Friday, 9 March 2007

It’s easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than find a disabled parking space

Disabled people in my area all seem to drive big, expensive German cars and SUVs; or perhaps I should say that the big, expensive German cars and SUVs all seem to display disabled parking permits.

I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong impression. I live in an ex-council house on a nice, friendly council estate, but it is surrounded by very expensive real estate and a big shopping centre. Council parking fines are fiendishly expensive. Cars often have to queue for, oh, minutes to park at the shopping centre.

Disabled parking permits are not personalised or restricted to specific vehicles, so the people who drive the big, expensive German cars and SUVs – the wives of city brokers and bankers mostly, with a smattering of diamond traders and businesspeople – buy the permits from the poor disabled people on the council estate. The black market price is a difficult-to-resist £600.

A permit saves rich people from having to queue or walk more than 50 metres from the disabled parking places at the shopping centre. It also means they can park on a single yellow line without risking a fine.

Of course, a genuinely disabled driver hasn’t got a hope in hell of finding an empty disabled parking space.

I can handle the myriad examples of inhumanity that assault my senses every time I switch on the television, but the fact of rich people masquerading as disabled drivers in order to get a better parking spot is somehow profoundly depressing.

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