I've been caught by a speed camera. It happened because I was speeding. I paid the money, got on with life and got a bit pissed off at myself for speeding, which put three points on my licence and made my insurance go through the fucking roof.
Similarly, had I been caught on CCTV shoplifting, I would have admitted to being a shoplifter, accepted whatever fine or punishment I got given and got on with life. I wouldn't have blamed the camera for the fact it caught me committing an offence. I would have blamed me for committing the offence, which would, I imagine, be the reason I got caught doing it.
Yet I don't seem able to find another human being on the entire planet who considers my point of view to be a rational one. Well maybe George Monbiot. And a few other leftie troublemakers. And some people who've lost relatives to speeding drivers who killed them just so they could get from A to B more quickly. Oh, and the majority of the British population. But who gives a shit about all of them when we're talking about NuLab Jock McCunty and his merry band of chums? If NuLab has done something then it must, therefore, be the most evil thing in the entire world, especially if it can be portrayed as a stealth tax on the middle class, which it isn't.
Look, people are allowed to break the speed limit. There's nothing stopping you from doing it - cars aren't limited to 70mph, so you are given the freedom of choice. But don't go bawling home to me when you get caught. That's kind of the point of all those pretty signs by the side of the road telling you what speed to go at. They're not there for fucking decoration, or as an advisory for everyone except you, because you're such a brilliantly wonderful bloody driver that you'll never ever make a mistake in your entire life.
But I'll say it again: most people support speed cameras, because they do save lives. They also save money for Tommy Taxpayer by reducing the number of accidents and thereby reducing all that costly red tape that comes when public servants are charged with the task of hosing blood and brain matter off the road and so forth. So they are, in a sense, a good thing. A bit of a pisser if you get caught by one, and I should know, but still generally something that's designed to save lives. Speed traps have been around for as long as there have been motor cars, and yes, cars are safer than ever, but thousands still die on the roads every year. You can shrug your shoulders and imagine every single accident was caused by one bad apple who was driving within the speed limit but happened to make a catastrophic error, and not a single accident ever has been caused by someone travelling too fast to be able to stop in time, but you'd be a berk of the highest order if you did. Of course not every accident is speed-related, and I would love to see more clamping down on tailgaters as well as other bad drivers - and I'd be happy if my tax money went towards that clampdown.
And yet, time and time again, you come across the same arguments. It's just a tax on 'otherwise law-abiding motorists'; it's a cash cow; it's NuLab taxing the middle classes for daring to have cars; Labour hates cars and therefore hates people driving them; why shouldn't I be allowed to drive at whatever speed I want, whenever I want, however I want? You hear relatively sane people asking why speed cameras aren't situated on dangerous roads, when in fact they can only be situated at places where there's a history of fatal accidents - don't people ever check these things? People grumble about cameras and say they would prefer traffic police officers instead... but they are there to do the same thing, not let you off - if they see you speeding, you just get the ticket there and then from a human being rather than a letter through the post; they're really not doing anything different at all than the cameras.
Sometimes when you're blogging you need to take a point-by-point analysis to deconstruct someone else's argument. But there are other times when someone's argument is so dismally simplistic and tragically skewed that it's a waste of time and effort to do that. Especially when it's from the pisspoor pen of the world's worst journalist, James Slack.
Highway robbery: How speeding fines have quadrupled to £200 a MINUTE under Labour
THEN FUCKING SLOW DOWN THEN.
I imagine James Slack would call it 'robbery' when people who commit burglarly, deal drugs or beat someone up are asked to pay fines by the courts... that would be 'robbery' also, yes? What a refreshingly liberal attitude from the Daily Mail, asking that people who commit offences should be let off with no punishment whatsoever for their transgressions. And nice to see Slack on the side of those antisocial yobs who commit vandalism, so long as they're vandalising a speed camera sign.
So, approval for yobbery and vandalism, and a demand for the justice system to go soft on people who commit offences... that's quite a U-turn. Just don't do it in the middle of the road, or NuLab will tax you for it! Ho ho...