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It's a licence to do just asthey please.

The Echo recently featured an article by Steve Tucker, putting the spotlight on those who, for one reason or another, had not bought a television licence. For the record, I am now a television viewer who has had a television licence for the last two years.

Prior to that I did not have a television so did not buy licences. Over a period of the first eight or nine years at my present address, I suffered a degree of harassment from the enforcement authority.

It is true that only a very small minority of households in Britain do not contain a television, so the home-grown Gestapo enforcing the rules finds it hard to accept that such people may exist - people who are not trying to evade having a licence.

In the best tradition of the nasty Britain which this country has become, one recalls the authorities naming particular streets and the numbers of households shown without a licence, a few years back.

More seriously, getting away from the bully-boy tactics which abound in Blair's Britain, there may be other ways of collecting the television licence fee (from single parents living on meagre state benefits in some cases), 'Ve 'ave other ways', perhaps!

The low standards of so many BBC television programmes nowadays, especially on BBC1, could mean that the enforcement authorities should dress in sackcloth and ashes in penance for the organisation for which they are collecting money.

Michael O'Neill

Railway Terrace, Penarth
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 28, 2004
Words:243
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