Monday, 3 August 2009

Captain Gatso and the Financial Times

This is my piece from the weekend's Financial Times....

Motorists Against Detection
Captain Gatso [a Gatso is a type of speed camera used in the UK] , campaigns director, is a “family man in my forties”

Motorists Against Detection, which oversees the Speedaholics website, encourages the destruction of speed cameras.

The Speedaholics website says “a campaign will be organised by direct action to take out speed cameras”.

How are you able to get away with it?
You don’t host your site in the UK and US. And it depends on the way you communicate: encrypted e-mail, mobiles – divert, divert, divert and in the end you bin the Sim card. The campaign became big quite rapidly. It’s not, as the authorities portray, just vandalism.

Isn’t it?
It patently isn’t. Speed cameras are not road safety devices, they’re a revenue stream. People are still dying.

Do you vandalise cameras yourself?
I don’t get my hands dirty. It’s carefully orchestrated, I use PR and I have a day-to-day relationship with a lot of Fleet Street.

Are there speed cameras you wouldn’t attack?
Anything in a built-up area we used to leave be. But the speed limit’s come down and, with all the tricks they play, we’ve pretty much said everything is up for grabs. Boy racers are clued up on speeding then braking. It’s older people who are most likely to get tickets, for speeding a few miles over the limit.

Why not just demonstrate or lobby your MP?
People are exasperated with lobbying. The socialist government is car hating, it doesn’t want you having mobility and freedom. It’s part of the encroaching surveillance society. You’ve got digital speed cameras that are noting down places where you’ve been, going on the nationwide police computer in Hendon.

What about accidents happening because you’ve destroyed a speed camera?
The accidents are going to happen anyway. Putting speed cameras in is like trying to swat a fly after it’s gone. There are pieces of bad engineering of roads and junctions that could be ironed out.

Is there an outlaw thrill in what you do?
Not really. OK, I use a silly name, because my real name wouldn’t bring anything to the table. Yet when you take this word “Gatso”, people’s ears prick up, they know the subject.

Do the police know who you are?
I hope not.

On another note:
I keep telling people that this database-driven Police state will end in tears.
And for the people affected by the debacle of 'Officials give 1,570 people criminal records by mistake over past 12 months' you have my sympathy.The idots responsible never take the blame. No-one gets fired but you've lost out on a job.That's life under Zanu Labour.

Captain Gatso
The Motorists Friend

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