Any excuse to call the TaxPayers’ Alliance

Today, the Daily Mirror are reporting that:

An abusive yob branded a calendar drawn up by a court to tell him when it got dark as stupid.

Fair enough. Sounds pretty stupid to me.

The article continues:

Foul-mouthed Daniel Wakefield, 18, was banned from a park at night but magistrates feared he would not know when that was.

So they spent nearly an hour charting the sun’s movements over the next two years for him.

But Wakefield was not impressed. He said: “I think it’s stupid giving me a calendar. It’s easy to know when it’s light and it’s dark. I’m not going to use it. I’ll just use my common sense.”

Again, fair enough. This was a stupid event of no real significance except to give credence to the idea that mankind might truly be doomed.

However, this wasn’t enough for the Express, who decided to go with:

OK, it’s fair to assume that, as the guide was drawn up during the court’s time, the taxpayer was footing the bill. No arguments there.

But an hour of the court’s time? An hour? Come on…

I’m not entirely sure how much an hour of the court’s time costs the taxpayer but I’m fairly sure that it’s an infinitesimal amount and nothing to get upset about.

Besides, this was one isolated event that is very unlikely ever to be repeated.

One would be forgiven for thinking that the Express introduced this new taxpayer slant merely so they could phone their best friends at the TaxPayers’ Alliance for a quote:

Last night, a TaxPayers’ Alliance spokeswoman said: “It’s ridiculous that time and money has been wasted teaching this offender the difference between dark and light. As Wakefield says himself, it’s common sense.”

Things must be slow at the TaxPayers’ Alliance offices…

7 Comments

Filed under Media and journalism

7 Responses to Any excuse to call the TaxPayers’ Alliance

  1. I'm not even sure it was that stupid. I assume they did it in case he ended up in court for breaking curfew, to prevent any quibbles along the lines of "Oh well, it was sunset, but it wasn't quite dark yet."

    It spends an hour of court time to potentially save several if he should end up back there.

  2. Tom

    If they did spend nearly an hour doing it, that's stupid, but only because I managed to produce this in three minutes thanks to google.

  3. Surely the court was clarifying the actual times the curfew applied, presumably for Daniel's benefit so he doesn't fall foul of his court order, and not just telling him the difference between light and dark. I notice nobody from the Court has been quoted at all.

  4. In fact, just found a story from the local paper, the Northampton Chronicle, which appears to back this up:

    The ASBO, brought by Northampton Borough Council, banned Wakefield from entering Warren Road, Sulgrave Road and Lewis Road.

    It also banned him from entering Dallington Park after dark.

    However, magistrates insisted upon a change to the order after raising concerns about how Wakefield would know when it was dark.

    After a lengthy discussion, the teenager was eventually banned from entering the park before sunrise and after sunset. He was then sent home with a calendar charting the daily movements of the sun for the next two years.

    It also sounds like most of the hour was spent discussing the legal meaning of the word "dark", rather than putting together the calendar.

  5. Well, I suppose it's quite fair for the court to clarify what they mean by dark. I mean, it's not as if night just descends like a curtain.

    A better question, really, is why did the court insist on his curfew being linked to how light or dark it is? Why not just pick a time and impose that as a curfew?

  6. Paul

    Um, because the time would vary throughout the year? Setting out, and talking through, an unambiguous set of curfew times seems pretty sensible to me.

    Oh, I wish the TPA would just fuck off. And the Express, while I'm at it.

    (Damn, I almost kept Mr Calm in the chair until the comment was completed. Damn.)

  7. Not to mention the fact that as this person is a "yob" who has presumably done something that goes against "common sense" the whole "it's common sense" thing doesn't really wash, does it?

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