Barring a miracle of the ballot boxes, it looks like Fine Gael are going to be our masters for the next few years. So I guess some people will have to actually drag their eyes through the bloody manifesto and see what may be in store. Friend and fellow cartoonist Allan Cavanagh alerted me to this gem:
TV Licence: We will change the TV Licence into a household-based Public Broadcasting Charge applied to all households and applicable businesses regardless of the device they use to access content.
Do they really mean to charge all households for RTÉ¹, whether they watch TV or not? That would be a new general tax, just one that’s collected through its own separate – and therefore ridiculously wasteful – system. Further, it forces me to pay for something I don’t want. I do not own a TV, and one of the reasons for this is that I don’t think what RTÉ broadcasts is worth paying for. If you saw it, you wouldn’t too.
But perhaps they mean you will be charged if you have any device in your home capable of viewing RTÉ ‘content’. (Do you get nervous whenever anyone uses that word?) They’re hardly going to come round and check what sort of phone you have, so unless they go the unthinkable² route of tracking all internet activity to make sure no one secretly watches television, the logical and simple way to do this will be to charge a tax on every broadband connection or data tariff.
So in the guise of a TV licence, they introduce a tax on freedom of information and of expression. No way, Fine Gael.
- RTÉ is the publicly owned broadcasting service, funded in part by a television license fee in a similar fashion to the BBC. In a highly dissimilar fashion, it also has commercials.
- Please God they do realise this is unthinkable, don’t they?