My House, My Rules

In which The Author draws up a policy document

The mainstream UK media were remarkably quiet (or quiescent) about a couple of news stories this week. The one which seems to have exercised most people’s fury is the total lack of coverage of Saturday’s anti-austerity demonstration in London. (Again, to my chagrin, I wasn’t able to make it to this one. One day I’ll be there, I promise.) The BBC only deigned to mention it this afternoon, once their phones started ringing and the emails of complaint started pinging into their inbox.
It’s not the first time that the BTN BBC have chosen to gloss over a protest against the UK government. They’re more than happy to give airtime to ordinary citizens rising up against oppressive régimes in the Middle East, or Africa, or South-east Asia, apparently. Just don’t do it on their own doorstep. Somebody on Facebook suggested (possibly with tongue in cheek) that maybe next time they should storm Broadcasting House and MediaCity UK. If they do, could I suggest that the protesters time their invasion to coincide with the start of The Archers? That’s probably the only way that Middle England will be sufficiently roused from its collective torpor to join them on the barricades.
The other item is one which sneaked into the social networking world via a couple of bloggers whom I follow – in particular, ‘Mid Wales Mike’ and his prolific, informative and entertaining Vox Political. Here, taken from Mike’s blog, are the bare bones of the story:
Iain Duncan Smith’s DWP is adopting tactics that are ever-closer to those of the Nazis. Now they want to force their way into people’s homes, unannounced, presumably in attempts to catch out benefit cheats. What other reason could they possibly have…?
Well, as it’s the year 2014 (or possibly 1984 – it’s increasingly difficult to tell!), and since everyone else seems to be doing it, I thoroughly intend to make life as difficult as I possibly can. Here’s what the secret police can expect if they choose to knock on my door.
First of all, the door will not be opened. All communication will take place through the letter box. My digital voice recorder will be employed to ensure that a full verbatim account of the initial discussion is available to both parties on request.
The Gestapo officer will be told to return at a time which is most convenient to me. This will most likely be on a Friday evening, a Saturday afternoon, or a Sunday morning. It is highly unlikely that an appointment will be available during normal working hours.
The Gestapo officer will then be provided with this useful information sheet:.

Part A

Please ensure that you bring no fewer than five forms of identification with you on the day. These can include:

  • a full UK photographic driving licence (with paper counterpart);
  • a current ten-year passport;
  • a UK Armed Services Identification Card;
  • your National Insurance card or a letter issued by a Government department bearing your National Insurance number, e.g. a P2 Notification of Tax Coding (a payslip will not be acceptable);
  • your birth certificate (original, not a copy);
  • your marriage certificate;
  • your decree absolute;
  • a bank card/credit card with photograph;
  • three household utility bills dated within the last three months;
  • three consecutively-numbered bank statements;
  • three consecutive credit card statements.

You will also be required to supply two passport photographs for my records.

Part B

Should you arrive more than one minute early or one minute late for your appointment, you will not be seen. You will be required to reschedule your appointment at my convenience.

NB I have two clocks which receive a radio signal from the National Physical Laboratory’s atomic clock and adjust themselves to GMT and BST. They will be the sole yardsticks by which your punctuality is measured.

Part C

On arrival, you will be required to complete a form providing your full name, permanent address, home, work and mobile telephone numbers, email address, and details of your vehicle. You will not be allowed onto my property until this, and the documentation listed in Part A, can be examined in detail. If necessary, you will be required to wait until your identity can be verified by a telephone call to your superiors.

Part D

You will be required to provide your fingerprints and a cheek swab for subsequent DNA typing. Your photographs will be taken, and your voice recorded. These will be stored securely and destroyed after ten years.

Part E

The meeting will be videotaped, and an unedited copy will be emailed to your superiors within 72 hours. A third person may be present to observe and take notes without prior notification.

Should you disagree with any of the Terms and Conditions herein, or fail to comply with any of these criteria in any way, your appointment will be cancelled immediately and you will not be admitted to my property.

You will have the right to appeal against any decision which I make in respect of your appointment. Appeals must be submitted online within thirty (30) minutes of the scheduled start, via*

Please allow up to 104 weeks for a decision.
Appeals submitted by any other means will not be considered valid.

* Please note that the website is not optimised for browsers higher than Internet Explorer 5, and will not run Adobe Reader 7 or higher.


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