Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Avoid penalty points - back to basics.

It’s difficult to imagine the kind of mind that is content to sit for hours, hiding in the back of a van, pointing a laser camera at people who are driving at an appropriate speed on a road with an inappropriate speed limit. But maybe that’s why I’m not a copper. Too much self-respect, you see.

I mean, if they want to slow people down, should they not be out in their yellow jackets, looking silly, providing an obvious deterrent? Why do they have to be so sneaky? Have they no shame?

The stated aim of speed cameras is to “save lives”. Yet, I have lost count of the times I have seen “covert” cameras on motorways, or stretches of good road with 60 Km/h speed limits.

I imagine it would be very easy for those of a cynical persuasion to draw the conclusion that it is all about quotas and collecting revenue, rather than saving lives. And all to finance our Government of imbeciles who, during the boom, exercised the fiscal restraint of Viv Nicholson, the famous North of England football pools jackpot winner of the 1960s. In case you don’t know: she blew all the cash in double-quick time.

“Speed kills”, they keep telling us (actually it’s stopping suddenly that does it: the 0.001-second, 60-to-nought time being the decisive factor). But, as has been mentioned on this blog before, how come the Germans are not dying like flies, given that getting on for 70% of their motorway network has no mandatory speed limit? Could it be that an awful lot of Irish people simply don't know how to drive?

If speed alone kills, as they would have us believe, maybe we should go back to a more indigenous means of propulsion that does not go fast enough to present such a danger? Let’s be true patriots, and re-enact the kind of rural idyll envisaged by Pearse, DeValera and our other crackpot founding fathers, and spurn those nasty foreign automotive imports. How about we revert to donkeys and carts?

It would keep the Greens and the new-age crusties happy, with the added bonus that all the donkey poo could be used as organic fertilizer (any leftovers could be put into an envelope and sent to those they suspect of carbon crimes). To boost the tourism industry, everyone could have their hair dyed red (those who need to), and have big orange freckles painted on their ruddy faces. The whole country could be transformed into a living, breathing John Hinde postcard for our victims – sorry, visitors. We could sell them pints of mouldy Guinness at €10 a pop, with a bit of Irish dancing, a few made-up words of Gaelic such as "craic", and other assorted paddywhackery thrown in. OK, it might be awfully dishonest and contrived, but what kind of half-wit comes here for their holidays anyway?

But all that is just a spin-off. The real advantage is that Irish people would not have to bother learning how to use indicators, as donkeys don’t come equipped with them. They wouldn’t have to pass a driving test to take to the road – nothing new there, but at least this time it would be entirely legal. Yummy-mummies would look ridiculous on the school run, no matter what their brand of head-borne sunglasses. Single-donkey accidents would not have the same incidence of fatalities as the motorised variety, so everyone could drive home pissed from the pub again – just like the good old days. The more I think about it, the better it sounds.

Let's face it – it’s quite obvious that most Irish people never got the hang of them motorcars anyway. The only ones that might be disappointed would be our friends in the Transits with the blacked-out windows, and the Exchequer.

Back to Gombeen Nation main page

P.S. Watch out for the Gatso on the R157, Dunboyne-Maynooth road, outside Carton House.


Bernd said...

Gombeen Man ... I hate you! Mainly because I nearly p***ed myself when I reached the "single-donkey accident".

But, in all honesty, your donkey idea invites true flights of fancy.

My first thought was "boy racers" paying for costly vets to shorten the legs on their donkeys, combined with a battery-operated amplifiers to make their braying louder (the donkeys', not the boys'). Then a sound system onto the old cart and off we go ... obviously techno would be banned, watch out for Phil Coulter CDs enjoying top chart places again.

Girl racers could have their donkeys died pink with the Playboy logo shaved into the hindquarters (again ... the donkeys', even though they tend to be more shapely and smaller).

And don't forget that "white van man" will instantly have to mutate to "gipsy caravan man", thus bringing another bit of Oirish folklore back onto our streets ... I can just see a barrel-topped Romany with the DHL logo on the side ...

The only thing that worries me with the whole idea (except the nagging feeling that you are the reincarnation of de Valera, him of the comely maidens) ... how is the NDT (National Donkey Test) going to work? I mean ... emission testing ...?

Oh, and will there be a DRT?

Ella said...

Another favoured spot of our boys in blue is the N3, heading towards Dublin, between the Clonee and Mulhuddart exits. Indeed, only last week after doing my bit for proppping up the economy I was heading back to the big smoke and sure enough I spotted a yellow jacket, hidden among the road works there, and yes the gatso was out and about. Posing as building workers.

As to donkeys, do they not give off methane just like cows? There is talk about taxing cows for the amount of methane they produce. Don't the cows on our dear old emerald isle pollute more than the cars do?

The Gombeen Man said...

Yes, Ella - but we'd have fewer Gatso vans with their occupants, so that would surely lead to a drop in emissions. Don't you get methane from pigs too?

Bernd, I'm sorry I didn't think of those points myself. I reckon the two of us should put our heads together and fine-tune our bray-ve plan to get Ireland moving (very slowly) again!

Ella said...

Hi GM and Bernd, STILL LOL here. Class. It must be about the 5th time I've gone into the comments just for a laugh. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The mast loathsome thing about speed cameras is the way a registered owner of a vehicle is held guilty unless and until someone else can be found willing to admit to the "offence" i.e. if you werent driving but the person who was driving (assuming its even your car and not someone with a "cloned" numberplate) wont own up then you are fined and worse given penelty points which could result in you losing your job and/or contact with family. The whole thing makes the Spanish inquisition look like a model of fairness and due process.

Its time people started looking at ways around it (or at least the penelty points aspect of it). In Britain people have been known to pay elderly relatives (who still have driving licences but dont use them anymore) to take their penelty points. Some have even taken it a step further and named dead relatives as the driver. Maybe the problem can also be attacked from the other end though. Most people tend to forget that a vehicle can be registered to anyone and the person doesnt have to have a driving licence or even be a real person (a limited company for example). After all anybody can own a car without necessairly being the person who drives it.

Therfore next time you buy a car why not register one of your children (the younger the better) as the "owner". If you dont have any kids there might be an adult member of your family who doesnt drive. If all else fails one could always start up a company with the vehicle as the sole asset and zero annual profits.

P.S. (At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious) These are all just the randon thoughts of some dude on the internet. All the usual disclaimers about seeking proper legal advice apply...........

The Gombeen Man said...

Good random thoughts, Anon.

Anonymous said...

greetings mister G.M and avery happy ST PATS day to you and all at the manor, delighted that homer simpsom has found his irish roots and that he is considering returning to the auld sod for good, rumour has it that adeal with the IMF has been worked out where oirland gets homer and simpson producers gets BIFFO AND LENIHAN once again oirland comes out ontop its fine soft day here in beverly hills rain mixed with showers cheerio for now

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks, and happy St Pat's Day to your good self, there in Beverly Hills.

You know, I'd happily have Homer Simpson running this country. Got to be an improvement.

Anonymous said...

To the fellow Anonymous above with the random thoughts on how to beat the speeding penalty points... Your ideas would be OK, if it wasn't for the fact that they would invite harsher court penalties than the one you are trying to avoid.

I have never met a family, who has lost a child to a speeding motorist, that didn't support the implementation of laws on speeding. Maybe I am missing something.. perhaps the great Irish "whinging" gene.