Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oona King - Human Rights and Parking Fines

Oona King jumps on the anti-war-against-the-motorist bandwagon in the Standard today, bleating about the unfairness and inflexibility of parking fines. Now, there are cases of injustice and unfairness, as there are in all areas of law enforcement. But the consequences are usually a relatively small fine. This hardly equates to a gross infringement of human rights, as Oona's article seems to imply. And most motorists can afford it. If they couldn't, there wouldn't be such widespread infringement of parking regulations. If all motorists could be trusted to park considerately, we wouldn't need any parking enforcement. As for inflexibility, this is of necessity. Google 'parking fine', and you'll find a whole industry dedicated to helping motorists wriggle out of their offences.

"Some people are always going to need to drive", Oona gushes, "whether it's the plumber who needs to carry tools or the disabled person with their specially adapted vehicle. These people should have parking facilities and a parking regime that means they can go about their business without fearing a fine for being a couple of minutes late."
In case you hadn't noticed, Oona, there's a blue badge scheme for disabled people. And able-bodied people for that matter, so widespread is the abuse of it. Most plumbers and van drivers can tell the time and can understand parking restrictions. Getting the odd ticket is an occupational hazard. Ain't that terrible? What's your solution, Oona? Create more loopholes and overload the parking appeals process with frivolous cases? Reduce fines and impoverish councils still further? Or just abolish parking restrictions altogether? You don't know do you? You've not thought this through, have you? This is lowest-common-denominator politics, and Oona King has just gone down in my estimation.

What Oona doesn't seem to understand is, the cheaper and easier you make driving, the more people will tend to drive. The reason there is little private motoring in central London is parking is difficult and expensive, and you have to pay the congestion charge. If you make it cheaper and easier for people to take the car, there'll be more congestion. Your plumber will lose more earnings than he's paying in parking fines, because he'll be stuck in traffic more of the time. As for Oona's anecdote about a woman whose car was clamped while her father was having a heart attack - do you want more ambulances stuck in traffic?

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