Saturday, February 17, 2007

You were caught on camera leaving the car-park...

Hey, I admit it. I did a very bad thing the other day - I left a car park. I was seen by a man with a camera who is employed, presumably, to watch for people erm, leaving the car park – which is just not allowed!

The Aireside ‘shopping centre’ in Leeds is having a crackdown. The deal is that you get free parking for an hour if you use the shops in the centre. Well, strangely I don’t have a particular problem with that. However, should you wish to combine a visit to the shops with the act of ‘leaving the car park’ then you’re in trouble. £10 to pay if you 'leave the car park'. So….if you have a look in Sound Control and they don’t have what you want and you decide to nip off to the bank, or if you decide to buy a £2,000 suite from MFI and need to nip to the building society to sort out the money or if you decide just to have a quick walk round then no way!

The man with the camera takes your registration number. If he sees you 'leave the car park' he calls the man at the barrier and the man at the barrier won’t let you out of the car park until you pay £10. They’re giving final warnings at the moment, keeping registration numbers on file. They’ll certainly be watching me if I go back.

Here’s my plan – this is a serious one not involving flame throwers or undue violence of any kind. I’m going to walk out of the car park. Then I’m going to come back in and buy something from Sound Control. That way I’ll have fulfilled my side of the bargain in that I’ll have used the shops in exchange for free parking. So, if they want to charge me £10 it’ll be purely for ‘leaving the car park’. I shall wave my receipt at Corporal Snicklegruber in the booth. If he doesn’t let me out then I really do turn into Michael Douglas in ‘Falling Down’ and the flamethrower comes out.

Sad fact is that men with security cameras who watch you and then tell you where you can and can’t go isn’t a surprising thing ‘these days’. Too many people will not be outraged but just go ‘ho-hum, yeah, that’s what it’s like these days.’ So, human rights, freedom of movement or ‘revenue protection’. Do I need to tell you which way modern society has chosen?

I’m reading Winston Churchill’s History of the Second World War at the moment. The man is currently revolving in his grave. He was Prime Minister you know. Involved in a big war for a concept called 'freedom', a world where you wouldn't be pushed around by idiots for no good reason, where you wouldn't be watched 24 hours a day. No-one gives a toss about it now of course, all quaintly old fashioned when there's moisturiser to buy (though not in the Airside shopping centre, one of its few advantages). "Never in the car park of human bureaucratic pettiness were so many pissed off so much by so few" - if only they were pissed off! Maybe that's unduly pessimistic, maybe a riot is brewing and the camera will be torn up and shoved up the arse of the person whose great idea this is.

Thing is that I'm going to be abandoning the car at the barrier and people are going to get pissed off with ME! I'm incoherent with rage and it hasn't happened yet!


Anonymous said...

Good words.

corbypunk said...

If winston churchill was really interested in freedom why did he ask the british government for permission to use mustard gas to supress the hindustan uprisings in 1922?