Wednesday, 30 May 2012

RBWM Traffic Wardens - update

Finally, we have an update from the parking department at Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council!  Take a look at the email below, and also have a listen to the lengthy calls to try and get someone to comment (I have removed the several minutes from each call that I was on hold, to spare you the same pain!).
Click to embiggen...
I appreciate Neil has a job to do, but there are a couple of points I think should be made, and publicly.

First, Neil claims that no-one saw the original emails as they had hit their spam folder, so why did I get an auto-reply telling me someone would be in touch within ten days?  That either means that the IT team at RBWM are happy to have auto-responders sent to 'spam' emails, thereby exacerbating the problems of spam for everyone, or it means someone is fibbing, and hoped the problem would go away if it was ignored.  Would it be wise to have emails hitting the spam folder at all, given it's the only contact point for the public when dealing with parking fines?  Something smells of bullsh*t to me, but I could be wrong!

Secondly, Neil suggests it would have been far easier for me to put all the facts together and provide them directly to him.  I could find no process on the RBWM website for reporting this type of incident, and so all I could do was send it in to the email address listed -, in the format I thought would be most appropriate.  And it would be far easier for who?  Isn't he supposed to be working for us, and not the other way round?  I've made it as simple as I can for him to view the information - if he's unable to open a website on his computer and read the words and look at the pictures then perhaps retraining is required?

Finally, he informs me that he will not be able to provide any of the details of the investigation.  Hmmm - so how do we know he will investigate, and not just brush it under the carpet, in the hope his boss doesn't find out?  How do we know any improvement in behaviour will come of this, if we have absolutely no idea if any action was taken?  Could he not provide a simple overview of the actions taken, without any names etc, so we could be reassured?  I wonder if that information falls under the FoI act?  I'll give it a while, and set myself a reminder for a few months time, then put in a request to see if I can find out if anything at all happened as a result. Keep watching this space - and those pesky skiving traffic wardens!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Where's a proper copper when you need one?!

This story caught my eye today.  I'm not one to jump in and accuse until a fair trial has been conducted, but on the face of it, this is quite shocking - anti-bribery officers being arrested for - being bribed.  Do they have anti-paedophile officers out in the streets too, with cameras and contact with kids?  And anti-terror Police keeping us 'safe' by firing into unarmed Brazilians on tube trains in public?

I also recall the recent story of the security services in the UK, while on a conference call to their counterparts in the US, were intercepted and the conversation recorded by teenagers in their bedrooms.  I'd call this dangerous incompetence, and demonstrates the stupidity of the people who claim to be 'keeping us safe'.

Then we had the resignation of the top two Met Police commanders after being found in Murdoch's back pocket - but they can't be disciplined, because they resigned first!

I suspect that we'll see more fallout from the Leveson enquiry - and if those scapegoats for ministers who are caught with their pants down finally have the guts to put their heads above the parapet and name and shame those above them who are really responsible, we might be lucky and get some more senior incompetent fools sacked.  

Given the bungee-like nature of government hiring and firing (remember Peter 'cheap mortgage through a mate and don't declare it, and passports for my Indian friends' Mandelson?), it's only a matter of time before the old boys network sorts it all out, and we see them reappear in a public role again.  What does a public servant have to do, other than murder, to get sacked and remain sacked, as they would in private employment?
Ian Tomlinson, just before being struck by PC Simon Harwood
If the security of the nation, the integrity of the Police, and the legitimacy of our judiciary rests on these people, then I'm worried - very worried.  And if you think you can trust the Police, all you have to do is recall the Ian Tomlinson tragedy.  When first accused of being involved, the Met denied everything.  Gradually, as more evidence appeared, they started to change their version of events, until finally we all saw the video of Mr Tomlinson being struck by an officer, from behind, while he presented no threat at all.  Only then did the Police 'fess up' and push PC Simon Harwood forward to take the heat.  

I was there on that day, and I can confirm first hand the Police were aggravating the crowd, kettling them for no evident reason and looking for trouble to inflame.  I saw plenty of officers with their numbers covered up.  I personally witnessed a very elderly lady (at least 70), who was not part of the demonstration, beg and plead with officers (including WPC's) to let her through so she could find a bathroom to use, and they all simply ignored her, like she didn't exist.  In the end, some protesting girls stood in a circle with a banner around the old lady, so she could pee in the street with as much dignity as she could find - that really appalled me.  It was interesting to note that in the vicinity of the Bank of England where I was standing, the only people prepared for fighting were the Police - everyone else, as far as I witnessed, were impeccably behaved.

Does there come a point where public services are so ineffective, so corrupt and so badly run that they become illegitimate, and should be disregarded, disbanded and replaced with something more akin to what the public expect?  At what point do the public have the right to say 'sorry, not good enough'?  A general election?  I don't think anyone would argue that the government is effectively a corporatocracy, so voting makes not one jot of difference - as Bobby Fleckman once said, money talks and bullsh*t walks!

Perhaps it's time we took things into our own hands, peacefully of course - mass civil disobedience, refusal to co-operate with any government department, blockading government buildings and most of all, refuse to pay fines, taxes, demands - the corrupt can't survive without being fed more money.  What do you think?  Comments below!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

One rule for them....

Less than a week after snapping a traffic warden heading into the bookies to place a bet, today I spotted a different traffic warden on Ascot High Street. This time, he's done a little shopping on taxpayers time, then uses a taxpayer funded van, PARKED ON DOUBLE YELLOW LINES to carry it home.
No response yet from Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council parking department on the gambler - lets see what they have to say to this one! Of course, any and all replies will be posted here...

Monday, 14 May 2012

Saving the planet?

Boy, am I glad I don't live near a Bracknell Forest Borough Council recycling point! It's been like this for 3 days now...

Friday, 11 May 2012

Road to nowhere...

On the 13th April, I was driving to Cardiff down the M4 for the weekend. Between junctions 12 and 13 were around 4 miles of roadworks with a 50mph limit and a contraflow, that I passed at about 2:45 in the afternoon.

While driving past, i counted how many people were engaged with performing the said roadworks, and a separate count on the number of people not actually doing anything. Here are the figures:

No of people sat in vans or trucks reading newspapers or otherwise amusing themselves but not doing any roadworks - 14

No of people actually doing something - 0

The first thing to note here is that in around 4 miles of roadworks, on a regular Friday afternoon, the Highways Agency/contractor thinks 14 people is sufficient.  Are they really that unconcerned with the delays they're causing to thousands of people?

More pressing, though, is if they're only going to deploy 14 people, is it too much to expect them to actually be doing something?

Of course, I couldn't let it lie, so I called the HA and made a complaint. They told me they'd get back to me in a couple of days, and once I'd explained the circumstances, 'Aaron' then went off to investigate.

He didn't come back to me when promised, so I chased them up.

This is what he came back with. You can tell from the management speak he uses, he's not really taken any time to read my complaint, as he makes the assertion that others might have been busy working, or that it might have been break time. Clutching at straws? 

So I called Aaron back, and asked him if he had read my original complaint. We went through the normal 'fob me off' responses before he leapt for and grabbed that holy grail of excuses - health and safety. If there was some sort of issue that had raised a possible health and safety concern, was the appropriate response from the contractor to down tools and collectively skive off? The workmen were scattered randomly in vehicles throughout the roadworks - if a danger was present, did it cover all 4 miles? I doubt it.

This is yet another example of the state, the Highways Agency and their contractors, doing one thing while saying the opposite, and treating the motorist and the public with lies and contempt while they milk the taxpayer for all they can!!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Traffic warden or bookies nightmare - you decide!

While walking down Ascot High Street mid afternoon today, I noticed a traffic warden shouting to his colleague 'I'm popping into the bookies'.

Is this what we're paying them for?  Do we need traffic control, or do we need public servants swinging the lead?  You decide!

Checking the SP's...
Update - I've emailed the Parking department at RBWM and asked them to respond - I'll post any replies here!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A positive to begin the month with...

"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."

Steve Jobs, US computer engineer & industrialist (1955)