I have a special affinity for St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes. Over many years of writing for a newspaper, and later for this website, I seem to have homed in on issues that to me seem clear, logical and irrefutable – only to find most people think they can be supported only by someone considerably to the right of Attila the Hun and without his mitigating qualities.
How can this be? I don’t regard myself as right-wing at all. And I have strong doubts about the usefulness of such labels. Politics is circular: if you go far enough to the left, you suddenly pop out on the extreme and very angry right.
I see myself somewhere near the middle, bouncing up and down. I love people (well, most people), which is why I am suspicious about the desire to control them, especially if it’s for their own good. The sort of thing Oscar Wilde was thinking about when he said that “selfishness is not living as one wishes to live; it is asking others to live as one wishes to live”.
Hence wind turbines, road humps and 20mph limits.
“There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.” So said the philosopher Bertrand Russell, and while was probably not thinking about carbon emissions and speed limits, he might as well have been.
Wind turbines are ugly and inefficient; so the Government subsidises them.
Slow speed limits are not only unhelpful but dangerous, especially when they are camera-enforced. They induce complacency (I can’t possibly do any harm, because I’m going so slowly), and they encourage people to look at their speedometers instead of at the road.
A recent fatal crash was caused by a woman braking sharply when she saw a speed camera, though this was hardly mentioned in reports of the court case, which zeroed in on her use of a mobile phone shortly beforehand.
I do not wish to distract attention from the mobile phone use, because I think using a mobile phone – especially texting – while driving is so idiotic that it borders on the criminally insane. But the fact remains that if the camera was not there, that particular accident would probably not have happened.
And road humps are just ridiculous. They cause pain to elderly (and not so elderly) bus passengers, they damage vehicles and are dangerous for cyclists – among other things.
Totally crazy. I’m against them all, and a great deal more too. But I’m giving it all up and leaving it to St Jude. I have nothing more to say about them. It has all been said, and nothing changes. I give up. Future comments on this site will be in a very different vein.