Our Cats Shop

From The News Desk

Is it just me, or is this country moving closer to the ‘Big Brother’ state envisaged in George Orwell’s ‘1984’? Well, we’ve got CCTV cameras everywhere they can be sited, with the new ‘speaking’ versions being tested at this time, then there’s speed cameras on nearly every stretch of road and even microchip spy devices in our wheelie bins to monitor our rubbish to make sure we’re recycling properly!

The latest ‘we know where you are’ tactic is the Government’s slavish insistence that the Road Pricing Tax Scheme – the so-called ‘Pay As You Drive’ plan – will go ahead.

Not only will you have to pay for the pleasure of driving x number of miles, you’ll be obliged to buy (yes buy!) a monitoring device to install in your car which lets a central database know exactly where you’ve driven from and to, how far you’ve driven and, for all I know, how many passengers you carried and what snacks you might have eaten on the journey.

And of course, the underlying theme that links all of these surveillance initiatives? Tax. Money for the Government coffers, above and beyond that which we hard-pressed, hardworking drones already pay to the Exchequer every month. Don’t get me started on tax, either. They’re even planning a version of the window tax – if your house has a nice view then you may be placed in a higher Council Tax bracket than the one decided by the value of your property.

Take a deep breath…while you can. There’ll be a tax on breathing next!

And the reason for this rant? Well, the ‘Pay As You Drive’ scheme received massive public opposition earlier this year – over 2 million people e-mailed our venerable PM Tone @NumberTen (well, until June 27th anyway) and told him they didn’t like the idea.

Good ol’ Tone wrote back and said, “Well, y’know, I’m a straight kinda guy – it’s not all about taxation or spying on you, it’s for the good of the, y’know, environment.” Piffle! The idea that anyone opposing this latest stealth tax is a gas-guzzling, carbon-emitting yob who doesn’t give a jot about the environment is the same one levelled at people who suggest that ID cards are an invasion of civil liberties, so they must therefore be supporting global terrorism.

I care about the environment – I’m sure all readers of OUR CATS do.

I recycle, I use unleaded fuel, I buy Fair Trade goods…. But I’m not a mug. I know when I’m being taken for a ride – or rather, being prevented on going for a ride and it doesn’t take a genius to see how the ‘Pay As You Drive’ scheme will hammer cat show entries as exhibitors will simply not be able to afford to drive to every show. The knock on effect is damage to the cat fancy and ultimately, damage to cat breeds. It’s as simple as that.

Time to get writing to your MP. Don’t forget to use a recycled paper notepad. And you could mention that if they don’t oppose this latest assault on your civil liberties that you might well consider recycling your vote.

Now that will tax their powers of concentration! And less hot air emanating from Westminster justifying such deeply unpopular measures will surely be good for the environment!

Nick Mays, News and Features Editor