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October 14, 2012

Comments

Anna

The last one says it all.

sk60

By arresting even a relative few people, the cops make it hard for those with kids, jobs, dogs, etc to even contemplate throwing rocks and smashing stuff.

There, fixed.

JuliaM

sk60, spot on!

Andy

Taking of capitalisation David, you might be interested in this academic m.c. schraefel (http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/mc/) who appears not to like capital letters and has problems with 'gender issues' in names and titles. I'm told 2nd hand that she is slightly mad.

David

sk60,

“There, fixed.”

Yes, it’s odd that Mr Remes, an academic and Occupy enthusiast, doesn’t seem to register the possibility that the arrests he complains about might be related to the protestors’ chosen tactics and behaviour. Say, the not incidental detail that Occupy is explicitly premised on the seizure and violation of other people’s property – “slapping them around” in its founder’s words - and measures its impact by the disruption and distress it inflicts on others. Or, say, the fact that members of Occupy have, at last count, committed over 500 crimes, ranging from public masturbation to stabbings, arson and the attempted bombing of the Ohio 82 highway bridge.

Mere details, I’m sure.

Smudger

Laurie Penny doesn't know she's born. I would love to have a full head of hair but, woe, male pattern baldness has taken its terrible toll upon my barnet. And my sense of self!!!!1

Oppressive bitch, taking hair for granted and marginalising the follically-challenged.

David

Andy,

Reminds me of Duke University’s Professor miriam cooke, who also refuses to capitalise her name, thus drawing attention to her egalitarian radicalism and immense creativity. Thou shalt not “privilege” certain letters, see, even if this makes text much harder to read. Professor cooke also wants us to believe that the oppression and misogyny found in the Islamic world is actually the fault of globalisation and Western colonialism, despite the seemingly obvious objection that such effects predate their alleged causes by several centuries.


Smudger,

Ms Penny does seem to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort restyling her hair and changing its colour, every few weeks or so, then documenting each variation on Twitter as if it were intensely meaningful. It’s all radically political, I’m sure. I mean, what other motive could there be…?

WTP

I blame e.e. cummings, though according to Wiki (wiki?) he wasn't very consistent in this matter. FWIU, there is a raging debate going on in the Wiki/wiki world over The Beatles vs. the Beatles, or maybe even just Beatles...or beatles...for this I blame The Talking Heads.

I foresee the day, and perhaps it already has happened, when in certain "literature" classes students will actually lose points for handing in grammatically and syntactically proper papers. Hopefully such will eventually become the norm and I'll be able to re-submit my undergrad scribblings to be scored under the new system and get that embarrassing GPA in the humanities up to a more respectable level. Stick that in your Funk & Wagnalls...or your Strunk & White for that matter.

Sam Duncan

Anna, I thought the “raised consciousness” one said it all. That could have come straight out of am early 20th Century satirical novel (although it would have been the East End poor back then, not black feminists). It's partly hilarious, but mostly terrifying, that these people think they're being oh-so radical, modern, and new when in fact they're only repeating all the same old idiocies of the last century or so.

WTP, I blame The The myself.

Anna

Talking with feminists of colour at that event really raised my consciousness.

If only she'd met some disabled transgender feminists of colour her consciousness would have gone through the roof. Full house!

rjmadden

Full house!

Anna, it's more like Top Trumps.

WTP

But Sam, the capitals, the capitals!!

I once had an argutorment with a frenimy about whether it was pronounced THE-THEE or THEE-THE. I settled on THEE-THEE. He went on to work in the tax collections office and we haven't spoken since.

Henry

"Hair is part of the self we use to signify SELF to the world. It can be complicated, especially w gender performance"

LOOOL

Much happiness caused by imagining Ms Penny reading this, furrowing her brow, and dutifully trying to make sense of it.

Just what use is that sentence to anyone in the world? Note that I do not ask what it means - it doesn't mean anything!

rabbit

The more that progressives are focused on inanities, the less time they have to do real harm to the world.

Now go play with this sparkly bauble.

morpork

"Things I have missed almost as much as friends and family include - mostly - the Today programme, and the rest of the BBC. Really."

For some reason I find that final "Really" unutterably sad.

Col. Milquetoast

I'm just cross with myself that I worked hours and hours and still couldn't get decent racial diversity - gender diversity was hard enough.

That is probably exactly what a transphobic, homophobic, cissexist, hatefilled racist would say in that situation.

For some, making things insufficient diversity is a sign one is oppressing minorities but, fortunately, for others it is all about the writer's dramatic preening.

TimT

If Laurie Penny get's teed off at 'McDonald's' being capitalised then perhaps she should start referring to herself in lower case too: 'mcdonald's', 'laurie penny'.

David

Henry,

“Hair is part of the self we use to signify SELF to the world. It can be complicated, especially w gender performance.”

As with the Guardian’s Lara Pawson, whose agonies were noted previously, such statements don’t have to be realistic or logically meaningful. In fact, the less they refer to reality, the better. The object is social positioning. It’s about going out of one’s way to invent a problem, pretending to be concerned about it and thereby becoming interesting. By indulging in pretentious egalitarian hand-wringing, she’s signalling her own moral, social and intellectual superiority. It’s what egalitarians do.

Lee

All good clean fun, but what's wrong with that tweet about missing the Today programme and the BBC? Am I missing something?

Oh, and props to mojo and pst314 for their sparkling contributions. Ha ha, you guys!

David

Lee,

“…what’s wrong with that tweet about missing the Today programme…?”

A news source frequently criticised for its leftist bias and funded by coercion and the threat of imprisonment.

David

rabbit,

“The more that progressives are focused on inanities, the less time they have to do real harm to the world.”

It’s rather like watching someone with an ideological tick. A sort of leftist OCD but with an air of competition and one-upmanship. Unfortunately, one of the defining features of so-called progressive thinking is the urge to impose that thinking on others, ticks and all.

John D

By arresting even a relative few people, the cops make it hard for those with kids, jobs, dogs, etc to even contemplate protest.

The amount of dishonesty in that one sentence is amazing.

Lee

Funded by coercion and the threat of imprisonment? The BBC?

Unless I've been living under a rock, I'm fairly sure you can avoid imprisonment by not owning a TV.

Anna

Unless I've been living under a rock, I'm fairly sure you can avoid imprisonment by not owning a TV.

So if you don't subsidize the BBC you can't watch ANY television. No coercion there, eh?

Lee

Hi Anna - if you're really that desperate to watch non-BBC TV, you can use your computer.

David

Lee,

Having had this conversation with someone who replied much as you did and meant it, I’m not entirely sure whether you’re joking or not. I did, though, try to picture how you might react if Mr Murdoch were able to insist, with the force of law, that all British households in possession of a TV had to fork out for a subscription to SKY, Fox News and the Times, and had to do so every year. Such that this peculiar arrangement became the norm and the mere possession of a TV was, in and of itself, taken as a legal agreement to bankroll Mr Murdoch’s ventures.

the wolf

Proper nouns are capitalized? When will the madness end?!?

Lee

Joking? Why, not at all. I pay precisely so that I'm not legally compelled to support an organisation beholden not to you or me (OK, maybe not you...) but to its shareholders and advertisers.

David

Lee,

And so your choice, the supposedly virtuous one, entails other people being forced by law to pay for a product they may not want, may not use and perhaps find objectionable.

[ Edited. ]

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Does Lee really believe the only two choices are force everybody to pay for the BBC, or force everybody to pay for Sky?

Posting from the opposite side of the Atlantic as David, it never ceases to amaze me how many people who rail against "media concentration" have no qualms about concentrating media in the form of an outlet with a government imprimatur.

Steve

Ted,

"Does Lee really believe the only two choices are force everybody to pay for the BBC, or force everybody to pay for Sky?"

No, it's even more moronic than that. Apparently a pefectly acceptable alternative is not to own a television set at all and to watch 'television' on a computer. I know it's amazing! Some people really do think that preventing people from owning television sets is a good thing. It's for their own good you see!

I speak, by the way, as someone who until very recently loved the BBC but find it increasingly obnoxious, unaccountable, elitist and preachy.

Lee

David,

Exactly who's being "forced by law"? That's a tendentious reading, no? If I want not to pay, I merely dispose of my TV. It's not as if having a TV is somehow a basic right of a civilised society, right? Not like, say, healthcare. Are we then talking about that group of people who want to have a TV but apparently want to watch anything but the BBC? I'd be interested to know how big that group that is. But really my point is broader. Has Laura Penny has said some crashingly hypocritical things in her time? No doubt. But I just don't think it's that obvious that it's the height of progressive stupidity to miss the BBC when abroad (as I assume she was). Seems like quite a mild observation all told, as mild as saying "I miss The Great British Bake-off". Neither do I think paying for the BBC is the more virtuous choice. It's just the choice that gets me Autumn Watch without ads. It's a selfish thing really.

Ted: Does Lee really believe the only two choices are force everybody to pay for the BBC, or force everybody to pay for Sky?

No Ted, Lee doesn't believe that. Quite apart from the choice of having no TV, there are plenty of other providers. I'm not quite sure what point you think you're making. As for railing against "media concentration", straw man alert! I didn't mention it. And I should point that, far from the BBC having a "government imprimatur", the biggest critics of the BBC at any given moment tend to be British politicians

Steve: who are these villains who want to prevent people from owning TVs? If there's a campaign against these cads, sign me up!

Bart

"Other things that upset me this morning: the way my iPhone automatically capitalises all brand names."

What sort of person (who makes their living as a writer) gets upset because their iPhone presumes they wish to use correct grammar and spelling? Oh yeah...

“Hair is part of the self we use to signify SELF to the world. It can be complicated, especially w gender performance.”

Or in other words: "Hairstyles are part of your image. Men and ladies have different hairstyles." Admittedly, when you're not making a pretentious effort to make the stupidly obvious sound clever and profound, it does come across as stupidly obvious. But at least people don't have to read it five times to understand what the hell you're talking about.

Rich Rostrom

I wonder what the heck Lee actually believes. Personally, I think there shoud be a tax on reading.

Anyone who has eyes and is literate should be required to pay up to the National Literature Corporation, which will produce "quality literature" that will be distributed free of charge. The NLC will also produce free news magazines and newspapers.

The NLC will be an arm of the government, and its management will be appointed by the ruling politicians. So everything it produces will be of high quality, and its news output will be strictly impartial.

And if one doesn't like what the NLC produces, one doesn't have to read it. One still has to pay for it, but only cheapskates would complain about that.

Besides, there's perfectly simple way to avoid paying for the NLC - stop reading anything. Of course that rule would have to be enforced. Inspectors would search the homes of those who haven't paid for books, magazines, newspapers, e-book readers, tablet computers... After all, someone reading and not paying the tax is freeloading...

Lee

Rich - what a pungent satire! What a world that would be! (I bet you don't really think there should be a tax on reading though I shall join you in your campaign against VAT on ebooks, as well as, presumably, television sets)

David

Lee,

“That’s a tendentious reading, no?”

No, it isn’t. You’re suggesting there’s no cost and inconvenience to others of your preferred, statist funding model: “If you’re really that desperate to watch non-BBC TV… If I want not to pay, I merely dispose of my TV.” etc. And being a tad surreal. Again, imagine Mr Murdoch having similar privileges.

“Are we then talking about that group of people who want to have a TV but apparently want to watch anything but the BBC? I’d be interested to know how big that group that is.”

And so your right to have other people be made to buy a product they may not want, and indeed find objectionable, depends on how many such people there are?

“It’s not as if having a TV is somehow a basic right of a civilised society, right?”

The mere possession of a TV (as opposed to relying on computer monitors) shouldn’t be grounds for BBC rent-seeking or the coercive subsidy of leftist politics. Voluntary transactions and a subscription model, for instance, seem fairer and less antiquated, yes? Or do we still live in the 1950s?

“It’s just the choice that gets me Autumn Watch without ads. It’s a selfish thing really.”

Which was pretty much my point.

rjmadden

the choice of having no TV

Wow.

The idea of a TV 'license' is from the age of dinosaurs. The BBC shouldn't own the right to tax me for watching other channels' broadcasts on a television set.

David

I suspect this discussion has inflated what was originally meant as an incidental detail. I don’t actually spend vast stretches of time fretting over the license fee.

I mentioned Today because a couple of years ago Ms Penny was invited onto the programme to fill half an hour or so with her usual boilerplate and question-begging, and to read at length from her own blog. What was pitched as “fresh, provocative and fiery debate” somehow failed to include any actual opposing view, which hardly constitutes debate, fiery or otherwise. Again, as so often, listeners were treated to the usual bien-pensant consensus, with slight variations of the same statist, left-of-centre assumptions, like the Guardian read aloud. (Naturally, the Guardian described this unilateral non-debate as “the best argument for the licence fee yet put forward.”) And while the Beeb often promotes leftist bloggers on its broadcasts and websites – Ms Penny, Bidisha, Sunny Hundal - such favours don’t extend so readily – if at all - to their non-leftist counterparts. Had Ms Penny’s assumptions been tested on air by, say, one of the Samizdata team, or Wat Tyler from Burning Our Money, or any comparable perspective, then there might have been a programme worth hearing. But alas, ‘twas not to be.

Lee

David,

I quite agree - my original point was just that the invective directed at Laura by some of your commentators seemed out of all proportion to the tweet itself, a tweet I suggest could have been issued by any number of people who consider themselves right-of-centre.

And if you were to gently take me by the arm and point out that complaining about out-of-all-proportion remarks by anonymous commentators is an early sign of madness, I wouldn't disagree.

Horace Dunn

David

"The mere possession of a TV (as opposed to relying on computer monitors)..."

It's unclear whether having a computer that can stream TV broadcasts, or access "on demand" services, counts as a television set for the purposes of licensing.

For some years I didn't own a television. My life was rather busy, so I didn't miss it. But then the threatening letters began to arrive from the licensing people - informing me that they would demand entry to my premises to conduct a search and that I was liable to imprisonment should they find equipment capable of receiving television transmissions (that's the phrase they used). I wrote, politely, to assure them that I didn't own a television, but the bullying letters continued. My great concern was that my computer would be confiscated (whether or not, at that time, my computer could screen TV programmes, I honestly don't know - probably not, as it was a bit outdated, but in theory, I'm sure it could have been beefed up with whatever memory or processors were necessary). I needed my computer for work. It was a livelihood thing. I couldn't chance it.

Well, I asked some advice and did a bit of research and it looked as though I was safe, and that the bullies at the licensing agency didn't have a leg to stand on, but I was still nervous. I was, after all, being told in writing, and repeatedly, by a government agency, that it had the legal right to enter my premises and take action against me, and that action could include imprisonment. I couldn't be sure.

...but of course, coercion doesn't really come into it, does it? I had a choice - Either pay up or dispose of any equipment that might have got me into trouble with state agencies ... just in case.

Mr Grumpy

Nobody seems to have remarked yet on the fact that it is admirable for a member of the Penny family to swear at a humble security guard with old-fashioned standards of propriety. Mark my words, our Laurie will end up as Tory Chief Whip.

David

Horace,

According to the official website,

You need a valid TV Licence if you use TV receiving equipment to watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV. ‘TV receiving equipment’ means any equipment which is used to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV. This includes a TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box, DVD/VHS recorder or any other device.

So using a computer to watch TV as its broadcast (as opposed to after-broadcast viewing using iPlayer, etc) wouldn’t exempt you from the tax. And yes, it is classified as a tax. And that’s the thing. The BBC is uniquely privileged in using the force of the state to impose a hypothecated tax on every household with a TV receiver, a tax that many other countries somehow manage without, and which seems not unlike a tax on carpet underlay or letter boxes. Perhaps we should have a national computer tax, the proceeds of which would go to the BBC to ensure the continued dominance of BBC Online, which presumably is good for us.

David

Lee,

“And if you were to gently take me by the arm and point out that complaining about out-of-all-proportion remarks by anonymous commentators is an early sign of madness, I wouldn’t disagree.”

Heh. One of the things I still enjoy about blogging, even after all this time, is that I can rarely predict where a discussion thread will go, or which detail of a post, if any, will get readers animated.

Lee

David,

Where would we be without digression, diversion or deviation?

I will now go away and look for some evidence that we're being dominated by the BBC Online.

(I promise not to use Google, Amazon, Facebook or Twitter for my research.)

Horace Dunn

David

Thank you for that clarification. I haven't checked any of this stuff for some years since I now own a television (and, being a law-abiding fellow) dutifully pay my license fee. During the period that I mentioned, I don't think the computer issue was as clear: the facility for watching television on a computer was pretty new and I would imagine most people would not have had advanced enough equipment, so possibly the licensing bods hadn't quite got on top of it yet.

It is clear, though, that anyone who owns a computer now will have to pay the tax. This includes those who don't have a television and don't want to watch a television, but who need to have a computer (and internet access) for their work. Lee's assertion, then, that "If I want not to pay, I merely dispose of my TV" is extremely tendentious. Sure, it's easy enough to live without a television, but living without a computer could be very difficult and have a serious negative impact on your ability to earn a living and on your quality of life.

The assumption that the license enforcers have always made, that all households are liable to pay the tax, has therefore become true. I bet they're happy. And no doubt the BBC bosses with their huge pensions are happy. Somehow, though, it does seem rather illiberal, and certainly unprogressive.

Lee

Horace

There is 0% chance that a licence tax of the sort you're describing will be imposed on the sale of computers. It just ain't gonna happen.

David

Lee,

The dominance refers to competitors and would-be alternatives. As noted here, and according to Ofcom data, the BBC’s position in news propagation is clearly dominant. “Unique funding,” etc.

Horace Dunn

Lee

"There is 0% chance that a licence tax of the sort you're describing will be imposed on the sale of computers. It just ain't gonna happen."

As I mentioned, I now own a television, and I pay my license fee. If I didn't however, I certainly couldn't avoid paying the tax when the threatening letters began to arrive (as they surely would). I have (and need) a computer and I know that my current computer could be used to stream "live" television broadcasts (I don't use it for that, but even so). Therefore I'd be liable.

Most people are law abiding, and most people are aware of the damage to their professional and personal life that would result from being subjected to criminal charges. Who the hell would take the chance? No doubt some brave souls would stand up to the bullying, and some would have the knowledge, and/or resources, to mount some sort of legal challenge. But most of us can't do that. This is coercion pure and simple, and don't pretend it isn't.

Rob

"TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box, DVD/VHS recorder or any other device."

So if you don't want to watch the BBC you just have to get rid of the TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box, DVD/VHS recorder or any other device. It isn't as if possession of a TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box, DVD/VHS recorder or any other device is a basic human right.

Lee

Horace,

It would be coercion if it was in fact happening. Do you have evidence that it is? You are describing a hypothetical situation, as you admit ("as they surely would").

Horace Dunn

Lee

Well, it happened to me. On two occasions I was harrased by these people despite my being perfectly law abiding. It was nasty. I know several other people who were subjected to it too. And, just 5 mins on google unearthed these:

http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/legal_matters/1047566-Advice-needed-on-harassment-from-TV-Licensing/AllOnOnePage

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1033904/TV-licence-fee-collectors-investigation-bully-boy-tactics-people-sets.html

http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/bully-phone-police/story-14124503-detail/story.html

http://www.metro.co.uk/tv/892167-bbc-spend-13m-chasing-licence-fee-avoiders

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9154568/Thousands-in-court-every-week-for-not-having-a-TV-licence.html

One in ten cases appearing before magistrates, eh? Clearly it IS happening. I wonder why you think it isn't.

Stuck-Record

The BBC is such an honest, trustworthy institution (putting aside non-inquiries into Saville's proclivities for a second) that they lied for decades about the existence of functioning TV detector vans to intimidate people into paying.

Lee

Horace,

Riiiight, but none of those links are suggesting that people are being legally pursued for the licence fee just because they own a computer. In fact, at least three of those links demonstrate that some of our media companies are more than happy to publish unbalanced news in furtherance of their commercial agenda.

Sam

You need a valid TV Licence if you use TV receiving equipment to watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV. ‘TV receiving equipment’ means any equipment which is used to watch or record television programmes as they're being shown on TV. This includes a TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box, DVD/VHS recorder or any other device

How do you prove you've never watched BBC shows on your 'computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box, DVD/VHS recorder or any other device'? Doesn't having the potential to watch them mean you have to pay anyway?

Wouldn't it be a hell of a lot simpler if the BBC was a commercial channel paid for by ads or subscription?

WTP

As a Yank I find this all rather fascinating…
Wouldn't it be a hell of a lot simpler if the BBC was a commercial channel paid for by ads or subscription?

As stated elsewhere, the horror, the horror! Of course nothing like the horror of the state invading one’s private residence to inventory one’s appliances, but that’s a cultural issue that by my Yankee Imperialistic Hegemonious Corporatus Imbicillious Origniallus Sinnus Naturus it would be gauche of me to comment...and yet I just did. I hate it when that happens.

As a general PITA, I'm curious about throwing in this monkey-wrench...Having visited your lovely country on several occasions, there was a television in my various rooms. I'm quite certain that on a few of those trips I had no time/occasion to watch "the Beeb". Was I being taxed for that privilege? I presume the proprietor supplying the accommodations is hit with a fee of some sort, but if it’s per room (as opposed to say, x amount for up to 50 rooms, x+y for 51 -100, etc.) it would seem similar to the VAT for which I can request a refund. I’m sure I’m SOL on that one but it seems it would follow…

David

Sam,

“How do you prove you’ve never watched BBC shows on your ‘computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box, DVD/VHS recorder or any other device’?”

A good question. Apparently the BBC doesn’t know much about who’s using such devices to watch their programmes. The corporation has “vowed to prosecute” people using phones, tablets, etc without a license but they don’t appear to have any means of establishing who has. Given the growing popularity of portable viewing devices, I don’t imagine SKY would have dropped the ball on that.

“Wouldn’t it be a hell of a lot simpler if the BBC was a commercial channel paid for by ads or subscription?”

Stripping the BBC of its antiquated privileges would also solve the problem of its political leanings. Upthread, Anna linked to a piece pondering the viability of the BBC brand minus its coercive advantage, and whether the Beeb’s institutional culture – described as “complacency and entitlement” - would be a hindrance to its success.

Horace Dunn

Lee

You were suggesting that coercion is not taking place, and asked me to tender some evidence. Well, dismiss the stories behind those links if you like (though perhaps you’d like to provide some evidence that the facts reported in the Telegraph, Metro and Mail are false) but it seems to me that we have evidence here of coercion.

Supposing person A has no television, games console, recording apparatus, mobile phone, or any other equipment that can receive television transmissions, except for a computer. Now suppose that person A regularly watched television transmissions on that computer despite not being in possession of a valid license. Now suppose that the authorities become aware of this? What do you suppose they’ll do? Shrug and say, “oh let’s not pursue this, since after all he only has a computer”?

Thousands of people in court every week, millions spent on detection and prosecution. Letters warning that anything you say to the officers of the licensing authority may be used in evidence, prosecution of property owners for not paying for licenses for empty premises, an MP speaking out on behalf of harassed constituents … and a woman weeping down the telephone to try to get them to stop harassing her with demands for payments from her recently deceased father.

Clearly you don’t consider this sort of thing coercive activity, so we’ll just have to differ on that. But never mind, you get to watch Autumnwatch without any commercials, so something good comes out of it.

AC1

The BBC, funded like a tax on letterboxes to fund junkmail.

LS

White girl problems.

Stuck-Record

Lee, even getting rid of your TV isn't an option. Try this site for stories of BBC (Capita) and their intimidation of those without TVs.
http://www.lime-marmalade.net

Also, from the BBC's annual report for 2005/2006:
For 2005-2006 it cost £153.4 million just for one year's fee collection.

Lee

Horace

Let's go over this one more time, and then perhaps we might attend to more urgent matters. You originally stated that mere purchase or possession of a computer would require a licence fee to be paid. This is not currently the case in the UK, and it's not likely to be in the foreseeable future, especially while the coalition is in power. Again, if you have evidence that people without TVs are being pursued for mere possession of a PC, I'm all ears.

I don't deny for a single second that some coercion of a different kind is taking place, e.g. people being incorrectly pursued for licence fees that they're not required to pay. That is of course deplorable. I only make the case that the Mail group and the Telegraph have a long-standing antipathy to the BBC and that it's in their interests to publish stories of this nature.

David Gillies

I am sufficiently bloody minded that in the unfortunate case of my being forced to live in the UK I would decline to own a TV simply to aggravate the TVLA. They have nugatory powers and rely on intimidation of the easily-cowed to do their job. Entry to property can only be after obtaining a warrant and must be in the presence of a police officer. Otherwise they are trespassing. Simply ignoring the dunning letters except for the occasional reminder of one's TV-less status is sufficient.

As for the apparently grey area surrounding other devices, note the language: "You need a valid TV Licence if you use TV receiving equipment to watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV." It does not say a licence is required if one is merely in possession of equipment capable of receiving real-time TV programming. Now, it is the case that retailers in the UK pass your address details on to the TVLA every time you buy a TV, but not when you buy a computer. And if you buy a TV for cash, I'm not sure how they do even that.

It is a moral duty to frustrate and defy jobsworths.

Inquisitorblackmane

I had a license inspector knock on my door one evening. I was asked if I had a television. I said that I did. I was asked if I watched live television on it. I said that I didn't. And that was pretty much it, just a suggestion they might check up in a few months to see if things had changed. Presumably to see if I was now using the television to watch live transmissions rather than the alternative uses a television has.

John West

The madness we are descending into is like a disease. It's spreading. Every election there are more and more crazy people and soon we will be outnumbered ... then it's mambo banana patch.

AC1

I think we need more Political diversity and thus Murdoch's channels need to get a portion of the TV-Tax in relation to their market share, and access to the State transmission network operated by the BBC.

It's for all the people!

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