Another kick in the arse for the British motorist.

This morning I was sent this link to an article in the Telegraph, detailing the latest plans for road pricing.

The Telegraph can disclose that the Government is pushing ahead with plans for a national road-pricing scheme, including testing "spy in the sky" technology.

Eight areas of the country have been selected by ministers for secret pay-per-mile trials which will begin in 2010 and are expected to pave the way for tolls on motorways.

Motorists face paying up to £1.30 a mile during peak periods on the busiest roads.

Gordon Brown was thought to be against national road pricing, a flagship policy of the Blair administration.

But the detailed level of planning now underway indicates the issue it set to become a key battleground in the next general election – which is likely to coincide with the trials beginning.

It will leave Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, particularly vulnerable as she defends her marginal Bolton West constituency.

The Daily Telegraph has learnt that eight areas – Leeds, North Yorkshire, Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire, south west London, Suffolk and Essex – have been selected for the trials.

Initially, in January 2010, one hundred cars in each area will trial the new technology – in many cases entailing placing black boxes to allow their movements to be tracked – but members of the public will be invited to join the pilots in June 2010.

 

Ok, well let's start at the beginning shall we? Firstly, their 'secret pay per mile trials' are not looking quite so secret are they? Because I didn't find this link myself, I was sent it by someone working for a protest group, 'People Against the Bastard Government Shafting the Motorist' or something like that and someone I know working in transport already knew about the ideas before they hit the press. So secret it most certainly isn't.

And what is this 'members of the public will be invited to join the pilots' crap? Oh yes, I can just see that catching on can't you? They'll  be lining up round the block to volunteer to pay up to £1.30 per mile to get to work, somewhere they probably don't want to be going in the first place.

What it doesn't say is whether this half assed road charge is going to be on top of the half assed congestion charge that they are so determined to introduce in Manchester. That would then mean that to use a car you pay VAT on the car, fuel duty on the fuel, road tax to legally have it on the road, congestion charge to drive it anywhere in the city and pay-per-mile charge to go anywhere at all because you can oyur bottom dollar that it won't stay restricted to just charging on motorways. But hey, apparently this is all for our own good, to reduce congestion because according to government thinking everyone is sat in the 7 mile tailback on the M60 at 7.30am because they think it's funny to cause traffic chaos. It's not really in order to go to work and pay the tax that funds these ridiculous fucking ideas that drain our pay packets even further. At least Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask, Gordon Brown and that useless little tart Ruth Kelly (Transport Monkey in Charge for anyone outside of the UK) are quite happy to blatantly lift your wallet and expect you to say thanks afterwards. It doesn't so much leave Ruth Kelly vulnerable to losing her seat as vulnerable to losing her head courtesy of a Bolton resident who is sick of having to pay through the nose to get anywhere. 

The other issue is the technology. Leaving aside the fact that thanks to the government's policy of giving IT contracts to their mates rather than a company that is qualified to do the work there is more chance of me growing wings and circling the Empire State Building than them actually managing to get the scheme up and running, the technology that they are proposing is appallingly intrusive. A box in your car that will allow it to be tracked anywhere in the country and you to be charged accordingly. I don't fucking think so sunshine, not in my car, not now, not ever and I don't suppose I'm the only person who objects to this idea. Also, a fiver says that MPs cars are made exempt from this tracking nightmare, the self centred bastards.

All in all I'd say this is a triumphant fuck-up from a government that seems hell bent on political suicide. Fingers crossed that they get the task of achieving a vote of no confidence in themselves completed soon then we can all go back to living normally without this constant, obsessive monitoring nonsense. They are the Crown Princes of Fuckwittery – fact.  

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