Sometimes officials make incredibly idiotic decisions, rendering satires such as Yes Minister boring. Would you believe the Beatles were not allowed into Israel for a performance. Another amusing anecdote is that for the sake of equality the TV signal was de-colured for years in Israel. It was thought that if the signal was black & white, although the broadcasting equipment was colour capable, there would be no incentive for the affluent to flaunt their riches with a colour TV set. Yeh-right.
Moreover, no restrictions were placed on other seemingly luxury items such as cars, fridges, and houses. It is amazing that my teacher was allowed to tell us that the world was round and that it was slightly older than the 6000 years (the Jewish count).
How lucky we don’t have such situations here in the UK. Oh – really?! So why does it take 4 working days to transfer, electronically mind you, money from one bank to another and why is it so expensive? Why does it take 11 days to change the phone provider? Why can’t one get health insurance after the age of 70? Or how can one explain the absurd requirement to prove where I live through a hard copy utility bill.
There are many such silly anachronisms that we take for granted now and probably will be thought funny in ten years. But like in mechanical physics the force required to start moving is greater then the force needed to continue moving. There is a stationary friction to overcome. It will take an international force to bring the cost of roaming calls closer to the real cost to the providers, change the ethics of locking mobile phones, to unify the DVD zones, to ensure the internet is really free and to stop mammoth software providers from dictating a slow pace of innovation.
Today the European Commission adopted proposals for a "Telecoms Reform Package". It is expected to become law by the end of 2009 and includes new consumer rights such as the right to switch telecoms operators within 1 day.
We need the European Union more than ever to keep our freedom from those who want to make us live in a gray, un ambitious world – trapped in other’s conservatism.