Most members of the public do not know that they are under no obligation to open the door nor allow entrance to their property to an inquiry agent. I recall a case where that unlucky door opening first person who appeared before me and my colleagues was a visiting American Harvard law graduate who now as a result has a criminal record in the UK. When my son went to university I advised him not to overlook requiring a license for his flat`s TV and never to open the door to an inquiry agent.
The BBC having spent over a £1,000,000 on outside lawyers notwithstanding their staff lawyers` wages argued inter alia that decriminalisation would cut their revenues by £300 million annually. And to indicate their humanity emphasised that were the offence to be decriminalised county courts cannot take offenders` means into consideration when finding for the plaintiff who in this case would be the BBC. In England in 2018 the majority of the few jailed not for neglecting to pay for a license but for wilful neglect or culpable refusal to pay the resulting fine were women who make up almost 70 per cent of those prosecuted. Indeed 30% of all criminal prosecutions against women in 2017 were for evasion of the TV licence.
But all that flag flying of the last five years or more has gone with the wind. Ministers have decided not to end the criminal prosecution of evaders and this at a time when the only companionship for many home ensconced children as well as adults is their television with its five basic channels plus those free to air. The recent government statement is available here.
The free marketeers on the extreme right who have championed Brexit and rally against lockdown seem to have lost this one. But so have the government by marching up the hill only to march down again behaving like a simpleton who agrees with the last argument fed to him. So poorer over 75s will still have exemption from the TV tax but not those 65-75 year olds of similar financial status. It is one thing for a government to listen to its citizens but it is another to vacillate over so many of the decisions that must be made. That leads to general calls for decisive action in a myriad of situations. It is but an early event in the sequence which leads to demands for strong action and inevitably to a strong man to provide leadership to take that strong action. And we can guess where that leads..........can`t we?