France's yellow vests have something to say about those Orwellian speed cameras

Lucky France.  The yellow vest protests are showing no signs of letting up.  In fact, France is revving up for a new round from les gilets jaunes, so it's going to get ugly once again.

Ahead of that, the tax-protesting revolutionaries, who lit the bonfire last November over the French government's scheme to raise fuel taxes in the name of "going green," have not only forced the unpopular government of President Emmanuel Macron to delay its much loathed fuel tax, but taken the battle to a related quality-of-life front that hurts them a lot: speed cameras.  Those Orwellian devices that are everywhere in France, monitoring how fast people drive and issuing automated tickets for even the slightest over-the-limit infraction.

The yellow vests have trashed more than half of the detested devices.  Newsweek reports the figure at 60%:

The "gilets jaunes" (yellow vest) [sic – the term as written here means "yellow vests" –DJB] protest movement that brought parts of France to a standstill has also resulted in the destruction of almost two-thirds of the country's speed-camera network.

...and...

Christophe Castaner, France's interior minister, said Thursday: "Nearly 60 percent of speed cameras have been degraded since the start of the Yellow Vest movement.

This comes as a delight to anyone who has lived in Los Angeles and known the joy of opening up one of those red-light camera notices for not getting across a left turn light soon enough, accompanied by a $500 fine.  In Los Angeles, a lot of those got damaged, too, before voters threw that garbage out back in 2011.

The French, with a political class that couldn't care less about them, don't have that option, so they're trashing the things, and for good reason.

First, the French traffic fines are ubiquitous, and the government has set the stage for this by ramping them up.  The fines are very high: $70 just for going as little as a single kilometer over the speed limit on a first offense, and as the tourist boards show, oh, yes, they do issue them – and hunt you into the grave to get them.  They even fine people for having red light camera-detectors – $32,000, two years' jail, and three years' license suspension.  They've also reduced the speed limit, even in rural areas, where higher speeds are a necessity, to one size fits all for geographically diverse, "246 kinds of cheese" France, all in the name of "safety," or as the Brits would say, "your own good."

Is it all really for "safety," as the French elites are telling the press?

Quartz reports that they're looking to shake out $1.4 billion this year from the speeders, according to their budget, which is a 50% rise over 2016 and a 12% rise over last year.  They've also got a budget crisis based on overspending that is enough to worry the profligate European Union, according to NBC News.  Here is what Quartz reported just weeks before the gilets jaunes began their protest:

This has been a bad year for French drivers.  Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, announced a ban on diesel cars registered between 2001 and 2005, which represents about 6.4 million vehicles in France, as well as traffic restrictions to combat pollution.  And the government of president Emmanuel Macron passed a controversial law reducing the speed limit on undivided rural roads from 90 kilometers per hour to 80 kph (about 50 miles per hour).

Officials say this measure will save lives.  It will also raise a lot of money: Budget estimates (pdf) for 2019 show that the government expects to make €1.2 billion ($1.4 billion) from speed-radar fines, an increase of 12% from 2018's estimate – and an almost 50% increase from 2016, according to French financial newspaper Les Echos (link in French).

Obviously, they're using taxes and fines on transport matters – from speeding to tickets to fuel taxes – to cut into the freedom of the "little people" and keep their big overspending government budget, keeping the government big, keeping the government powerful, keeping the government comfortable, all while making the little people feel like sinners.  They're relying on fines to do it, lots and lots of fines – same tactic that made Ferguson, Missouri's lawmen so popular among the locals.  Funny how this becomes the preferred tactic for budgetary continence in totally blue regions.  Now France has approximately the same response Ferguson had when a single incident set off a conflagration. 

Smart governance, what?  The yellow vests are revving up again, and everyone's got one he can put on.  They've got fines, after all, for not having a yellow vest in one's car - about $155 in U.S. dollar terms.

France's elites deserve this.

Lucky France.  The yellow vest protests are showing no signs of letting up.  In fact, France is revving up for a new round from les gilets jaunes, so it's going to get ugly once again.

Ahead of that, the tax-protesting revolutionaries, who lit the bonfire last November over the French government's scheme to raise fuel taxes in the name of "going green," have not only forced the unpopular government of President Emmanuel Macron to delay its much loathed fuel tax, but taken the battle to a related quality-of-life front that hurts them a lot: speed cameras.  Those Orwellian devices that are everywhere in France, monitoring how fast people drive and issuing automated tickets for even the slightest over-the-limit infraction.

The yellow vests have trashed more than half of the detested devices.  Newsweek reports the figure at 60%:

The "gilets jaunes" (yellow vest) [sic – the term as written here means "yellow vests" –DJB] protest movement that brought parts of France to a standstill has also resulted in the destruction of almost two-thirds of the country's speed-camera network.

...and...

Christophe Castaner, France's interior minister, said Thursday: "Nearly 60 percent of speed cameras have been degraded since the start of the Yellow Vest movement.

This comes as a delight to anyone who has lived in Los Angeles and known the joy of opening up one of those red-light camera notices for not getting across a left turn light soon enough, accompanied by a $500 fine.  In Los Angeles, a lot of those got damaged, too, before voters threw that garbage out back in 2011.

The French, with a political class that couldn't care less about them, don't have that option, so they're trashing the things, and for good reason.

First, the French traffic fines are ubiquitous, and the government has set the stage for this by ramping them up.  The fines are very high: $70 just for going as little as a single kilometer over the speed limit on a first offense, and as the tourist boards show, oh, yes, they do issue them – and hunt you into the grave to get them.  They even fine people for having red light camera-detectors – $32,000, two years' jail, and three years' license suspension.  They've also reduced the speed limit, even in rural areas, where higher speeds are a necessity, to one size fits all for geographically diverse, "246 kinds of cheese" France, all in the name of "safety," or as the Brits would say, "your own good."

Is it all really for "safety," as the French elites are telling the press?

Quartz reports that they're looking to shake out $1.4 billion this year from the speeders, according to their budget, which is a 50% rise over 2016 and a 12% rise over last year.  They've also got a budget crisis based on overspending that is enough to worry the profligate European Union, according to NBC News.  Here is what Quartz reported just weeks before the gilets jaunes began their protest:

This has been a bad year for French drivers.  Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, announced a ban on diesel cars registered between 2001 and 2005, which represents about 6.4 million vehicles in France, as well as traffic restrictions to combat pollution.  And the government of president Emmanuel Macron passed a controversial law reducing the speed limit on undivided rural roads from 90 kilometers per hour to 80 kph (about 50 miles per hour).

Officials say this measure will save lives.  It will also raise a lot of money: Budget estimates (pdf) for 2019 show that the government expects to make €1.2 billion ($1.4 billion) from speed-radar fines, an increase of 12% from 2018's estimate – and an almost 50% increase from 2016, according to French financial newspaper Les Echos (link in French).

Obviously, they're using taxes and fines on transport matters – from speeding to tickets to fuel taxes – to cut into the freedom of the "little people" and keep their big overspending government budget, keeping the government big, keeping the government powerful, keeping the government comfortable, all while making the little people feel like sinners.  They're relying on fines to do it, lots and lots of fines – same tactic that made Ferguson, Missouri's lawmen so popular among the locals.  Funny how this becomes the preferred tactic for budgetary continence in totally blue regions.  Now France has approximately the same response Ferguson had when a single incident set off a conflagration. 

Smart governance, what?  The yellow vests are revving up again, and everyone's got one he can put on.  They've got fines, after all, for not having a yellow vest in one's car - about $155 in U.S. dollar terms.

France's elites deserve this.