So there I was on the train home, minding my own business after a long days slog.
Getting home at 7pm is just too late, I’m feeling tired, my sugar levels are dropping since I only had soup for lunch.
Sainsbury’s tomato, lentil and red pepper .. very tasty and counts as 2 of my 5 a day .. but not a lot for a growing bhoy!
I’m looking forward to getting some food, putting my feet up and doing absolutely nothing for the evening.
But as I walk back to my car .. I can see this yellow thing on the wheel.
I’m thinking .. what’s that?
Then I realise that I’ve been clamped.
How very dare they clamp me!
I check my road tax and it was up at the end of October .. 3 weeks ago .. okay I hadn’t noticed .. my mistake .. hands up.
But why not put a ticket on the window and I’ll pay the fine and get it up to date?
Clamping is just a rude, invasive, unnecessary use of force, it’s not as if I don’t pay my road tax .. and on both my cars .. so why not just bang me with a fine and I’ll pay up and take the medicine.
But it’s late, I’m tired, hungry and the thought of walking 20 minutes up that hill in the cold just isn’t appealing to me.
I’m going quietly mental .. but I’m fairly controlled .. there’s no point shouting and bawling about it .. because who would be listening .. and what are they going to do anyway?
Besides, I’m a pragmatic kind of guy.
If you fuck me about, I’m not going to say anything … I’m going to do something.
That Al Capone Scene from The Untouchables is playing in my head .. “I want them dead, I want their family dead, I want their house burned to the ground!”
Unfortunately, it looks like if I attempt to drive away, the clamp will do more damage to my car rather than the other way around.
I’ve got a bundle of tools in my garage, crowbars, sledge-hammers, I could possibly walk up to the house 20 minutes uphill and then walk back, but again that’s just going to cause more damage .. and if I don’t get the thing off .. more hassle for interfering with the device.
It seems like an acetylene torch is my only option.
I’m quite comfortable with that kind of stuff, welding and cutting although haven’t used them for many moons since my shipyard days.
I’m thinking, I could jump a taxi up to B&Q and buy one, cut the thing off, deny all knowledge .. tell them to prove it.
That would be a hoot and a real fuck-you to these little Hitler bastards .. who are making a buck enforcing a stupid law.
But it’s going to cost me about 400 quid .. more than any fine .. and I’ll still be paying the road-tax anyway.
Fortunately my sensible side is saying .. don’t be stupid .. calm the fuck down and what’s the legal position?
I had believed that you couldn’t be clamped in Scotland, but that turns out only to be on private land, not in the public street.
I googled the third-party company who are implementing the clamping, apparently with changes in the road-tax laws they have recently been contracted to enforce it .. and are clearly taking their work very seriously .. I wonder if they get paid by the clamp .. of it it’s a standard retainer and bonus?
Now I’m calmer .. okay my rage is quietly bubbling under .. but I’s in control .. BASTARDS .. No honest .. it’s in control.
So I called them .. some wee girl in a call centre in the south of England-shire.
Hardly her fault I’ve been clamped. So no point in losing it with her.
But turns out, that although they have been contracted to enforce the clamping, they cannot actually take the money to pay the road-tax and then order the release.
She tells me that I currently have a 100 pound fine, which gives me 24 hours to get the car taxed and call them back.
If not, the car will be lifted the following day ( 11am this morning) and the fine jumps to 200 pounds and 20 pounds per day storage.
So I jump a taxi up the hill, wolf my dinner now going dry in the oven, dig out the documents and pay the road tax, which obviously is for the full month including the period which has caused this debacle.
I call them back, pay their 100 quid fine, plus another 160 quid refundable retainer in case I’m fibbing about paying the road tax and ask them when can my car be released
Tomorrow .. the different wee girl says .. turns out the clampers only work day shift.
All calm now, road tax set up on the new direct debit facility and this shouldn’t happen again.
But I wonder, why should it happen at all?
Okay some scumbags don’t pay any road tax, insurance, have an MoT etc.
I totally support that they should be targeted as having no MoT or insurance has real impact on road safety and affects other people.
But road tax, don’t you think we pay enough tax .. why not abolish it and take it off our income tax and stop fucking us about.