Beyond Satire

The world is rapidly becoming a place where governments and officials enforce the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of the law. This is oppressive.

I heard on the radio a case about a gentleman who was stopped while driving for a routine check; It was discovered that he had forgot (presumably like millions of others) to renew his driving licence photo-card.  It is a small matter which should have been dealt with by the policeman simply telling him to renew the photograph and making a note. No damage is done if a driving licence photograph is ten years two months old as opposed to one being nine years eleven months old. Plenty of damage is done if someone is prosecuted for this minor infraction.

However police these days enforce the letter of the law. They impounded his car, and charged him with driving without insurance arguing that the out of date photo-card invalidated his insurance. The gentleman provided evidence from the insurance company that this was not the case, so they dropped the charges, but would not allow him to get his car out of the pound because the police claimed that his insurance (or theirs) would not allow the car to be driven out of the pound.

If the police had deliberately decided to pursue a course of action to (a) bring the law into disrepute (b) bring themselves into disrepute and (c) lose the confidence of the public, they could not have devised a better plan.

Karipbek Kuyukov is an artist without arms because he was born in a part of the old Soviet Union where nuclear weapons were tested and as a result was born armless. He feels strongly about nuclear weapons, and uses his art to protest about them. He planned to attend an anti-nuclear conference in Edinburgh and applied for a visa. The visa application for the UK requires what are called biometrics – fingerprints. He applied for the Visa explaining that he could not submit fingerprints. He got a letter back saying that his biometrics were of poor quality and asking him to resubmit his application. Mr Kuyukov was unable to attend the conference, and although it may be that to say his visa application was refused because he could not give fingerprints, it shows the officials responsible for processing his application were more concerned about the letter of the regulations than the substance of them.

There are dozens of similar cases every day. It would be interesting to understand what causes officials to attempt to enforce the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of it. Is it stupidity or ignorance or orders from above? It has got to the stage where, like the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger, things are beyond satire.

One Response

  1. lt`s probably not the intent of those at the top Rob, but part of the system by other means. Take your `finger-print` section for example. The `passport/visa` department needs more staff to “`properly“` do the processing. The budget has been cut, knowledgable “expensive“ staff sacked and replace with cheap labor-hire temps, who are told they need to do X-per-hour/day. The first thing that happens is `difficult` worked gets bounced or denied to meet `quoter`. The same applies to `time_and_motion` measured jobs.

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