ticket.

Monday, March 28, 2005

 

More Bank Holiday madness

Glad I’ve got a four-day rest slot starting on Wednesday – I am utterly shagged. I’ve booked so many damn silly car drivers today that my wrist actually aches. My feet hurt, and as I sit at my computer typing, they are resting in my wife’s foot spa, which I have to keep on pushing the dog away from. He seems to think it’s some kind of novelty drinking bowl. Still, at least he’s brighter than some of the humans I run across in my day to day.

The Stepkids have gone off to their Dads for the week, so the house is quiet, too damn quiet actually. During this time I plan to spend my time doing sweet bugger all apart from the odd spot of gardening and drinking beer on my home laid patio, weather permitting. Although the weather forecast doesn’t look so wonderful. Maybe I’ll let myself get wound up by the political news and have a rant, probably not.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

 

An unforgivable lapse

I’m stunned. I actually lost my temper today. Ford Escort on bus stop blocking buses and passengers. I booked car and handed ticket to irate passenger sitting in front passenger seat. It’s been a trying Sunday and by that time this afternoon I’d had quite enough.

“You could have told us to move on, you sod!” She snapped.
“You should not be here in the first place.” I retorted. I’m used to being sworn at, but I don’t have to like it. At this point, the driver returned and is mightily pissed off that I have booked her car.
“Why didn’t you let us move on you fucking bastard!” She shouted at point blank range, right in my face. At this point my self-control slipped a cog. I’m just fed up of these idle sods that think they can do what the hell they like.
“You are not allowed to park here! You are not allowed to even stop here! Read your damn highway code!” I barked back at her. “Failing that, sell your bloody car and rip up your licence until you can learn the bloody rules!” I then turned my back and stormed off, more angry at my loss of control than at stupid driver while they stood back, amazed at a public servant having the nerve to bite back. Out of the corner of my eye I see bus driver applauding. Escort drives off, passenger throwing shredded ticket at me as they pass. Oh good, there goes their 50% discount – Driver will get stung for the full amount of the penalty charge notice.

If they have the nuts to report my lapse to my boss on Tuesday, I’m buggered. A written warning will go on my otherwise unblemished employment record. Very unprofessional of me. I hang my head in shame.

Look on the bright side; I’ve already written up my side of events, putting my hands up to the lapse in my usual high standards. Better on this occasion to kiss the rod than try to dodge the issue. Worst that will happen now is Senior Management demand that I apologise – which I will do for getting angry and swearing, but not for nicking them. That ticket will stick. Serve the idle sods right.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

 

Very well thank you

Booked a Porsche 911 this afternoon, bang to rights on a taxi rank. Driver grimaces as I pass over ticket, then looks me square in the eye and says. “How do you sleep at night?” I look back at him, trying not to burst out laughing and reply. “Very well thank you sir.”
“No, I mean how do you sleep at night doing what you do?”
“Fine thanks sir. I’m doing a useful job keeping the taxi ranks clear so people who need want a taxi can get one off the rank.” I reply, a little disingenuously. Driver finally looks in rear view mirror to see three taxis queuing behind him with obviously disgruntled cabbies on board. “Ah.”
I give him a meaningful look. “Yes sir.”

At this he drives off and I get a couple of thumbs up from the irate cabbies, even if I did book one of them for being naughty last week. They don’t like idle flash gits who can’t be bothered to walk a hundred or so yards either.

Thinking about it, his was a nonsense question. My conscience on this score is as clear as crystal. If you ask me, the question should be turned round and sent, nemesis like, winging in the opposite direction. I say, how do the people we catch sleep at night knowing they’ve blocked others from making an honest living; maybe impeded traffic which has slowed an Ambulance getting severely injured people to hospital, or a Fire crew to a fire, Police to a robbery, or (More mundanely) a plumber to a serious burst pipe? Let me illustrate; a selfish driver blocks a taxi rank. Taxis back up into street. Traffic slows, has difficulty getting past, street gets blocked; this creates a cascade effect that can and does reach out for miles at peak times. I clear taxi ranks, bus stops and double yellows. I sleep extremely well thank you.

Friday, March 25, 2005

 

Bank holiday bunkum

“But it’s a bank holiday!” Wailed motorist upon finding parking ticket on windscreen. Er excuse me, since when have parking restrictions not operated on bank holidays? Did they think that we didn’t work on bank holidays? One resident even told me they had an ‘arrangement’ on a particular patch of single yellow lines on a bank holiday. If it don’t say so on the restriction plate, it ain’t so.

Where do people get these weird and wonderful ideas from?

In the mess room at lunchtime it was like listening to old time fighter aces talk tactics. About approaching the malefactor from ‘Up sun’ and angles of approach to suspect vehicles. About people sleeping in their cars who refused to wake up when approached (No we aren’t supposed to shout at them or knock loudly on the side window. Apart from sticking the ticket on the windscreen we aren’t allowed to touch the offending vehicle at all.). Daft beggars. Today we used terms like ‘fish in a barrel’ and began complaining of Writers Cramp. I bet the dawn patrol will catch at least three vehicles in which people are having sex tomorrow. A couple of lunchtime drinkers who gave our guys abuse found real Police waiting for them on their way home, breathalysers in hand. Heh, heh, heh. Evil snigger.

Just what is it about Bank Holidays that reduces the average punter to a short-sighted idiot? Hi ho. More of the same tomorrow.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

 

Crime and punishment.

From my perspective I feel public behaviour has in general deteriorated. With this in mind I have a couple of questions about the title of this piece. What do the rest of you think?

There are a lot of nice, decent and honest people out there. There are also an increasing number for whom the law is merely an inconvenience which can be disobeyed at will. Found myself challenging this view from a bespectacled ten year old whilst patrolling car parks this afternoon.

Ten year old. “You one of these new Traffic Inspectors?”
Me “Yeah, I’m a Parking Officer.”
Ten year old. “You go putting tickets on peoples cars?”
Me. “If they break the parking rules, yes.”
Ten year old. “Don’t you feel bad about that?”
Me. “Not really, no.”
Ten year old. “Why?”
Me. “See all these cars? Most of these people have paid for their parking. I’m only after the ones that don’t.”
Ten year old. “Oh.”
Me. “I only put parking tickets on cars that cheat everyone else by not paying, or blocking the streets by stopping on the yellow lines. See?”
Ten year old. “You wouldn’t catch me.”
Me. “You’re too young to drive.”
Ten year old. “Don’t people get upset?”
Me. “Of course. They don’t give me much grief though.”
Ten year old. “Don’t they?”
Me. “Not very often. Most people are pretty okay when you explain things to them properly. Besides, I’m too ugly.”
Ten year old. “Oh right.”
Me. “See you later.”
Ten year old. “Bye.”

Maybe he’ll take it on board and grow up to not be a chav. One can live in hope.

My problem is that this “I can do anything I want” attitude is widespread, and causes a lot of grief to the law-abiding majority. Said wrongdoers are protected by less than honest others, to the detriment of the law abiding. The guilty are protected and create more problems for the innocent.

Might scrapping the human rights act, in light of the current situation not be such a bad thing? Should we should also consider reinstating the death penalty for the most serious offences? There are some for whom only the fear of God and eternity are a deterrent. If not, at least the re-offending rate for capital crimes would be 0%.

I know it’s a bit of a stretch from parking contraventions, but I think the points are valid.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

 

Bucking the pass

Been having a look and a listen at and to the various law enforcement news, both official and unofficial. Like any reasonable member of society, I am seriously perturbed at the news of Police beat officers spending less than 10% of their time actually being beat officers. Patrolling the streets as a great deal of the tax paying public seems to desire and require of them.

Having to patrol the streets myself, albeit in a lesser capacity, I’m beginning to understand why real Police spend so much time on non patrol duties. Let me explain; Handing out a ‘Decriminalised’ parking ticket is a fairly straightforward process, yet we are bound by the rules of evidence that must be provided for the successful prosecution of a miscreant. We have to ensure that 17 points of evidence are noted, both in hand held computer and pocket note book before the parking ticket can be upheld. We get it wrong and chummy gets off, even thought we might have thought he / she was ‘bang to rights’. Furthermore, we have to show evidence that we were where we said we were when said miscreants vehicle was booked. Thus our every movement is logged on hand held computer – including ‘comfort breaks’. If evidence in hand held computers and pocket notebooks is out by more than a minute or two, the adjudicators will often invalidate the ticket. Despite strong evidence of contravention: E.g. photographs. Mind you, if said miscreant coughs up the fine without challenge, you can get away with poor record keeping – for a short while, but it always catches up with you.

The stuff real Police have to deal with is more complex and involves court appearances, more complex evidence gathering which is time consuming. So why do the powers that be insist on micromanaging a Police Officers day?

In short it all seems to be to do with politics and making the politicians look good while actually playing all kinds of hell with the process of ‘keeping the Queens peace’. All the forms and a lot of the non essential record keeping such as information processing not directly connected to evidence gathering, just so some lousy political time server can say “Oo look, the police were brutal / racist / sexist and now our figures (Gathered by the beat officer on his own shift time) show they’re really nice fluffy vegetarians who like to cuddle pink bunny-wunnies.”

Speaking as one of societies more vulnerable people (Don’t laugh), I rely on the fact that if a bunch of wrong ‘uns decide to beat nine kinds of shit out of Mrs Stickers second son, he can get a distress call out and help will be no more than two minutes away, not stuck in the station filling out a form. I don’t give a monkeys what opinions said officer holds in his private life or if they have to bend the rules to put the dickheads away. So long as he / she is out there on the streets and on hand to save me having some serious dental restructuring. Sadly help has been known to take a lot longer and my Mum has expressed the wish that she does not wish to attend my funeral before I go to hers (Bless her). Ergo, I am in favour of cutting Police bureaucracy.

I think the problem is our politicians are so shit scared of losing possible votes from every half-baked vociferous minority that every poor bloody public servant has to bend over backwards, no matter how petty the cause. We need less, not more monitoring of the Police. We need more time for evidence gathering for prosecutions, not monitoring how ’nice’ our Police are. I want to see those cell doors slamming on Murderers, Burglars, Muggers, Tax inspectors, Chavs and violent Drunks and am not too worried about their physical / psychic well being once caught. In short, allowing the Police to do their job and remove the grit in life’s ointment. Not worrying about our PC’s being PC. Grr.

Ah, that's more like it. I feel so much better now.

Monday, March 21, 2005

 

STREE-IKE! Or rather not

You might have caught a small item in the news that UNISON were going to bring all their members out on strike on Wednesday in protest against the governments new Pension rules. We are all UNISON members. Lets face it, with some of the daft things we get thrust at us, you need all the help you can get. The government has backed off, therefore we will NOT be going on strike.

I am happy about this for two reasons. Firstly I don’t like going on strike, and secondly I don’t lose any money. There is a third reason; certain of the local low-lifes have got it into their heads that on Wednesday 23rd March they can park where the hell they like and sod everybody else. With a bit of luck it will be like shooting fish in a barrel. Heh, heh, heh. (Rubs hands in gleeful anticipation). These are the people we want to catch. Not the dozy eejits who don’t look at the restrictions, but the buggers who deliberately flaunt the regulations and play fast and loose with us.

Promise you won’t tell?

Something else made me chuckle. Tony Blair says Britain is ready for a gay Prime Minister. So he’s coming out of the closet at last! What about Cherie and the kids? – the cheating scumbag!
 

Er..How should I say this?

Just having an idle drift around the links to and from this blog, seeing where they took me. Went to one other blog and read a comment that I feel I should make a public reply to.

I'm a cautious man. In my job you have to be, or end up as a rather large novelty mascot on some morons gas guzzling 4x4. I have disabled my blogfeed just on the premise that it makes it harder to track me down, as firstly I don't want to end up 'Dooced'. Too many bills to pay. Secondly there are crazy gits out there who think they can chuck petrol bombs at peoples front doors just because of the job they do. This has happened to three of my work colleagues in the past few years. For my own physical safety I'm not too fussed. I'm a grown up and can handle myself in a barney if need be. However, I also have a wife and kids whose safety is my primary raison d'etre. That is why I do not publish blogfeeds etc. Not to increase the 'hits' on my site meter or webstats but to protect those I love more than anything else.

Should this offend or inconvenience - sorry guys, this is my blog. I respect your rights to design yours as you will. Likewise, please respect my wish for anonymity as I will respect yours, if that is what you desire.

Regards

Bill Sticker

Sunday, March 20, 2005

 

Sometimes

Sometimes being out on the streets being abused and insulted is preferable to home life. Especially today. Mrs Sticker is going through an ‘emotional patch’ and getting all tearful because she can’t get what she wants right now. The dog has slunk under the living room table (Always a bad sign.), the kids have gone deathly quiet (Even worse.) and I’m left wondering if there’s enough money in the housekeeping kitty for a jumbo box of tissues and earplugs.

This puts me in a bit of a quandary. Do I try and talk her down and get my fool head bit off? Or do I make myself scarce until she’s got over her upset? The calendar gave me no warning of this.

Think I’ll look on the bright side. At least it isn’t raining and I’m not on late shift. Could be worse.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

 

Glad I’m not in Michigan

I thought America was supposed to be the home of the brave and free. Found this item on Google in the Blogherald. Someone ought to tell these Cops to get a reality check.

Quiet day on the streets today. Not much to write about except the usual same old abuse from the general dyslexic. I'm not issuing so many tickets as I was, maybe they're getting the message. Maybe the errant motorists have gone somewhere else. Maybe there are fairies at the bottom of my garden. Probably not.

Friday, March 18, 2005

 

That sounds like fun

Have a look at this story from the East Anglian Daily Times. There are some persistent offenders I'd like to see given the same treatment. What's the bomb squads number again?
 

Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.

Which is more demoralising for any person with any degree of self awareness;

a) being shown how to do a job properly and then just ‘nudged’ now and again if they fall short of objectives.

b) having every move managed and ‘adjusted’ if they do not do things in a specific, bureaucratic order with no margin for error or initiative.

My vote goes to b). I’m not just talking about Traffic Wardens here, I’m talking about Britain in general. There was a comic song I grew up hearing entitled “Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.” This is the situation that nowadays haunts many working weeks. Too many poorly thought out ‘Top down’ solutions. Too much control freakery; In brief, a surplus of Management. Not Managers, Management. Inefficient Management at that. Poor / non existent feedback / monitoring leading to misinformation. Inefficient information handling / correlation / collection leading to a distorted picture of what is really going on. Low quality decisions follow from too narrow a picture. Then when it all looks as though everything’s going pear shaped the shouting starts. When that happens, communication breaks down because most people hate being shouted at. Then we arrive at the situation today which is just a big game of ‘cover your arse’.

Everyone’s hacked off. Maybe it’s just this cold bug that’s doing the rounds. We’ve all lost working time to it. The latest diktat has come down to the shop floor and the grumbling has reached 8.0 on the Richter scale. On the surface it’s another TRO we can’t enforce because of a local councillors political meddling. Now we’ll get accused of being biased. Oo I hate politicians!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

 

Day off

For once the sun has been shining and it hasn’t been too cold. The phone rings, its Pete, our Union rep.
“Hello Bill. Fancy a beer later?”
“Can’t afford it any more?” Say I. “what’s up.”
“They’re interviewing for a new shift supervisor.”
“So you-know-who is officially going, going?”
“Just thought you’d like to know.” I can almost see Pete’s cheesy grin.
“Pete, you’re diamond.”
“Keep it under your hat.”
“Of course, can’t guarantee I won’t be smiling though.”

All of a sudden it’s a really nice day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

 

Buying votes with the voters own money

The title of today’s blog entry says everything about the budget doesn’t it?

Appropriate quotations;

“If I had to buy my friends, they wouldn’t be worth the price.” - Anonymous
“If happiness could be brought, few of us could pay the price.” - Anonymous
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take but as for me; give me liberty or give me death!” - Patrick Henry.

To conclude; In the words of the late, great Oliver Hardy “I have nothing further to say.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

 

Now there’s a thought…. Give up your car?

Found this link to a Daily Telegraph opinion piece.

Not practicable in rural areas, but in the city, owning, insuring and parking are all too bloody expensive.

There are of course serious issues with public transport, which is on the whole not something many others and I care to use. The overcrowded, trains, buses and trams where you have to share your personal space with everybody else’s personal problems, social and hygienic. Not only that but I feel sorry for the disabled because there isn’t a decent ‘roll on roll off’ public transport solution for them. There’s no single journey ‘door to door’ service unless you’ve got the money for taxis.

All the current solutions seem to want to cram the poor travelling public in like the proverbial sardines without consideration for their needs as human beings. So until someone in authority can come up with the initiative to introduce another layer of self funding public transport, we’re stuck with the same old dirty, overcrowded same old or cars and motorcycles vying for the same road space.

While we’re on the subject, an old mate of mine came up with what he and I saw as a superb lightweight public transport solution, which he patented, but no one was ever interested. Shame really.

Monday, March 14, 2005

 

More tax on your Property? What an excellent idea.. Not

Have just returned off duty to a nasty Tabloid inspired shock. Mrs Sticker, normally a pacific soul, was in outraged female mode. She drew my attention to a leaked document which may be all bullshit, as reported in the Daily Express (Where else?) giving the hint that the current UK government (If re-elected) may commit to taxing the proceeds from selling your house to the tune of 40% plus.

The key words here are ‘leaked’ and ‘bullshit’. However, given our current governments track record I am inclined to see the glitter of a story here within all the tabloid muck. Any government insiders out there with closer tabs on the real facts care to comment? People whose opinions will be automatically discounted include; New Labour voters / special advisers / party members / sympathisers / radical Marxists / Communists and anyone from Islington etc.

Given that those of us who have struggled to bring up a family and buy a house will be first to the barricades if any government should give serious credence to such a scheme, I expect nothing less than outright denial. Then again, IR35 was once just such an idea (And vociferously denied.). As was ripping off peoples’ savings and pension plans. No wonder this government are busily beefing up the tools of repression. They want all your money to throw away and aren’t too fussy about how they get it, or how much it screws up your family’s life and future. Or what you think about it.

Now come to think about it – arming the CCTV system sounds an even better idea. Any tax grabbing politician could be gunned down in the street before they do any real damage to the country. We’d have to load with heavy calibre armour piercing to nail Blair, Brown and cohorts in their armoured limousines – but I’d be willing to pay for such a minor extra via my council tax. How about the rest of you?

In the meantime I shall confine myself to locating any person with such tax grabbing sympathies and ensuring they can contribute to the obviously deficient public purse by way of parking fines.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

 

CCTV - A Modest proposal Mk 2

Some time ago I came up with a cost cutting crime fighting solution that would save the courts and legal system time and money by dispensing justice at the scene and time of the crime. Well these clever bunnies at Live-shot have got a demonstation of how such a system could work.

All they need to do is work on a recoilless version and it's a goer.

How about a LAWS version for dealing with big silly 4x4's and trucks who overstay their loading limit? Maybe not, too much mess.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

 

Bad Law

First, to those of you who read my inane drivel, an apology; excuse the two day no post, but I decided to take a couple of days off. Have spent much of it following the marathon debate over the proposed ‘Prevention of terrorism’ bill with a mixed range of emotions.

Firstly horror; the thought of suspending habeas corpus, a fundamental principal underpinning most of the UK’s law. WTF are these people on?
Secondly amazement; that anyone thinks just passing a law will solve the problem of terrorism. Surely the security services, Police etc. should have a mandate to deal with the terrorists using the current framework of legislation.
Thirdly relief; that such a damn fool piece of panic legislation has been diluted by the 12 monthly review clause and that the Lords didn’t just rubber-stamp it.

Excuse my ignorance but I don’t see the point of all these new laws. Surely it would be simpler to tidy up and Police existing legislation properly, rather like (From my point of view) reviewing the Traffic Regulation Orders, repainting double yellow lines, replacing the damaged / missing restriction signs rather than redoing the whole lot every so often. What the politicians are doing costs more and doesn’t really achieve anything, apart from creating more jobs for politicians, lawyers and accountants and tying valuable Police resources up in paperwork. It also makes it so easy to inadvertently break the law because us ordinary folks have difficulty keeping up or can’t keep up with these constant changes.

This lot in government don’t act sensibly. Every time I see the news they seem to be trying to throw out the old tried and trusted law and put in poorly drafted and quite frankly over reactive legislation that a competent human rights lawyer can, and often has driven a metaphorical convoy of trucks through. Almost like the current government don’t understand how or why things and people work in this country. They only end up hurting the ordinary people while missing the real bad guys by a mile. Which seems to me to be what the real bad guys want.

It’s all so panic driven. The politicians appear to think the general dyslexic are all irresponsible children (A lot are, but not all of us). Almost like they’re so afraid of losing one vote from noisy minorities they end up losing ten voters from the majority. Is it any wonder there’s an air of ‘Why bother?’ about democracy in the UK?

However; for those of you who might cry “But only the guilty have something to fear!” I would counter, “How easy for an authoritarian administration to have the legislative framework to arrest all their outspoken critics.” Let me draw your attention to the following quote from Reuters UK.

“The new law will allow authorities to detain Britons as well as foreigners indefinitely and without charge* if it suspects* them of terrorism. The old law applied only to foreigners.
The new measures will also allow the government to place suspects under house arrest.
Both the old and new laws require the government to suspend the right to a fair trial guaranteed under European law, making it the only country to do so.”


Beats me how ‘Dangerous foreign terrorist suspects’ are ever allowed to become ‘British citizens’. Or maybe there are some dodgy immigration lawyers out there who will have to serve some serious time in Hell.

I’ve got a theory. IMHO the prophecy that ‘The meek shall inherit the earth’ has already happened and that these ‘meek’ bastards are all politicians, accountants and lawyers. Hell, I’m only a traffic warden - WTF do I know? Time to move on I think. I’m open to job offers from the USA and Canada.

(* My Italics.)

This post is preceded by the "So you think you're a good driver" post because of technical problems while publishing. Cheers. Bill.
 

So you think you’re a good driver?

Went and had a nose through Google news for items related to the UK driving test and came up with the following three nuggets of joy.

  1. ONE third of motorists fear they would fail their driving test if forced to take it again.
  2. Drivers soon forget the rules of the road after gaining their licence.
  3. Men ARE better drivers, says UK's chief examiner.

Now if you ask me, I’d agree with the first two wholeheartedly, but as Mrs Sticker is looking over my shoulder as I type, I think I shall proclaim myself as a fence sitter on the third. I have this little habit called breathing – call me an old silly but I want to keep doing it – it’s addictive.

On another, sadder subject: Requiescat in pace for Dave Allen. One of the few TV comedians who could make my father and me laugh at the same time.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

 

Why I despair of my fellow humans - A rant

You may have detected in my posts a certain anger and world weariness over the intelligence exhibited by my fellow humans. In general terms, it is my constant surprise and wonderment at how many of you are able to cross the road without being run over – often by yourselves - if you’ll pardon the paradox.

Let me expand my argument. The excuses put forward to justify such lamentable lack of brain activity are often prefaced with “Oh but I thought…” Sorry, can I just stop you there. No you didn’t. Think that is. You just followed an habitual stimulus / response loop and now you are injured / dead / unhappy / divorced / got a parking ticket / got another parking ticket. Please look around you. Take an interest in your environment, speak to your neighbours regularly and kindly. Show consideration for others. If you have trouble multi tasking, stop trying to walk and chew gum at the same time – it’ll only end in tears. Don’t be such a greedy wuss. You’re only getting in everyone else’s way. Could you do also me a big favour and stop rationalising anti – social behaviour away with the immature “Well they did it.” It’s so undignified. That’s exactly the type of lame rationalisation that is used to justify massacres of innocent civilians by third world dictators.

If more of you simply woke up and watched what the hell you were doing, the world would be a better place, you would be healthier and happier. The politicians and nanny state would be out of a job because there would be less for them to whine and legislate against. Think about it - Traffic Wardens might not be required. What an incentive! Hmm, not such a good thought there, put myself out of a job? Oh what the hell – why not. I’m fed up with this lark.

Go on. Try it, you have nothing to lose but your parking restrictions. Not that you will. No wonder I’m a cynic.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

 

Preserving Wildlife

After yesterday I was glad they gave me the town beat to do today, as it’s always busy and takes your mind off any personal issues you have. Odd conversation with charity collector.

“Save the wilderness mate.” Spake the tin rattler. “Or are you guys so tight you won’t help wildlife.”
“No, we’re not allowed to carry money on duty.” I replied with the simple truth. My employers are so paranoid about bribery that we aren’t even allowed to carry loose change on patrol. Tin rattler does not see it this way.
“You’re all just tight gits.”
“You don’t believe me?”
“Course not.”
“Go to the council offices and ask my boss then.” I tell this naysayer. I don't like people who call me a liar.
“All right. Still think you’re a bunch of tight gits.” Cheeky sod.
“This wilderness you’re collecting for?” I ask innocently, while clocking a double parking BMW and punching his details in. Driver sees me and gets back in Car for a rapid exit.
“What about it?”
“How is giving you money going to save it?”
“Er, well.” Says tin rattler before going into bullshit mode. “We buy it to stop the developers buying it and desecrating the wildlife with huge plantations of alien species.” Right. Like I believe that.
“Then what do you do?”
“What?”
“So you’ve bought up all this land, then what?”
“Er, put in nature trails so people can come and visit it.”
“Then it won’t be a wilderness any more.” Ooh I’m soo cruel to treehuggers.
“Yes it will.”
“With people traipsing all over it? Then you’ll have to build facilities for all the visitors which will scare off the wildlife. Then it won’t be a wilderness any more. Just some theme park for greenies.”
“Sod off.” Well that hit a nerve. Serve the irritating little arsehole right.
“Good afternoon.” Sometimes life feels so good.

Monday, March 07, 2005

 

Crisis, what crisis?

After yesterdays events I was fully expecting to be called up to the HR offices this morning to account for my actions on Sunday. Instead I am greeted with a sunny “Morning Bill, you all right?” From Kerry, my line manager, and a towering wall of silence from shift supervisor who is still off ‘sick’. No hauling over the coals or red hot memo’s up the wossname. Just happy smiley faces and cheery greetings. My paranoia goes into overdrive. What is going on? Am I going to be handed my P45 for attempted mutiny? Keelhauled over a sleeping Policeman for insubordination? Flogged with the cat of one tail? (One tail, twenty claws – real cat) So why all the cheery stuff? I’ve got it, they’re trying to confuse me to death.

Pete our Union rep shows up at lunch in the mess and fills me in on the detail. “He dropped the complaint.” Pete says with an evil grin. “You weren’t worried were you?”
“A bit.” I respond warily. “Not trouser fillingly so, but a bit.”
“We all reckon he’s going for another job. That’s why he went off like that.”
“So that’s why everyone’s so bloody cheerful. I thought your lottery syndicate had hit the jackpot and you were all going to bugger off and leave me to patrol on my own.”
“I wish.” Grins Pete and goes off to spread the good word even further.

Life, it’ll have to do until we invent something better.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

 

Mothers Day and moody days

It’s been very quiet out on the streets today. Looks like the general dyslexic do actually give a damn about someone apart from their own selfishness after all. Or is it just guilt? I’m feeling pretty cynical today after an unnecessary disagreement this morning with lower management. The insolent puppy.

I maintain I did nothing wrong. In fact I was going by the book. Ready for patrol bang on 8 o’clock as required and on my way out the door when one of our three shift supervisors buttonholes me and asks me to wait. “Okay, what do you need me for?” I asked.
“Never you mind – just do what I tell you!” Shift supervisor retorts snappily.
“Fine, tell me what it is and I’ll get on and do it.” Said I, trying to show willing and wondering what the hell had rattled his cage.
“Don’t you give me any trouble!” Shift supervisor snaps. Now there’s an idea, I thought. If I thought I could get away with it. “What?” I said instead. “I just asked you what you wanted doing, you got a problem with me you take it up with Kerry on Monday.” The guy is an idiot; Christ alone knows why they made him a shift supervisor. He makes Neanderthals look highly evolved and has all the interpersonal skills of a incontinent Stoat with rabies. “Now if you’ll excuse me – I’ve got a job to do. You want to make an issue of it, I’ll be talking to the Union.” At this point I leave. Nice as it might be to send him searching the floor for his teeth – losing my job over someone’s crabby mood was not on today’s agenda.

Fortunately, Pete our shop steward is on my shift so I met up with him and outlined the situation, just to cover my own back. Early afternoon my mobile rings and I’m called to the office, where Kerry is sitting, looking mightily pissed off at being called out on a Sunday. Ah, Shift Supervisor has gone running to mummy. Little tit. At least he’s nowhere to be seen.
“What’s all this about you disobeying a direct order Bill?” She demands.
“What order?” I’m not going to let her give me a written warning without a fight.
“You were told to wait this morning, but you just stormed out.”
“I did no such thing.”
“That’s not what I’ve been told.”
“Er, no. I got told very snottily to wait, when I asked why, and why I was being kept from patrol duties there wasn’t a proper answer so I got on with the job I’m paid to do. If our bozo of a shift supervisor had told me what he wanted doing instead of snapping at me like some hormonal teenage drama queen, I’d have done it.”
“I see.” Says Kerry, looking like she’d just sucked a particularly sour Lemon.
“If he wants to make an issue of it, I’ve had a quiet word with the union Rep. He thinks our shift supervisor couldn’t manage his way out of a wet paper bag.”
“Okay Bill.” This obviously conflicts with the version she’s been handed, but I know from experience she agrees with the wet paper bag. “We’ll talk about this on Monday.” Oops, this sounds ominous.

I talk to Pete on afternoon tea break. “Don’t worry about it Bill. I’ve had a word with Kerry and you’re not getting a disciplinary.” He said.
“What’s happening?” I’m still a little concerned, with my protagonist still in a position of authority over me.
“He’s gone off sick.” Pete grins. Shift supervisor is not the sharpest tool in the box and we all know it. “Stress.”
“What stress?” I respond. “He rides round in the van all day fixing ticket machines and smoking dodgy looking roll ups. Last time he was out on the streets they were booking flaming chariots.”
“Don’t ask me. Let’s just get through today.” Says Pete.
“Amen to that. Roll on Tuesday.” I know I’m in for a grilling by HR on Monday over this. What the hell, it’s only a job.

On my way home I drop off Mothers Day flowers and box of choccies.
“Had a nice day Bill?”
“Fine Mum – you?”
“Oh, mustn’t complain.”
“If you do, nobody listens.” We share a chuckle. It’s an old joke – been in our family for generations. More of an heirloom really.
“How’s the job?”
“Not too bad. I survive.”
“Always said you’d end up walking the streets.”
“Thankyou Mum.”
“Pleasure son. Now pour me a large Sherry.”

Families – don’t you just love ‘em?

Saturday, March 05, 2005

 

Least Troublesome People

I have a bit of a confession to make; I have booked all classes of vehicles except three. Guess what they are.

HGV? – No.
How about buses or coaches? – Been there, nicked them.
Disabled? – When they’re bang to rights I booked ‘em
Lamborghini’s? Porsches? BMW’s? – Stitched up like a kipper
A Trabant? – Don’t be silly, we’re talking class of vehicle here, not specific make.
Three wheelers? – No, you’re missing something. Give up? All right then.

Motorcycles. Driven by big hairy (and not so hairy) tough Hells Angels types. Speed freaks with the latest machines who often turn out to be Doctors, Lawyers, Policemen, Company Directors and Senior Managers. I’ve never had to nick a motorcycle. Odd that. It’s just that the situation has never arisen where I could have slapped a ticket on so much as a moped. I’ve stopped and spoken to Bikers quite often, but they’ve usually been co operative and scoot straight off before you can punch their registrations into your hand held computer. So much for stereotypes. To be honest, I’ve developed a soft spot for them as they are from my perspective, apart from the odd speeding offence and fatal RTA – no trouble at all.

So much for the stereotype tearaway.

The other two types I’ve never booked are tracked and Agricultural vehicles. Let’s face it, unless a farmer is making a ‘point’ on the council offices with some ‘organic fertiliser’ from his ‘side flinger’ you don’t see Tractors, and the only tracked vehicles we’ve ever seen are Military and you don’t slap a PCN on someone who’s got 20mm Cannon and armour plate.

Friday, March 04, 2005

 

Infamy at last! They’ve all got it in for us!

‘Dispatches’, on UK’s terrestrial Channel4 last night (Thursday 3rd March 2005) screened a documentary about everyone’s favourite(?) hate objects – Yup, that’s us all right –Traffic Wardens. Using hidden cameras the journo’s got an inside track on the seamier side of life on this side of the parking tracks.

What we saw was the PA’s in the London borough of Southwark, run by APCOA, a private company and the congestion charge company run by Capita, which is renowned in IT and educational services circles as a farce run by a pack of jokers. Our team reckon we’re a cut above those guys. Sure we’re out to nick the bad guys, but we’ll do it by the book, because if we don’t the ticket gets cancelled. You get a lot of cancelled tickets; you get bollocked. Mind you, if you don’t pull your weight it’s just as bad, but there is no quota, even if our management are obsessed with statistics and spreadsheets. On the streets the situation is a lot more complex than mere figures can convey.

What was portrayed differed with my experience. The abuse – yeah we get that by the bucketload. Water off a Ducks back. Threats – cool, you want to make those threats good and you’ll wind up in court. We just log ‘em with the real Police and get on with the job. That’s why we’ve got radio’s and mobiles. Trouble spots? Of course. If you’ve got more than ten contraventions at once you shout for reinforcements and get the hell on with it. However, the reinforced stereotypes of ‘being on commission’ and ‘Ticket quota’s’ are all tired old news. What the Journo’s forgot to do is check out the ‘Salisbury model’ Traffic Wardens. Or perchance those are the districts that don’t just hire anyone without going through the hoops of CRB, proper reference checks and all the other bits and pieces you need to get hired by a local authority nowadays? Unlike certain areas of London and Manchester.

In our game we’re familiar with the private sector companies like APCOA & CPS. These are the people who, in sales meetings wow senior management with how they could ‘improve’ ticket revenue. What these companies don’t tell you is that you’ll have a huge amount of pissed off residents, high staff turnover & a public relations nightmare. It’s tough enough out there without portraying us all as a bunch of cowboys. We do have some pride.

All in all, the broadcast was a lovely piece of anti-traffic warden propaganda, and one of the reasons four of us put a request in for body armour this morning. Thanks for nothing Channel 4.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

 

Speaking in tongues

I’m quite chuffed with myself today. Had to speak to a French Coach driver in his native tongue and didn’t make a complete hash of it. Poor sod had been deposited in the darkest heart of CHAVland with only one phrase. “Excuse please – do you speak French?”
“Un peu. Qu’est-ce cest vous desirez monsieur?” I responded in my best GCSE Franglais.
“Cette billet.” He waved it, not understanding what to do with a pay and display ticket.
“Ah oui. Mettre le billet dans votre pare-brise, c’et bien de neuf heur ce soir. Oui?” I told him. I was wondering if he thought the coach park was one of those pay when you go places.
“Merci monsieur.” He said, much relieved, and went to see his mate who had just turned up in another French liveried coach. What the hell they wanted in our neck of the woods I’m not quite sure. We’re not a real tourist hot spot round here. I know my job is more about being punitive, but it’s nice to be able to help some poor confused soul out now and again.

Glad he didn’t get one of my younger colleagues. They like to play tricks on Johnny Foreigner and show him why we British are bestest at everything. I like visiting France and other countries, and get very embarrassed by ‘Les Fuckoffs’ as the French refer to them. I usually claim to be Irish or Scots (“Anglais, moi? Non – Je suis Ecosse / Irlandais.”), just so I’m not associated with those braying jingoistic coach parties from some sink council estate in Anytown, England who are there to get cheap booze and harp on about winning World War 2 (Again).

To them I say; look guys, we don’t have an Empire any more. It was too expensive to keep, so we gave most of it away and sold some of the more salacious bits off. We’ve been at peace with most of Europe for the past sixty years – well sort of, but we don’t do the invasion thing any more. You can’t get the sound effects and extras, and no one can do a decent orchestral score for love nor money. You just can’t do it for the budget – not even with blue screen and CGI. We’re just a small country with not much money, not much international clout (Despite Iraq and all that.) and lots of low animal cunning. Oh, and some quaint customs and architecture. Good locations for period drama.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

 

On line polls

In a poll on the Spectator web site this week the lead article by Douglas Hurd accuses parts of the media of trying to run the country by warping stories to their own agenda. He asks; “How low can the BBC sink?” Well we know the answer to that one – all the way baby. Down there with the Titanic. Even Terry Wogan has had a pop.

What was more interesting than the article itself is the on line poll attached. At the moment of writing, 87% of readers agreed with his contentions. So I’m not alone then.

Along the same tack, have taken a straw poll in our street, in return my neighbours had a whinge at me about the level of non resident illegal parking. “What are your guys doing Bill?” was one of the questions.
“Can’t do much.” Quoth yours truly. “It all happens late at night after us Traffic Wardens are tucked up safely in bed, dreaming of portable car crushers.” (Make something out of that Sigmund Freud.)
“We can’t park outside our own houses Bill. Have a word will you?”
“All right, all right. I’ll see what I can do.” Say I, knowing I’ll be hamstrung by the rules and regulations.

I mooted the idea of letting me do a little ‘after hours’ work due to public demand on my own street. Sure enough, this notion was stamped on by the powers that be. “Noo, we can’t do that Bill. There’d be hell to pay.” Spake my source.
“So no chance of booking bad guys outside my own front door on double yellows?” I asked. “Or maybe just an advisory notice?”
“In a word. No.” Was the reply.Here’s me thinking I was an Officer upholding the parking laws for the public good. Silly old me. So much for the power of Public Opinion.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

 

We've been De-Fraud-ed

Looks like our very useful Fraud officers blog has gone AWOL. Damn, that was a good blog.
 

Don’t you just hate it when…

People engage you in meaningless discourse to allow others they have never met escape their just desserts.

Despite your best efforts, your supervisors are convinced that you’re idle.

You are micro managed down to how often you fart in the name of ‘efficiency’.

Oh hell. Back to the real, ugly, damp, miserable and seemingly pointless world of reality. Sometimes I just want to spit. Sometimes I would like to carry an electric cattle prod. It might make me feel a little better.
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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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This net ring exposes political correctness for the fraud that it is and advocates universal values of individual freedom, free speech, and equal rights for all.

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