This page celebrates stupidity. Awful, mind-rotting, stomach-churning stupidity of the sort you only find in football hooligans, born-again Christians and local government officers. It's quite a British phenomenon, this sort of stupidity. The French don't do it. They'd talk a lot and then take several months to do something at least halfway intelligent, but they would do it in the end. The Germans would do something reasonable and then put up notices to tell everyone else to do the same. The Dutch would do it quietly and forget it. The Italians would shrug and wait for someone else to do it, then tell them why they'd done it wrong. But in Britain, we go for the stupid option every time.
And, lest you think this great British tradition is dying out, let the GOS assure you that stupidity is alive and thriving, and has official backing from the local council in Stroud, Gloucestershire.
Mrs.Laura Trotman parked her car in a local council carpark in Stroud. It was a pay-and-display carpark, but she found that the machines had been vandalised and had "out-of-order" notices on them, so she couldn't pay her 40p fee. Seeing that other motorists had left their cars without paying, she did the same.
When she returned an hour later, there was a parking-ticket on her car. She found the traffic warden, but he said there was "nothing he could do" about the ticket, that he couldn't take her 40p, and that she'd have to pay a £5 on-the-spot fine. At the council offices.
Trouble was, this was Saturday. The council offices weren't open, so she couldn't pay the fine. She went home.
What happened next became a 10-month ordeal for Mrs.Trotman. The council pursued her, sent bailiffs to her house demanding money and threatening to clamp her car, and finally took her to court.
Luckily the Gloucester magistrates knew a piece of rank stupidity when they saw it. They threw the case out.
It makes you think, doesn't it? About the nature of obtuse officialdom? Of course one ought to also spare a thought for the mindless people who get satisfaction from vandalising public property, but unfortunately there will always be thick yobs who don't have the intelligence to get their rocks off any other way.
But officials - salaried public servants - aren't they supposed to know better?
First the council itself: what possible justification can there be for charging a member of the public for using public property? Council carparks belong to the council, and the council is not an independent money-making business. A local council is us, the people. We elect it to serve our wishes, we pay council officials to provide us with the stuff we need. A publicly-owned carpark should be free. Charging people to use their own property is immoral.
And if they decide to do this immoral thing and make people pay for using their carpark, it's up to them to provide the means to do so. If they can't provide the means, they can't expect to receive the payment. If the means are broken by mindless vandals, that wasn't Mrs.Trotman's fault so why should she be made to suffer? That seems obvious, doesn't it? Not to Stroud council, apparently.
Then the traffic warden. We all know that to take up such a mean, vicious calling you probably have to be deficient in the first place, but what faint glimmerings of consciousness were stirring sluggishly in the mush he called a brain when he thought "Oh, the machines are all broken so nobody can pay to park, so this is my chance ..." And when challenged, to shrug his shoulders and say "There's nothing I can do" is a despicable piece of gutless stupidity.
There was something you could have done, you snivelling little jobsworth. You could not have issued the ticket in the first place, since it obviously wasn't justified. When you realised what a rotten thing you'd done you could have torn the ticket up and found a way of explaining it - there's always a way for anyone who wants to find it. You could resign your job, because it stinks. You could go off and become a hermit, because you're an antisocial pariah and not fit to associate with normal people. Or you could do us all a favour and slit your wrists.
Then back to the council again. Not content with imposing immoral charges on the public it should be serving, and failing to maintain the proper infrastructure for collecting those charges, and employing mindless neanderthal misanthropes as traffic wardens, it also has adopted a scheme of on-the-spot fines that cannot possibly work because there is no way to pay them.
In the GOS's book "on-the-spot" means "on-the-spot". In other words, here and now, in this place, at this time, NOW. Not half-a-mile down the road at the council offices. Not a couple of days later because the council offices are shut and all the council employees are off eating goldfish or torturing kittens or whatever really stupid people do for fun. Perhaps they were having a nice day out, taking the wife and kiddies on a coach-trip to Cheltenham to vandalise the parking-meters.
And they then took upon themselves the power to persecute Mrs.Trotman in her home. Officials went to her house demanding money and threatening to clamp her car. The GOS seems to think that demanding money with menaces is actually a crime, or is he out of date now? And what's the legality of clamping someone's car when it's parked in their own driveway?
And the final piece of stupidity belongs to one James Rachael, the prosecutor who decided that, having examined all the facts of the case, the right thing to do was to do take this innocent member of the public to court and try to extract a £100 fine from her.
What a good job it was that the magistrates were having none of it, and what a relief to know that not everyone in Gloucestershire suffers from the same terminal stupidity that seems to infect everyone at the council offices in Stroud. Bastards.
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