[Gllug] [OT] Times Article on ABD was Fighting a virus

Ben Whyte ben at whyte-systems.co.uk
Mon Feb 19 11:00:03 UTC 2007

> It's similar in many ways to the concept of VAT: if VAT was charged at
> the right rate, almost all other forms of taxation could be discarded
> (including Income Tax, National Insurance and most other levies).  The
> government economic model demonstrates quite clearly that this is so.
> However, there would be a major outcry from those most affected (the
> rich), so like vastly increased fuel duties, it's a political
> non-starter.
Like so many of the tax versus service arguments.  People will not pay 
tax, they do not understand that it is the only way governments can 
legitimitely raise the income required to provide all sorts of services 
that they are asked to from defence, to roads, to health care to welfare 
state.  People want better funding without paying extra for it.  EU 
countries with better Welfare states tend to be those with far higher 
personal taxation burdens to pay for it.

> There is no simple, easy solution to the congestion problems.  London's
> experiment with Congestion Charging doesn't work (and cannot work).
> Despite Livingstone's bluster to the contrary and the manipulated
> statistics, the London CC zone has failed abysmally in every way, and is
> losing money.  (If is was truly successful, the revenue collected would
> be vanishingly small, so the entire project is self-defeating!)
The congestion charge does work in my experience, when I was required to 
drive into London on business prior to the charge it took me 
considerably longer to actually get around the city than it does now.  
Therefore the charge is a benefit to me, I gain more in savings than I 
loose by paying the charge.

The same applies to the M6 toll road, I used to live in Staffordshire 
and routinely had to travel down the m6 past Birmingham.  At a charge of 
£3.50 at the time, I only had to be 15 mins quicker getting to my 
destination for myself and my firm to see a cost beneifit to it.  It 
does exactly what its designed to do, it allows people to make a choice 
to drive on a non congested road therefore saving time and hassle.

> The "automated number plate recognition" simply doesn't work (and cannot
> work with the chosen technology), and relies on innumerable lowly paid
> operatives monitoring CCTV screens! 
Interesting it seems to work fine most of the time, unless the 
individuals have done something to the number plates.  The City of 
London police have certainly been using the technology for a significant 
time as part of their security precautions.

Also a number of friends of mine in police forces say it is a useful 
tool in helping them identify pottential problem vehicles for closer 


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