Tuesday, February 12, 2008

NEWS/GO3 PR - Pocket battles

A PR last night from the Green (Party) Machine (London) has strirred a musing in me. Let me share it here as supplied, but I do propose to comment:


The Green Party's Principal Speaker, Caroline Lucas MEP has today
urged the government to reward responsible motorists by abolishing
the Road Tax, and shifting the responsibility onto gas-guzzlers
through the fuel duty. The call comes as road lobbyists meet with the
Chancellor to plead for a smaller increase in fuel tax.

Dr Lucas said:

"The flat road tax on vehicle ownership takes no account of road
usage, and provides no incentive or reward for making less polluting
travel choices. A far fairer alternative would be to scrap it and move
the responsibility onto fuel tax.

"But today we see the road lobby arguing against this fairer measure.
The AA has consistently argued for more roadbuilding, more traffic,
more pollution. They have attempted to block every effort to reduce
our dependency on petrol. Now the price has inevitably risen, and
they want the rest of us to pay for it through our taxes, or in cuts
to services.

"Most car owners would like to take more public transport, but some
lobbyists seem determined to make it as hard for them as possible.
Does Alasdair Darling have the guts to stand up to them?"

At first blush, what is not to agree with? Polluter pays. Simple.

Thing is, this is issued by a self-evidently London-centric source (not suprisingly, as their candidate is gunning for mayor. Which, by the way, I was totally unaware of, for which the major media might be asked why. It's the Boris & Ken show, with Hugh coming in on occasion. No one else gets a peep). But to the best of my interpretation, this call refers to a national issue.

And there be the rub. And it's our old chum again. The politics of the pocket. Or Eco(nomics) vs. Eco(logy).

In London, you don't really need a car, especially to do your job. Distances are shorter. Cycling is an option. Tubes and trains and busses abound. So the Prius is really just to get the luvs to cello practice without paying the congestion charge.

But elsewhere you might need to drop a few hundred miles a week in your Fiesta just to earn a crust.

So what seems so simple need not necessarily be so... or certainly fair. It's a tricky balance, but whoever starts trying to do it properly will get my vote. Make that whenever...

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