Thursday, 19 February 2009

This was gonna be a happy Blog...

Today was gonna be a happy blog, I got a first in an essay I handed in over Christmas and just generally had a really good day.
But then I got this in the post:
For those of you not in the UK; over here we have to pay a TV licence fee. It's about £140 a year, I think. This fee goes towards mainly the BBC so that they can produce really good programmes, which they do! I have no problem with the licence fee itself, I think a public funded BBC is fantastic.

But the thing I have a problem with is the fact that I don't have TV in my room and therefore do not have to pay.
As a result of this I regularly get angry, rude and threatening letters that refer to me simply as "The legal occupier of Flat 74.2".

Let me recount to you a lovely extract from the letter I have received.

"Now that enforcement officers have been scheduled to visit student addresses in your area, you should know what to expect in the event that you are prosecuted for using TV without a licence."

"... in the event that you are prosecuted", If that doesn't imply that I AM going to have the full force of the law thrown at me regardless as to whether I watch television in my flat or not then I don't know what does.
It goes on to tell me what will happen if they prosecute me, including what will happen when I go to court, the inevitable fine etc.
I have had this the past two years as I have lived without a television, constant threatening letters from the council that, quite honestly, verge on spam.

The most annoying aspect is that I am a law abiding citizen, I have done nothing wrong, but I am being talked to as if "you haven't payed your TV licence, therefore you MUST be watching a TV illegally, you are therefore a criminal."
If this is a tactic of them to try and get people to pay then quite frankly I think it is disgusting. I can imagine the amount of people who pay the fee just to stop the letters (there is a phone number they offer but I am not wasting my phone bill on them).

I think the BBC and even the licence fee are a good thing. The BBC is one of the things in this country we can be really proud of and I would be happy to fund it. But this makes me resent paying (when I eventually have to) and therefore resent the fee and in turn the BBC.
If you want people to pay show them how fucking amazing the BBC is; how their money contributes to the best broadcasting group in the world, make them feel a part of it and therefore proud of it.

This seems to be a recurring theme recently on this blog but Gordon Brown is like a broken record when it comes to talking about the elusiveness of "Britishness". Well no wonder we have this problem, of the corporations that represent us, are choosing to alienate us rather than make us feel included.

I am a law abiding citizen, stop making me feel like a criminal.


Anonymous said...

:O That's awe full, did you tell them you don't have a tv?.

Barry Aldridge said...

I have to agree about Gordon Brown losing touch with society.

That sucks about the Licence thingy. I had some gas bill delivered to my familys home and it was a shocker which we were not living there and they aspect those payments as well.

peesemould said...

That's the trouble. The Trust has gone too far one way and decided that everyone is a criminal, if they don't pay their fee. When I was at uni people would send them letters and still get these threatening letters.

It's kind of a good idea, because it scares the people who are watching it illegally into doing so! Same with the way road tax is collected. If the officers come you can prove to them that you have no TV that receives signals.

What really annoys me about the fee is that students, of which most of them have to live away from home in order to attend university, etc, must purchase a second license for their uni address even if they have one at home. Whereas, MPs, of which most have to live away from in order to attend parliament, only need to purchase one license.

A small gripe, but MPs get paid an awful lot more than students do.

linkaneo said...

What's funny about that is the amazing lack of powerv that the tv license people have to investigate whether or not you've got a TV. They might come round to your house and say 'can we have a look?' and they'll confirm you don't have one, but they'll just keep sending you letters assuming you just hid the tv while they were there for their unscheduled visit anyway. You can also just say, 'No, you can't come into my house.' and they can't do anything about it =P

Anonymous said...

Last year I also didn't have a TV, and I also recieve an abundance of letters. Each more threatening than the last. In the end I was really looking forward to an inspection, so I could invite them into our (shared) kitchen and tell them, as politely as possible, that I did not own a TV, and consider their actions harrasment, and if they continue to harass me further after I have made that clear then they can expect me to take them to court for it.

They never came :(

Mannyerism said...

Being from the States, it's so weird and even scary to think you have to pay a yearly fee for having a telly, or well, watching. Just, wow. But then again, I pay about 80 bucks a month to watch BBC America just to watch Torchwood.

Bite Me: A Twilight Podcast said...

BBC is a quality network and I agree that public funding is an excellent way to keep it running. I do think it's a bit ridiculous that everybody, including people who don't even own a tv, have to pay the fee.

It would be difficult to sort out the tv owners from the non tv owners though. Maybe instead of paying a yearly fee, the money to fund BBC could come from a federal tax and donations.