Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Like driving around topless

Well, have you decluttered the windscreen of your chariot? Have you removed the tax disc?

Removal was allowed from 1 October, as the taxation of vehicles no longer requires the display of that round bit of paper. If the police are curious about any vehicle, they simply consult the computer record at the DVLA. No longer will fresh-faced keen young bobbies on the beat peer at your windscreen, hoping to find an out-of-date or misdisplayed tax disc. Mind you, the last time I was ticked off by a fresh-faced keen young bobbie on the beat was in the early 1980s. They seem to have become an extinct species.

Anyway, were you, as I was, on the ball enough to peel that disc off the inside of the windscreen before breakfast on 1 October? I admit that I had been reminded by a remark made on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, but even so I immediately donned jacket and wellies, went out to Fiona, and did the deed. I don't mess around.

I have to say, Fiona looked odd without that round spot of colour in the bottom left corner of her windscreen. But at the same time, she now seemed even more sleek and elegant. Yes, a definite visual improvement. I wondered how many other people would care enough about the appearance of their car to remove their discs. I wondered how many people were alert enough to know that they could. I also wondered whether the police knew about this. Was I inviting attention from the boys in blue? (I know, they wear black)

Well, I drove from Great Torrington into Bideford, and then on to Appledore, without being stopped by the rozzers. I noticed also that, without exception, all other road users had failed to undisc. I was a lone cry in the wilderness.

Lesser women would have stuck their disc up again, so as not to be different. But the whole point about the female Melfords is that they are not lesser women. I defiantly and brazenly showed the world a naked windscreen. It felt like driving around topless.

Six days later and I have not yet noticed anyone else who has done what I have done. After tossing and turning at night, three rival hypotheses to explain this have occurred to me:
# People are confused or simply don't know. It hasn't sunk in yet.
# Some people do know, but think it prudent to keep displaying visual proof that they've paid their tax.
# An awful lot of people have heard the news, but have much better or more important things to do than remove a tax disc.

Personally I can't decide which hypothesis is most likely to be correct. An intolerable position to be in, I'm sure you will agree. But then, so much of life is intolerable. One just keeps calm and carries on.


  1. Our car tax ran out on the 30th September so once I'd managed to renew it online two days later after the load on the system had reduced enough to allow me to complete the process our tax disc came off the window.

    I've not noticed how many people have removed their tax discs from their windows, I suspect most people are going to leave them there until they expire even if they aren't needed. When we removed our I did suggest to the family that we should keep them as a memento of when we had to display them.

    The thing that annoys me though about the changes to the system is that they decided to stop the need to display the disc from the 1st October but then decided that the option to pay by direct debit comes in a month later, after a lot of people will have renewed their car tax.

  2. If this system really works the DVLA is soon going to be offering a "where did I park my car?" service since they are going to track our every move. The most interesting point which came up is that the police knew that the same number came up in different places because crooks have copied legally registered cars of similar appearance but had no intention of following up on the information!

    An increase in fuel tax would have made everyone pay and the heavy road users pay more for almost zero administrative cost. A bit too simple for the dim political minds.


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