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Tony Grist

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Nazis, Wind Storms, Traffic Wardens [Nov. 20th, 2009|10:20 am]
Tony Grist

The Times just published a list of the 100 best books of the Noughties. I find I'm familiar with about six of them. One or two others are sitting on my shelves waiting for me to overcome my reluctance and take them down. The book I'm reading at the moment- Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones- get's in at #67. Whoever wrote the notes calls Maximiliam Aue- Littell's narrator- "incredibly nasty"- which rather misses the point. If Aue were just another evil nazi and not- as he actually is- charming, thoughtful and morally plausible the book wouldn't be nearly as disturbing.

We were at the edge of last night's great storm. A little to the north of us they had heavy rain and flooding. Ailz says she'd like to have all the chimneys taken out, but I rather like to hear the wind whimpering in the flue.

I was watching a documentary about traffic wardens in the City of Westminster yesterday evening; it showed a very bad side of human nature. If wardens were there to assist the public and enforce the law it would be one thing, but they're not; they're there to make money for the private company that's running the show. As one of the wardens complained- more in sorrow than in anger- the system lacks "spirituality". The wardens- under pressure to issue lots of tickets- turn mean and sneaky, which makes their victims angry- which makes the world an uglier place- and all to make a small number of rich folk even richer.


[User Picture]From: daisytells
2009-11-20 02:14 pm (UTC)
Do I understand this to mean that parking tickets are issued by private companies in the UK?
There was a move here during the Bush years to privatize a lot of public services such as prisons, police, etc. It failed. I believe some things ought never to be let out to private businesses, and many things that are now in the private domain ought to be federalized (such as health care).
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-11-20 02:53 pm (UTC)
That's right- a lot of public services have been privatized in the UK- including prisons.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2009-11-20 10:11 pm (UTC)
A lot of US prisons are privatized--it depends on the state.
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