As some of you who know me will know, I don’t own a TV. For those of you who don’t know me, I don’t own a TV. I don’t want one, quite frankly because it’s a drain on my life I can do without. Time flies past fast enough without me wasting even more of it slumped infront of a random picture generator designed to sedate the intellect. Ok where was I? people in the UK have to pay the TV Licensing Authority if they want to own a television. For those of you in the “free world” this might seem bizarre and in this day and age, it is. It stems from the days when TV’s were a new invention and the government required some way to fund the programs being broadcast. This was of course in the heady days of “BBC1″, no adverts, no independent stations, just the good old BBC. Then along came the other channels who funded their cause with infuriating, intellect-sapping adverts. It wasn’t their fault though, they didn’t get a cut of the license money so they had to pay their way my making a pact with the Devil. Next up, Sky TV, Cable and a whole host of providers from places where TV Licenses never existed who also used the Devil-Pact method of fund raising. Ok where am I going with this? Ahh yes…
See we don’t own a TV, so we didn’t buy a TV license. This meant that for the last 8 months we’ve been receiving threat-letters from the Licensing Authority. I say “Threat” because they start out accusational then apologise just in case you haven’t got a TV and then move on to tell you how you can pay for one., they don’t for a second acknowledge the notion of “Innocent until proven guilty”, nono. You see everyone owns a television. Those who don’t are liars who “will be caught”.
Frankly I find that quite offensive, I mean I know not to take the threat letters personally, but their approach is still despicable. It gets better too.
Deciding I’d had enough of the threats, I called the TVLA and informed them ever so politely (As is my nature) that we didn’t infact own a brain-numbing device and they could stop sending us letters. Two days later, another letter! This one was slightly different however, this one was a subtley veiled threat without the bold red type of the last one. “Dear so and so, you admitted to not owning a TV and we find this highly irregular, so we’re going to send the hit-squad to search your premesis because, frankly, we don’t believe you.”
Naturally, that’s the condensed version.
I had in my hands a letter telling me, quite plainly, that they outright did not believe me and would be sending some government spooks to search my house. Hello? Human rights? Respect of privacy? If the drug dealers next door aren’t having their house searched then I’m damned if we should. I wasn’t privvy to a vote on TV licensing so the system in place is not part of my “free choice” as a citizen in an allegedly democratic country, it seems the moment I was born I was automatically opted-in to the damned thing.
We can’t afford to pay the protection money that our government demands to keep its henchmen out of our home, so if they do call we are compelled by law and a search warrant to let them poke around our house. We have nothing to hide, sure, but that’s not the point. Personally the mechanism which gives them the right to invade peoples’ property on a whim seems as immoral as it does insulting. Not only that but the blind assumption that everyone owns a TV and anyone who says otherwise is a liar is bloody annoying.
What next? Compulsary drug rehab for everyone, just because they don’t believe anyone can survive in the UK without being inebriated beyond sensibility?