The admirable Scott – in a response to my “Yellow Vulture” rant on Sunday – said “I like the plan, but in principle, rewarding people for obeying the law is the precipice beyond which lies a very dangerous slippery slope. Pretty soon, I’ll be asking for my income tax for the year back if I manage to get through it without killing my boss with a salad fork”.

To be honest, I never expected anyone to take one of my rants seriously enough to come up with plausible reasons why it’s not a good idea – although for the record, I prefer to think of it not as a reward for obeying the law, but rather as compensation for the inconvenience. When I pay my road tax (or “Vehicle Excise Duty” as it’s correctly known), there’s an implied contract that in return, there’ll be a road network for me to drive on. When the roads fail to meet an acceptable standard – such as idiotic speed limits imposed for no reason – it isn’t unreasonable for sensible law-abiding motorists to feel aggrieved.

Everyone knows that the road system needs maintenance, and no reasonable person complains about practical measures to ensure the safety of those carrying out the work. But it doesn’t seem unfair to expect the work to be done as quickly as possible, to reduce the inconvenience to the minimum. And after all, if a set of roadworks makes a stretch of road so dangerous that it’s necessary to almost halve the speed limit, shouldn’t the work be done as quickly as possible to return the road to a safe condition?

Of course the real reason why the idea would never work is that no sensible person would trust a government agency with their credit card details. It would only be a matter of time before some halfwit in the Ministry of Stupid Mistakes took everyone’s PIN numbers and posted them on Facebook by mistake.

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