A friend of Mrs. Stan forwarded the following to me and several dozen others on his contacts list.
Subject: FW: Road Tax Petition
>Please sign and pass it on. It only takes a minute.
>The Government's proposal to introduce road pricing will mean you having to purchase a tracking device for your car and paying a monthly bill to use >it.
>>The tracking device will cost about 200 and in a recent study by the BBC, the lowest monthly bill was 28 for a rural florist and 194 for a delivery driver.
A non working Mum who used the car to take the kids to school paid 86 in one month. On top of this massive increase in tax, you will be tracked. Somebody
>will know where you are at all times. They will also know how fast you >have been going, so even if you accidentally creep over a speed limit you can expect a NIP with your monthly bill.
If you care about our freedoms and stopping the constant bashing of the car driver, please sign the petition on No 10's new website >
Please pass this on to anyone who owns a car/motorcycle. It affects them. Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail
My reply to Mrs. Stan's friend was the following (excluding the bit where I was slightly rude about him sharing my email address with the world)
Think yours was the third or so version of the same chain letter I've received this week - suspect it's the fuel-blockade people that started it off in the first place. Got my first version of the email in July last year just after Alistair Darling's announcement - thought it had died out but there's been a sudden increase lately.
Email subtly neglects to mention that this is a replacement for tax on petrol and road tax. The figures don't look as scary if you imagine what price petrol would be without government duty and if road tax were abolished.
Personally I think I'd be worse off - but am prepared to pay more if it means less traffic and if there's a beneficial ecological effect.
As to the civil liberty effects - speed is not something that needs to be measured for the tax to work - a simple transponder with a cheap 'n' cheerful basic GPS chip would be needed and that's not good enough to reliably measure speed. Also, a switched-on mobile phone gives away your position and speed pretty well at the moment.
And anyway, if the government can't even track criminals, I've sure they're not going to be able to spot me giving it some welly down the A34 !
It's so just so easy for people to sign this thing without understanding the implications - just because a friend has asked them to. I'm not at all surprised that that this thing has attracted two million signatures to date, but I'm convinced that upwards of 1.9 million of these people don't understand the issue.
For once I hope people-power fails and the governmnet sticks to their guns. Please, Mr Blair; don't scrap the only government policy I agree with ...