Sunday, June 12, 2005

Hang on, I'll just bend over.

I know rants on my blog are commonplace, but today I read something that pissed me off so royally, that it makes every other thing I’ve ranted about seem complimentary by comparison.

Even though I live in the USA now, I like to keep up with what’s happening at home, so whenever I see anything about Britain on Yahoo news, I read it.

So what was this latest thing that’s made that Y shaped vein in my forehead stick out?

I’ll tell you.

Universal Tolls on every single road in Britain.

The fact that this in no way effects me any more should show you just how much this has pissed me off.

The idea is similar to the congestion charge in London. To those who don’t know about the congestion charge, it works like this: Cameras take pictures of every car on particularly busy roads during particularly busy times. If your car gets photographed, you get charged for driving on that road at that time.

The thinking behind it is simple. Charging = Money = Less cars = Less congestion.

Of course, it doesn’t take into account the people that have to drive at that time. Of course, it’s not just another way to extort money from the British people either.

The British Government, however, have taken this thinking a step further.

Apparently, within the decade, every single road in Britain will be a toll road. Satellite technology will track all cars at all times, and charge you, per mile, depending on how busy the roads are.

In other words, if you just happen to be taking a major road to work between 7 and 9am, like 99.9% of the British population, be prepared to be charged out the ass for it.

According to predictions, this will be as much as a quid per mile on particularly busy roads. In other words, if you drive 20 miles each way to work, and drive during peak hours; be prepared to pay 40 quid per day.

What the hell are they thinking of?

Allow me to ask a question:

Aren’t they getting enough money from Road Tax and the Tax on petrol?

Here’s an eye opener for you. For every pound you spend on petrol, only 3 pence actually pays for it. Another small portion (about 15 pence) is transport costs.

The rest is taxes.

As a comparison, in South Carolina right now, people are complaining because gas prices have reached an all time high of $2 per gallon. When you factor in the exchange rate, everyone in Britain right now is paying over $8 a gallon.

That’s right, you’re paying 3 times more than the people here in America.

Now the government comes out with all kinds of high-minded bullshit reasons for things like this. They’re trying to reduce traffic to lower the number of accidents and pollution.

This may be a factor, but it sure as hell isn’t their number one reason.

Look at the track record, and the things they tax most on. For example, the highest taxed products in England are Petrol, booze and cigarettes. Every single budget, they raise taxes on these things, usually stating some more high-minded bullshit to explain them:

Cigarettes : We’re trying to discourage people from smoking, for health reasons.
Alcohol : We’re trying to discourage people from drinking to reduce car accidents, improve health etc.
Petrol: Congestion, pollution etc.

All very nice reasons, it’s a shame that it’s all so much bullshit.

First of all, the government doesn’t actually want people to stop buying petrol, cigarettes and Booze. It’s the absolute last thing they want.

Why?

They’re raking in the cash hand over fist from these things.

For example, I can buy a pack of Marlboro cigarettes over here for just over $2. The same packet in England will cost around GBP4.80, or approximately $9.50. In other words, I can buy 80 cigarettes for what you pay for 20.

I can also buy a carton (200 cigs) of GT1 cigarettes for $14, approx GBP7.00. Or in other words, I can buy 10 packs of cigarettes, for what you pay for less than two packs.

The people in Britain are being robbed. That’s what these taxes are. Legal Robbery.

So why are they doing this?

I’ll tell you the reason taxes are hiked every year on these particular things:

They’re either absolute necessities, or are addictive.

In other words, it’s a sellers market. People need to buy petrol, they have no choice if they want to work, and considering the withdrawal symptoms from cigarettes are almost equal to the withdrawal symptoms from cocaine, hiking the prices isn’t going to discourage anyone.

It doesn’t matter what they charge, people are going to buy them anyway.

I understand taxes, I understand why they’re necessary, but some of them are the most ludicrous things in the world.

Take ‘inheritance tax’. If a parent dies and leaves you their estate, depending on the amount, the British Government can take up to 40% of it.

Why?

One person has worked their entire lives to accumulate everything they own. Everything they have has already been taxed once, so why does the government get involved when they give it to someone else?

It’s the equivalent of me coming into your house on Christmas morning and saying “Ok, because you’ve given your wife that perfume, I’m going to take these earrings…if you don’t hand them over, you can go to jail.”

In my opinion, it’s nothing but theft.

Even VAT is ridiculous when you think of it. Someone makes raw materials, and everything they sell, the government takes a big wet bite out of. The person they sell those raw materials to, makes something, sells it to the stores, and the government takes another bite, then the stores sell to you and me…and the government takes another bite.

Oh, and if the product you buy just happens to be something like a home or boat, the government then nibbles on it for the entire time you own it. One more thing, can you guess what happens when you sell it?

Yep, that’s right, another big wet sloppy bite goes to the government.

I think the Government should send everyone a letter every year, stating exactly where each individual’s money has gone.

It would be interesting to see how much taxes would be if they had to justify every penny they take. Maybe they could explain why, despite the fact they took millions for public transport, the busses and trains still smell like public toilets.

So, back this new universal toll on the roads. Let’s examine this:

You buy a car, which is taxed.
You fill it with Petrol, which is taxed out the ass. (upwards of 400%)
You pay your road tax.

So how in the blue hell can they justify charging you a quid a mile on busy roads? I’m sorry, but pollution and congestion isn’t the reason for this, it’s the excuse!

Here’s an idea, charge a toll on all roads, but scrap road tax! Scrap the taxes on fuel.

That’ll never happen, it would be fair, and would do everything the government are saying they’re trying to do, but they would only get the same amount of cash, or maybe even a bit less, so you can guarantee that it would be a no-go.

The other excuse is that they’re trying to ‘encourage people to use public transport’. Again, that’s all very well and good, but what about places that are impossible or difficult to get to via public transport? When I went to university, I had a choice; either take a bus, then a train, then two more busses, or I could take a 30 minute car trip.

Oh, and for what it would have cost me to use public transport for one day, I could have driven to university and back for a week.

There’s an idea, if you want to encourage people onto public transport, don’t make it prohibitively expensive to use the car, make it attractively cheap to take the bus or train. Consider improving the service also.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m heading to work, the first thing I want to face in the morning is not a filthy, disgusting bus that smells of piss, that charges two pounds for a 2 mile trip.

I’ll stick with the car, thanks.

I’m going to start a campaign. When the government starts to promote this stupid ‘scheme’, which is nothing but a badly disguised attempt to screw even more money out of the British taxpayer, I suggest every single driver in the country sends a letter to the Ministry of Transport asking for a kiss.

After all, I like a kiss every time I get f**ked.

(Edit - Since writing this I have been informed that Britain is considering lowering the tax on Petrol and scrapping Road tax if this scheme is accepted. I think this makes no difference. Even if the Road tax was scrapped, and petrol was given away for free, it will still cost the british driver a butt-load more than it does now.

200 quid a week, just to get too and from work? Depending on the car, around 50 quid would pay for the week's fuel, and what's left over would pay for most the year's road tax...what does the other 2200 per year pay for?)

3 comments:

serendipity said...

Yet another reason for me to get out of this hellhole!

Apparently this new scheme is being trialled in my area. If it comes into force I will have to quit work since it will cost me £200 per week plus fuel and parking just to get there!!

The government f*cking SUCKS!!

Paulius said...

I think everyone in England should simply refuse to pay it. They can't throw everyone into jail.

Seems the government is just begging for another general strike.

Charging people more to get to work than most actually earn.

"That's ok, Mr Blair, I can afford to live on 3.50 a week."

Assholes

Vicarious Living said...

I just truly cannot fathom this concept. I mean they do want people to go to work right? Apparently they do not want them to be able to afford food, clothing and shelter however.