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Sunday, 20 Mar 2011

I live in Surrey and this bothers me...

Surrey County Council are considering the introduction of parking meters throughout Surrey in towns and villages. This preventiion of free on street parking sounds like a death knell for local retailsers and businesses, or at least a proper poke up the gusset. We certainly will be "all in this together" if they proceed with this alarming course of action, in my view.

I recently forwarded a link to a protest petition ( to a number of friends in the area, suggesting they might be interested. One of them responded and we exchanged a couple of emails. It was good to have someone challenge my tacit suggestion that signing this petition was a Good Thing To Do, as it forced me to analyse and crystallise my views on the subject. This person is someone of some stature in the business community. I take what they say seriously and I articulated as thoughtful a reply as I could.

I reproduce the email exchange that we had below, removing the other person's identity out of respect for their privacy.

From: James Collett
Sent: 18 March 2011 14:01
To: 'James Collett'
Subject: Surrey car parking charges petition

You may be interested:-

Petition to: abandon its proposals for on-street charges on car parking bays in market towns and large villages throughout Surrey.


James Collett BSc (Hons)(DUNELM), MSc (WALES)

From: *****
Sent: 18 March 2011 15:24
To: 'James Collett'
Subject: RE: Surrey car parking charges petition

James, why? How are we going to get out of this mess we are in if we don’t even pay parking charges? Why not encourage people to walk/cycle instead?


from *****

From: James Collett
Sent: 18 March 2011 16:27
To: *****
Subject: RE: Surrey car parking charges petition


Thanks for your thoughts. It's good to be challenged, to ensure that one's objection to a change is not just an outraged knee jerk on the Clapham Omnibus.

In Camberley, I have the option to use one of the three multi-storey car parks if I have significant business to do in town. The high street currently allows 30 minutes of free parking if I can find a space, which is just right for a visit to the ATM or to deposit a cheque or for a dash into Sainsbury's to buy some milk and bread.

We should of course be encouraged to walk or cycle, and indeed I sometimes do just that. For me it's quite convenient because I live so close to the town centre; it's a nice, brisk 15 mintes walk. But for some people and circumstances this is just not an option - for example, a mother with two small children who needs to "pop to the shops" or for someone on the way home from work, or when already in the car and travelling onto somewhere else.

The inconvenience of having to pay for such a short shopping stop will deter me and others, I believe, and it will rob local shops of business. Tesco with its flat, free parking will reign even more supreme.

I also wonder how much it will cost to tool up and maintain the technology for such a policy. And I wonder how revenue positive it would actually be.

I should like to see wastage and inefficiency in the NHS reduced and I would bet that such a drive would be much more easily achieved, cost effective and financially beneficial in terms of raw numbers, given the size of the NHS budget, than installing thousands of parking meters in Surrey. Mr Osborne has already announced that he will be cutting my household's gross annual income by £3500-£4000 in a year or two with his non-means tested withdrawal of child benefit. He's already taking more VAT from me each time I buy almost anything. I think that I and the hordes of other already-squeezed middle-income earners will be helping out quite a bit there, all in it together so to speak.

I have not even touched upon the analysis of street car parking charges as effectively yet another unfair tax, hitting low earners proportionally more than high eaners.

All in all, this motion strikes me as a bridge too far.



And here's the second reply - disappointingly short and non-engaging! - but it's a reply nonetheless.

Thanks James, fair comments.


from *****

Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011

I have been following the sci-fii show, Outcasts on BBC 1. I hear that lots of people do not like it. I do not know hwat the overall reaction to it is but I actually enjoy it.

I have got wind that the show is unlikely to return for a sason 2 renewal and I am not happy about it. Here is the complaint I made to the BBC. It likely will make no difference to the decision they make but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Complaint type:Television
Programme title:Outcasts (Drama) (TV)
Transmission date:13/03/2011

Complaint summary:the apparent abandonment of a sci-fi show with potential

Full complaint:-


I am given to understand that this show was effectively abandoned after only four episodes, judging by its relegation to a dead slot on Sunday night, which caused me to miss its transmission incidentally.

This is the sort of nonsense that drives corporate, ratings-frenzy outfits like Fox TV in the USA - and which repeatedly disappoints and enrages fans of short-lived yet potentially excellent dramas. If you've stumped up the investment to build a first season of this show then at least stick with it and let it develop and gather an audience, rather than piss off the loyal audience that you do have. That's a suggestion, by the way.

Are you going to do the same to this show as you did to Defying Gravity and Survivors? - i.e. build up a bunch of ideas, characters and story arc possibilities only to leave them all dangling without resolution? The BBC is not about ratings. It's not about commercials. It is about quality shows that appeal to more than just the common denominator of Strictly Come X Factor on Ice. Or am I wrong?

-James Collett.

Receive a reply:Yes
Contacted us before:Yes
Complaint related to previous contact:No
First name:James
Under 13:No

Tuesday, 1 Mar 2011

Do you remember the Viz character, Billy Bound, it's always his round?

Two characters in the bar:-

Mate: ''Shite I've left my keys in your car, back in a sec.''
Billy: ''It's all right I'll get 'em.''
Mate: ''Cheers mate, mine's a Stella, I'm just going to get my keys.''

And another:-

Mate:I'm going home to a lovely tea tonight
Billy: Oh, what you having?
Mate: I'll have a pint please Billy, cheers.

Poor Billy never learned:-

Mate: I've left me tabs in your car Billy
Billy: I'll get them.
Mate: Cheers Billy, I'll have a pint, now give me your keys and I'll fetch me tabs. Beacon