Driving throws up many questions, like why do rubbish lorries have a cuddly toy tied to the front of them, and why the hell do they leave it to get all dirty and disgusting? Another favorite is why do some people drive at 28 mph everywhere? And why do the people who drive at 28 wear straw hats?
My current question is why the hell do we pay road tax?
I have a nice new car (well it was new in 1989, but its new to me) and it has a nice set of firm springs and dampers to enable me to have a fun quick drive round some fun quick corners if the mood takes me, without the car lurching and wallowing like some drunken fishing trawler in rough seas. Every six months, regular as clockwork, the government send me a nice bit of paper reminding me that my car is not meant to be any fun, I should sell it and get a small soulless eurobox with a sewing machine engine, and stop killing the planet. They do this in the form of a road tax reminder/SORN.
The idea is a good one, we all pay a bit toward the upkeep of the roads, keeping them clean and smooth, free of dead things and building new ones when we get fed up with where the old ones go. We are all reminded that if we use the car on the road then we should pay for it and will be fined and frowned at by a policeman if we don’t. Actually we don’t even get the pleasure of a frowny policeman as these days a faceless silicone monster that lives in DVLA headquarters checks its calendar, complete with fluffy kitten picture, against your registration number and if you are a day out fires an automatic fine direct to your house.
Its worse if you DON’T have your car on the road! Heaven forbid you forget to tell the computer that your car is broken and is currently sulking in your garage. I committed this terrible crime and was hit for 65 of my pounds for not telling anyone my car wouldn’t move. So we pay up promptly, send bits of paper back and forward to Swansea keeping the bureaucracy and computers happy.
So why are we not sending them a million fines and bits of paper because they are failing to keep up their side of the bargain?
It snowed a bit in January, and this (I am told by a bloke who knows) speeds up the formation of potholes. Fair enough. Why then are there potholes in May? Why can I not drive my car without getting double vision? Why is it better to drive on the beach than the road? Who is going to pay for my shot suspension? But the best bit is Why the hell do we put up with it?
There are currently some three million unemployed in the UK, most of which would rather watch daytime TV than actually go outside, and a larger part couldn’t count their own legs, however I am sure with a weeks intensive training they could be taught how to stick a bag of tarmac into a hole an flatten it. I realise this is nowhere near what we should be expecting for our £200 or so a year, but its better than smashing your springs for the hundredth time in 10 yards as you painfully make your way along the dirt track they laughingly refer to as road.
My car is insured, MOTd, taxed and in good, safe working order. I don’t care how much petrol costs because I get what I pay for, petrol goes in, goes bang, moves me along. The roads, however, are a forgotten no mans land of craters, scars and forgotten weather. I paid my dues and play by their rules, the twits in the government just buy moats, porn and duckhouses.