Tag Archives: TV tax

To the last I grapple with thee

Ars Technica has been fed yet more patronising prolefeed by the godawful Ministry of Truth:

“We know the vast majority of people are law abiding and would anticipate those who need a licence for the first time will buy one. We have a range of enforcement techniques which we will use and these have already allowed us to prosecute people who watch on a range of devices, not just TVs.”

And I have sent an e-mail:


The BBC have fed to the media yet another scare story about detecting online TV viewing.


Last week’s one, which I can’t be bothered to look for now, involved a mysterious green-anodised cylindrical thing about a foot long which allegedly can detect anything at all, at any range, by a secret method; doubtless from that same company that makes the bomb detectors so popular in Iraq.

Even though they now say they will require a login for the iPlayer, the absence of any application for which might be seen as evidence for the defence, I imagine that their login system will be hacked to cruft within eight seconds of going online; maybe seven.

Accordingly they will still have to act as they always have in assuming that every address – and increasingly, owing to continuous regulatory changes, every individual TV-capable device – must have a licence.

When they come here I would like if possible to have them brush me aside and enter the premises by force to search for equipment or software, naturally with admissible but covert recording equipment running at the time, for the greater glory of YouTube and my lawyer’s convenience.

Icing on this cake (“…and mix it up with Poison / ‘Til it turns a tempting green…”) would be a formal statement from you as my computer consultant (letterhead, invoice, etc.) to the effect that you have visited my premises on [date] and have inspected [number of] computers identified [thus] and confirmed that no BBC software of any kind is present on any of them.

My brief will of course present this (and that) in court as evidence that I am so intimidated by BBC terrorism that I feel obliged to pay money to a consultant to ensure that the BBC do not stealthily implant their wholly unwanted software into my computers in order to entrap me for gain.

In a civilised country (Trinidad? Vietnam? Burkina-Faso?) I might even be able to sue.

If as is remotely possible the BBC’s old school chums at GCHQ, having read all this, proceed to tip them the wink, then of course they won’t come, vindicating everything we said during the Cold War about ‘the maintenance of a credible deterrent posture’.

However if they are not warned (if, for example, GCHQ are also tired of the threatening letters) they may yet walk into my parlour, against which possibility I currently prepare.

The Ars article suggests that nothing will happen before 2017, though of course this could be just another helping of prolefeed from Minitrue.

Would you at your convenience oblige me with a quote?


Regrettably I have to say that on sober reflection I think that the algorithm which is cleverer than all the people at TV Licensing put together has probably already concluded, quite rightly, that my TV tax might just cost them more than £145.50 to collect.

Perhaps instead I ought to stage a spectacular event which captures the whole world’s attention, something like the Glastonbury Festival or the trial of Hillary Clinton, so that I can deny the BBC not just special media access but also any kind of ticket at all, obliging them to stand around in the rain outside waiting for some drunken vox pop to lurch into shot and give them something to broadcast.

Come, come, come, court lady; doomed like a moth, through palace rooms shady…

[Dame Edith Sitwell: Black Mrs. Behemoth, from Façade]

Back to the bloody awful BBC. It emerges that the greedy parasites now want licence fees from all those people who watch telly on their electronic tag ‘connected device’. This doesn’t surprise me even slightly.

The Guardian says that

There has been extensive and wild speculation about how the BBC intends to enforce the new rules

Darn tootin’ there has, with all kinds of speculation about internet surveillance and other underhand goings-on.

But then it says

The BBC has long had powers to carry out targeted surveillance on those it thinks are dodging the licence fee under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which is used by other organisations including the police. That means it’s far more likely to be someone with a set of binoculars peering in your window to catch you watching iPlayer (which is authorised through Ripa) than some high-tech solution for tapping into your internet connection (which isn’t authorised by anything).

Now who says there ain’t no Santa Claus?

There has been no television here for over a decade, and a computer fixer regularly checks that the BBC iPlayer has not ‘accidentally’ installed itself on any of the computers. There is nothing to ‘detect’. Nobody watches the BBC here, because the BBC is infantile, patronising crap, and you get much better news from the bloody Russians.

However, all this ‘detection’ was only ever bullshit. They simply assume that everyone’s watching their tacky prolefeed, and that any address without a licence necessarily contains an ‘evader’.

This one doesn’t. It contains one of their worst enemies, who has spent much of the weekend taking steps to address security matters. You know, those things we don’t discuss in Parliament.

Previously I have received threatening letters from TV Licensing, and have done them the kindness of calling them, and having the same little ritual conversation:

“There is no licence at this address because I do not watch television, and do not in fact have any equipment capable of receiving it.”

“We will send someone to search your house for equipment.”

“They will not be admitted without a search-warrant. In any case, possession of equipment is not legally controlled, as you already know.”


“We will send someone anyway.”

“Do as you wish.”

They did send someone round, once. I was out. Now, of course, they will try to say (as they have for some time) that the mere possession of anything capable of displaying a TV picture (this includes £19.95 wristwatches nowadays) requires a licence; this is still a lie, and I am tired of their lies (which is why I won’t watch their news). In future I will not respond in any way to their stimuli.

So now when they try sending goons to the door I’ll have some cameras and mikes set up (having been in the trade always helps) to stream their ‘orrible likenesses straight to a server outside Five Eyes jurisdiction (Russia, maybe; that would nark ’em).

Having also briefly been an actor (“Most people have heard of me…”), and having studied a bit of field-expedient psychology, and being now a pathetic specimen of a medical wreck, it will be my earnest endeavour to tease and bait their gormless thugs into brushing me aside and forcibly entering the house with a view to searching it for computers.

At which point my lawyer makes her entrance, and someone has to book a court. And invite the proper news services, from decent countries.

Then again, according to the newspaper they might send someone to try watching through the windows. There are already two TV simulators running (from LidL; damn good), to deter burglars, so they might well work as bait. The window blinds actually work and so there is no chance of confirming that these are not a real TV without trying to analyse the light output.

Of course in order to observe the back of the house they’d have to enter either my garden or one of my neighbours’, and at that point the real fun would start. My father used to keep things in his garden shed which had been banned by the United Nations; that was then and this is now, but, like Gunnery Sgt. Hartmann says, “It is the hard heart that kills.”

They could, of course, run to the police and a magistrate for a search-warrant. But will the police take away all my computers, further to overload their already desperate computer forensics department? Will they, in fact, be able to find them all? There are dozens, some no bigger than matchboxes. Will the already strained police budget and patience extend to acting as borrowed muscle for shaven-headed, tattooed, bomber-jacket-wearing Capita/TVL enforcers? I think perhaps not.

So I defy the BBC and the entire hierarchy of tyranny which it represents. Bring it. Bring it all. You’ll be very disappointed, and if you are found here tonight – you will be found here tomorrow.