Ministry of Propaganda

Ministry of Propaganda - 16/May/2006: "How Soon Is Now - For TV Licensing?"

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How Soon Is Now - For TV Licensing?

After skipping last month as I was on holiday when it arrived it is time for the latest episode of the TV Licensing Saga. Today I'm going to try to understand what TV Licensing means when they talk of 'now' and 'soon'. What is their concept of 'now', how far does 'now' stretch? And how soon is 'soon'?

First let's establish what 'now' actually means, here are a few definitions for 'now'. And here are a few definitions for 'soon', which we will also need for this analysis.

What do we learn? 'Now' means something like 'At the present time', 'at this point in the series of events' or 'at once; immediately' while 'soon' means something like 'in the near future; shortly' or 'without hesitation; promptly'.

Now let's look at how TV Licensing uses these words:

Their latest letter dated May 2006 states TV Licensing Officers will soon be visiting Dewell Mews. Does this mean I should expect them to visit me in the near future or shortly? I doubt it. After all their only visit so far was in July 2005 (and then I wasn't even home) after they told me I was due to receive a visit from a TV Licensing Officer in October 2003 and that TV Licensing Officers will soon be visiting Dewell Mews as early as December 2003. In October 2005 they also informed me again that, you guessed right, TV Licensing Officers will soon be visiting Dewell Mews. Based on previous performance I assume 'soon' will mean something like June 2007. No need to clean the flat for them then, at least not now.

The May 2006 letter also states After repeated reminders ..., we still had no response from you. ... and we now suspect you of wilful evasion of payment. In other words, at this point in the series of events they suspect me of something. Strangely enough they did exactly the same in October 2005. So do you suspect me 'now' or 'still', Messrs Goodbody and Thompson? Or don't you talk with each other when you send me exactly the same letters in October 2005 and May 2006?

The conclusion? Messrs Goodbody, Thompson, Hales and Caines as well as Mesdames Tunstall and Smith, you must have a different understanding of 'soon' and 'now', at least different to me, but probably also to most other people.

PS: Others seem to have problems with their letters as well.

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