I agree that voting should be made compulsory (as the lesser evil) but this would not stop those who suppress the votes of minorities.
46 posts • joined 1 Jan 2017
Here in Germany you're "allowed" to shower (and presumably have a bath) any time day of night and the neighbours (presumably on the same floor of your block of flats) have to put up with it. This has been confirmed several few times by court decision (Germans just love going to law!). Reason: cleanliness is a "higher good". I am not exaggerating: judges have said this.
Similarly, other court decisions have decided that as a source of noise, childrens' playgrounds do not need to be subjected to "quiet times" or be otherwise reined in because young children have to be free to jump around and yell and do all those things that young children do during childhood. Not unreasonable.
And the court cases that are conducted over next-door neighbours having a barbecue (cooking odours) have to seen to be believed.
But otherwise people do seem to be particularly allergic to noise here.
The only explanation I can think of is that with 60% of Germany's population having to rent (population density: about 200 / sq. km) and therefore living - mostly - in blocks of flats, you've got more people breathing down your neck and you don't have the luxury of your own back yard where you have more latitude to do your own thing.
So it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Switzerland and Austria have fairly similar rules for pretty much the same reasons. But that's only an educated guess.
Re: Just Wait till NZ gets the bill
1. If that girl's mother had shot this prick back home (New Zealand), she'd have been arrested and charged with various firearms offences in spite of the sympathy of the general public. And she'd have had to use a rifle or a shotgun because handguns are generally illegal except for handgun club members, collectors and dealers.
2. Just for the record, we have no free medical care in NZ. Never did. Our "social system" (medical care, pensions etc. etc.) is financed by the taxpayer but there are basic charges for most services, including prescriptions. And all dental care is fully private after age 15.
3. And like the UK, our police are routinely unarmed, although there are exceptions.
WikiLeaks a 'hostile intelligence service', SS7 spying, Russian money laundering – all now on US Congress todo list
Re: Windrush & Co.:
I'm talking about the Scottish National Entitlement Card (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_National_Entitlement_Card) which, while voluntary, entitles holders, e.g. pensioners, to free use of some services such as bus transport. There are fears that it will over time effectively become a (form of) ID card in that some or many services will be unavailable without it. All Scots are also assigned a Unique Citizen Reference Number (UCRN) which is linked to the Card. (See same link.)
The Republic of Ireland has recently introduced a Public Services Card which, while voluntary, is required if one wishes to obtain a driving licence and a passport. (I am not talking about the Irish passport card which is an adjunct to the Irish passport and is genuinely voluntary.)
Northern Ireland has had a Northern Ireland Voter’s Card since (I think) about the 1980s but I stand to be corrected on that date/period. Unsurprisingly, this card does not appear to be controversial.
Windrush & Co.:
@ Dan 55:
If the UK had had a decent immigration system with immigration legislation, regulations and procedures etc. back then, such legal immigrants would have been registered on entry and their details securely recorded. They may even have been issued with residence permits, although as British citizens, that might not have been necessary.
But had such records been recorded, stored and not "accidentally" destroyed, this scandal would never have occurred in the first place.
@ anonymous coward:
Whether tracking citizens and other legal foreign residents is "mediaeval" is debatable. I accept – and have said elsewhere on El Reg – that ID cards and compulsory residence registration are, as they were originally intended – merely, i.e. primarily, instruments or public administration. The trouble is that they are a two-edged sword that lends itself to abuse ("Papers, please!") – especially if you were born with a serious suntan.
Put these two together and you have – especially if both are compulsory in law, as here in Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere in continental Europe – a small-scale surveillance state. Where such a system makes it illegal to live under the radar, you do not, in my view, have a full democracy.
@ anonymous cowards ("is not being challenged for our 'papers' ") & MonkeyCee & DavCrav ("Papers please")
I happily stand to be corrected but I wouldn't mind betting that UK law requires you to give the police your name, address and date of birth.
Being the cynic I am, it's entirely conceivable to me that someone engineered this "Windrush" affair in an effort to spur the introduction of a national ID card and compulsory residential registration, the way the Scots, possibly the Northern Irish and (latterly) the Irish have done by subterfuge.
The irony is that as a result of the Windrush affair, these measures could – conceivably – be introduced after the UK leaves the European Union. In both cases, time will tell.
@ Wapiya: ID cards
A German ID card is actually useful: (i) for keeping the cops off your back and (ii) for proving that you are who you claim to be, which in 99.99999% of all cases is the same as your true identity.
If you live in Germany, you will know that most Germans carry their ID cards or passports with them voluntarily as a matter of convenience. (By the way: are you a German citizen?)
As far as your family book was concerned, I suspect that the bureaucrat you were dealing with was either deliberately giving you the run-around, was incompetent or both.
1. If I were a cynic, I would surmise that, as with the US-Visit scheme generally, Uncle Sam is requiring all this - mainly useless - information on purpose in order to deter all those from coming to the US except those who really want/need to come.
Reason: to reduce the risk of terrorism by keeping out the wackos. (This is also why they ask you if you have ever been a member of a Communist party: it keeps out all the nutcases, dangerous or otherwise.)
But as someone once said (it may even have been here, too), if you're looking for a needle in a haystack, you don't keep piling hay onto the stack.
2. But as I really am a cynic, it's clear that the US-Visit scheme is, in fact, not designed to prevent terrorist attacks but simply to show the American people, i.e. the voters, that Uncle Same is "doing something" about 9/11. It's not supposed to "work", it's just window-dressing. (How many terrorists have been caught as a result of the US-Visit programme?) Not that any of this is news but it's worth re-stating for the record.
And Uncle Sam can get away with it because foreign visitors have no lobby in the US. But if it gets votes, well, hey, I guess that "works" too.
Re: Just stop it already
I really ought to bite my tongue in saying this but having an ID card with your address on the back (the way it's done here in Germany) would solve most of these problems.
Don't get me wrong: I still don't like ID cards but as instruments of public administration, I have to admit with gashed teeth that they do have their uses.
I'm not a techie but at a rough guess, I'd say the system in Estonia works because that country has a compulsory ID card system (gotta have) that everyone carries with them anyway because they need it so often: -ID, -digital signature, travel (EU), healthcare, electronic banking, use of public transport (ticketing), encrypting mail & voting.
There may even be more functions.
Re: The intersting question is...
I suspect what pissed Uncle Sam off the most was the fact that he got caught with his pants down and was mightily embarrassed - as in the Gary McKinnon case.
This is more a case of revenge than justice, but then the US justice system is mostly about revenge anyway.
Re: But the reason
This is why you cannot even get telephones capable of recording calls: they, too, are illegal.
It's called "Informationsselbstbestimmung" / informational self-determination" over here.
Personally, I suspect it has more to do with not being obliged to incriminate yourself.
This why you cannot - to give just one example - record in any way whatsoever (film/sound/whatever) neighbours who dump their rubbish over the fence onto your property. All inadmissible in court.
Childrens' watches capable of recording what teachers should be banned but not being able to record neighbourhood squabbles goes too far: loony tunes.
"There is no law that you are required to identify yourself to every puffed-up busybody who demands it."
What about the police in general? Do you not have to give them your name, address & DOB if required to do so?
Tangentally, you are required to identify yourself to the police here in Germany with an official picture ID (they will accept DLs unofficially.) If you refuse to cooperate, you can be taken down to the local police station where other methods, such as fingerprinting, can be employed to establish your identity. And if you refuse to hand over your fingerprints, force can be used. Charming. (They seem to have a thing about knowing who you are here.)