Friends don't let friends stay in something as stupid as the EU - Credit, public domain

We’d all sign up to the idea that the country shouldn’t be littered with old newspapers and crisp packets. Just makes the place look messy whatever it does to inquisitive wildlife. Thus we’re rather happy with the idea that people who have just read a newspaper, chomped some crisps, keep that waste in their vehicle until they have a chance to dispose of it responsibly.

At which point the pencil necked pinheads who rule us decide that a fine must be issued.

No, really, a bloke carrying around his own waste from such normal sorts of browsing of news and snacks gets a fine for carrying his waste.

A white van man has been hit with a £300 fine after sandwich wrappers and crisp packets were found inside his work van.

Whut?

Roofer Stewart Gosling, 43, was punished with the on-the-spot penalty after a stash of waste he kept in a plastic commercial waste bag was found in the back of his vehicle.

Waltham Forest Council workers told Mr Gosling he was breaking the law for carrying the rubbish without permission when they carried out spot checks in east London.

Mr Gosling has tried to appeal the fine but has been told he will end up in court if he doesn’t pay the penalty issued at the roadside.

He said: “It’s so infuriating. The working-class man gets penalised for going to work basically.

“I’ve not fly-tipped. I’ve not left it in someone’s garden. It’s frustrated the hell out of me.

“There was just a bag of rubbish, bottles, crisp packets, newspapers and sandwich wrappers.

The reason we don’t rise up and slaughter them all is what?

Well, probably, it’s that traditional reticence and submission to authority our isles are famed for. For we did used to have a deal. There wouldn’t be all that many rules and those we did have would be important. Important enough that we’d all generally agree that they should be obeyed. Don’t murder people is something that all but a thousand or two a year obey because we’re all really pretty certain that not murdering people is a pretty good idea. We also tend not to be reticent about dobbing in those who don’t so agree.

This habitual deference then meets the mania of an entirely different ruling system. Where there must be rules for everything. For what would the people know to do if they hadn’t been told they must do it? It’s a stretch to say this is the difference between Common Law and Roman systems but the heart of the argument is there. The German, for example, system is festooned with this sort of instruction, including whose turn it is, on which Saturday, to sweep the communal drive in a block of flats. Southern Europe equally has regulations for everything but with the saving grace that all ignore them.

Then impose this system of rules for everything on that traditional British dispensation. We end up with the council prodnoses fining someone for not throwing away a crisp packet.

And oh yes, this is from the European Union:

Overview
You must register if you do any of these things as part of your business:

transport waste
buy, sell or dispose of waste
arrange for someone else to buy, sell or dispose of waste
You can be fined up to £5,000 if you don’t register.

Registration is usually free if you only transport waste you produce yourself. Otherwise, registration costs £154.

The council’s case is that this was self-produced waste therefore a licence should have been applied for to transport it. And yes, the EU. Our home grown bureaucracy isn’t, as yet, stupid enough to do this ab initio, only to impose those foreign rules.

Lucky we’re leaving really or we would have to rise up and slaughter them all, wouldn’t we? For recall what happened here. Our white van driver did not throw his empty crisp packet out the window, he saved it until responsible waste disposal could take place. For this he was fined £300. Now, where was that prototype of the multi-person gallows?

And to be a little less tongue in cheek. Can anyone tell me how this fine on crisp packets stops Germany invading France. Again? That being, as we all know, the declared reason for the existence of the European Union.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I have read quite a few stories of these abuses of power recently – which isn’t a new thing. The one that struck me most was the man who wrote an article on conservativehome about spending over a year being prosecuted for sexual assault. Then it gets to court and the judge damns the prosecution for ever bringing the case. The policeman had pre-screened suspects, speaking to people who could exonerate him, and then not taking an official statement if it was not helpful. That the accusation was physically impossible was also a red flag.

    I work in finance and the government has been very keen to require the concept of a malus whereby a good chunk of pay is held back, and if things go wrong then they can claw back that compensation [this is legislating for something that was common already as it balances incentives]

    It would be nice to see something similar for the public sector. At the lowest level of the org chart some of these people must know what they are doing is wrong. They should be able to make an internal report that they think they are being told to act in a pointless or cruel way. Their boss can tell them to keep going, but in doing so takes responsibility. Their boss can flag it to his boss and it can trickle all the way up the chain of command.

    A separate branch of government (akin to the National Audit Office) should choose some complaints to investigate (either from this list or based on public complaints – so the defendant in the above case would complain about the policeman) and if their is a finding that this was an abuse of public office then whoever is responsible would suffer a financial penalty. Luckily civil servants receive a huge amount of their pay each year in the form of pension contributions and this provides a pot of deferred compensation to pay the penalty without causing cashflow problems.

    Their is no presumption of guilt, instead people are flagging that they think what they are doing is wrong. The purpose of the financial penalties is to make people step back and say, is what I am doing fair? Too often public servants act as if they are immune from any sanction – because they are. The game of retiring on full pension to avoid an investigation would also have to be stopped – someone can retire but the financial penalty should still be considered (which is why it can’t be investigated by that department who want to hide their dirty laundry).

    I would make the list of “this is a waste of time” as public as possible (s.t. confidentiality). Some people might be tempted to flag everything as pointless as a way of protecting themselves, but department wide stats should be published, and if a department claims that 100% of what they are doing is wrong then we can safely scrap that department. Presumably many of the recent scandals from failure to prevent child grooming, to the stupid treatment of windrush immigrants would have been caught far earlier with such a system.

    Just noticed my comment is longer than the article….

  2. Nicely put. It’s this difference in our legal systems and the expansion of the Prussian Empire that’s led to Brexit. What really surprised me is the solid block of middle class professionals who seem to support this oppressive regime.

  3. It seems to be innate human nature to expect it is devine right to force other people how to live their lives, and has to be continuously actively fought against. And from a practical level it is completely unsustainable.
    A: It is my innate god-given right to force you to do X.
    B: No, it is my innate god-given right to force *you* to do *Y*!

  4. So get out of the EU. Now. Don’t pay ’em for the privilege of leaving; don’t negotiate; just leave. If they want to cripple themselves with tariffs on Europeans who buy British goods, don’t cripple yourselves to spite them; and sell to us Americans. I’m betting Europe won’t go to war to keep the UK in.

  5. Mr Gosling and a councillor from Waltham Forest were on the BBC R4 Today programme this morning. The councillor was both adamant and unrepentant. Mr Gosling, you see, admitted to having disposed of commercial waste in his own wheelie bins which are unlicensed for the disposal of commercial waste. Yep, Mr Gosling takes the residue of his lunch – sandwich wrapper, crisp packet, water bottle – home and throws them in his bin. And that makes him a criminal.

    It is fortunate for the councillor that Britons are not a people much given to revolution.