At 12.30pm today, I was walking along a road in Islington, London towards Angel Tube Station on what is a beautiful sunny British day.
As I crossed the junction with a convenient store, to my surprise I saw ‘hiding’ an Islington Council CCTV car. Well, not much of a car, actually a ‘Smart’ Car parked up with somebody inside!
I was surprised that not only was Islington Council spying on road users who stopped in a box junction (just before traffic lights, “hello”), this was done out-of-sight from around a corner with ‘two’, yes two council employees in the vehicle, a Smart Car remember!
Now, I’m not one for moaning (really I’m not), but when the UK is in a recession and most people hardly have any money as it is, I’m sure the council could find better use of its resources and give the motorist a break. When I think back, Manchester City Council does this too. It’s not what I want my Council Tax being spent on!
Now, I do not blame the employees, far from it. I have no doubt that somebody in an ivory tower (are there any in Islington?) much more important than them have given the orders to “go get the law-abiding motorists” (well, maybe not those actual words, but close), as after all ‘fining’ motorists is one way of getting extra income for the council in this current financial climate!
Rather than take a picture of the employees in the vehicle, as it is not about them, I walked around the block like a Detective in a James Bond film (wasting shoe leather mind you), to take a picture of the council’s behaviour from the rear of the vehicle! I do think the employees saw me however, as after I snapped the cheeky little vehicle, they drove off over the junction to the convinient store! I hope they treated themselves to a nice ice cream! Many years ago, I used to own a Smart Car myself and I found it hard putting my rucksack in the vehicle with me, never mind two adults and a camera!
I understand the need for safety and the council covers this on its website stating…
‘the council can issue fines to motorists who disobey traffic signs.. Moving traffic contraventions include such things as blocking a yellow box junction.. Deterring drivers who commit these contraventions improves.. safety.’
With a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) at £120 per fine (£60 if paid within 14 days), I may paint my own yellow box outside my home! So, the lesson for today, ‘come on’ Islington Council, get your act together, there’s bigger fish to fry out there (if they’re not already in this weather). It’s not the first time I’ve seen this!
For fairness and integrity, I have forwarded a copy of this post to Islington City Council, to give them the opportunity to respond. You too can contact the council with your thoughts and feelings if you want, and have nothing better to do! For all things Islington, visit: www.islington.gov.uk
My ‘View from the Bottom’, Max.
Published by My Mum. Copyright © Kevin Maxwell Film, Media & Performance 2010.