Alan Dee: A fine way to tackle internet trolls
There’s no denying that the sort of chump whose brain is subsantially less sophisticated than their mobile phone or computer, and who can’t be trusted to use the benefits of modern technology like a grown-up, is causing increasing amounts of grief to all sorts of people and needs addressing.
And what do you know, I’ve come up with a cracker of a solution – and if those chumps in the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s office pull their fingers out, it could just be the saving of the economy as well.
So let’s take a quick dash through this bright idea before you sneer: That’ll never work.
But there’s been a lot of talk about how that’s not a sustainable system now that there are so many other channels, and so many more ways of receiving programmes.
So my idea starts with the simple suggestion that the TV licence should be extended into a communications licence, and without one you’re not allowed to use a mobile phone or the internet.
Just as today’s TV licence team track down dodgers by assuming that everyone should have one, it’s a pretty fair bet that every household in the country has a mobile phone or computer of some sort these days.
My communications licence would cover you for basic use – I’ll be generous here and say a couple of TVs, one computer and two mobile phones per household.
But everyone who has a stack more gadgets that they rely on in their car, while on the train, or just while walking down to the sandwich shop for a spot of lunch would be expected to declare the full range of their communication connection and pay an increased fee accordingly.
In fact, it shouldn’t be beyond the wit of tax man to come up with some sort of sliding scale that wouldn’t result in any extra payment for the sensible sorts who use their phone or computer for basic levels of communication, but would soak those who insist on being connected in one way or another 24 hours a day.
It might not cut down on the vast amounts of time some people waste staring at their screens, but it might help.
But once you have a licensing system in place, you can take that licence away – and ban miscreants from using the internet and similar channels if they break the rules of common courtesy.
Yes, you might say, but how do you do that? Access is so easy, you’d never be able to police it.
But if an electronic tag can enforce a court-ordered curfew, I dare say it can be modified to emit a scrambling signal which will mean the wearer just can’t get a connection wherever they are.
Simple – stacks more cash for the public purse and boneheads banned from the system. No knighthood is necessary, just paint my post box gold and I’ll be more than happy.