Tuesday, June 27, 2006

On Not Paying Council Tax

So, an old woman has been sent to jail in Derbyshire for not paying her council tax. Apparently she is unhappy at the state of her neighbourhood, in particular moaning about anti-social behaviour. Forgive me for having no sympathy with her.

Much of the sympathy seems to emanate from the fact that she is a pensioner. Her age, however, does not excuse choosing to opt out of the social contract that is vital for the maintenance of the services she feels are being carried out badly. Whether she feels the services are being carried out adequately or not, she still derives the common benefit from the services provided, and should make her contribution towards the provision. Does she really think that by starving the services of her money that she will make them better?

If you do not like the provisions offered by a democratically elected council, then there are other - legal - courses of action available to you. You can vote for a different party; if none of them offer the alternative, you can form your own and run for council yourself. If you can't get enough votes, then evidently the community as a whole doesn't share your views; if you don't want to run, either you admit other people are better equipped for the task at hand, or it is not sufficient of a priority of yours to sort it out.

But the Derbyshire pensioner evidently believes in a council, and believes it should be provided certain services. If that's the case, then she must abide by the rules. And if she wants to change things, she should operate within the system, not without.