Saturday, December 09, 2006

DM to A-list?

South Shields MP David Miliband, a strong supporter of gay rights in the House, may be becoming something of a gay icon. His voting record on gay rights is regularly used by pink news to contrast against Gordon Brown's voting history.

Now, seasoned current affairs commentator Julian Clary has admitted in Heat magazine as having "a bit of a thing for David Miliband". This is further to Mr Clary's article in October's New Statesman, when he summoned all of his razor sharp political perception to consider a next possible leader for the Labour Party:

"The only contender my eye lingers on is David Miliband. Quite attractive, especially when he undoes his top button at fringe meetings. Puts me in mind of a bit of rough from Liverpool." Now that Julian Clary has mentioned Mr Miliband, there will be no more 'David who?' from readers of the celeb mags.

Mr Miliband is not alone in enjoying the attentions of Julian Clary, who in 1993 at the British Comedy Awards commented "As a matter of fact, I've just been fisting Norman Lamont", but it's apparent that Mr M has finally arrived as a pop culture tidbit.

I hope Mr Miliband's new celebrity status will do for South Shields (and climate change, by the way) what Kylie did for cancer sufferers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mili's silly target trouble

When in Nairobi on the recent round of climate talks to try and start the ball rolling on the replacement for the Kyoto protocol, South Shields MP and Environment Secretary David Miliband dismissed annual targets for reducing carbon emissions as 'silly'. His conclusion is worth exploring, or exploding.

"I don't think that binding annual targets are necessary."

For a government addicted to targets, his is an odd assessment. We have targets for health, crime, education and a host of other areas. But these are seen as a necessary motivational tool in order to gain improvements. Why not annual carbon targets?

"We think binding annual targets are silly"

It's interesting who this 'we' is, but I doubt it includes just about every successful company on the planet which has an annual business plan with - guess what - targets. Even the management-speak acronyms have the elements of goal orientation - Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound, or better, Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound, Ethical, Recorded. I think I'd rather be SMARTER annually about climate change than silly over 5 years.

"because if the weather is bad in one year it doesn't make sense to change your policies."

Now that is a silly statement. If you fail to reach your target one year, it makes perfect sense to adjust your initiatives and targets to do better the next year. Flexibility is key, and having annual targets doesn't preclude flexible plans. Besides, if we don't do something about our emissions now, we are guaranteeing ourselves and our children plenty of bad weather in the future.

"You don't just have to take my word for it - the international community at Kyoto in 1997 didn't think annual targets were sensible."

This justification is predicated on the assumption that the Kyoto protocol is perfect. It isn't - it has serious flaws. The cuts of only 4.8% of greenhouse gas emissions based on 1990 by 2012 are dangerously pathetic, it ushered in the fallacy of offsetting, and excluded air travel from the CO2 emissions measuring mechanism. The Kyoto Protocol was based partly upon the climate change science available at the time. We now know a lot more, and that we have underestimated the scale and speed of climate change. Instead of centuries, we are looking at decades. We could have as little as 25 years to drop our emissions by 90 percent. In such short timescales, 5 years is too long.

The whole point of Mr Miliband's visit to Nairobi was to try and get a Kyoto replacement off the ground. I would expect him and the other delegates to learn from Kyoto's flaws - and a lack of challenging targets was definitely one of them.

If we don't have annual targets, government will have no real impetus to take the drastic action needed on climate change. We haven't had challenging climate targets, and what have we seen? An increase in the UK's greenhouse gas emissions since the Kyoto agreement. Not having annual targets means the government can leave the worry about emissions reductions to the next year, or the next government, or even the next decade. But by then it will be too late.

Targets work. They mean business. They provide motivation to get things done. In dismissing targets Mr Miliband is arguing for complacency and low expectations.

Winners have targets. Leave the silly loser talk to others Mr Miliband, and try being a true champion of emissions reduction - with annual targets.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Credit due

On Friday the manager of South Tyneside Credit Union, Sylvia Hudson, was winner of Woman Social Entrepreneur, in the North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. This recognises Sylvia as one of the main drivers of the credit union from it's early days as The Nook Credit Union to South Tyneside's biggest community based credit union.

If you're not in the Credit Union, it's worth joining. Not only to enjoy a truly local savings and loans service, but to help provide financial services to members of the community, who through poverty or circumstances beyond their control are left behind by the big banks and building societies. Anyone can join.

The recent Farepak scandal illustrates just how many people are dependent upon savings schemes just to put something by for Christmas. Unfortunately Farepak wasn't regulated, but credit unions are regulated by the Financial Services Authority. The credit union doesn't charge monstrous loans rates like 'doorstep lenders', who prey on those with low incomes and tend to live a hand to mouth existence. The credit union has helped people out of the clutches of these sharks and given them a real hope to get their financial health back. So if you're looking for somewhere to save for next Christmas - try the credit union.

Even though South Tyneside Credit Union employs a small core of administration staff (funded by sponsorship and grants), most of the work is done by volunteers, including the board and executive. So if you have some spare time to give, the credit union would like to hear from you.

South Tyneside Credit Union can be contacted on (0191) 454 7677, and the main office is at:

119/121 Prince Edward Road
South Shields
NE34 8PJ

It's not often that someone who works hard for the community is recognised, especially as an entrepreneur. My congratulations go to Sylvia for an award well deserved.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Labour's burning us

South Shields MP David Miliband's regular party political puff piece in the Shields Gazette (Now's time to reflect on the achievements of Labour's nine years in government, 11th October) examined Labour's 'achievements' after nine years in power. Whilst he praised his party for low interest rates (despite them being set by the independent Bank of England), record employment and increased education spending, he forgot to mention one particular area of Labour policy. No, I don't mean the war in Iraq. Despite being Secretary of State for the Environment, he didn't have anything to say about Labour's environmental record.

This implies that Labour is embarrassed by it's performance on the environment, and on further consideration, it's not surprising.

Since 1997 Tony Blair has been warning us about the threat of climate change. Unfortunately, since 1997 the UK's greenhouse gas emissions have increased. This increase is set to continue with Labour's plans for airport expansion and massive new road building schemes. Indeed, whilst only about £2.5m has been committed to the low carbon buildings program to support micro renewables, the government is willing to throw £3.7bn at widening 250km of the M1. That's 1,500 times more money is being put into one scheme that will encourage the increase of CO2 emissions than is being spent on reducing them.

But instead of investing massively in emission reduction schemes and developing new initiatives to cut greenhouse gases, Labour has used the concern over climate change and energy to cynically resurrect the nuclear power industry. It seems that when it comes to Labour and the environment, it's business as usual - that is, as usual Labour's relationship with business is more important than it's record on the environment.

Now we hear whispers that the Government will back the Climate Change Bill, perhaps making it a feature of the Queen's Speech in November. That would be great news. But we are still 9 years late on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

If the rumours about the Bill are true, I hope that it isn't watered down to make it politically safe. The planet doesn't have time for more talking shops and protracted bargaining. We have a limited time to get things moving and that means we need a social and political determination that we haven't seen since the Second World War. This isn't something that's 100 or 1000 years away. If you're under 40, you're likely to see what's coming in your lifetime, and your children certainly will.

What we do over the next few years will decide if our children will see countries disappear under the sea, food riots on the streets of Britain and wars, not over oil, but water.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Blair's cross to bear

While some suggest that Tony Blair owed the spark for his finale speech to John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath , perhaps his real inspiration came from something higher. Craig Brown's excellent satire piece in the Telegraph, hints further at Mr Blair's true calling.

In his speech, Tony told us in almost Last Supper piety, "You can't go on for ever. That's why it's right this is my last conference as leader" and finished off with the truly heart rending "Whatever you do, I'm always with you. Head and heart."

Is he looking forward to a twilight career as the Son of God?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Green guns

BAE Systems, the arms firm from over here that makes weapons to kill people over there, is in the news again after the announcement that it intends to develop environmentally-friendly weapons. When I first read this I thought it a marvellous hoax, or some Mark Thomas wheeze. Oh, what sweet satire it would be.

However, truth is more extraordinary than fiction.

I'm sure the folk hit by the lead free bullets which "can harm the environment and pose a risk to people", will be happier knowing that at least they won't get lead poisoning. And those living in war zones will be able to sleep and breathe easier with the "proposed quieter warheads to reduce noise pollution and grenades that produce less smoke".

Of course, it is preferable that any organisation should do it's utmost to reduce and minimise its impact on the environment. But for BAE to try and score some moral and ethical points over it is a measure of extreme cuntitude. It's doubtful BAE's customers will be checking the energy and environment label before buying. A kill efficiency label might be more useful.

weapons label

To fit in with this new cuddly image, perhaps BAE should offer a free return and recycle bag with their weapons?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Don't worry, BAe happy

Robin Cook wrote in his 2003 autobiography, "I never once knew Number 10 to come up with any decision that would be incommoding to British Aerospace."

On the face of it, Swan Hunters' loss of the Lyme Bay to BAe in July after alleged overrun of nearly £309 million and two years late, seems reasonable (see Curly's Corner Shop for a bit of background). This is despite the landing ship project "being largely managed and supervised by 20 BAE Systems staff on-site in Newcastle" in it's last years. Obviously an inquiry is needed to clear matters up.

However, the MoD is not so punitive when it comes to Britain's favourite arms manufacturer.

The National Audit Office has reported that the contract for the new Nimrod MRA4 aircraft is £966m over cost and nearly a decade late. This is despite the fact that the Nimrods will not be new, but refurbished bodies with new wings, engines and systems. The original contract for 21 planes should have been completed in 2003. However, after 'restructuring' of the project in 2003, the number of planes went down to 18 and now only 12 planes will be renewed, and delivery is not expected until 2010 at the earliest.

The MoD's punishment for BAe's poor performance? Award the arms company with a £65m contract to maintain the current aging Nimrod fleet until the 'new' ones are finally ready.

Why does BAe get such preferential treatment?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

We need goals, not gas

Conservative Party leader David Cameron's recent announcement of his support for the Climate Change Bill, shows that Labour has a long way to go both nationally and locally to catch up in the 'carbon credibility' stakes.

The Climate Change Bill, which would oblige the government to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 3 per cent each year, would form the basis of a framework of policies to reduce greenhouse emissions. Whilst Mr Cameron and Friends of the Earth have called for the Bill's entry into the forthcoming Queen's Speech, the government (and our South Shields MP David Miliband) has so far failed to comment on it, despite the Bill enjoying the support of 380 MPs across the house.

Equally alarming is that South Tyneside Council's Labour cabinet has chosen to adopt a policy which aims for a reduction in its carbon emissions of only 5 per cent over 5 years. The target, set out in the Council's Carbon Management Strategy and Action Plan, is well below what other councils have already achieved.

I suppose a nice low target is easy to achieve, and once met can show the voters just how 'great' the Council is at dealing with climate change.

In typical spin-tastic style, the South Tyneside council leader Councillor Paul Waggott, whose cabinet rubber stamped the pathetic Carbon Management Strategy and Action Plan, has tried to claw back some credibility with a feeble claim that the council already uses a (single) "council vehicle powered by electricity." This is hardly ground breaking technology, which can be attested by the many milkmen in the area who have used electric floats for years.

Of course, South Tyneside Council has made significant inroads into reducing it's greenhouse emissions, with the Middlefields wind turbine and the Temple Park centre energy savings, but to achieve real reductions there needs to be a realistic and challenging target to aim for. The planet doesn't have time for political apathy.

We need big cuts in carbon dioxide. Correspondingly, we need big targets.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Digging the dirt

It seems that the East Boldon and Cleadon by-election is reaching fever pitch with the local Labour candidate desperate to rubbish political opponents. Lewis Atkinson, the new Labour 'strong local voice' candidate, has done little more than use his voice to criticise Conservative councillor David Potts (who isn't actually standing) and Lib Dem / Independent (dependent on which day of the week it seems) Alan Mordain.

Mr Atkinson is busy collecting a petition which demands an apology from the Conservatives over the recent expenses shenanigans. He says on his blog that "This is not a party-political issue." Who is he kidding? He's already trying to score political points with it, and all the signatories would make useful canvassing targets. The giveaway phrase on his petition is, "It may be used by me or the Labour Party to contact you."

Apart from the negative electioneering, I wondered, where have I heard the 'strong local voice' line before? Then it came to me, the last local election. Chris Haine of South Tyneside Green Party used it in a piece back in April when he commended Bryan Atkinson's fight to stop the second Tyne road tunnel. Although the 'strong local voice' concept is not a new one in politics, it has long formed one of the core values of the Green Party and had a place in the Party's national local election strategy in May.

So who is really going to be a strong local voice?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Church gets it in the Privates

The controversy of South Tyneside's Fellgate greenbelt and the church has reached the national press (see Church sinning green), featuring in an article in this week's Private Eye magazine. The magazine said of the Church's plans that it is "happy to make a fat pile cash out of it".

Monday, July 31, 2006

Church sinning green

A recent announcement by the Church of England that contributing to climate change is a sin should spark an immediate change in the Church's attitude to South Tyneside's Fellgate greenbelt.

The Church, in the guises of the Chapter of Durham Cathedral and the Church Commissioners for England, is pressing for the deletion of the farmland at Fellgate from the greenbelt to pave the way for a massive new industrial estate.

Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, who chairs the bishops’ environment panel said, “There is now an overriding imperative to walk more lightly upon the earth and we need to make our lifestyle decisions in that light." This was supported by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who said, "We make choices of moral significance and our relation to the environment is no exception.”

Whilst the Church should be commended for encouraging its members to lead a greener lifestyle and minimise their carbon emissions, it should put it's own house in order if it wants to maintain some credibility.

The Church owns most of the greenbelt at Fellgate, and is backing South Tyneside Council's plans to build a giant industrial estate on the site, from which the Church will no doubt make a handsome profit.

The planned industrial estate fails on all measures on environmental sustainability. The project will erode South Tyneside's greenbelt and lose ancient farmland forever. The selection of this site is specifically aimed at access by road so will only further contribute to the growth in carbon dioxide emissions by encouraging more travel by car.

The only way for the Church to avoid accusations of hypocrisy is to change its position on the Fellgate greenbelt, from being backers of environmental destruction for speculative financial gain, to champions of sustainability and conservation.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

RSS consultants must fess up

South Tyneside environmental campaigner Bryan Atkinson has won an important Freedom of Information decision from the Information Commissioner regarding a complaint he made against Environmental Resources Management Ltd (ERM), related to work that ERM carried out on behalf of the North East Regional Assembly.

The Information Commissioner has ruled in favour of Mr Atkinson in a complaint that was brought on his behalf by Friends of the Earth’s Rights & Justice Centre.

The complaint resulted from ERM’s refusal to supply environmental information relating to work they carried out on the Sustainability Appraisal of the North East Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS). The RSS will dictate all major planning decisions made in the North East over the next 15 years. ERM had initially refused to release the information on the grounds that as a private company it was exempt from the Environmental Information Regulations of the Freedom of Information Act.

Bryan Atkinson, who is a member of South Tyneside Friends of the Earth, said:

“This landmark ruling has positive implications for campaigners and communities up and down the country. It means public bodies such as councils and regional assemblies will not be able to suppress environmental information by sub contracting their responsibilities to the private sector.”

Phil Michaels, Head of Legal at Friends of the Earth said:

“This is an important decision. Members of the public are often unable to access important environmental information because the information is not held by a traditional public authority but by a private body carrying out an essentially public function. This decision should open the way for members of the public to get important environmental information from a range of private entities.”

The planning system is already weighted in favour of developers and their policitical backers. When public authorities employ private companies they have often protected relevant information by hiding behind 'commercial confidentiality'. This decision will at least make that a little bit harder.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Environmental justice has a cost

On Thursday, June 1st, both the Shields Gazette and Newcastle Journal reported comments by Andrew Sugden of the North East Chamber of Commerce, who criticised the granting of Legal Aid to green campaigner Bryan Atkinson for his legal challenge against the murky goings on behind the Environmental Impact Assessment for the second Tyne road tunnel.

Instead of moaning about the meagre funding granted for Bryan Atkinson's action, Andrew Sugden should aim his ire at the Tyne & Wear Passenger Transport Authority for squandering millions in public money on a folly which would prove to be an environmental catastrophe. In criticising the use of Legal Aid, the NECC is effectively declaring that access to justice should be the preserve of the rich.

Rather than being an "essential transport development", the tunnel would prove to be an environmental burden to local residents, exacerbating health problems in an area already blighted by A19 and tunnel traffic. The tunnel fails on sustainability terms - the extra traffic attracted will further contribute to the UK's growing carbon dioxide emissions at a time when we should be trying to reduce them.

The TWPTA and Government argue that the tunnel shouldn't be subject to a fully rigorous and detailed Environmental Impact Assessment. However, it's clearly in the public interest to resolve the issues behind the case, which will impact on future large-scale developments, from roads to nuclear power stations. It's paradoxical that the bigger the project, the less expectations there be from the EIA.

The TWPTA enjoys massive financial resources courtesy of the public purse, whilst a citizen without money can only oppose this juggernaut by relying on limited Legal Aid funds to cover the high cost of barristers and solicitors.

The tunnel case is a grossly unbalanced environmental David and Goliath showdown. Hopefully Legal Aid will be the sling to Bryan Atkinson's pebble.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Blair's Nuclear Legacy

Tony Blair's announcement tonight that nuclear power is "back on the agenda with a vengeance" reveals several interesting facets of his leadership.

For an issue of such national importance, he chose to reveal his pro-nuclear position to the employers' club, the CBI. Blair's last major announcement on energy in November 2005 was coincidentally at another CBI shindig. The message to the people is clear. Blair couldn't care less about the opinion of the public when it comes to important issues like energy and the environment, but makes sure that the interests of big business are pandered to.

By pre-empting the conclusions of the energy review, Blair is also saying that consultation is useless in the face of his own personal opinion. The Sustainable Development Commission has worked hard in producing a way forward in solving our energy problems without resorting to nuclear power. Jonathon Porrit must feel somewhat let down. Perhaps by being close to government Porrit felt he would have an opportunity to convey a green influence over government policy. This doesn't seem to be the case.

The drive to change the planning process to speed up the delivery of new nuclear power stations represents a shift of power from local planning authorities to the government. The planning system is already heavily weighted in the favour of developers. So much for David Miliband MP's 'practice of empowerment'.

Recent commentaries over Tony Blair's accession planning have hinted that he wants to leave a lasting legacy. Given that waste from nuclear power stations will be around in a radioactive state for tens of thousands of years, it seems that Blair's Legacy will still be here long after the Pyramids have turned to dust.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Brown fails the environment - again

Despite his promises to make this year's Budget a 'carbon budget', Chancellor Gordon Brown has failed yet again to provide an adequate Budget response to the threat of climate change. In summary, he will:
  • Freeze fuel duty increases until September
  • Apply a zero road tax rate for the "most environmentally friendly" cars and a new rate of £210 for the 1% highest carbon emitters
  • Retain home insulation grants to ensure a quarter of a million extra homes would be insulated over the next two years
  • "Plan to" index the climate change levy in line with inflation from 2007 to cut CO2 emissions further
  • Set up a new £1bn energy and environmental research institute, funded by government and private industry
  • Introduce new incentives for piloting smart metering and a new labelling scheme for energy efficient goods to make homes greener
He failed to:
  • Take any steps to curb the increase of emissions from the growth in aviation
  • Introduce nationwide council tax rebates and cut stamp duty for low-carbon, energy efficient homes to encourage householders to be more energy efficient, and install micro-generation systems
  • Reduce VAT on home insulation
  • Introduce tax breaks, grants and other incentives for householders to install micro-generation systems
  • Set an annual carbon budget
Environmentally, his Budget is a failure.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Don't do as I do

On the same day, Prince Charles claimed that climate change is the world's greatest threat. Whilst even the greenest of us suffer from pangs of guilt over our lifestyles, the Prince seems to be oblivious that such a statement from a man who flies everywhere, and drives guzzling Aston Martins, has a hint of hypocrisy.

Good day for good laws

It's great news that the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill passed its reading on Friday 17th March and finally looks like it is passing up to the House of Lords. This Bill will make it simpler for householders to fit microgeneration equipment like solar panels, domestic wind turbines, and combined heat & power units (CHP), and connect them to the grid to sell surplus electricity to wholesalers. This would mean that each home (and business) could become energy generators, reversing the trend to large remote sites. The Bill will also require Government and local authorities to implement, and measure the effectiveness of, strategies to combat climate change.

My MP (South Shields), David Miliband, couldn't attend.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Press pedal power

Tyneside newspaper the Journal quoted two extreme organisations in its article ‘Police, Camera, Crash’ on 6th March. It's clear that the newspaper has it’s own anti speed camera agenda.

The paper described the Association of British Drivers as 'a leading motoring group', which seems odd, as it isn't clear in which field the lobby group is leading. It certainly isn't membership as the ABD has less than 5,000 paid up members - a tiny proportion of the UK's 31 million drivers. It can't be in common sense as the ABD portrays climate change as a conspiracy. It isn't road safety as it campaigns to increase speed limits and classifies 20 mile per hour Home Zones as having "unreasonably low speed limits". The ABD is so rabid that it praised the prosecution of a nine-year-old road accident victim in Switzerland. Sensibly, the case was dismissed.

The Journal also quoted ABD affliliate Paul Smith. His ironically named "Safe Speed" organisation follows pretty much the same old anti speed camera pattern. The poor chap seems to have squandered years seeking in vain for proof that speed cameras make roads more dangerous.

It's a pity that in the interests of balance the Journal failed to get opinion from the likes of to Transport 2000 or Road Block to at least try and present an unbiased picture.

Instead of being the 'Voice of the North, it looks the Journal is happy being Voice of the Driver.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

New Labour loses old values

It seems that New Labour have begun to shrug off the last shackles of socialist ideology in Stephen Byers' announcement that the party's connections with the unions should be 'modernised', as he euphemistically put it.

Although the unions have for a long time played dead for New Labour, it seems they're not going to be 'playing' the part for long. New Labour doesn't want a "small, unrepresentative number of people" to affect Labour's policy making.

There is some hypocrisy here. Whilst the unions are being put out into the cold, New Labour welcomes the fat cats and consultants into it's loving tendrils.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Angry doodles

The clinically stupid and plain racist are up in arms, outraged that our boys in blue in London failed to bag loads of arrests at recent demonstrations against the so-called 'Muhammad Cartoons' in London. Apparently those protesters with the more militant bent should have been arrested for their threats of violence and revenge.

I don't believe that we should give in our rights to free speech every time someone's religious feelings are hurt. We've seen it with the efforts of the fantical Christian Voice's attempts to shut down "Jerry Springer - The Opera", and Sikh groups stopping the play "Behzti".

Anyhow, if your god or prophet is blessed and all-powerful, cartoons taking the piss aren't going to bother you too much. Besides, if it does get up your god's nose, he (assuming a your god is a man) can just send the cartoonists a plague of locusts, smite their asses, or simply wait until judgement day (or whatever day of reckoning your god has) to remind the doodlers of their evil deeds.

However, many fail to realise that protests like this are intelligence gold for the security services. Most demonstrations now, irrespective of the political purpose, have in attendance a contingent of police (and likely other security services) whose sole purpose at these events is to collect intelligence. Thousands of photographs and hours of video footage is taken and pored over by excited spooks.

Perhaps there is a point that the law should be seen to served. But any heavy handed attempts by the plod to wade into these demonstrations arresting folk would just scatter the radicals to whatever dark corner they came from.

So whilst it would be nice and suit our sensibilities to see these yobs arrested, it isn't the clever thing to do.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Opus doosie

Catholic group Opus Dei want the film version of The Da Vinci Code given an adult rating.

A spokesman said: "Any adult can distinguish reality from fiction. But you cannot expect a child to make proper judgements."

Following the logic that kids can't handle fiction, the Bible should be given an 18 rating, and the Church prevented from peddling their God stuff to impressionable childen.

Monday, January 16, 2006

South Tyneside Road Rage

South Tyneside Council have consulted fringe raging road lobby group the Association of British Drivers (ABD) over the borough's new road safety policy. The ABD group wants higher speeds on our roads, categorises South Tyneside's 20mph home zones as having "unreasonably low speed limits", and has spent years claiming that speeding doesn’t cause accidents.

It's easy to come to the conclusion that asking the ABD's opinions on road safety is like consulting the BNP on racial harmony.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Fog lamps

It seems odd that so many folk driving around don't seem to know that fog lamps are for when the weather is foggy. Are they ignorant of the fact that fog lamps burn the retinas of oncoming drivers, or is a sport amongst the more stupid of our road users? Perhaps the poor souls don't know how to switch their fog lamps off, like BMW drivers who don't seem to know where the indicator stalk is.