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Saturday, 7 March 2015

Opinion: Counterproductive Aggression to TV Licensing


A couple of weeks ago we reported on the case of a Birmingham man who confronted a TV Licensing goon with an aggressive tirade of abuse.

The aggressor, who has been named by the national media as 35 year old tattooist Gaz Sylo, filmed himself confronting the TV Licensing goon during a visit to his property.

According to Sylo's commentary the goon had visited the property on several previous occasions and hammered on the door with such ferocity that his partner and children were left cowering inside.

We have no trouble at all believing Sylo's comments in that regard. It would be perfectly typical of a TV Licensing goon to arrogantly assume he could hammer on people's doors, scaring the occupants inside, even if he'd been told never to visit again.

Sadly, by launching into such an aggressive tirade, Sylo has lost the moral high ground. As we said at the time, we cannot condone his aggression towards the goon and certainly do not encourage others to emulate it.

In the eight years the TV Licensing Blog has been in existence, we are proud of the fact that not once have we ever condoned or encouraged any sort of law breaking. Virtually every one of our posts describes the exact legal circumstances in which a TV licence is required.

Our stance has always been that those who need a TV licence should get one; those who don't should be left to enjoy the comfort of their homes without TV Licensing's incessant and legally-deceptive enquiries.

We worry that people will see Sylo's video and label all opponents of TV Licensing as encouraging criminality, when that is certainly not the case.

Instead of approaching the goon and calmly saying "I don't need a TV licence and I don't appreciate your repeated calls to my property, because they intimidate my partner and children", he told the bewildered goon "I'll knock the fucking shit out of you".

The events captured on video have opened the door to TV Licensing playing the sympathy card and contorting the story to its advantage.

People who are unaware of TV Licensing's modus operandi - the way it relentlessly targets those who genuinely don't need a TV licence - will view the video and instantly feel sympathy towards TV Licensing's cause.  It's a very sort of pick-me-up TV Licensing needs at a time when the very future of the TV licence fee is on the table.

On a superficial level viewers of the video will see a TV Licensing goon, who is acting in a totally passive manner, confronted by what they'll perceive as an aggressive law-breaker. Irrespective of the background circumstances, people will form an opinion based on the 2 minutes captured on video.

Videos such as this are bound to attract media attention, but we would remind people that for every aggressive confrontation like this, there are 1,000 visits - 4 out of 5 of them to legitimately unlicensed properties - where TV Licensing receive a perfectly civil or neutral reception.

In many of those cases TV Licensing will quickly establish that no TV licence is required, yet will continue to harass the occupiers into paying for a service they do not legally need.

In recent weeks we have heard several stories about how TV Licensing has terrorised the dead, bereaved and legally-licence-free (see here and here for a snapshot), despite having been repeatedly informed about the circumstances.

That is the bigger issue - TV Licensing's persistence in harassing people who don't legally need its service.  It is that persistent harassment that tips otherwise law-abiding citizens into greeting TV Licensing goons with such hostility.

TV Licensing repeatedly targets the most vulnerable people in society and attempts to coerce payment from them, even when none is due - that is an irrefutable fact.

Our stance has always been that the occupier of a property should passively film any TV Licensing goons that call. Experience shows that TV Licensing goons - with steep performance targets to meet - tell lies, whereas the camera generally doesn't. 

The occupier should keep their video footage safe in case the goon that visited their property was one of the many that can't lie straight in bed at night.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Counterproductive or not, he did nothing wrong. His behaviour was not 'abuse'. There is nothing to condone.

Götter Dämmerung said...

When this video first surfaced I said at the time both here and elsewhere that it was a PR disaster for the Legally Licence Free community and pure gold for TV Licensing who would milk it for all it was worth publicity wise.

The above comment by Anonymous and the defensive attitude taken at certain resistance forums regarding this incident is as wrong as Mr Sylos actions because no matter how frustrated you are with the TV Licensing system the threat of violence can never and should never be condoned.

I'm sure Anonymous and those who are trying to brush Mr Sylos outrageous antics under the carpet would be the first to complain if a TV Licensing representative was to approach their home threatening to "Knock the fucking shit" out of them.

Whilst this blog refrains from making inflammatory remarks regarding the methods used by TV Licensing, preferring to report the facts there are other internet groups opposed to the TV Licence who let their members post anything they like just because they happen to agree with their basic sentiments and it would be interesting to know if Mr Sylo had been spurred on by reading these type of negative comments on various internet forums coupled with his own frustrations regarding TV Licensing.