Last Wednesday night a police car stopped beside me as I parked outside my home. I could get out but his passenger window was open and the officer inside told me to
‘Get into your car and put the headlights on,’ which I did. ‘And now walk to the front of the car.’
I obeyed, and one of the headlights was broken. News to me. Well, I never.
‘Oh,’ I said, all citizenly.
‘Get it sorted,’ came the voice from a now disappearing patrol car.
Well, they can’t say Mind how you go, sir, anymore, can they?
Thursday evening after work (I walk to work, so no driving for me between then and now) I picked up a replacement bulb from Halfords and, after a mere twenty minutes of staring upside down at my oil-stained Haynes through fog-obscured spectacles and with a spelunking lamp strapped to my skull, plus acquiring some sore knuckles, and the artistic deployment of three distinctive and ever-popular Anglo-Saxon verbs later, my offside headlight was as good as, well,… as good as that on any car that was made in Britain in the past twenty years and is affordable by the likes of me can be.
Then it was back into the house for dinner and a DVD with Mrs. NW, ignoring the fireworks and the piteous howling of the dog from next door.
Next day, I drove back from the gym and parked the car and my next-door neighbour asked me if I’ve had a bump.
‘No,’ I said, ‘Why?’
‘Because you had a lot of coppers looking at it yesterday,’ he said, ‘They were all from a big van, and they were looking closely at your car.’ That would be Thursday the day after the first copper pointed my headlight problem out.
This Monday night I put the recycling out. Three oblong plastic boxes with flat lids: one for plastic; one for paper and metal; one for cardboard and glass.
This process involves picking up each box lid and pouring the rain off it onto the yard’s concrete (we keep the boxes outside because they’re too big and dirty to keep in the kitchen or the living room or to drag them up from the cellar, see?), then replacing it and carrying the box to the front door ready to take out and put on the pavement. Repeat twice, but remember to lock the back door on your way with Box Number Three in case the local welfare recipients decide to nip in while I’m at the front to pick up any unconsidered trifles, etc.
On the Tuesday afternoon I got home and the boxes were empty, except for the plastic-recycling one, in which a number of punnets for small tomatoes and a box for cheese spread still lies, all unwanted. I reversed the process with the added fun of lifting the plastic box to the top of the wheelie-bin into which non-recyclable waste is usually placed and collected fortnightly, alternating with the recycling collection, and tipping what the picky recyclers have left into that one.
This Tuesday morning I drove to a training course which was held in a well-known local government building situated a mere conventional Hamas rocket flight from
It was too cold to be comfortable all day. Throughout the day-long training course we all wore our fleeces and pullovers, and most of us kept our coats on, too. The toilets were gloomy because the lights were set to off unless you insistently pressed the on-switch with a bit of heft behind your shoulder. It was a relief to get back into my car, whack the heating on full, and drive back to
This is all political.
This is also utterly unnecessary.
There is no need for policemen to be rude, patronizing bullies who order people around without a ‘please or ‘thank you,’ - let alone the formerly universal ‘sir’ I’d have expected only ten years ago. How hard can it be to say ‘Your left headlight’s not working, sir, please fix it before you drive at night again’? I don’t know what they hoped to achieve sending a large van full of police in broad daylight to check my car, unless it was formerly owned by a gangster, or they were hoping to find something wrong that’s towable or finable. It’s not a pretty vehicle, but it goes and I maintain its safety systems as well as its going places systems – until a bulb goes, and then I replace it. The police are busy, it seems, throwing their weight around with harmless people in their sights. I’d love to know what they were all doing the 10 nights to date when my car has been vandalized in six years of parking on this street. In all that time I got one cop car suggesting we install cameras, two plastic PCs (of whom one though tit funny me replacing my wandering wing mirror in the rain) and one Saturday morning an actual SOCO who found nowt, bless her, but she did finger-print the thing. I no longer look forward to speaking to the police confident in the belief that I’ll be treated politely and listened to as I once did. Some officers certainly put their lives and health on the line – and I’m grateful for that – but rudeness and not being interested in ‘minor crimes’ at the same time? Not encouraging.
Parliament is in charge of the overall police system and there are political appointees on all the County constabularies’ Police Committees. I guess Parliament and the political appointees aren’t doing their jobs properly in letting this deterioration happen. I hope that they aren’t doing their jobs properly, that is.
Politicians have decreed that recycling is good and that its opposite should be criminalized, and so there goes privacy.
I got to spend an uncomfortable day in a poorly-heated council building because the council concerned wanted to ‘reduce carbon emission’ in order to protect ‘the planet’ from the global warming of a world that’s actually getting colder. The politicians and the politicians alone have the power to keep us deliberately uncomfortable. I’m all for thrift, and especially so in the public sector where I work, and I imagine that the idea of chilling or even freezing people who volunteer to work in the whacky world of benefits is actually alluring to some of my readers, but putting your employees and guests into rooms like old-style cold-slab pantries? Isn't that actually rather cruel, and what the trade unions are supposed to fight against?
Back in 1997 I dreaded the imminent arrival of the New Labour project; expecting it to represent every kind of foolishness made flesh as decades of Left-wing, State-worshipping grudges were transformed into policy to build their heaven on earth. I expected that they would, and was not disappointed that they did bankrupt the public finances and I expected that their reign would basically be like living in a student union all year round.
But if you’d told me that after twelve years of them being in power I’d find myself: nervous of the attentions of British policemen in the hours of darkness; forced to scrabble about in the dark and rain with my household garbage; and be physically chilled on purpose by their local satraps, I’d have laughed in your face.
Welcome to Paradise.
Let’s destroy it.