Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Insolence of Office

I got a parking ticket when I was picking my six year old up from school one day this week - a £100 Penaty Charge Notice issued at precisely 15:15.

By a strange coincidence, my boy finishes school at a quarter past three, and it is true that I am guilty of stopping on the red line (because there was nowhere else to park) for the time that it took me to walk into the school, collect him and return.

I can't see however how the official could have got to my car, issued the ticket, and then disappeared into thin air in the couple of minutes that it took me to get in and out of the school unless he or she was, to all intents and puposes, hiding somewhere waiting to ambush a hapless parent or two.

It gets worse. When we pick our kids up from the primary school, we parents enter by the main gate and then turn around the corner of the building to collect the children from the individual classroom doors that open out into the playground. This system has only been reintroduced in the last couple of days however. For the last term and a half - because of building work and improvements - the class teachers have been bringing their charges round to the front of the school at the end of the day and we have been meeting them there at a vantage point from which the road where we park is visible.

I can't help but observe that the enforcement officers didn't have the brass neck to undertake a three fifteen raid at any time in months that that system was in place, and neither had they the decency to speak to us on any weekday afternoon over those fifteen weeks to see if there was not some compromise that could be worked out.

The only conclusion I can come to is that I have been the victim of institutionalised banditry by local government. I have been nobbled not in a attempt to keep the streets clear in the interests of all the body politic, but as milch cow to feed their coffers.

Would it spoil some vast eternal plan to suspend some of the more onerous parking restrictions for fifteen minutes in the morning and again in the afternoon?

Disgusted. Tunbridge Wells.
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