To describe Rishi Sunak’s premiership as a ‘car crash’ would be inaccurate, if only because the term implies a one-off event. To add to the ridiculousness, the PM and his few remaining friends in the media keep urging us to agree about how clever he is for creating these chronic collisions. The latest disaster in this ongoing fiasco is Sunak’s ‘War on the War on Motorists‘.
Sunak versus safety
The ‘war on the war on motorists’ has come about not because of some longstanding political opinion, but because Sunak saw some people complaining about 20mph zones and reckoned he could win over a few hundred votes.
Essentially, this makes the Tory leader look like an ambulance-chasing lawyer – a man who is running after voters and claiming he shares their interests and always has done. While you can possibly win votes that way, it doesn’t seem like a practical means of running a country.
People have pointed out that many do actually want 20mph zones – especially outside schools and homes:
I’m flummoxed by the logic. I represent one of the most car-dependent places in the country, and people here are desperate for the traffic to slow down past their homes and schools.
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— Helen Morgan MP 🔶 (@HelenMorganMP) September 30, 2023
One commenter highlighted the fact that ‘motorists’ also spend a lot of their spare time not being motorists:
Because motorists don’t have kids, don’t ride bikes, don’t go for walks, don’t care about the planet. That’s all they are, 24 hours a day. Motorists. https://t.co/swmPK2zg92
— Paul Hanley (@hanleyPa) September 30, 2023
The public versus public transport?
Columnist Andrew Fisher made a very good point about car use versus public transport:
What war on motorists?
— Andrew Fisher (@FisherAndrew79) October 1, 2023
Political editor Peter Walker elaborated on the situation we find ourselves in:
To point out the obvious, restrictions on driving are not a zero-sum game, even for drivers. If you endlessly build just infrastructure for cars, everyone drives, and you end up with horrendous congestion. There's an incentive *just based on traffic* to provide alternatives.
— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) October 1, 2023
Hence, very rationally, the UK govt and many others around the world have tried to shift the balance towards public transport and active travel. This includes carrots – new rail lines, bike routes etc – but if it is to work, *necessarily* has to include sticks for driving.
— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) October 1, 2023
Arguably, the past few governments (Labour included) haven’t shifted the balance towards public transport. Local transport in the UK ranks among the most expensive in Europe; rail fares are equally ridiculous. People below a certain age might not even realise that public transport is supposed to be cheaper than driving. The reason why it isn’t is the private companies who are using this public good as their own personal piggy bank.
The war on the environment
Several people have pointed out that the real war on motorists is the one being waged by Mother Nature:
— Matthew Todd 🌏🔥 (@MrMatthewTodd) October 1, 2023
Given that Mother Nature has us significantly outgunned, what we really need are politicians with the sense to stop assaulting the environment:
Clearly stung by “inaction man” jibe, Sunak turns into “arrogant & patronising bullying man” on #bbclaurak – telling deeply dangerous lies about #NetZero, sacrificing our future in a desperate attempt to secure his own survival
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) October 1, 2023
Another politician pointed out what we could achieve by enhancing public transport and making it easy for people to avoid driving everywhere:
This sort of change is what Sunak refers to as 'a war on motorists'
I would call it transforming our cities from car parks into communities https://t.co/cNvj2U7Unq
— Green💚🌻Molly (@GreenPartyMolly) October 1, 2023
The War on the War on Motorists: whiplash politics
Sunak is currently attending the annual Tory Party Conference in Manchester. Given that he’s facing criticism from everyone – including his own MPs – its unclear how long his War on the War on Motorists will survive. No one is quite sure what policies the PM will propose next week. However, while that’s no way to run a country, history has shown us that a Tory with no idea where they’re heading is preferable to a Tory who does.
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