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Friday, June 23, 2006

 

Now where was I?

Apologies for the lack of service but I’ve been busy with other things of late; wife taking finals for her degree, eldest passing driving test, subsequent celebrations and temporary decerebration have all eaten into blogging time. There’s not much to report on the parking front, remarkably little in fact. Well apart from the past day or so.

“I saw it onna telly so it must be true.” Kind of thing. Now why are some sections of the motoring public so gullible as to take the TV as their sole source of information? Especially when the mainstreamers output can often be demonstrated to be spun finer than best worsted fabric. Let’s go through the list shall we?

Leading the utter bollocks brigade with sweeping generalisations are;
The House of Commons Transport Committee who think that a top down ‘one size fits all’ strategy will work. Wrong.
There's also one of the writers in the Daily Telegraph, who seems to imply that we enforcement officers are all struggling African immigrants who make the work of others nigh on impossible. Er, ahem. I think that's a bit racist, don't you?
The Daily Mirror who say that rogue Wardens are to be ‘reined in’.
The Sun ‘War on the Wardens’
The Guardian ‘Motorists Trapped by irrational parking rules warn MP’s’

The generalisations are so sweeping they could put Hoover, Electrolux and Dyson out of business.

Let’s get a few things straight shall we? Parking rules are set out in the Highway Code; which if you drive, you should be fully familiar with. They are also designed to reflect local conditions, as it is mostly the residents of a given area who actually ask for things like pay and display meters, limited waiting restrictions, bus stops and proper taxi ranks. No, no little Johnny, you can’t go that way up the street as everybody else goes the other way. No, you can’t put your nice shiny car there, no matter how pretty it is, yes I know you’re only popping in to get a pack of three from Mr Boots the Chemist but that bus stops there and you will make all his passengers very cross if you get in their way. If you want a low risk shag, park up a couple of hundred yards away and have a nice healthy walk. You’ll feel better for it. Yes Mister Builder, you might have a job to do, but the people who live in that street need to park within two parsecs years of their property too. It might be convenient for all seven of your lads to park nearby, but if they don’t have kit to unload they’re just getting under the residents feet.

Parking rules may seem erratic to the outsider, but they are a reflection of local issues and conditions. Just because there isn’t a problem right this very second, does not mean that there won’t be inside the next ten if you decide to plonk your pride and joy, your little extended piece of tribal territory, there.

Thinking about it, this is the nub of the matter isn’t it? A car is part of people’s comfort zone. An extension of their personal space. In these times of external intrusion into the home by every official agency down to the office cat, this is why people sometimes react in an excessive manner against those whose duty is to enforce the rules set by the locals. How dare you touch my vehicle! That is my territory! Rails the hard wired biological human guardian instinct. This is why we Parking Enforcers are so detested. We only have one legal tool in our armoury, and that is the parking ticket. A parking ticket is a violation of the motorists tribal territory. Yet we are part of the defence mechanism of a particular locale; and that brings me to my next point. We are the parking antibodies of a neighbourhood, and to anyone with a passing knowledge of biology, what does an antibody do? Right. It attacks the invader. If the invader does not possess the right biological ‘key’ it is not welcome. If a motorist does not posses a permit to park in a restricted place, then that vehicle is not welcome. The analogy holds. Like no one asks whether a bacterium’s ‘rights’ are being violated when it makes an unauthorised entry into a system, so should we not worry about the thoughtless individual who can’t read a simple thing like a parking restriction. If you have sufficient intelligence to drive and navigate a tonne or so of metal and plastic around, surely it is not too much to ask for you to spend thirty seconds checking out the local rules? Is this not reasonable? Face it folks, parking ain't rocket science, so why do so many get fined for doing it wrong?

As for ‘Rogue’ Wardens. There is always an element of having to justify one’s existence as an enforcer. Poor management practice will demand that more tickets is best, no matter that the Enforcer must break the rules in order to meet artificial ‘targets’. As I have so often blogged, this spreadsheet driven corporate approach is deeply flawed. Revenue is not the only God. Successful enforcement can be as simple as just being in a place at the right time.

Disagree if you wish, but this is my blog and quite frankly my dears – I don’t give a damn what anybody else thinks. Not today, anyway.

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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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