Yes, I suppose this has very little interest to those of you living outside of Northern Ireland – but you should pay attention because in a small way it nicely illustrates the problems with politicians we all have.
Higher penalties for illegal parking in Northern Ireland have come into force. The new fines, voted in by assembly members last month, mean offending drivers will have to pay £90, an increase of £30. However, if the fine is paid within two weeks, it will be reduced by 50% to £45.
So, if someone parks illegally and is unable to pay the £90 fine within two weeks from date of issue, they get stung severely. What if they are unemployed? That’s a week’s income! What if they are retired? What if … etc. Funny how quite the same advocates for entitlement culture are over this legislation.
Look, illegal parking is not a massive issue – I don’t hear people in the street stopping to talk about the huge problem it represents. Yet our little tinpot legislators at Stormont need SOMETHING to do – so introducing more punitive penalties for non-issues seems to be an attractive proposition for them. And the same applies anywhere. If you give an infinite number of politicians enough time, they will introduce an infinite number of punishments upon you. It’s what they do best, in fact it’s about all they do. That’s why LIMITING their powers is so vital.
I speak as someone who always parks legally. I speak as someone who always supports the rule of law. But a 50% hike in parking fees in the teeth of an economic recession is simply simultaneously frivolous and stupid. In equal measure.