A Timely Reform by Ian Ridley

Blog & web site of Ian Ridley

May, 2006Archive for

Lib Dems Gain West Lindsey District Council

Friday, May 19th, 2006

This week’s by-elections saw the Lib Dems gain Gainsborough Lea ward from an Independent. The result means that West Lindsey DC is now LD 19, Con 17, Ind 1 and the Lib Dems have majority control of a council that until May 4th was Tory.

As the (volunteer) Local Elections Officer for the East Midlands Lib Dems I can tell you that the Lib Dems now have majorities on 3 councils in the region. Also the leaders of 6 councils in this part of the world are Liberal Democrat cllrs (as part of majority or minority administrations)

Targetting those….. Part 2

Friday, May 19th, 2006

Back to the 4×4 /SUV issue (and I see the Lib Dem VED and indeed air travel policies have got some publicity today)

I was accused of demonising all 4×4 drivers. Well I wouldn’t quite call it that but perhaps I could have been more precise:

– Not all 4x4s are the top polluters;
– so it follows that not all 4×4 drivers are selfish. And of course some 4x4s are essential for professional use.

But there are a hell of a lot of top polluting SUVs and 4X4s out there that are just fashion accessories. But fashion accessories that are adding to greenhouse gas emissions. Individually a 4×4 that goes out on the occaisional journey may seem to be not a big deal but the sums add up. Just like that coal fired power station, those short haul and long haul flights.

I would like here to pay tribute to my commenters Alex/ Richard, who have pulled me up short on my random generalising (there’s no fun left in the world – I’ll tell you). I even have to add an extra category of responsible 4×4 owners: hardly use it but carbon offset the emissions and not even in that temporary “we’ll plant some trees” way.

To continue: switching to a lower emission vehicle might not seem like making a big difference, nor does turning off the TV rather than leaving it on standby or putting a wind turbine on your roof. But spread across millions of people, particularly when we are looking at an industrialised China & India joining the “developed” energy-rich world, it is crucial to the environmental future of the planet.

Finally as a tall chap myself (6’5″) I have found it difficult to find a suitable car to drive too. I learnt to drive in a Corsa 5 years ago. We had a Vectra for a while but it wasn’t good for my back. My older Cavalier was/is better for that. Now we have a Zafira – much better for someone my height but the 204 g/km of CO2 it chucks out is not ideal. Not so much a tank, more like an APC.

In fact there is web site that rates cars by ergomic comfort:

Targetting those minorities Part 1

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Alex has left a comment about my Get Your Tanks Off Our Roads article. I am a little taken aback by the robustness of the comments but it raises several important points about my views that need clarifying, to the extent that they deserve a blog article or two rather than a comment back.

I’ll have to do this in two parts because I don’t have the time to answer all Alex’s points in one go:

1) I don’t post very often because I don’t have the time. I chose 4x4s and the BNP as topics of my most recent posts because they are issues that I want to write about. Not because I am looking to tackle them to the exclusion of other issues. If I had time, I’d hold forth about the Monarchy, Blair’s lack of consistency on human rights and immigration, over packing of goods in shops and yes air travel amongst other issues.

2) 4x4s are also something as a cyclist and driver that I see everyday. Again this makes me likely to write about it. Every time I walk, cucle or drive down the road, I see them.

3) Not all 4x4s are as bad as other cars, as the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s makes clear.

I’ll come to Alex’s other points, particularly about Liberalism when I have a moment