Douglas Murray Douglas Murray

Hell is the Ulez hotline

‘Only boring people get bored’ is what we were all told as children. What we were not warned about was that boring things can also make you boring. Boringness is infectious. Or so I have come to believe.

Due to the backlash against the extension of Ulez, the Mayor has come up with a fresh brilliant idea

Thanks to my own low tolerance for boring things, I didn’t race to find out about the Ulez scheme. These soul-destroying acronyms often arrive at the peripheries of my vision, where I hope they will remain. Yet they make their remorseless push forward. So this week, with boring inevitability, I had to call the Ulez hotline to see if I was going to have to pay this extra car surcharge, to save the planet, from the end of this month.

To do this I had to go to a website where I searched for a number I could call to speak to a human. The automated voice welcomed me and informed me that because of the ‘currently high call volumes you may find it more convenient to visit our website’. Of course, here ‘You may find it more convenient’ translates as ‘We would find it more convenient’. It turns out that on high holy days and feast days you can get through to a human being. They too will invite you to go to the website.

The resulting tedium was in part my fault. Ulez required me to give details of my car. This is not easy. At a push I can remember the colour. But the other details escape me, because I find cars boring. Yet we persevered. The girl on the phone was able to log on to the Ulez website and so together we scoured it to try to work out my eligibility or otherwise for an exemption.

‘If I wanted to see people making a bomb I’d have a look at my gas bill.’

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