Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

"we want more people to die in car accidents"

Expand Messages
  • De Clarke
    Here s Catherine Bennett s acidulous take on pro-car politics in the UK -- a scathing commentary on car culture that shows how similar it is across national
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 31, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      Here's Catherine Bennett's acidulous take on pro-car politics in the UK --
      a scathing commentary on car culture that shows how similar it is across
      national boundaries.

      Where cars are concerned, the British traditionally lose their
      reason. Even the odd dead kiddy can be tolerated, so long as its
      life is extinguished by, say, a respectable moron in a tank-sized
      4x4, as opposed to a pervert. Once their motors are threatened,
      supposedly law-abiding family men will vandalise speed cameras,
      explaining that they deserve a "sporting chance". Thousands of
      otherwise docile tax-payers march in protest because driving to
      and from their executive village homes is not as cheap as they
      think it should be. A university lecturer, who has killed two
      young people because of his own careless driving, then writes
      a book appealing for sympathy.

      does anyone know who this lecturer and bad driver of unparalleled chutzpah
      might be?

      -------

      Mr Duncan Smith's one policy: the car

      Catherine Bennett

      Thursday July 31, 2003

      The Guardian

      It is almost a year since Mr Duncan Smith begged us never
      to "underestimate the determination of a quiet man". It has
      been tough at times, occasionally almost impossible, this
      not-underestimating him, but since he asked so nicely, I
      have stuck to it. All through those long, long months when
      Duncan Smith showed himself barely more determined than the
      average jellyfish. Events simply washed over him. The war
      came and went, the reshuffle flopped, the dossiers arrived
      - and he just floated aimlessly about. Not a memorable word
      came out of him. Not, on some very quiet days, so much as a
      quiver.

      But never underestimate the determination etc. Duncan Smith
      may still be on the waiting list for a personality, but he
      has managed, we learn from some fascinating pictures
      published last weekend, to acquire a Morgan two-seater
      sports car, in which he has been spotted driving in a very
      determined manner along the A413 towards Aylesbury. It is
      unfortunate that these photographs were overshadowed by the
      simultaneous appearance of the Cherie boudoir portfolio.
      While the latter only confirmed what most of us had surely
      guessed about, our consort's level of desperation, the
      snaps of IDS contravening the highway code in his £25,000
      soft-top and preposterous goggles, reveal that he is not
      only a debonair, devil-may-care sort of motorist whose
      conduct will endear him to reckless drivers of every
      political affiliation, but for all his recent attempts to
      seem caring - a true Conservative, committed in deed as
      well as word to what Mrs Thatcher called the "great car
      economy".

      In fact, overtaking in a "hatched" zone of the A413,
      despite the presence of oncoming traffic, may turn out to
      be quite the cleverest thing Duncan Smith has ever done.
      True, motoring purists might not be very impressed by his
      shiny Morgan, a car which, as the late Alan Clark, the MP,
      diarist and vintage car fanatic once sniffed, "each year
      ... looks more like a replica of itself". But to the
      traditional British petrolhead, convinced of his
      inalienable right to smite every driver in his path,
      unfettered by legislation of any kind, the sight of Duncan
      Smith giving his faux-classic some excessive-looking welly
      on a rural A-road is no less than a glimpse of salvation.

      And not only does IDS apparently drive like the classic
      British prat, one gathers that he also thinks like one.
      Announcing, last week, his party's intention - if it ever
      came to power - to build thousands of miles of new roads as
      "a fair deal for drivers", the leader of the opposition
      explained why these extra motorways were necessary. As the
      expert motorist has long suspected, our congestion problems
      are entirely the fault of bloody women drivers, and to a
      lesser extent, of those old gits who dither about at
      traffic lights. Compounded by the meddling of the
      environment-obsessed nanny state. Or, as IDS put it: "It is
      not the construction of new roads which is causing more
      traffic, it is the immense social liberation involved in
      more women and more pensioners than ever before having the
      opportunity, and making the choice, to drive themselves."

      Given that these women and pensioners cannot - not before
      the election anyway - simply be stripped of their licences
      to free up the roads for young and middle-aged men, the
      Tories can see no alternative to lots and lots more road.
      Or "tarmac", as IDS wistfully calls it.

      And on Tory tarmac, we are assured, the motorist will be
      king. "There is no shortage of parties prepared to be nasty
      to motorists," Tim Collins, the shadow transport secretary
      said a few weeks ago. "There is a vacancy for a party that
      is prepared to stand up for them." In its new guise, as the
      motorised lobby, his party has further plans to increase
      the speed limit, abolish "unnecessary road humps", and
      reduce the number of speed cameras. Splendid news for
      drivers in the mould of Alan Clark: "Speed, speed, glorious
      speed ... No other sensation (or only one) compares. It is
      in the nature of all warm-blooded creatures to enjoy
      movement ..." Unless, of course, that same movement is
      about to kill them. For, as Clark continued: "Now it first
      has to be said that speed kills. Broadly, the higher the
      speed, the lower the chances of survival if things go
      wrong." Broadly, Collins's proposals could be summarised
      as: "We want more people to die in car accidents."

      As the Tories have presumably divined, this substantial
      drawback to their transport policy need by no means be a
      vote loser. Where cars are concerned, the British
      traditionally lose their reason. Even the odd dead kiddy
      can be tolerated, so long as its life is extinguished by,
      say, a respectable moron in a tank-sized 4x4, as opposed to
      a pervert. Once their motors are threatened, supposedly
      law-abiding family men will vandalise speed cameras,
      explaining that they deserve a "sporting chance". Thousands
      of otherwise docile tax-payers march in protest because
      driving to and from their executive village homes is not as
      cheap as they think it should be. A university lecturer,
      who has killed two young people because of his own careless
      driving, then writes a book appealing for sympathy. People
      who behave like this are capable of warming to an otherwise
      intellectually bankrupt party, purely because it is nice to
      motorists. They might even, now that they have seen
      evidence of the quiet man's determined character - 0-60 in
      8 seconds - conclude that he is worth a vote.

      www.guardian.co.uk



      --
      .............................................................................
      :De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
      :Mail: de@... | :
      :Web: www.ucolick.org | Don't Fear the Penguins :
      :1024D/B9C9E76E F892 5F17 8E0A F095 05CD EE8B D169 EDAA B9C9 E76E:
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.