Friday, June 23, 2006

4 heavens' sake!

Cripes, no sooner than I put one blog-bear to bed than another falls in my lap 4x4 debate: Enemy of the people.

Am I sensing a campaign here? First the Beeb, and now the Indy.

I have no need of a 4x4, and hence I do not have one. And, frankly, I think anyone who does have one when it's not going to be used for purpose is a tad silly, and even selfish on environmental and safety grounds. But hey, it's a consumerist world, and they are free and legally on sale like plane tickets, berries from South Africa and flowers from Holland, as are non-4x4 high litre saloons and slab-fronted vans, so... what?

Making people feel guilty is of course a good route to go, like the anti-fur efforts (oh, now where are we on that again?) and good luck to those doing it in an appropriate manner (though I think the Greenpeace 'clamp's are a series of mixed messages too much). Those facts at the end are quite telling.

But... I can think of a lot more important stuff that would count as 'enemies of the people'.

I'm well past may teens, but stuff like this almost makes me want to go out and get one just to be 'anti', and I'm on the side of the planet, for heaven's sake!

If a driver breaks the law, bust them (were these mobile gabbing, non-seatbelt wearing types charged?). But it is not against the law to own a type of car. With such media reporting we're in real danger here of creating conflicting and aggressive camps, which will serve none of us well.

Park & Drive

OK, so it's technically nothing to do with 're' or 'e'-anything, but I was moved to comment on this: Driven to anger, as follows:

"It’s hard to vote someone out when you have no clue as to who is responsible, (in this case I certainly have no idea locally), but as I travel the UK and have suffered the inequities of the parking systems throughout our green and pleasant land, I have tended to assign my fury to a government that seems to simply heap more and more petty rules with massive fines on those least likely to challenge them. Perhaps they have seen the writing on the roadside at last.
I have in my driving career been issued with two penalty notices, both of which I fought, and both of which were eventually dropped.
Notwithstanding the issues surrounding where and why these were imposed, the single thing that outraged my sense of natural justice was that at every stage I appealed, the penalty was jacked up another notch, first financially (I suspect initially by no more than an automated system ) and then with threats of court proceedings (in a cities hundreds of miles away). Upon vindication, all that happened was the original fine was waived. There was/is simply no inceptive for them not to take things as far as they would go, regardless.
From my reading of the new proposal(s)  I am not clear if this aspect is to be addressed. But my suggestion then, as now, is that in such cases the consequences of taking matters to ‘the next level’ at the very least apply equally to those issuing these notices as those who are defending themselves against them."

I do think it is related, as I have a foreboding about a 'them & us' culture building up surrounding the car and its use, and it is not being fought very well by those who see a sensible reduction in all that's bad about the things (and there is a lot) as something to encourage. By not acting fairly or sensibly with those who could so be onside, they are in danger of losing support or indeed converts. 

Que sera, sera. Que?

Night before last I watched part a reality TV show whereby some rich
types (Public At Large Class) get to be taken around by some other
rich type (Celeb Class) to assess the best way to blow their wad.

This episode was about their future car purchases, and as money
seemed no object the choice seemed to be between a Range Rover and a
Merc estate.

As money was not an object, the majority of the the programme was a
bit stuck when it came to the running costs angle, but hit more
promising ground on environmental (via a rather charming, if
centrally-cast munchkin from Greenpeace seen advertising npower for
free with a nice shot of their sponsored 'clamp' - who says there is
not always another agenda at work?) and then safety (trouble was it
applied more to those being hit than those in the SUV).

Despite this assault, they (much to the relief of the daughters, to
whom 'cool' was a major factor) 'decided' on the 4x4. Much grinning
all round. Wonder what the celeb and crew dove off in (Ms. Greenpeace
was on her bike, of course)?

Then next morning we had a piece on flowers, with a grower, a
distributor, a seller and a celeb. arranger (nice job, mate). Mid-way
into all the jollity, it cropped up ('scuse the pun) that a large
majority of our posy-culture is fed by blooms flown in from all over
the planet. So the question was asked; 'couldn't we just live, if at
great aesthetic (and career) costs, with the seasonal offerings from
our own shores to avoid the obvious massive eco-consequences?

The answer was of course... 'Que?'.