It’s one of those horrible thoughts which seem to come straight from the manual, “How to turn dystopian sci-fi visions of the future into daily reality (UK government edition)”. It was along the lines of, “What if the police, like health care, were to introduce co-payments?” Although you could reasonably argue that delegated services are already a step too far.
With the service they provide linked so openly to your net worth, once you dial 999 and ask for the police an automatic check would be made on your total assets. Unless you were adjudged to be a ‘wealth creator’, the conversation could proceed along these lines. “I’m sorry, but given your net worth we can only investigate crimes on your behalf up to the level of petty thefts. Or perhaps you would like to make a co-payment? In which case, please allow 3 working days for the payment to reach our account before contacting us again. A list of rates can be found on our web site. Otherwise, for murder investigations, we find that amateur sleuths seem to have a surprisingly high success rate. Try watching a few episodes of Columbo with a pen and notebook to hand.” Your call would be terminated at that point, because you’re not worth speaking to any longer.
It makes a horrible sort of sense when you consider the arguments for tax raised in a certain area, like London/South East England, to largely benefit that area, and not be redistributed elsewhere. Which would mean that those who can afford to pay tax would be the people who receive the benefit of the services it funds. For physical area simply read financial area.
Without the redistribution of tax to fund services anything which could be called civilized society would have come to an end. While the area which has ceased providing tax for anywhere else is effectively on the path to secession.
Co-payments for the police are not possible? Up to a few years ago tower blocks were perceived as an urban blight and whenever one underwent a controlled demolition it was hailed as a progressive step forward. Now the planners appear hell-bent on recreating the dystopian futuristic cityscape of Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis, packed full of skyscrapers. That is, turnarounds in opinion are always possible.
Which means that there’s a positive to be found here too. Because the idea of a completely tax funded police service is so well accepted, the work then becomes to find out why that continues to be the case. Therefore the findings could be used to bolster arguments for properly funded universal services elsewhere, without co-payments.
It’s just a thought.
To date a writer of fiction, he was previously nominated for The James White Award. Along with numerous short stories published online, his stories appear in the printed anthologies Small Crimes, Daikaiju!2: Revenge of the Giant Monsters, and Murder in Vegas (edited by Michael Connelly, and which has also been released in audio book format). Neither Legal Nor Tender, a London serial novel, appears in Jukepop.com, where a new chapter is written weekly and posted every Wednesday.
New London Writers provides a home for his personal observations.
TP Keating cannot overstate how indebted he is to his beautiful wife, Marielle, for her unending patience in reading his numerous drafts. The stories simply wouldn't exist without her.