The time thieves…

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth occurs when taxes are raised.

But being as money is arbitrary, and taxation is proportionate to how much you earn, you can respond to this, as an economic and social agent, by working less, hence paying less tax and having more free time. Or you can work harder, to earn more, overcoming the tax hike. Or you can get a higher paying job. Or move to another country, or take tax avoidance measures.

My point is that in the face of tax hikes, you have options.

But it’s rarely remarked upon – less still railed at – that the government has been stealing minutes and hours from our lives for years, in spite of there being no way to get extra time back to compensate.

Example 1: You commute to work every day – due to patchy public transport and the demands of your life, you have no choice but to drive. In 1997 when labour came to power, they put the vast majority of road building and improvement work on hold. For example, work on fixing the dreadful M4 Junction 11 should have commenced in 2001. Instead, it commenced in 2008 as part of the package of measures to pump public funds into the economy.

The upshot, then, is that if you’ve had to cross this junction twice a day, everyday, it will have taken you between 20 & 40 minutes extra, per day, than it will once the junction improvements are complete.

This work should have been completed in 2003, not 2010. So, 240 working days a year, 20 – 40 minutes per day lost time: 80-160 hours a year. Over 7 years, that’s 560-1120 hours between 23 & 46 entire days of your life lost because of Labour’s ideological stand against the needs of motorists.

There are stories like this all around the UK, and the effect of delaying or cancelling all that work, after all said and done, is that there were 6 – SIX – sets of roadworks between me and my destination yesterday. I came home via a completely different, and much longer, route as I just couldn’t face anymore 46mph rolling-roadblock head-fuckery.

Example 2: How much time did you spend on household refuse management in 1997? How much time do you spend today, sorting and washing tin cans & plastic bottles, separating paper, composting food and doing all the other crap required by recycling-mad councils? Take a low estimate of 20 minutes a week. Doesn’t seem like much, but it’s time you’ve got to find, and each year, that’s nearly 18 whole hours of your life.

Example 3: How many people are unnecessarily stuck in the income tax self-assessment process? Each year that’s (if you’re lucky) half a day’s work and lots of swearing (or £150 to your accountant). And what about those in receipt of a single person council tax discount, who have to write to the council each year to inform them that nothing has changed (in spite of the legal requirement to inform them if anything does change)? Got a classic car in a garage, that’s been there for 10 years? Don’t forget to contact DVLA to SORN it every year, or DVLA can now enter your property, take the car and destroy it.

Example 4: Airports post 9/11. Nuff said. If you fly regularly, even domestic, this is a massive time-thief.

Example 5: All those lowered speed limits. There are thousands of roads that had speed limits of 70 or 60 MPH in 1997 – National speed limit roads. Today, many of those same roads now have speed limits of 50, 40 or even 30mph. If you use those roads regularly,this is probably costing you at least a couple of minutes on every journey. As we’ve already seen, those wafer-this salami-slices soon add up to a considerable theft of your precious time.

There are plenty more examples, that I’ll come to in due course.

I resent this invasion every bit as much as I resent exorbitant taxes to pay for massive gravy-trains and utterly failing public services.



About Al Jahom
Anti-social malcontent, misanthrope and miserable git.

5 Responses to The time thieves…

  1. Toni says:

    Hmmmmm, Time is money. Your right, all those little slices of time do add up and we have no way of ever reclaiming them. I am sure that the feeling is that we are a bunch of idle bastards and would simply waste the time anyway or even worse, use it for nefarious purposes. This is the real challenge the government has to deal with. Forgot the greenhouse gases thing. Sure we are damaging our environment, but so does nature. If a super volcano such as Danau Toba erupts, (statistically every 200,000 years), it will put far more contaminates into the atmosphere than all human development ever has. I do reserve the right to change my opinion of the green movement if I am ever hired to trade carbon futures on SIMEX, in that case the green issue will be the biggest threat to humanity and we should all pull together to save the earth, (and provide liquidity to the market). The governments will have to find a way to manage the unpleasant population with too much time on their hands. It was so much better in the old days when you could chain them to their machines and they did the decent thing and died before retiring and becoming a strain on the health service

  2. Curmudgeon says:

    You are one of very few bloggers who draws attention to the incredible speed limit holocaust of the past 12 years. In 1980 I could achieve a better cross-country time than I can now, in a car with half the nominal power. Speed limits have been unreasonably slashed on thousands of miles of roads, and so-called “Safety Camera Partnerships” have raked in £££millions.

  3. Safesteve says:

    “If you use those roads regularly,this is probably costing you at least a couple of minutes on every journey. As we’ve already seen, those wafer-this salami-slices soon add up to a considerable theft of your precious time.”

    I don’t like this reasoning (as technically valid as it may be).
    The inevitable rebuttal, from those both sincere and financially conflicted, will invariably be:
    “What price a life, a couple of minutes of your precious time?”

    I’m much more concerned about the effects of driver fatigue when forced to travel at a needlessly slow speed, that resulting with reduced driver arousal over an even longer duration (per journey) – a double whammy!
    Fatigue already accounts for a significant portion of the contributory factor of the fatal accident pie (a quarter of all motorway/dual carriageway collisions). This will only increase with the rise of needlessly lowered limits and new enforcement on currently low limits (such as motorways).

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m a steadfast supporter of the Safe Speed campaign (anti-speed camera) so I share many of your concerns (and we have some really strong arguments against use of cameras and associated speed restrictions), but IMO I don’t believe the typical person will accept your reasoning in this one case.

    Check out the website and the forums at

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