Wednesday, 18 August 2010
You know that expression "My enemy's enemy is my friend". Today's Daily Express provides a perfect example of that in practice.
The paper carried the story of Haroon Zafaryab who found that his car had been clamped. Haroon, not wanting his car to be towed away by the clamping firm and fined over £300 got in his car and refused to move. The firm escalated the confrontation, sticking 40 fine notices on his car and clamping all four wheels of his vehicle, with the fine totalling an eye watering £3,865. But the plucky H refused to be moved and for 30 hrs he and a friend stayed in his car; until the company agreed to accept £100 as payment of the fine. The paper also carries a great photograph of Haroon celebrating his victory.
The Express is not known for its tolerance of Islam. A recent piece by one of its columnist is,I believe, typical of its attitude. I've nothing against the argument that building a mosque near "Ground Zero" is wrong, although personally don't agree with that view. However the Express's Leo McKinstry having made that point goes on to paint Islam and its followers in the most lurid of colours. Not content with blackening all of Islam by association with the 9/11 bombers, the infamous "one-eyed" radical Abu Hamza and the Harrow halal school meals saga, he goes on to say "the fact is Islam is an ideology that spells misery, oppression and misogyny wherever it gains power......."
The point about Haroon and his victory over the car clampers is that these companies are seen by the Express and its readers as an abomination. Anyone who gets one over on them is a hero.
I've a suspicion that the Express believes that it is an Englishman's right to park his car wherever he can. The fact that local authorities make it more and more difficult for the car parking public reinforces the belief that this is a right.
For some unfathomable reason car owners not only think that the roads are their own personal property but all the adjoining spaces are up for grabs. It is not surprising therefore that many owners of land such as private parking areas for residents and even supermarkets and hospitals try to discourage such promiscuous parking behaviour by enforcing parking bans.
What is, I'd hope you'll agree, a sensible response to the problem, unfortunately gets high-jacked . A number seek to take advantage of the car users insatiable need to park by dangling an enticing plot of land in front of him or her. The desperate car driver will snatch at the bait unaware of a notice 10 feet in the air and in 8 point lettering informing the car driving public that they risk being clamped and fined should they park on this private land.
It doesn't help that if you find yourself clamped a phone call to the clamping company summons up two or more muscle bound giants who wouldn't be out of place in a John Carpenter horror film. Usually their language and general manner does not encourage a rational dialogue and you have the suspicion that any attempt to point out the unfairness of the situation would not be met with much, if any, sympathy or understanding.
So it is hats off to Haroon Zafaryab. And good on the Daily Express for carrying the story even if, as I suspect, to do so was for them like chewing broken glass.