Oh yes, most fun

A driver abandoned his car on a motorway thinking it was about to burst into flames, only to realise that the word “Fire” that had appeared on his dashboard referred to an Adele song on the stereo.

The man was listening to the song Set Fire to the Rain when he stopped abruptly, the Highways Agency said. It was one of many odd reasons motorists gave for stopping illegally on motorways.


These people
have the vote you know.

On another occasion, traffic officers found two cars on the hard shoulder, with the owners halfway through the selling and buying process for one of the cars.

No, really, they get to influence the laws that you and I live under.

27 comments on “Oh yes, most fun

  1. The ‘Fire’ story is an interesting extension of our growing devolution of sense to computers

    see also

    Polish truckers who drive their lorries into rivers because the SatNav tells them to, headteachers who won’t let very sick kids have a week off school because the form says no etc etc

    I was the first person I know, though I’m sure not the first eprson, to suggest that Idiocracy was a work of great prophesy, not a comedy. Truly, that’s where we are heading, with a hint of revolutionary murder lobbed in.

  2. “No, really, they get to influence the laws that you and I live under.”

    “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Winston Churchill

  3. “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Winston Churchill

    Undoubtedly this is true. Many of them are very thick indeed, as individuals.

    Against that is however the theory of the “wisdom of crowds”?

  4. The only decent case I’ve heard for the universal franchise is that at least it avoids endless agitation for the universal franchise.

  5. No representation without taxation – that would solve everything overnight, or near enough.

  6. @BraveFart – The Wisdom Of Crowds is a fashionable piece of management guff, which I have been known to respond to in the past by pulling out a copy of Charles Mackay’s “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”

  7. Idiots aside, can’t help but wonder how much 2062 vehicles illegally stopped on Brit motorways is a reflection on the almost total absence of service areas on same. Or maybe the aires de service every dozen klics of French autoroutes has me spoilt.

  8. He should in future be banned from listening to Jackson Browne, in case the song “Running on Empty” comes on, which would, of course, entail another visit to the hard shoulder…

  9. Interested,

    “I was the first person I know, though I’m sure not the first person, to suggest that Idiocracy was a work of great prophesy, not a comedy. Truly, that’s where we are heading, with a hint of revolutionary murder lobbed in.”

    The problem with Idiocracy is that people acting like idiots doesn’t mean they’re the successful breeders. People who go rock climbing without a rope, or around the world solo in a yacht have genes that are more likely to end up extinct than someone who goes for a walk in the countryside. Seriously, we invented jumbos so you don’t have to spend days in a yacht drinking your own piss.

  10. “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Winston Churchill

    “Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Winston Churchill

  11. He was right the first time, and “No representation without taxation” still counts as democracy.

  12. On the democracy thing:
    Given that idiots have votes, why are high turnouts in elections always regarded as a good thing? You’d imagine those actually concerned enough about the issues to go to the trouble of voting would produce better democracy.
    Or do politicians believe the “idiot vote” is a key advantage to the system?

  13. I have to confess a certain degree of sympathy. Last time I rented a proper car (BMW 5 for the interested) it took me what felt like 10 minutes to find the right combination of brake pedal, automatic gear selector position, correct right-lock torque on the steering wheel, occult sign made with free hand, bars from land of hope and glory to whistle and alignment of Jupiter with Orion just to start the bloody engine.

  14. “No representation without taxation”

    Ah yes, but which taxation? I’m a pensioner but my paltry personal pension is taxed. Not enough to service my state pension, (which was more than payed for by tax and NI and the rest before I retired even though the bastard politicians pissed it up against the wall), but enough to piss me off. Can I vote?

    When I buy a bar of chocolate I pay VAT. Or when I get the plumbers in, part of the fee I pay them goes to pay their income tax, (theoreticaly), and the tax of all the admin staff as well as VAT on the parts. Then there’s the tax paid by the civil servants who so admirably regulate said plumbers to ensure they’re well drilled in elf”n’safety innit and such. That all comes out of the money the customers pay to any business which pays tax and NI for the staff, tax on profits and all the other ways the government finds to steal money from us all.

    So we all pay tax one way or the other so who gets the vote?

    (How’s about landowners? Or householders? Or Barons? Certainly not Baronesses. Have you seen some of the Baronessses mad Tone created when he was King.)

  15. “No representation without taxation”

    I’m sure Tim’s repeatedly made the point that the value of an enterprise is not the taxes it pays. That applies equally to people.

  16. bnis,

    “Given that idiots have votes, why are high turnouts in elections always regarded as a good thing?”

    I’ve never understood why anyone cared that much. It’s a right, it’s free. No-one’s stopping anyone. If people don’t want to take their free right, that’s their choice.

    And the good thing is that the idiots think they’re “sending a message” by not voting.

  17. With hindsight, I would say that the GE’s during my adult life were as they should have been, and quite a pat on the back for the electorate, regardless of my own thoughts at the time.

    Lab, 1992: “Hang on, you’re all what? Grow up and come back later”.
    Con, 1997: “F Off, you’re disgusting”.
    Lab, 2005: “Carry on until we can find someone we like. And wipe that smirk off your face”.
    All, 2010: “None of you, just none. But especially not that mental chap”.

  18. @TS ‘The problem with Idiocracy is that people acting like idiots doesn’t mean they’re the successful breeders. People who go rock climbing without a rope, or around the world solo in a yacht have genes that are more likely to end up extinct than someone who goes for a walk in the countryside. Seriously, we invented jumbos so you don’t have to spend days in a yacht drinking your own piss.’

    Absolutely. The question is whether there is a tipping point at which the mouth breathers go critical. Or not whether there is one, but where it is.

    Myself, I’d say we’re quite close to it.

    The growing propensity of people who don’t even attend our terrible schools to have multiple children and subsist on welfare mitigates somewhat against us developing too many shiny new forms of air travel in the next given number of years.

    I’m not sure of the timescale, but Idiocracy was set three hundred years hence; that might be on the optimistic side.

    By the way, IMO people who sail round the world solo in yachts are not idiots – they’re testing the boundaries of human performance in ways that end up helping other people.

    Shazney, mother of six, and LaDuayne, father of he’s not sure how many, not so much.

  19. @Kevin B

    ‘Ah yes, but which taxation? I’m a pensioner but my paltry personal pension is taxed. Not enough to service my state pension, (which was more than payed for by tax and NI and the rest before I retired even though the bastard politicians pissed it up against the wall), but enough to piss me off. Can I vote?’

    I’d be happy to go with income tax and property taxpayers, including those who paid in and then retired.

    The beauty being, if we limited it to that class of people there would be no VAT etc because the govt would be about a third the size it is.

  20. @Dave

    ‘I’m sure Tim’s repeatedly made the point that the value of an enterprise is not the taxes it pays. That applies equally to people.’

    Tim may have repeatedly made any number of points, but he’s not Jesus and I’m not a disciple.

    That said, your point makes no sense. The value of people would not be not measured in the tax they paid – their ability to dictate how other people’s money was spent would be limited, is all.

    If you don’t want to pay tax, bully for you, but you don’t get a say.

    If you want a say, roll up your sleeves, get a fucking job and start contributing. It’s simple enough.

  21. The point about idiocracy is that it is easier than ever for the mouth-breathers to out-breed the intelligent because we have built a world with so many safety nets and active support systems for them.

    That and the opportunity cost to childrearing is immense for a double-PhD couple who have more edifying things to do than change nappies, but often positive for those at the bottom of the social scale (nothing better to do with their time and bennies from the taxpayer that exceed sprog running costs).

    Of course, not that long ago that double-PhD couple would have sprogged and paid mouthbreathers to do the dirty childrearing jobs, but now we pay the mouthbreathers to do nothing all day. Just an observation, not position-taking.

  22. BiG/Interested,

    “That and the opportunity cost to childrearing is immense for a double-PhD couple who have more edifying things to do than change nappies, but often positive for those at the bottom of the social scale (nothing better to do with their time and bennies from the taxpayer that exceed sprog running costs).”

    But who says that the people on benefits with 6 kids aren’t genetically superior? Seems to me that they’re a lot smarter than poor people who bother going to work all day for minimum wage when they’d be hardly worse off living on benefits.

    Of course, this wouldn’t be sustainable in a large population any more than a wood full of cuckoos would be.

  23. Interested>

    “If you want a say, roll up your sleeves, get a fucking job and start contributing. ”

    That’s Tim’s point about companies: they don’t only contribute by paying taxes. Nor do people.

    In any case, since your argument can be (partially) rephrased as that you wish to disenfranchise those too disabled to work (except those with private wealth), it really is a complete non-starter politically.

    Oh, and on the subject of ‘breeding’, this is basically eugenics. The reason it was a popular theory is that it indeed sounds good, the reason it’s now shied away from in horror is that in fact genetics do not dictate intelligence in any manner we can predict, if at all.

    Really what you lot mean to complain about is cultural, not genetic. It is, I suppose, the reason for things like the rules on school attendance mentioned in another post because they’ve been applied over-officiously.

  24. @TS

    I was kidding a bit. I’m not seriously saying Idiocracy is an exact blueprint for the future, but with increased automation etc it will be easier to bring about than it would have been in 1800.

    re clever dole-ies, I know not everyone will agree with this, by a long chalk, but IMO people who lie around all day waiting for others to feed them are morally deficient.

    In my limited experience, they are also stupider on average than those who work, maybe evidenced by the ability of the workers to see the potential to move on in life via work.

    @Dave ‘In any case, since your argument can be (partially) rephrased as that you wish to disenfranchise those too disabled to work (except those with private wealth), it really is a complete non-starter politically.’

    TBF, I would probably allow an exemption for the genuinely disabled.

    The weaker plank of my ‘argument’ is that there would be nothing stopping the new enfranchised class from voting in VAT and reducing income tax. But that would be another incentive to get a fucking job, I suppose.

    ‘Oh, and on the subject of ‘breeding’, this is basically eugenics. The reason it was a popular theory is that it indeed sounds good, the reason it’s now shied away from in horror is that in fact genetics do not dictate intelligence in any manner we can predict, if at all.’

    Of course intelligence has a significant genetic compone t- see twin studies.

    You sound a bit like those people who complain that IQ tests are rigged in favour of white people. Well, maybe. But they’re also a pretty good (though obviously not perfect) predictor of who will be good at inventing stuff, curing diseases, living in a civilised manner, that sort of thing.

    ‘Really what you lot mean to complain about is cultural, not genetic.’

    You might be right. I see nothing wrong with incentivising a superior culture.

  25. ” have genes that are more likely to end up extinct than someone who goes for a walk in the countryside”
    David Kelly might disagree with that!

  26. @Stigler,

    Yes, the mouth-breathers are absolutely genetically more fit in the current environment. As are those making babies for Allah.

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