A lovely Christmas, and a timely reminder why we left England.

Dec 31, 2009 | | |

We had a nice Christmas break in England, visiting my parents, but at the same time it served as a timely reminder as to the many reasons we emigrated.
Amongst the many things I learned new this time around, these few stuck out in particular:
1. If your car is clamped, the clamping company are now free to march you to a cashpoint and demand money under duress. That's nothing more than legalised robbery.
2. Local councils have dozens of "enforcement officers" (read: spies) who are now allowed to enter your house without a warrant and check up on items such as whether or not you have an EnergyStar rated refridgerator.
3. You specifically do not have a right to defend your property any more (it's been written in to law). A couple of high-profile cases were in the new whilst we were there of robbery victims who'd defended themselves, and managed to get themselves sent to jail in the process because the burglars claimed human rights violations.
4. You no longer have the right to privacy in telephone or email conversations. Whilst the government has unofficially snooped on those for years, it's been properly cemented in law now.

Apart from the above, the price of utilities continues to go up despite the underlying price of commodities coming down. The government is corrupt almost to an Italian level. The number of speed cameras has petrified all drivers into driving at 30mph everywhere, even on dual carriageways (and in one instance - motorways). Petrol prices are at an all time high despite crude oil prices being near decade lows. There seems to more people living off welfare than actually working. The sales tax is going up. A seventh tax on new cars is being introduced (in addition to sales, delivery, luxury, petrol, road, and dealer taxes). Health and safety reigns supreme above everything else including common sense. To the extreme that kids aren't allowed to play contact games in the playgrounds (that's if the schools are even allowed to have playgrounds now), and more comically/tragically window washers aren't allowed to climb ladders.
Bureacracy and the "I couldn't care less" work ethic seem all-pervading now too. For example when we arrived at the airport, we had to wait (as always) for a gate to become clear. When we got to the gate, the jet bridge was stuck. Everyone on board could see that instantly, but the airport operators took 25 minutes to decide to get a set of steps instead, by which time they'd broken the jetbridge so comprehensively that they'd blocked access to the aircraft for the step truck.

The list goes on, and we came home. Because as backwards and oddball as America is in some situations, it's nothing like the appalling conditions that people now have to endure in England.

We love visiting friends and relatives in England, but we both hate the country itself and I personally can't understand how people are able to tolerate it any more.

England is broken. Happy New Year.
(except health and safety in England have banned New Year fireworks)

2 comments:

  1. Paul says:

    Hi Chris, normally I agree with most that you say and our opinions are very similar across the board but I have a couple of questions about the following...

    1. If your car is clamped, the clamping company are now free to march you to a cashpoint and demand money under duress. That's nothing more than legalised robbery.
    -So they can put their hands on me to force me to pay up? Let them try, they'll have a couple of damaged knees for the pleasure. And I will cite self defense, they touched me first.

    2. Local councils have dozens of "enforcement officers" (read: spies) who are now allowed to enter your house without a warrant and check up on items such as whether or not you have an EnergyStar rated refridgerator.
    -Are you sure you haven't added a little poetic license here. This astounds me!!!

    3. You specifically do not have a right to defend your property any more (it's been written in to law). A couple of high-profile cases were in the new whilst we were there of robbery victims who'd defended themselves, and managed to get themselves sent to jail in the process because the burglars claimed human rights violations.
    -If true, this is a joke. So a burglar can enter my "castle" and I can't "persuade them to leave"???

    4. You no longer have the right to privacy in telephone or email conversations. Whilst the government has unofficially snooped on those for years, it's been properly cemented in law now.
    -A real concern.

    Petrol prices are at an all time high despite crude oil prices being near decade lows.
    -I disagree with this one. Crude is about the $80 a barrel mark, it wasn't that long ago (3 or 4 years?) it was around the $30-$40 mark

    Health and safety reigns supreme above everything else including common sense. To the extreme that kids aren't allowed to play contact games in the playgrounds.
    -So Rugby's been banned? I find that hard to believe but as a NZ'er I'd pleased if true. We'll have a better chance at the next World Cup ;-)

  2. Chris says:

    (1) Yes.

    (2) No. It was in the papers and on TV over Christmas. See here and here.

    (3) Correct. The most recent case is this one - Munir Hussein.

    Re: health and safety - for kids, yes - football, rugby, british bulldog - any game involving contact has been banned.