Dec 2008 03

It is always great to see unhinged enthusiasts for the nanny state being confronted by someone in charge of the facts. The Association of Chief Police Officers told the Transport Select Committee:

"Production machines are readily available for use on our roads with top speeds in excess of 200mph. Motorcycles are seen in the UK to be, in the majority of instances, vehicles of choice rather than necessity and one might consider if our congested roads are any longer fit for purpose for these motorised toys."

The point they're making is unclear, are ACPO against motorcycles in general or just particularly high powered bikes.  They propose both bans on particularly high powered motorcycles and bans on all motorcycles within certain areas.  Reporters at Motorcycle News have made a number of points:

1.  The magazine challenged ACPO to name the motorcycle that can top 200mph. They couldn't. They insisted that the assertion was based on "operational research" but it turns out all the police chiefs had done was google "Hayabusa top speed". As the magazine put it:

"MCN used the same technique to establish whether the King of Rock'n'Roll is truly dead by searching for 'Elvis alive or dead'. We can exclusively reveal that, based on police 'operational knowledge', he is alive."

2.  The man responsible for the campaign against motorcycles, Meredydd Hughes, has been convicted three times for speeding, once for doing 90mph in a 60 zone.  He also once created a special legal team to try and scare motorists off challenging speeding fine convictions, Motorcycle News revealed that the team was a private company that Hughes himself was a director of.

3.  ACPO were simply wrong to assert that motorcycles are associated with Vehicle Excise Duty evasion.  They have retracted that statement.

This is yet more evidence that we need local democratic control of the police.  Chief Police Officers are as capable as anyone of pursuing the wrong policies based on ignorance and prejudice.  Almost all of the additional risks associated with motorcycles are borne by the rider, a choice they are – and should remain – free to make.  Ordinary people need to be able to insist that the police focus on their priorities – fighting crime – rather than trying to inconvenience motorists or wasting their time in endless other ways (giving out flip flops to drunk girls, for example).

We need to put the British people back in control of their public services.  Whether by giving them the power to take their business elsewhere, if they don't get the standards they deserve from schools and hospitals for example, or through the ballot box where that isn't possible. 

  • Ms Elizabeth Susan Pascoe

    I heard about you on radio 4 earlier. I would like to tell you about the aspect of squandering taxes that I have been forced to know all about. It is far too long to go into here.
    As it happens I pay neither Income Tax nor Council Tax. I was badly injured in an RTA 20 years ago.
    If you google Edge Lane Liverpool, or my name you will see some idea of what has been shoved onto my agenda. But the real issues of misgovernance and destructive use of funding are not really apparent. I think my insight would be informative and indicates a great deal else.
    Elizabeth Susan Pascoe [email protected]

  • a t cunningham

    Dear Sir/Ms,
    I understand the concept of The Tax Payers Alliance, an excellent idea, however, with all due respect what clout/power do you have to effect anything the Government does?
    The only power the people have at the present time is to vote the government out once every few years, in that time of a few years a great deal of irreversible damage can be done, and to be quite frank that is not acceptable.
    It seems to me that governments the present one in particularly, listen to no one, respect no one and use tax payers money to buy votes to stay in power. Intervening in peoples life when they should not and not intervening in peoples life when they should, rewarding failure at ever turn with tax payers money.
    I suggest it is time to show our employees (PM, MPs, local councils etc) that the tax payers (us) pay their wages. they must realise that in a sane and logical world the tail does not wag the dog, the dog wags the tail!
    I submit that the only real power the people of this country have, is to withhold taxes.
    A Quote from the start of the American war of independence stated : “NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION” .
    Why not possible,?
    Private enterprise is the back bone of our economy, governments/bureaucracy produce nothing they live of the efforts of others like a parasite, if private enterprise with-hold taxes, if people in local communities with hold community tax, this will have the effect of getting the attention of the con men in government (national and local).
    Illegal? The only laws with any value are laws sanctioned by the people for the people.
    Undemocratic? Even Six or seven million tax payers with-holding taxes, is far more democratic than allowing 650 M.P.s in parliament who can easily be bribed or blackmailed by big business/the EU, organised crime. To bribe 5-6million is beyond anyone’s pocket!
    Below are some relevant quotes attributed to one of the founding fathers of the USA, Thomas Jefferson, I believe these quotes sum up what democracy and freedom should be and high lights what a sham of democracy the people of this country live under.
    (May I point out that I believe that recent/present US governments have diverged from what their fore fathers laid down, and believe the USA democracy is a sham in comparison with what the original creators of the American Constitution intended it to represent)
    A T Cunningham
    The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors. As Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In free governments the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns.” The ultimate powers in a society, therefore, rest in the people themselves, and they should exercise those powers, either directly or through representatives, in every way they are competent and that is practicable.
    “The influence over government must be shared among all the people. If every individual which composes their mass participates of the ultimate authority, the government will be safe, because the corrupting the whole mass will exceed any private resources of wealth, and public ones cannot be provided but by levies on the people. In this case every man would have to pay his own price.” –Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIV, 1782. ME 2:207
    “I deem no government safe which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted authorities, or any other authority than that of the nation, or its regular functionaries.” –Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 1803. ME 10:438
    “Their habits of law and order, their ideas almost innate of the vital elements of free government, of trial by jury, habeas corpus, freedom of the press, freedom of opinion, and representative government, make [a people], I think, capable of bearing a considerable portion of liberty.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1816. (*) ME 15:84
    “At the formation of our government, many had formed their political opinions on European writings and practices, believing the experience of old countries, and especially of England, abusive as it was, to be a safer guide than mere theory. The doctrines of Europe were, that men in numerous associations cannot be restrained within the limits of order and justice, but by forces physical and moral, wielded over them by authorities independent of their will. Hence their organization of kings, hereditary nobles, and priests.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson, 1823. ME 15:440
    “Every nation has a right to govern itself internally under what forms it pleases, and to change these forms at its own will.” –Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Pinckney, 1792. ME 9:7
    “The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government. Modern times have the signal advantage, too, of having discovered the only device by which these rights can be secured, to wit: government by the people, acting not in person, but by representatives chosen by themselves, that is to say, by every man of ripe years and sane mind, who contributes either by his purse or person to the support of his country.” –Thomas Jefferson to A. Coray, 1823. ME 15:482
    The Rights and Duties of the Minority
    “If the measures which have been pursued are approved by the majority, it is the duty of the minority to acquiesce and conform.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Duane, 1811. ME 13:51
    “Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals.” –Thomas Jefferson to Garret Vanmeter, 1781. ME 4:417, Papers 5:566
    “Where the law of the majority ceases to be acknowledged, there government ends, the law of the strongest takes its place, and life and property are his who can take them.” –Thomas Jefferson to Annapolis Citizens, 1809. ME 16:337
    “[To establish republican government, it is necessary to] effect a constitution in which the will of the nation shall have an organized control over the actions of its government, and its citizens a regular protection against its oppressions.”
    –Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1816. ME 19:240
    Other relevant quotes
    Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.
    John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
    Tom Paine quote:
    On Constitutions That men mean distinct and separate things when they speak of constitutions and of governments, is evident; or why are those terms distinctly and separately used?   A constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government; and government without a constitution, is power without a right.
    Government has no right to make itself a party in any debate respecting the principles or modes of forming, or of changing, constitutions.
    It is not for the benefit of those who exercise the powers of government that constitutions, and the governments issuing from them, are established.    In all those matters the right of judging and acting are in those who pay, and not in those who receive.
    A constitution is the property of a nation, and not of those who exercise the government.