Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Lambeth Logic FAIL - the shape of things to come?

Today I came across the following via the Libertarian Party unofficial blog.

A woman in Nottingham who owns a Toyota car was given a ticket because a white van was seen parked in a bus lane* with the same registration.

Lambeth automatic revenue vampire was swung into action with the default to "pay up or else". The fact that the vehicle type did not match was ignored or never even checked up on.

When the owner protested their innocence , the council, instead of looking at the facts - the van was using cloned plates - asked the lady to PROVE her ID and ownership. Now, the true ownership was already known, for how else did she get the ticket? Once the fact that the vehicle was a van and thus NOT her Toyota, the need to involve the owner would seem superfluous. Asking someone to "prove"? Prove what?

Lets see what they said:

A spokesperson from Lambeth Council said: "We share Miss Keiller's frustration but it is important she sends us the requested documentation as proof as soon as possible so we can look to cancel the ticket."
This is just mindless application of bureaucratic protocol and procedure. It has no basis in logic or reason. The fact that Lambeth persists in this charade is absurd. 

I am intrigued as to the reasons why.

Is it because the Council functionaries are ignorant and are just following a bad protocol?

Is it because the Council functionaries might have an idea if they bothered, but could not care less either way?

Is it because the Council functionaries cannot work out the unreason of all this and so dig in?

Is it because the Council functionaries know they are at fault but have decided that they must not be seen to back down?

Maybe they think they are right.

Considering the illogic one sees these days, I think it is the last option.

As the LPUK unofficial blog points out, the lady was asked to prove innocence, even when the evidence was clear. Now, if the clone was the same make, model and colour, that is another matter, but in this case, the demand as to proof of innocence is utterly unwarranted.

Just think of all the other ways you and I will get snagged as a Database State is built. Oyster Card cloned? Mobile Phone? Someone wearing the same clothes seen near a crime? Being in a pub at the same time as a dangerous subversive anti-authoritarian gang of cut-throats?

Who knows. Remember, these databases will not just be used to confirm facts or build evidence about known suspects, they will be used for fishing expeditions and trawled with a very big and destructive dragnet. Innocent people will be pulled in, left on the deck gasping for god-knows-how-long until such time as they might be thrown back. In what condition?

* far more dangerous than beating someone up in the street or intimidating passers by for months on end, you understand.


Marc Sheffner said...

"This is just mindless application of bureaucratic protocol and procedure"
But who put this kind of bureaucracy in place? And what myriad tiny steps have been taken (mostly unwittingly) to ensure that by now, the idea that the individual citizen is innocent till proven guilty seems kinda, I dunno, dangerous?! Isn't this an example of "the transformation of our laws from a shield for the innocent into a weapon of the State"? (Gabb, 2007, page 7).

Roger Thornhill said...

I do wonder what it is, as the various options show.

The people performing the request are mindless - "just obeying orders".

Those who drafted it? Well, for their own convenience is probably the kindest option, but I doubt it is the only reason even then.

A mindset of "guilty intil proven innocent" is my guess - "compoo'er sez no".

Anonymous said...

The lady in question should have told them to piss off and let them take her to court.