Highway robbery. And that’s official
They took my car away. I am powerless
From The Times
July 3, 2009
Away on holiday, and the bastards stole my car. I’ve spoken to the police but they can’t help. These bastards, you see, they’re connected. They’re the biggest, meanest, most chiselling bunch of organised crooks from WC1 to N3. They’re known by all sorts of names, many of them unprintable. To most, though, they go by the moniker of “Camden Council”.
We’re talking actual stealing here. I am faultless. They suspended a parking bay, on which my car was parked, and then, because I hadn’t moved it, they took it away.
What could I do? I wasn’t there. I didn’t even realise it had gone until yesterday, when I cycled past the place where it glaringly wasn’t. Did they just move it across the street, so they could get on with their lives? Did they hell. They took it to the pound and they want £260 to give it back.
That seems a pretty clear case of theft to me. And extortion with menaces, to boot. The Mob insists otherwise. They seem to feel they’re punishing me. But what for? Do they think I should have driven to the South of France? With my whole family? In an old Mini?
“You might get it back on appeal,” said the bloke from the council, who was keen to be helpful. Appeal? Might? Get it back? God, I wish we could swear on this page. You steal my car when my back is turned, steal my money to my face and then expect me to feel grateful that I’m allowed to beg for it to be returned?
And there’s no way out. If I don’t pay up, they’ll ratchet the fine up by £40 a day for 56 days until it’s almost two and a half grand. Who can afford that? I can’t. Even some members of the Shadow Cabinet probably can’t.
And if I just let them squash it (and I’m tempted, even though I've owned it since I passed my test and it would probably make me cry) then — get this — I still have to pay £120. For the parking ticket. Which they issued to my car, which I had parked entirely legally, so that they could steal it.
Does it look terribly self-important, for a columnist to bang on about this sort of thing just because it’s happened to them?
Sure, probably. It just struck me, as I hung up, sweating, that maybe columnists don’t bang on about these little miseries enough. We always worry about the big things; the fiddled expenses, the bomb plots, Jordan’s boobs, the lies that lead to wars. It’s the little things, however, that pollute our lives so much more. The receptionist at A&E, your electricity bill, the new wheelie bin, the traffic jam, the cancelled flight, the delivery that never arrives.
It’s the powerlessness, always, against these shapeless systems that seem to hate us, and leave us no option but to hate them back. It’s awful. What a way to live. What a place. What bastards
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