Hart District Council Offices - Fleet, Hampshire
I saw these from the local library, parked outside the offices of Hart District Council (Tory) the other day and - being unable to read the writing in front of them - took a shot to enlarge it at home. Imagine my surprise when I read the notice to be 'Police Only'. My surprise being based on two facts I happened to have at my fingertips.
One: That there is a perfectly good (or reasonably saveable...I must confess I don't know the condition of the interior) police station not 300 meters from the location of these vehicles, with parking out the front for a dozen or so vehicles and a vehicle pound attached at the side/back of the building with garaging and outdoor parking for another 20+ vehicles of all sizes, and that two: There is a shortage of parking spaces in the town in question - Fleet in Hampshire.
Indeed, when the council recently 'renovated' the car parks and high street, an exercise which suggests a return to former splendor, they managed to reduce the total number of spaces available and then increase the number of spaces still available as wholly dedicated to unloading or disabled drivers. The overall change wasn't great, about 14, 18 mabe 20 spaces...something like that, but any reduction would seem to be daft as car-ownership continues to rise, and when also you consider that the reduction in parking spaces was accompanied by an announcement of more ticket-issuing traffic patrols!
Now, Prime Minister...we 'the people' have paid for that police station and the land it sits on, we have paid for the library and council offices, that land and the land the car parks sit on, we - technically - own the spaces down the high-street, yet the people we pay to administer our lives and meet our needs as citizens, whilst keeping us safe, have clearly conspired to punitively tax us, by deceit, through manipulation of the available parking, the regulations around that parking and their enforcement?
Tired old 1970's two-tiered, ramped, concrete lump
If you think I'm being silly, let me take you next door to Rushmoor Borough Council (Tory), where many years ago (mid-1990's), someone thought it would be a good idea to hold a car-boot sale on an underused car-park in the centre of a roundabout in Farnborough town centre on Sunday afternoons. Yes- the very same Farnborough as the one with the invisible, inaccessible high-rise, no-entry, or exit car park.
This proved quite popular; Rushmoor has a lot of poverty among the dormitory'd city-types, due to the old GLC-overspill housing projects, so a little Sunday outing to buy or gossip over other people's stuff - they don't really need - is as close to an outing as you can get with a fiver, on an overcast Sunday.
As a result there was a short period of about 20 minutes just after mid-day when some...how shall I put it...'undisciplined' vehicle-parking would occur the other side of the road in the Council Offices car park. I mean, literally; 20 minutes. Once the eBay bottom-feeders had been and gone, it all calmed-down to the leisurely pace of an odd coming and a steady going.
Enjoy your free parking at our expense! Rushmore BC
Yet instead of turning a blind-eye to what was no real problem at all, the council (whose staff enjoy free parking there, all week), panicked, got over-exited, threw all their toys out of the pram and decided to introduce Sunday parking charges, in all car parks, all day, on a Sunday! As far as I am aware, that car-boot sale and those parking charges are both still extant.
Again, we the people own the land that the offices and car parks are located on, we allow council staff to enjoy free parking as a 'perk' on top of their salaries (everyone else has to pay Monday-Sunday), and again bear in mind that Rushmoor were advertising an evening seminar the other week with wine and canapés (for budding Landlords and people trying to beat the buy-to-let mortgage changes) with...you guessed it...Free Parking!
Left - Of course 'Permit Holders A' work for us, but we have to pay to park on our land!
Right - Nanny State, Police State, Fascist State...call it what you will; Orwell would recognise it. They'll be printing the Highway Code on curb-stones next!
I said at the start that there were several pointers to the breakdown in the relationship between citizen and state (or 'authority') in this, and while it does read like one of those 'old git' celebs on BBC2, whinging about nothing, there is substance here as well.
The fact that you can see clearly see the 'one law for them (you) and another law for everyone else (us)' rule in action with both these situations.
The fact that you blame 'Austerity' for needing to cut taxes for the rich (despite the fact that it was rich Bankers who got us in the current mess), yet then accept the raising of those missing tax-pounds by further attacking the poor, even the not so poor, with underhand tactics such as the above are both bloody good reasons for the citizenry ceasing to trust or respect you; you who would rule over us.
Fleet Police Station - day-time only service for years, now shut-up and padlocked
Thirdly, the reason the police feel the need for those parking spaces to be reserved for them at the council offices is because the police station is actually all locked-up and derelict, and despite dedicated parking spaces, often Fleet (a largish dormitory with an existing night-life behavioral problem and a plethora of hot-hatched, wide-boys, with exhausts worth more than the rest of their cars) is without a proper police presence.
Indeed the recent spate of day-time burglaries blamed on career criminals dropping off the M3 or having a day-away round the M25, is probably in no small part due to the fact that the town is all but undefended.
In the 'States this is the sort of stuff that might lead a bunch of 'Rednecks' to arm themselves and take over a hunting-lodge claiming 'federal conspiracy' and muttering about lizard-aliens, over here you just get me verbally pissing in the wind, but I'll keep pissing 'till you get a face full, Prime Minister.