Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Since Graeme asked...

As some will know, I find the whole '4x4's are evil' a tad broad in its brushstrokes, a little city-centric in its acolytes and just a bit less than where our main energies could lie.

So as I was mooching around an interesting website, I could not resist trying to answer a question posed:

Posted by Graeme Kemp on 02 November 2006, 8:46:22 AM I was interested in the comment that 4X4 vehicles are "essential" for some people? __Really, who?__Most of the 4X4s I've seen are simply used as status symbols, in places like Esher and similar. I've never seen one actually being used for anyone's work or employment. They are social ego-boosters, nothing more.__4x4s are big, bulky, costly, superior and no friend of the environment. Let's price them off the roads!


For the benefit of the poster (from/in/near Esher), I do believe some folk not from London or its suburbs may actually use them for their work or employment. Some from within London may even need them for social or work reasons outside.

Guys like farmers, or those who need to tow stuff (like our caravanning ex - not the best example, as she liked flying too much - Enviro Minister!), and even yummy mummys who live down pitted roads and/or need to do the school run with a bevvy of kids on car share. Or those with bad backs. Or who can't get over traffic calming measures without scraping off the exhaust. Or the police. Or Highways patrols. Then there's the military. Or Ray Mears.

Thing is, if they're not made in volume, they may not get made at all, so short of concreting over the planet (which I know the DPM is/has done in your neck of the woods, bud with luck not yet in ours) there are some places they can have a function:)

That said, if the only use they have is to bump up a pavement in SoHo then you're bang on.

But... maybe some folk can't afford two cars, or think that it's un-eco to own more than one and need to opt for the one that does all tasks. It kinda defeats the object to have a 4x4 and Aston but lob up in a Prius when the protestors are out front, eh, HRH?

So careful when you use a Humvee to crush a Fiat Panda. Or a Prius rather than a Lexus Hybrid to try and pull a stump. Or even a Prius to burn up the motorway all day lugging a battery about.

You may just run over some of those you'd like onside for support with the bigger picture.


This is a word. Seriously.

To my shame it is about the only one I learned in 8 years in Hong Kong, but boy is it a goody onomatopoeically (and I know my spelling is not up to it, so we'll see how the spellcheck manages). Basically, it is Cantonese for 'Oh. My. Gawd'.

Which means it is pretty much not the right dialect for this piece, but kinda is all that I can think of to say about it: China to pass US greenhouse gas levels by 2010.

Now what's 'A 4x4's2muchxFar' in Mandarin? Fortunately, I believe '4' sounds like 'death', so we may be in with a chance. Mind you, even if they all stick with the Raleigh Choppers to work, the whole 50 airports, belching steel mills thing may screw the carbon levels a tad.

Democracy in action?

Sorry, this is not a lot about the environment, but as it does involve those who are - in theory - guiding us through the future problems and opportunities we all face, there is something of a link to be made.

When the Farepak affair broke, I was suitably surprised that in this well-regulated (well, one out of two ain't bad) country such a thing could come to pass, and highly sympathetic to the queues of folk sitting on breakfast TV couches wiping a teary eye that their T&ATT (turkey and all the trimmings) was now firmly invested (and out of reach) in half a dozen bricks of a company director's Fulham des res. Ain't the law wonderful?

But, at the time, I remember thinking that after what the Chancellor pulled with our pensions, it was quite a risk to give folk a wad of dosh and not get anything in return for a long, long while.

Seems I was not alone. This from the Telegraph: How to nearly choke on your cornflakes

I can't think of any occasion when I'd be thrilled by the sight of Gordon Brown in the morning, but his breakfast television appearance yesterday, when he called for compensation for Farepak savers (the bust Christmas club) was too much for Ros Altmann. "It made my blood boil," fumes the London School of Economics governor, who has campaigned for 125,000 company pension members whose policies have collapsed. How can he pose as the savers' friend when his taxes have helped destroy not just one Christmas but every Christmas for so many?" Could it be that the Farepak victims are largely Scots whose votes might be needed in May? Surely not.

However, as one whose Xmas extravaganza is going to be quite modest this year, I hope it is not too churlish to wonder why such as Sainsburys and Morrisons (whose fine establishments I have supported on occasion over the years) are going to respond to various Scots pols' exhortations to compensate the victims of a dodgy business/political/legislative triumverate, and not me and my family for all the dodgy deals that have gone sour in our lives?

Addendum. Comment on fallout in Telegraph
Addendum. This one I liked: Hoist by their own Pol-tard