As delivered at BBC Radio Bristol an hour ago. A surgeon has written to The Times complaining about the amount of parking tickets he has received when called to an emergency at a hospital he does not regularly work at:
No-one likes a Jobsworth. 'I'd let you off but it's more than me jobsworth.' We like people to show some flexibility. Especially when it's us that are involved. Think of these excuses:
'I only stopped on the yellow lines to get a paper. Jobsworth traffic warden gave me a parking ticket.'
Or, 'I only used my phone briefly to tell my husband I'd be late. Jobsworth train conductor asked me to leave the quiet carriage.'
So let's rewind. Once there was a busy road. If anyone parked on it in the rush hour it slowed everyone else down. But some selfish people still did. So yellow lines were painted.
If anyone parked on a yellow line they got fined. If caught. But some selfish people still risked the fine - only being a moment in the shop.
So a redress had to be found that would stop people taking the risk. Clamping and towing. That will stop the selfish motorist, thought the law-makers.
It didn't. And indiscriminate clamping meant that sometimes the innocent were caught up in the punishment.
I could now tell you that this is all very important and the Bible tells us all to behave ourselves. But the Bible knew nothing of cars and phones. In fact the Bible says we have freedom, God-given freedom, to act as we wish. Selfishly, if we want. It even says 'All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.'
Who was responsible for the doctor being delayed getting to a poorly child's bedside? We all were. Anyone who ever behaved in such a way that laws had to be framed to stop us. To say anything else would, frankly, be more than my jobsworth.