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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Battle of Britain... lost

29 January 2020

It was Britain's proudest moment.

In the summer of 1940, the German Luftwaffe unleashed the might of their aircraft against the relatively insignificant defenses of the British Isles.

Despite all odds, the Brits bravely rallied to the cause and fended off their attackers in what seemed like an impossible challenge.

Despite having the weight of numbers, the Germans were outfoxed and out flown in the skies above England's green and grassy fields.

Yes, it truly was an incredible victory, won at great personal and national cost to the proud people of Britain.

Oh how sad it is that the same can not be said for the latest battle taking place for the skies over Britain.

Gone is the bravery, the selflishness and the courage that saw Britain prevail against those seemingly insurmountable odds.

In its place, we've seen a cowardly caputulation and unwillingness to stand up to even the most modest of challenges.

Tragedy; absolute tragedy.

What am I talking about?

Well I'm talking about the way that tens of thousands of drone and RC model flyers have willingly given up their rights and freedoms to rules that have been created out of paranoia, ignorance and misconcception.

All those who fly drones and/or RC model aircraft with a mass of more than 250g are now on an offenders' list and have had to show, by way of multiple-choice test with an unlimited number of retries, that they know what they're doing.

Children under the age of 18 are forbidden to actually own a drone or RC flying model and now police are being given sweeping new powers of search, seizure and detention to deal with those "offenders" who might dare to be acting suspiciously.

Nobody cares that recreationally flown multirotor drones have accounted for absolutely ZERO deaths, anywhere on the planet... ever!

Nobody cares that for years, the community of RC model fliers have been exceptionally well self-regulated to the extent that even CAA has admitted they pose no risk to anyone.

No, despite these clear and irrefutable facts, politicians and bureaucrats have demanded "tougher rules" and "regulation" of these activities in order to appease their own misguided paranoia and fear.

I called on UK flyers to say "no" to the demands of government.

Some heeded the call but sadly, over 80,000 simply signed up, like lambs to the slaughter.

What an insult to the brave men who, in 1940, risked (and sometimes sacrificed) their own lives to protect the freedoms of the British people. How quickly that has been forgotten.

And now that the "thin end of the wedge" has been securely inserted between the buttocks of the UK RC and drone flying community, the move towards total control and a probable ban continues...

Just as in the USA (where the FAA is now moving to completely eliminate the RC flying hobby), UK "offenders" will soon find that they can't even fly a tiny 20g drone without having to prove they're competent and sign up (register) with an annual fee to pay. Yes, by mid-year, a whole new set of rules are being imposed on what has been acknowledged as one of the safest hobbies in the history of the planet. Rules that will further restrict, constrain and discourage its participants.

But who are the biggest criminals in this sorry state of affairs?

Is it the politicians who base their decisions on stories they read in the Daily Mail and who are swayed by the chequebooks of powerful multinationals and their lobbyists (Google alone spends tens of millions a year on such lobbying)?

Is it the incompetent bureaucrats and regulators who simply pluck stuff out of their arses instead of actually performing scientific risk assessments when coming up with misleading justifications for their rules?

No, it's the masses of gutless pommes who don't deserve the legacy left to them by those incredibly brave men and women who fended off the aerial forces of Germany some 80 years ago.

Shame, shame, shame!

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