Westminster Council is trying to sting motorbike and scooter commuters for up to £400 a year for parking. A forum was set up to give people a voice to challenge this. A few people got riled up and said Really Bad Things, such as:
- anyone who supports motorcycle parking “must accept the consequences of their actions”
- and is time for “the gloves to come off”
OMG! It’s a “hate campaign”!!!! Revolution! Terrorists!
The tiresomely predicable reaction from the apparatchiks at Westminster is to sic their lawyers on the forum, and get it closed down. They throw around unsubstantiated allegations, out-of-context comments and issue threats – including “up to six months in prison or a fine of up to £5,000.”
Is this responsible government? Is this a council that listens to its people? No – of course it isn’t. It’s as cynical and ignorant as the original idea of the parking charges. Westminster are opportunists, playing the system. You might expect this kind of stuff in China, maybe. But not London in 2009.
One would have thought that Westminster Council would be able to see that reacting to a few robust bits of rhetoric on an internet forum with legal threats would be a REALLY BAD IDEA. But no.
They have done just that.
http://forum.notobikeparkingfees.com/ has been closed down.
All this, of course, is just Westminster throwing a hissy fit because there was a pretty large demo outside (and indeed within) their doors a few weeks ago. One of the main councillors responsible for the new charges got shouted down, and he ran away in panic with his pants round his ankles.
Here’s a link to details of the next demo: PROTEST!