Friday 29 September 2023

Should we all join them?


In the space of a single interview round yesterday, Rishi Sunak managed to say both that he wasn’t going to talk about the past because he was focussed on the future (in response to a question about Mad Nad), and that he wasn’t going to speculate about future things (in response to a question about HS2). Excluding both the past and the future is a neat way of limiting the scope of questions to which any sort of answer can be even half-expected, but if he’d given it enough thought in advance, he would have realised it left him with nothing much to say other than that it would be a good idea to fill in a few potholes, so he proceeded to say exactly that, at length.

Not speculating about speculation that he (or his minions) has himself started isn’t exactly honest, but then honesty isn’t exactly his strongest suit. He’s been at it again since, with Number 10 speculating about the possibility of banning (or at least restricting) the powers of English councils to follow Wales’ lead in introducing 20mph limits. Never let a good bandwagon go unjumped upon. For good measure, and just in case anyone thinks that he isn’t fully committed to the primacy of private cars, he has also encouraged speculation that he wants to clamp down on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and bus lanes, a policy not exactly designed to appeal to those who live in LTNs or who depend on buses. It’s not a question to which he can respond directly himself, of course, because that would be speculating about the future. Until after he’s announced it, in which case he won’t be able to talk about it because it will then be in the past. And once it’s in the past it’s someone else’s fault anyway. Probably Labour’s.

Talking of which, and closer to home, it seems that some of those opposed to 20mph limits in Wales are going to protest against the ‘blanket ban’ by driving slowly on roads where there has never been any suggestion of a reduction to 20mph, proving, in a strange way, that it isn’t a blanket ban at all. I don’t know what the accident statistics are like on the A55, A483 and M4 on a normal Saturday, but forcing people to drive along them at very low speed is a very peculiar kind of protest against low speed limits which carries the very real possibility that they will also demonstrate how cutting speed reduces both the number of accidents and the severity of injuries caused. Maybe Lee Waters should think about joining them.

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