Hell On The Roads

“Hell” said the philosopher Jean-Paul Satre, “is other people”. He said lots of other things as well of course, but admitted that he became a philosopher to better facilitate his seduction of women. (No, don’t start enrolling on courses – it doesn’t work. Or so I’m told).

However, had he been able to drive around the UK in the 21st Century, he perhaps would have commented, in that charming Gallic way, “Hell is UK motoring”.

Item: We have been actively encouraged in the recent past to buy diesel cars only to find that we have been slowly killing our fellow man with noxious nitrogen oxide emissions. Just as we find this out the price of diesel falls below the price of unleaded for the first time in living memory.

Item: When first elected PM, Cameron said that the war on motorists was over. Yet now we hear the suggestion – no smoke without fire – that the rozzers plan to prosecute us for going as little as ONE mile per hour over the speed limit on UK roads. Truly, in a fair world, who is that deadly accurate with their speed adjustment? Expect cars to be ploughing into each other as drivers assiduously watch their dial.

Item: The Chancellor – and possibly our next PM God help us – announces that duty on fuel is ‘frozen’. He then tells us it’s a saving! Cheers George, but a saving is when money is taken off the cost of something, not simply not added. This is a man who has about as much in common with the UK populace as King Midas. If you have no conception of what it is like to be hard up how can you possibly understand the meaning of the word ‘budget’?

Item: The expression ‘rip-off Britain’ is bandied about a lot these days. It is usually said with a shrug, as if there is nothing to be done and for this reason the big business gravy train rolls on, raking in the readies. BOGOF deals not quite what you expected down at the supermarket? What’s that you say? The price of petrol in this country is higher than most anywhere in Europe despite some of those far off lands having a higher standard of living? Is this because of our continued meek acceptance as we settle back into our careworn couches to watch yet another series of bloody Bake-Off and dream of having cake tomorrow? We bring it upon ourselves.

Item: Cars, it would appear, are better value than ever. On the face of it, that’s true. This is thanks though to economies of scale and the global sharing of components from chassis upwards. The end result though is a real lack of proper choice because, essentially, one dull hatchback is pretty much the same as another dull hatchback. You might just as well buy the cheapest model available.

Y’know, sometimes it is good to have a clear out of motoring bile once in a while and it is as ever, good to share. Why be accepting all the time? You’ve got an MP, email him about the lot of the motorist and about rip-off Britain generally. That’s his very well paid job – to represent you. While you’re at it, tell the cars companies to bring back the magic and tell Amazon you’ll be signing up next Autumn for a proper television series on cars that hopefully will remind you what fun driving used to be.

Now I’ve got that off my chest like an old geezer hacking up some early morning gobs of green and yellow phlegm, I’m going on holiday and I’ll be driving one of the better cars on offer today. Back in a week or so.
Geoff Maxted