…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
When I moved into my house over a year ago, there was a mountain of junk mail by the front door. If any of it was addressed to anyone it was usually “The Occupier” so it usually went in the recycling. Some stuff I returned to sender to encourage them not to send any more, and that has worked quite well.
Some of the post was from the TV Licensing agency and this I didn’t return and so I’m still dealing with it, or rather, not dealing with, beyond recycling the windowed envelope and using the letter as kindling for my fire. I could have sent each letter back with “Return to sender – no TV” written on the envelope, but I didn’t. But Why?
Here in the UK you have to have a TV license if you watch or record live television, which is something I don’t do, but the TV Licensing agency seem to want you to tell them this so they can update their database. I don’t want to play this game. I don’t want to be in their database and I don’t want to help them maintain it. Partly it seems pointless because that’s not to say they wont start sending letters again in the future when they want to check their details are correct. Also, they state in their letters that even if you tell them you don’t need a TV license, they may still send someone round to check. Further to this, the wording of their letters has progressed somewhat to a more threatening nature regarding court action – this seems silly to me since they are still referring to me as “The Occupier” or “Sir/Madam” – if they want to see me in court then they need to address me by name, they will also need evidence that I’m watching TV illegally, which they don’t have.
I don’t have the gun licensing department sending me monthly threats for not declaring I don’t own a gun.
Then a new letter arrived in the post a couple of weeks addressed to “The Occupier”, this one being from my local Electoral Office, requesting that “The Occupier” fills in their Annual Enquiry Form. The letter ends with the threat of a fine if “The Occupier” doesn’t comply. These people seem to like throw the threat of a £1,000 fine around a lot.
Again, this is about maintaining someone’s database and I really don’t want to play this game.
Here in the UK we have the choice of whether we want to vote or not, but it seems we don’t have a choice about being in this database or not. On the reverse of the letter/form there is “Other information” about their being “two registers” and why: the electoral register, and the open register. I glance over this and aside from the casual statement about how they can sell the details they have, I just think “m’eh – whatever”. I have looked online and it seems that sending this letter out is their Step 1, then if a form doesn’t get returned they send someone round to ask for the details. This puts me in an awkward position because #1 I don’t want to respond to a threat that isn’t even addressed to me, again, if they want to fine me then they need to address me by name. #2 I really don’t want to waste tax payer’s money by causing these people to send someone round to my house. But oh well, this is their game and I’d rather be spoken to as a person. They’ve actually sent two copies of this letter now (and kindly extended their “please respond by” date).
So many things in this world make me question how free we really are – these are just two examples, but they illustrate how we are born into a system we have little say in, names in databases, numbers assigned, taxes requested, threats regarding non-compliance. I’m already in various government databases – I pay taxes, they already write to me at this address, they actually know only one person lives here – with their public-funded database they should use it to put two-and-two together.
And he causeth all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, that there be given them a mark on their right hand, or upon their forehead; and that no man should be able to buy or to sell, save he that hath the mark, even the name of the beast or the number of his name. – Revelation / The Apocalypse
The thing is, if either of these departments do send someone round to get the details they want, will I be any more open to the stranger who knocks on my door? Maybe I’ll just be honest and say I have issues about reading and acting on mail that isn’t addressed to me personally. I am concerned that the TV licensing people’s automated system will arrange a court date at some point – I have heard they are “the biggest prosecutors in the UK”… I really can’t be bothered to cycle to a court hearing just to say “I don’t watch or record live television.” I just want to be left alone (and I’m not interested in voting).
If you found this topic interesting, I wrote back in June a post called “Free to be human“.