It so happened I had the need to travel to Stoke recently. As a free man, it was my right to go there. Wasn’t it?
Closing the door on my home, I had a fleeting thought that there were just three more instalments on my Council Tax for the year – then I got two free months. A few steps then, to the car which costs me £25 every month in Car Tax. Yes, I know I could find a cheaper car to run, but I have chosen this to cover both work and play.
Some fuel is required, so I put a few gallons in, I still can’t count in litres. It’s a sad fact that two thirds of every pound I spend goes to Phillip Hammond. The grey man has managed to crank up taxation in this country to an eye-watering 49% of the average man’s income and expenditure. Not since the days of Old Labour have we citizens been robbed so harshly.
It’s about ten miles to the motorway. I’m forced to slow down and speed up repeatedly, by signs that were put in place by my betters. Red lights make me stop, even when nothing is coming the other way. Trees obscure the approach to islands, so I have to stop, regardless of how busy they are. All the while I am burning Mr Hammond’s ill-gotten gains.
Onto the Motorway, with speeds up to 70mph. fat chance of that. The signs are out limiting all to 50mph. Protect our workforce, they say. This workforce is installing a “Smart” motorway. That means it will be “smart” enough to restrict speeds to 50mph for evermore, smart enough to record everyone driving and smart enough to send the fine direct to their house for any that stray a few miles an hour over the limit.
I wonder about my car – diesel powered. Will I be forced to scrap it in a premature, totalitarian switch to electric? How long after we go all-electric will individual ownership of cars be permitted? Already there is talk of driverless versions arriving at your home, pooling resources for all, to “save” our planet. But I don’t want a taxi – I want a car. I want something that is mine, something I look at and feel proud of the fact I have worked and earned the money to pay for it.
My journey ends and I view the caravan I came to see. A free market deal ensues, and I am now the caravan owner. The tow bar already fixed to my Land Rover, I’m now free to take it home. Actually, no, I’m not! What I have to do is go and acquire a yellow registration plate. I must drive back, sitting stationary at times, down the same not-yet-smart motorway. Do I feel guilty for the diesel fumes emitted? Actually, no! I didn’t force everyone to stop on what is basically an open road. I also went for a diesel on government advice at the time. So I was being a good citizen – or so I thought.
As for the number plate – more officialdom, rules, laws. I can’t tow my own possession unless I advertise who I am, so the cameras can check my every movement. In the country with more CCTV than anywhere else in the world, the only thing that matters to the powers that be is being able to trace every movement of every citizen.
I set off in a good mood, for I have a lot of plans, both work related and holiday related for my new possession. Yet after the journey, I am left wondering if that figure of 49% is right, or whether it’s even higher than that.
Still, at least I am a free man in a free country, right?
Martin Day, Libertarian Party