Friday, 28 December 2012

Another stupid regulation.

About 30 years ago our old car was reaching the point of no return, but having more time than money to spare I decided to renovate it as a second car rather than replace it.

I bought another similar car, newer mechanically but structurally unsalvageable, and over the summer took both cars apart. I then rebuilt mine on its original body but using the newer and better gearbox, axle and brakes plus any other bits from the scrap one that were better than mine, plus inevitably some new parts. The spare engine went to a friend who was also rebuilding a similar car, other useful parts went into storage (and many have since been used) while the small quantity of final remains went to the scrap yard. Then I sent the log book to DVLA to tell them it was scrapped. Job done.

 I can’t do that now. The new log book, changed recently at considerable cost by DVLA on the pretext that some blanks were stolen, has no provision to declare a car scrapped. Only an Authorised Treatment Facility can scrap a car and notify DVLA.  Apparently this rule came in a year or more ago in a blaze of silence, and only now people are falling foul of it and receiving fixed penalties. Many are not even enthusiast home dismantlers but simply people who called a scrappy to take away an old vehicle and later discovered the scrappy wasn’t registered as an ATF and hadn’t properly declared it.

 It’s not actually illegal to dismantle a car for spares, but do so and its ghost will live on forever, with a requirement to SORN the ghost vehicle every year into the future or risk a penalty. It appears that this is the advice from DVLA to car enthusiasts!  It occurs to me that one could maybe send the last remaining part and VIN plate abroad and declare it exported, or report it as stolen, but whatever the ‘workaround’ it’s a mess. With no provision whatsoever for people carrying out a perfectly reasonable and socially acceptable hobby it makes the regulation an ass and forces people to break it.

 I realize not many people are affected by this, but classic car enthusiasts are, and buying and dismantling a donor car for spares is a very common way to get parts for a classic car – indeed I found out about the change because an acquaintance had just done exactly that, then got caught by the new rules.

 So in the great scheme of things it’s maybe unimportant, just another petty regulation that fails to consider who is affected, and which irritates and frustrates a small number of ordinary people for no good reason. 

 Another step away from our common law – where you can do anything that’s not banned – towards European law – where you can do only what is allowed.  Another small brick in the wall restricting our freedoms.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Back from Hibernation

I haven’t written anything for a few weeks. Partly the reason has been practical; after a period of having builders doing a series of jobs scattered around the homestead every free moment has been taken up with finishing off. All the time consuming stuff that I’m much too mean to pay someone else to do, like clearing up, finishing the woodwork, exterior fittings, decorating and the like. The other reason however has been the overwhelming stream of rubbish, nonsense, lies, ineptitude and dishonesty that has been assailing us from the media and political organisations, I don’t even know where to even start?

This isn’t the time of year to be miserable so I’ll just continue to watch the unfolding omnishambles for a few more days. I simply can’t make any sense of Cameron whatsoever. Even assuming the worst of the man and my having given up on party politics as a sham anyhow one would assume he wanted to win the next election. 

Yet he has done nothing but pick divisive and emotive issues, like gay marriage, alcohol pricing, web surveillance, and just this week web filtering. His MO seems to be to take a firm position that deliberately alienates traditional conservative voter support, then, having done maximum damage to himself and his party, he backs down and ‘U’ turns. That doesn’t win back those originally offended but also annoys and alienates all the people who supported his first position, thus everyone is unhappy with him. It’s as though he has a political death wish.

But for now, to anyone who finds themselves here. Have a good Christmas.