There are times where I really wonder about our legal system. Today is one of those days.
There’s this story on the BBC, about a driver who killed a cyclist while driving like an utter dickhead. He drove away from the crash – still driving like a dickhead, and nearly causing another crash as well – and sold the car (his girlfriend’s, so he wasn’t even legally able to sell it) that afternoon in order to try and avoid being caught/blamed/arrested.
That all failed, he was caught, and yesterday he plead guilty to a whole range of driving offences.
He pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and has been sentenced to six years in prison.
He also pleaded guilty to causing death by driving whilst disqualified, causing death while uninsured, dangerous driving and two counts of leaving petrol stations without paying for fuel.
He’s never passed a driving test – indeed, he says he’s never even taken a driving test.
He’s been jailed for six years, which means he’ll likely be out in three. But that’s not where I wonder about the legal system. This is…
Dellaway has also been banned from driving for six years and was told he would have to take an extended driving test before being allowed on the road.
Now, I’m sorry, but if someone has already shown that they’re quite willing to drive without passing a test, what on earth makes them think that a prison sentence is going to change him enough that he takes a driving test when he comes out, let alone an extended one?
Come to that, what on earth makes them think that being banned from driving will stop him from being back on the roads as soon as he’s out of prison?
As regular readers know, in August 2012 I was declared bankrupt. No fun, but well, I’m not going to rehash old ground on that score.
In February 2013, I opened a basic current account with Barclays, having explained my ongoing bankruptcy and telling them that as time went on, I would want/hope/expect to be able to rebuild my credit score etc. with Barclays. I was told that was no problem, that once the bankruptcy was discharged (which happened in August 2013, fact fans) I could start to rebuild, and could regularly check whether my account was suitable for an upgrade to a ‘proper’ (my word, not theirs) current account, with overdraft facility etc., and continue to rebuild my fiscal profile.
I’ve done that, and always been declined. Frustrating, but I kind-of understand why, with it being on the record, and the changing risk-profiles etc.
Three weeks ago – after three and a half years with Barclays, still on the basic account – I tried again, and was automatically declined, the classic “computer says no”, but decided to take it further. Spoke to a ‘lending manager’, who went through an appeal process and promised I’d be called back in the next 48 hours. Nothing for two weeks.
So last week, I went in again, having made an appointment to see the manager. I ended up dealing with an assistant manager at the branch, and he let slip that Barclays have a “six years from discharge” rule, so that I have no chance of a ‘proper’ current account until 2019. I will automatically be declined until that time – something that no-one at Barclays has mentioned at any time until last week. Even that ‘lending manager’ didn’t mention it, let alone the people I’ve seen before each time I’ve done this process.
I think it’s pretty shocking (and pretty cuntish – so absolutely standard for Barclays) to have a policy in place that makes no recognition of a customer’s good standing, lack of debt etc. for seven years (one year of the bankruptcy, and six after discharge) before even being considered.
It’s worth noting that I’m not actually looking for any credit – I’d like to be *able* to have an overdraft, but I don’t actually want one (if that makes sense) I’ve offered several solutions, including monthly or quarterly account reviews where I go into branch, and would be happy to do this. But Barclays simply say “Nope. Not happening”
I wouldn’t mind as much if Barclays had been honest at any point, and said “You can have a basic account, but no chance of anything else“. I’d be OK with that. I wouldn’t necessarily have gone with them, but I’d have understood their process. Instead, it’s been three-and-a-half years of being lied to, of making pointless appointments to go in and see if the account is ready to be upgraded, and now feels more like they’re just doing it to take the piss and have a laugh at my expense.
I’ve complained formally to Barclays, which should be entertaining. (I was promised a callback for last Tuesday which still hasn’t happened, so I’m not holding out any expectations of professionalism or competence from them) I’m waiting to see what happens with that, but I expect there to be no resolution, at which point it’ll go further and end up with the Financial Ombudsman. Again, entertaining.
But I’m also taking it up with a few other places – including consumer-rights places, and Advertising Standards, as Barclays keep on bleating on about how they’re so great, so fair, so “future of banking”. When really, it turns out that (unsurprisingly) they’re just lying cunts who couldn’t give a rat’s fuck about people.
In the car I hired last weekend, it had a load of built-in tech – Ford’s Sync system – that was quite interesting, not least for the fact that it worked really nicely and easily. Connecting my phone to the car was a doddle, the satnav worked well (and better than my usual stand-alone device in several ways) and it all just seemed pretty easy.
However. It’s obvious that it was designed for a standard “family car” scenario, rather than a vehicle that would be hired to many different users. Which makes sense, but leads to an interesting longer-term problem…
Basically, people are lazy – and don’t think about their data. So the convenience of connecting one’s phone to the car system for hands-free calls etc is great, as is the simple download of the phone’s address book to the system. But if you then don’t delete it when you take the car back to the hire place, it’s all available to the next user. The same applies to the satnav system – ‘recent destinations’ is a goldmine of activity, right down to house number and location. (And I suspect, with a bit of work, one could connect the destination to a phone number in that downloaded phonebook)
It just interests me, how little people care (or understand) about their information. I cleared down the whole car system before I returned it, which took less than five minutes all told. So it’s not much work, but it’s still work, which most people don’t seem willing to undertake.
I’ve suggested to the hire company that it should perhaps be part of the car sanitising process when it’s returned (or before it’s hired back out, whichever) although I realise that makes it more hassle for them, and there’s a lot of different setups in the various cars.
Of course, it’d be better if people cleaned up after themselves – or the car tech had a “forget everything” button/process (although that would still be too much effort for most people) that did the job. But that won’t happen until people realise how important this shit can be, and sadly that tends to only happen by negative paths/occurrences/events, and will always be learned too late.
You know, I for one am getting really tired of the government phrases “It’s for your safety” and “it’s for your security”, which are getting bandied around more and more.
This week it’s been used about blocking flights to and from Sharm El-Sheikh because of an alleged – but unproven – bomb in the hold of the plane that crashed in the Sinai desert last week. It’s also been used in discussions about monitoring everyone’s internet traffic and holding those records for at least a year, and in revelations about MI5 monitoring every domestic phone-call in the UK for the last ten years.
Governments like people to be scared – and more and more, we seem to be happy to let the government take these measures ‘because it makes us safer’. It doesn’t, it just gives up more information to the government – and all in the name of ‘safety’.
Basically, it’s shit.
[I know, I need to think more about this and write more. But it’s a phrase that bugs me every time it’s used]
In the news today, there’s a lot going on about the person who’s managed to get her mother’s will overturned, and thus inherit a third of the money from it, despite the mother’s written explanation of why she didn’t want her daughter to get anything.
Personally, I find this kind of thing deeply unpleasant – not least for the greed it shows, and the all-round contempt for final wishes in this case. I think if a will has been made out with certain intent and intentions, that’s what should happen.
As it is, in this case the person is going to use the proceeds (although what’ll be left after legal costs is another question) to purchase their house from the local authority, which appears to have ‘always been what was intended’.
And – again, personally – that’s what drives me crackers, that expectation of (and reliance on) inheriting money, and even making plans for the money that will come when parents die. I’ve known a few people of similar mindsets over the years, and it always leaves me cold, that whole “Well, when they’ve died we’ll be able to [x]” attitude. It’s just unpleasant.
I know parents die – it’s a logical assumption that they will do so. But counting down the days ’til it happens, effectively looking forward to them dying, that’s just wrong. (Again, and as always, in my opinion)
As and when my folks go, I would hope that their will says “We’ve spent the lot, and anything else can go to the cats home”. I’d be fine with that – and you can be damn sure I wouldn’t be fighting through the courts because it was “unfair”.
Grrrr, People. They really do piss me off sometimes.
Apparently, a lot of American states are having serious problems with their methods when it comes to the death penalty. Lethal Injection in particular (used by the majority of the states that have a sentence of death) is facing problems, because the manufacturers of the drugs that are used are trying to block their use.
As a result, several of those states are using what are known as “compounding pharmacies” – effectively, places that can make small quantities of required drugs on-demand, a sort of grey-market DIY area instead of buying the necessary drugs/items from the manufacturers. This process is being done in secret, so no-one really knows what’s being used.
It amused me (I’m in that kind of mood) to see this quote though :
“There is no way to verify that what comes from a compounding pharmacy is what it purports to be, and that it is safe and effective.”
Sorry, but these drugs are being used to kill people. While I get that ‘effective’ is important, I’m less certain that ‘safe’ should be a concern.
Mind you, what I don’t understand is why they don’t just use significant quantities of seized illegal drugs. After all, a massive overdose of heroin (for example) or crystal meth is going to be just as effective when it comes to killing people…