Letters - Monday, September 14, 2020
Some correspondents suggest that we are spending too much public money on segregated lanes for cyclists.
This left me slightly confused. Having not owned a car for the last nine years, our family decided to buy one last month. This, presumably, makes me, once more, a motorist.
Yet I continue to make most of my journeys by bike, which, I can only assume, makes me a cyclist.
And when I’m not cycling or driving, you’ll often find me on Shanks’s Pony, so I’m a pedestrian too. This multimodal life, and complex set of identities, serves me well.
Like any taxpayer, I contribute to the building and maintenance of roads (including cycling infrastructure) through general taxation. The VAT I paid on my recent car purchase was one hefty recent contribution. My Income Tax goes in the pot too, as does the Corporation Tax that the social enterprise I run pays each year on our modest profits.
When I bought our new car I also paid £175 in Vehicle Excise Duty (often incorrectly referred to as “Road Tax”) – a tax based upon how much the vehicle pollutes.
If I had chosen an electric car, or perhaps a smaller vehicle, I could have avoided paying that tax. Naturally, my bike doesn’t attract this tax, as, like with an electric vehicle, it has zero emissions.
Yet even with all of these contributions, when we drive we don’t pay the full cost to society of driving. When you take into account factors such as the costs of pollution, collisions, delays and increased physical inactivity, research suggests, quite clearly, that when we drive, us motorists are the ones who are not fully paying our way.
If anything, when I take my bike out of my garage and wheel it past my car, I should perhaps be being paid for the choice that I have made, rather than being asked to contribute further.
Enough of the scaremongering
While nobody would argue about the serious nature of the Covid crisis, the huge reduction in cases being admitted to Intensive Care Units raises serious questions about Boris’s enthusiasm for enforcing ever stricter restrictions.
We now need intelligent discussion around this serious matter, not a failing PM clinging to power by scare mongering the population into never leaving the house.
Teens to blame for Covid spread
We have heard a lot recently about spikes in coronavirus together with pictures in the newspapers and television, of milling crowds at the seaside and at parks etc. There are raves and parties being held and all sorts of social gatherings.
I notice that, in all reports and pictures in the media, that photographs of the at-risk groups by age present in such groups, are as rare as hen’s teeth.
The people who let the rest of society down, are teenagers and young adults and it is these selfish people who are the cause of spikes and perhaps the unthinking instigators of a second wave of coronavirus this autumn and winter.
I fully understand that the young feel invincible because they are young and fit, but they should remember in their polarised attitude to socialising, that their risk of infecting the older members of their household who may not recover from a serious viral attack, is very real.
Why is Brexit deal bad now?
The Northern Ireland Minister admits the latest Brexit manoeuvre by the Government breaks international law. This has led to the resignation of Sir Jonathan Jones, the Permanent Secretary of the Legal Department.
What has changed in their EU negotiations since January of this year for the PM and his advisors to adopt this measure?
Perhaps it would now be prudent for Boris’s fiance to ensure she gets a strong pre-nuptial agreement before their forthcoming marriage?
Tribute to Dame Diana Rigg
Dame Diana Rigg was a highly intelligent woman and brilliant actress. She was fearless and feisty and had a real passion for life and what it had to offer. She saw few boundaries to achieving the best and overcame them gracefully.