Ian O'Doherty

Monday 28 July 2014

Broadcast charge? Two chances, Pat

Published 15/08/2013|04:00

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Like death and reality television, taxes will always be with us.

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And of all the unpopular taxes to hit us, the one that remains the most fundamentally undemocratic is surely the TV licence fee.

That's why we have two Tallaght OAPs currently facing jail for failing to pay their licence fee.

Yes, in Ireland, 2013, a country that has been walking a fine line between bare survival and utter capitulation for the last few years, we have a Minister, a socialist Minister let's not forget, who will be responsible for jailing two pensioners.

John Young and his wife Angela are looking at the prospect of prison food because they can't come up with the twelve hundred quid to cover the fine for their initial non-payment of the €160 licence.

We should all pay attention to this story because we're going to be seeing more of these cases from next year – a lot more.

That is because having realised that the licence fee is a morally unsustainable and practically unenforceable, the Government is now hell bent on bringing in the Broadcasting Charge from late next year, which will try to stiff anyone who even has a laptop.

Some people have expressed surprise that it is Pat Rabbitte who has been such a hawk on this issue – but why are they surprised?

After all, he likes to boast of his socialist credentials and few things scream socialism quite like the State imposing an utterly unfair charge on the weakest in society and then hammering them when they can't pay.

The old, tired argument that we should fund RTÉ out of our own pockets has been so discredited that even the professional halfwits in Montrose no longer make a strident case for it.

If the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, or Raidió na Gaeltachta or any of the other cultural sacred cows can't survive on their own, then they don't deserve to exist.

That's tough if you work in the orchestra or as an Irish language reporter, but why should anyone else be expected to pay for your job?

The worst advertisement for RTÉ is, of course, RTÉ itself (I can honestly say that some of the worst, most stupid and duplicitous chancers I have ever worked with were RTÉ lifers, and I'm happy to name names if anyone asks) they have come up with the genius idea of charging you to watch a programme on your laptop.

This is because, as Rabbitte says: "It's not some of us should pay for it, all of us should pay for it, we should not have freeloaders."

So if you object to subsidising Bog One and Bog Two now you're a freeloader?

Where I come from that's simply being a discerning viewer.

This proposed charge is the single worst and most morally indefensible tax to have been introduced in recent years – and that's an achievement.

Think I'm over-egging things a bit?

Okay, but look at it this way – if you've just watched the latest season of Arrested Development or, this week, the final season of Breaking Bad (by the way Minister, they're two popular TV shows, not that we'd expect you to know that) you've been watching them on Netflix on your laptop.

Why would you pay the Government for that? What have they done to earn any of your money? Nothing at all. They didn't earn it and they don't deserve it.

Paying the State to watch something on your laptop is like paying the State every time you play a Beatles record – what bloody business is that of the Government? They didn't contribute to it, so why should they benefit?

I'll say this publicly to the Minister now and I am prepared to stand or fall on this one – I will burn the first summons that I receive for non-payment of the Broadcast Charge and I am prepared to go to jail on this issue.

A citizen has a duty to pay their fair share in taxation.

We also have a moral responsibility to stand up to when the State exceeds its authority and this is a classic example.

And the first witness I'd call in my defence?

Why, Minister Rabbitte, of course.

See you in court.

OF COURSE, THAT EXPLAINS IT

As the nation looks on at everyone involved in the Dundon murder trial with the contempt they deserve, there have been some interesting sidebar conversations on the back of the case.

And, inevitably, the usual worthies have been popping up and blaming 'poverty and social exclusion' for the rampant anarchy in parts of Dublin and Limerick.

Yes, because when you look at knuckle-draggers like Dundon, and his cronies – poverty and social exclusion immediately spring to mind. Nothing to do with their inherent laziness, greed and the inability to actually hold down a proper job, oh no.

It was the lack of opportunities and low self-esteem wot made them do it, guv'nor. Even the witness for the prosecution, April Collins, is a woman who has no problem with hooking up with a man convicted of gang rape, which says everything you need to know about her.

Jesus wept, will the liberal elites in this country ever learn?

WELL, THAT'S A NEW LOW

The latest case of hacking in America is quite unusual.

No national secrets this time, oh no.

Instead a couple in Houston were shocked to discover that their baby monitor had been hacked by a guy with "A British or European accent" which was delivering such nuggets as "Wake up Allison, you little slut" over the microphone.

Now, you can agree or disagree with the likes of Edward Snowden, but he can at least make some sort of claim that he was trying to do the right thing.

I must say, I'd pay good money to see the freak responsible come up with a justification for insulting a baby.

Rather wonderfully, the child has a cochlear implant and wasn't able to hear the insults.

Is this perhaps the worst and most laughably pathetic example of hacking of all time?

Answers on the proverbial . . .

HOW'S THAT FOR TIMING

A press release arrived in from KLM yesterday boasting that: "This week KLM is reducing fares to Lima, Peru from Dublin by up to 37pc on flights booked until midnight on 15th August 2013. Travellers from Ireland will be able to take advantage of this great offer for their chance to visit the bustling capital of Peru."

But be careful – they can be a bit fussy about your baggage allowance, apparently.

Irish Independent

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