I have a big problem with keep a law vague and having people interpret it as they see fit, in accordance with the spirit of the law. This is dangerous as it allows for arbitrary, inconsistent interpretations which do little to ensure justice. Having a vaguely written law makes it hard to ensure the Rule of Law is enforced.
People are sometimes tempted to advocate a spirit of the law approach over a letter of the law approach because they think this can help to avoid loopholes in the law. This is true, technicalities cannot be exploited if the wording is not precise enough to allow for technicalities. However the potential cost of having the law open to interpretation outweighs the real benefits of having a precisely worded law.
Whatever the spirit of the law may be, it should be possible to articulate that as precisely as possible into clear and concise written law. Things may be missed and people may find ways to violate the spirit of the law, however this is when the law is revised and any such loopholes fixed to prevent the problem from occurring again in the future. Letting a few people get away with doing something reprehensible should be much preferred to allowing inconsistent interpretations of the law to be doled out and for justice to be doled out subjectively, based on the person doing the interpreting.
Allowing for a lot of interpretation so the spirit of the law is considered more important is nice in theory but it all it really accomplishes is ignoring the Rule of Law, denying justice to people and enabling mob rule. Juries will be free to find guilty those they dislike and let go those they do regardless of if the law was broken or not. Sticking to the letter of the law removes personal biases and should only allow for interpretation to the minimum required extent. It seems like this should be basic to anyone who has thought it out. Yet people still advocate vaguely written laws and adherence to the spirit of the law, without seemingly bothering to consider the consequences.
I find the very concept of a TV license offensive. The idea that you have to pay a license on private property that you own, based purely on the assumption that you will watch a free to air channel that the money from the license funds.
Many people defend the idea because they are thankful for unbiased quality journalism and don’t see any problem. The problem I have is that the license should simply be a tax. At the moment it is a license. Needing a license to operate a harmless and widely available electronic device is fundamentally flawed.
Another problem with this model is the assumption that you will watch the free to air channel that the license funds. Personally I don’t tend to watch free to air TV at all. If I purchased a TV it would be to play console games or perhaps to watch things from my laptop. I wouldn’t use it to watch free to air TV yet in some countries like the UK it is assumed that if you have a TV then you will watch free to air TV, or specifically the BBC. How is that a reasonable assumption.
Some people consider the use of the word license to be just semantics and that the fee is actually a tax. The reason you can’t consider a TV license fee a tax is for 2 reasons. 1) If it were a tax, people would be eligible to get the fee refunded if they could show it shouldn’t apply to them and 2) taxes for the most part don’t tend to be for owning private household items. Taxes go towards services or needs of the larger population. Charging people a fee for owning a TV based on assumed use is not a tax, nor should it be permitted at all.
If I buy something and use it within my home, I shouldn’t have to pay anything on top of that. Not when other people are not affected by my use of my possession. It might seem a trivial thing to write about but I think it indicates a slippery slope. If you allow governments to charge you a fee for owning a TV however it might be justified, how long until they start charging you for owning computers or phones or game consoles?
It seems to me that the majority of Australians who end up going to the UK to work are bogans. Bogan is the Australians version of a redneck, chav, ned or knacker. I don’t know if it’s just my personal experience but it seems like whenever I go to the UK and Ireland all the Australians are people who saved up money from social security to get over there and then work minimum wage jobs just so they can buy all the cheap drugs and alcohol they can afford. They tend to be very loud and rowdy and tend to turn a lot of people away.
Many British and Irish people I speak to get the impression that these Australians are a representation of most Australians, which I think is interesting. If it’s true why are so many bogan Australians going to the UK? If little work and cheap drugs and partying is what is desired why not head to South-East Asia or Latin America. What is it that attracts the bogan types to the UK? Why so prevalently?
I’m really sick and tired of hearing the reason given that corporations exist only to make money. That it is to be expected that they will screw over as many people in their way to further their goals of constantly increasing their profit. That this should be expected as it is the nature of the beast and the problem lies with governments that are not regulating them sufficiently.
This is a cop out. Corporations are run by humans. Humans make up the board of directors, humans are the stockholders. Humans have a say in everything a corporation does. When a corporation is being “evil” it isn’t because corporations tend to lean that way, it’s because they can get away with it. People continue to support such corporations instead of standing up and saying hey, that’s wrong, I’m going to take my money elsewhere.
An example of an corporation I have come to respect is SouthWest. I might be a sap, but I get the impression whoever is making the decisions actually cares about customers. Could it be a ploy to gain more customers? Perhaps. Although given that they would make more profit simply by charging change fees and for checking in bags I doubt it. If one airline can sacrifice profit for the sake of improving the customer experience there’s no reason others can’t. Whenever a corporation makes a decision that screws people over, keep in mind, people made that decision.
I don’t like the UK. I have lived there on and off for a combined total of maybe 2 years. The people are fine but it is just little things about the country that I find unnecessary, annoying or in some cases frustrating.
First, the culture. The tendency to be excessively polite which results in white lies. Saying you have plans to get out of something rather than just stating it directly…pretending not to be home when salespeople come round..all people do these things but I have the impression that it occurs at a much higher rate with British people. Or to put it simply, British people lie more often because they think it’s nicer to do so. Then comes the stupid slang. Calling the BBC the ‘beeb’…words like shag, snog, numpty, referring to all vacuum cleaners as hoovers…spelling ass with an ‘r’. I find all of that mildly irritating for no good reason. I know dialects evolve in different ways but I subjectively I feel much of the slang in the UK is just…silly.
Not to mention the people who call everyone mate even when they clearly don’t know or like the person. The overuse of the word ‘well’ such as “keep well clear” as opposed to simply “keep clear”. The overuse of ordinary words such as marvelous or brilliant when things are not at all marvelous or brilliant. Calling the main street in every city the high street. Again I can’t make any argument why it’s bad, I just look down on it.
Then there are things that tend to get less subjective and more objectively annoying. The comedy they gave the world…fucking Mr Bean. They almost redeemed themselves with Peep Show. Sorry to say that I think shows like Spaced, Monty Python, Faulty Towers and and The Mighty Boosh are vastly overrated. The tendency of Britons not to consider themselves European. The ridiculously oversized power plugs. The love of warm beer. The food…god, the food. Blood sausage, crappy little sausages..hash browns…haggis..spotted dick. Gah.
The censorship of films, music and the Internet. The continued and excessive harassment of photographers by policeman who don’t understand the law. Having a house of lords and a house of commons as opposed to a more neutrally named upper and lower house. Judges who employ “common sense” which is dangerous. Excessive surveillance. Britain has been having a lot more serious problems recently. Having to pay for restrooms in some public places such as bus stations. Having to pay a TV license just for owning a TV (I know it supports the BBC but that isn’t the way to go about funding). The one way extradition agreement that allows British citizens to be extradited to the US. Putting someone in jail if they can’t reveal their encryption password, assuming they can but won’t.
Aside from the things I just think are silly, there is too much that is actually worrying or intrusive for me to live there. It isn’t a place I would want to live and certainly isn’t a country I can respect. As far gone as the US is in some ways..it doesn’t have the problems listed in the last paragraph.