The revolt of the motorists

The French gilets jaune movement has in part been a protest against the attempts of the elite to limit people’s uses of cars and vans. The movement began with demands to cut the taxes on petrol and diesel, and to resist more moves to make motoring ever dearer. Some of the protesters then went on to damage or obscure the cameras checking car speeds on French highways, rapidly taking a majority of them out of use. This followed an unpopular reduction in the speed limit .

The car to many is not merely an important symbol of personal freedom, but a vital means of getting to work, going to the shops, taking children to school and enjoying leisure time away from home. Many people want to learn to drive and acquire a car as soon as they are able, recognising how much more scope they will have to do as they wish in their lives if they have their own transport. The establishments of Europe see the car instead as an enemy of their vision of the future. They impose high taxes to reduce use of vehicles and to price people on lower incomes off the road altogether. They impose tougher regulations to limit the use of certain vehicles in certain places and at certain times. They are now threatening the whole car park of diesel and petrol cars, wanting to push people into owning an electric vehicle or giving up on personal transport altogether. They seem to think people can and should take the bus or train even when they live in rural areas with little or no access to such services.

Of course governments need to impose some rules on car drivers to ensure safer roads. It is sensible to have a testing regime for drivers and vehicles, and sensible to have road markings and road rules to avoid collisions. No-one disagrees with good measures to keep us safe. The problem comes when the rules and requirements multiply to the point where they can be a distraction or a problem for the safe driver, and where the whole exercise is one large attempt to take more money off the motorist with tax placed on tax to drive, own, buy and operate a vehicle.

The intervention in the market by the EU and member state governments to get more people to buy diesel cars worked well, only for the EU then to change its mind and tell us we had been wrong to follow their advice. Now they wish us to believe that if we take on an electric car we will in future be subsidised or taxed a lot less. People are very sceptical, fearing that if electric cars become popular then the subsidies will end and new taxes will be imposed as governments will want to replace the huge lost revenue from taxes on diesel and petrol. They also worry lest some unseen environmental problem with batteries emerges as emission issues arose late in the day with diesels.

In this vexed area of policy the car and van using public see hypocrisy from those who govern them. They seem to have plenty of access to prestigious cars without a thought for the cost as they are provided by the state. If cars are good enough for Mr Macron to get around in, aren’t they also necessary for French men and women as they go about their work?


  1. Mark B
    January 22, 2019

    Good morning.

    There are far too many people living and working in the same area. Even public transport is under strain. Governments I argue have decided to impose restrictions in order to finance infrastructure projects which have lagged behind population growth.

    The move from petrol to diesel and now to electric it to satisfy the car industry lobby. They have pressured governments to go down this route so that they can get their monies back on their huge investment in this field. Little consideration has been given, again, to the infrastructure ie new power stations and charging points. There really is no joined up thinking or rational debate, a result of being in the EU which works ‘Top down’ with mostly compliant governments. We really need to debate government policy on this post Leave, assuming that we will be Leaving, which I now very much doubt.

    1. Steve
      January 22, 2019

      Mark B

      Good post, though your first line does seem a little odd. Too many people not living and working in the same area, surely ?

      If they lived where they worked there wouldn’t be such a load on the motorways. However I am assuming they should therefore walk to work.

      Agreed – the car industry is lobbying to force us into parting with our cash for something which besides being useless, is also something we don’t want.

      Also agreed we shouldn’t celebrate yet, it isn’t over ’till the fat lady sings, and who knows what abuses of democracy will be perpetrated to keep us subservient to the EU.

      1. Andy
        January 22, 2019

        Brexit is not done on March 29. It is not done at the end of the transition. It is not done in your lifetime nor in mine.

        It is not done until it is overturned and its architects are dead or in prison. This is a war – and you are on the losing side.

        We have time on our side and you do not.

        Leading Brexiteers now have to deliver on the lies they told during the referendum campaign. When they fail – and they will – the demons it will unleash will blow them away. None of them have any inkling of what is coming their way.

        1. sm
          January 22, 2019

          I think you have spent too much time during your school holidays listening to Gotterdamerung.

        2. Edward2
          January 22, 2019

          Dark and openly threatening.
          You need to calm down Andy.

        3. Sir Joe Soap
          January 22, 2019

          In the long term, we’re all dead.

        4. Richard1
          January 22, 2019

          Your advocacy of prison for those who disagree with you is very much outside the British tradition. We haven’t imprisoned the fools who argued for the ERM and wanted interest rates hiked by5% in accordance with the rules, ruining businesses and throwing people out of their homes. Nor have the nincompoops who advocated the euro suffered punishment, nor even those EU-green blob types who foisted diesel upon us, killing people by the thousand. Fortunately we have a tolerant tradition of robust debate in this Country, alien to you apparently.

        5. Stephen Priest
          January 22, 2019

          Dear John Redwood

          Please do not go weak and wobbly and vote through the Withdrawal Agreement in the face of all the stream of current Brexit blocking amendments.

          May’s Withdrawal Agreement is Brexit blocking like all the others in the same way Grieve’s approximately 400 amendments are.

          If Parliament blocks Brexit they will have the ballot box to contend with. May’s Withdrawal Agreement means endless negotiations well into Michel Barnier’s retirement.


        6. Zorro
          January 22, 2019

          Andy, I think that you need to step back and reflect on how you might come across to a new reader on this site. I don’t think that a positive impression would be felt with the rather dark tone of your piece.


        7. John C.
          January 22, 2019

          You’re a bore. Either say something rational, or go away.

        8. Anonymous
          January 22, 2019


        9. Steve
          January 22, 2019


          “We have time on our side and you do not.”

          Rubbish, total and utter rubbish. Your lot are the ones running out of time, which is why you resort to unconstitutional law breaking.

          We are patriotic, we are devoted to our sovereignty, we outnumber you, and we are not snowflakes.

          This means brexit will happen whether you like it or not, and when we do leave the EU I am personally looking forward to seeing you desperately trying to get that egg off your face.

          However, God knows why I dignify your posts with a response, they’re always denial of facts, complaints of losing a referendum, and a concoction of vitriol and total make believe.

      2. Richard
        January 22, 2019

        Two recent articles on “the use of Article 24 of the GATT under WTO whereby both parties would agree to operate current terms of trade in relation to, for example, tariffs for a period of time while a free trade agreement (FTA) is being negotiated. Provided both parties commit to an FTA and set out to negotiate one, this period of time can be many years.”
        Summary: John Longworth: Very detailed: David Campbell Bannerman

      3. John C.
        January 22, 2019

        We clearly need good, frequent and cheap public transport in most areas, and decent roads in more rural areas. Everyone agrees, and it’s easy to say.
        Cars are necessary to carry awkward loads, lots of shopping, and vans are needed for deliveries and equipment. For commuting, they should generally be kept to a minimum. Given the rise in population, it just isn’t practical for people to jump into their cars when there is an alternative. Soon, we just won’t be able to move.

    2. L Jones
      January 22, 2019

      Mark – re your last sentence. If you keep saying it enough, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We should not be defeatist. It MUST happen.

    3. NickC
      January 22, 2019

      Mark B, It’s not the lobbying of the car industry so much as the lobbying of the CAGW fanatics.

      Typical of that sort of global warming hysteria was the Grauniad’s report in February 2004 which warned that major European cities would be sunk beneath rising seas, as Britain is plunged into a “Siberian” climate by 2020.

      Battery cars are being promoted by ignorant politicians on the back of that sort of greencrap trash. The damage done and money wasted on the political diesel fiasco will be as a drop in the ocean compared to the battery car calamity.

      1. Richard
        January 22, 2019

        And wind power is very expensive (money, birds & environment). Matt Ridley: And Lord Monckton – The Economics Behind Windmills on YouTube is spot on.

        With National Grid forced to pay “constraint payments”- “and often they will ask for more compensation than they are losing in income”.

  2. oldtimer
    January 22, 2019

    How true. Hypocrisy rules with a dose of deceit. The push for diesel was caused by the demand to cut car CO2 emissions. VW was the prime mover promoting diesel as an alternative. Then diesel particulates became the bogeyman. Both stages were marked by the imposition of demanding technical standards in short time periods by a political class ignorant of the implications and the complexities. The VW Group decided to take short cuts and fiddle its test results to get round the problem. It got found out. It has and is paying huge fines. Certain named VW executives would be wise not to travel to the USA for fear of arrest, trial etc
    Rinse and repeat but this time with the push for electric propulsion and self driving cars. These too will end in tears as the political class thinks it knows best. Overheating batteries, high voltages and vehicles with minds of their own will provide a potent mix for future disasters.

    1. Steve
      January 22, 2019


      “…..and vehicles with minds of their own…”

      Or controlled by someone else’s mind, to curtail your freedom and ensure you remain compliant. Easily done.

      Do you really think they’ll force these Orwellian gadgets on us because they’re concerned about the environment ?

      Smell the coffee.

      1. oldtimer
        January 22, 2019

        Of course. Many new vehicles now offer software over the air (SOTA) updates.This provides the manufacturer with the potential to control your vehicle. I read that JLR`s next generation of products will reduce the number of ECUs in each vehicle from about 20 to just 3. That will simplify the job for them even more.

    2. Mockbeggar
      January 22, 2019

      The proliferation of varying speed limits is, as you say, very distracting. In an unfamiliar area I spend my whole time looking out for speed limit signs or infrequent repeater signs to make sure I’m not booked for speeding by some hidden camera. Speed limits are, by their nature, arbitrary; what is unsafe on a Monday morning when children are being taken to school, maybe perfectly safe on a Sunday. The main road in Camber would be lethal on a hot Bank Holiday weekend at even 20 mph, but it’s practically deserted in the winter.
      I find car parks where you have to put in your number plate very irritating. If I buy four hours of parking and only need two, why shouldn’t I give away the balance to another motorist?

    3. Richard
      January 22, 2019

      German car manufacturers had a technological lead in diesel engines in the 1990s. A solution looking for a problem. Following Kyoto in 1997 “the European commission was lobbied strongly by big German car makers BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler, to incentivise diesel” “The subsequent EC 1998 Acea agreement with all European car makers was backed by then EU transport commissioner Neil Kinnock and UK environment secretary John Prescott. It committed passenger car-makers to reduce CO2 emissions by 25% over 10 years. It was practically an order to switch to diesel. The European car fleet was transformed from being almost entirely petrol to predominantly diesel.”

      The European Commission then sued the UK for breaching air pollution limits.

  3. Lifelogic
    January 22, 2019

    Exactly. Motorist to governments and LEAs are just cash cows to be mugged and inconvenienced. Cars and trucks are vital to people’s work, social life and to the economy in general.

    Trains and buses (contrary to BBC think) are no cleaner or more efficient than a modern cars in general. Buses take long and indirect routes and can have average depot to depot occupancy that can be in low single figures. They also stop and black the roads every few hundred yards. Trains need tracks, security, ticketing, staff stations and connections (perhaps by taxi) at each end. They often are far less efficient than a door to door car and certainly one with a full load of passengers.

    Frequently on public transport you have to take longer routes perhaps going into and out of say London when the car could go directly A to B. The car enables you to take luggage and give you a place to store things without carrying them round all day. It give you the flexibility to travel at the times you like (even in the small hours if that is what suits you). You can also change you plans easily as needed or pick up or drop off children on route.

    Electric cars/vans with current technology, have little going from them the energy still has to be generated. The battery is just a very expensive (and not very environmental) petrol tank. The only real advantage is in cities as the pollution is at the power station out of the city. Hybrids that can run on Battery in cities and petrol outside are perhaps the best compromise for many. This are they do not need massive batteries or have range limits.

    Often you can do several appointments in a car in just one day which might tax three days or being almost impossible on public transport, perhaps travelling three times the distance to do them. So attacking cars is hardly likely to improve business productivity.

    Taxis too are less efficient than cars. This as they need a professional driver and often have to make a double journey with the passenger one way and empty on the return or pickup. Also much waiting around for the next job. So why do some get to use bus lanes but cars do not?

    Freedom to choose please and not big government knows best as they do not!

    1. Lifelogic
      January 22, 2019

      Sort out more road space, bridges and tunnels to reduce polluting congestion (often deliberately caused by government or LEA policy congestion).

      1. Timaction
        January 22, 2019

        Congestion = Mass migration policy of the Tory Government whilst claiming otherwise! Still doing nothing about it after almost 9 years of misrule and incompetence.

        1. Adam
          January 22, 2019

          Agreed. Overpopulation is a fundamental cause of congestion of roads & many other services. The faults emerge rapidly, yet the remedies are slow or completely lacking, becoming almost irreversible.

      2. Mitchel
        January 22, 2019

        Zil lanes for the elite….because they’re worth it!

      3. hefner
        January 22, 2019

        More road space => more traffic: LL, you should know that, Principle of the increased entropy.

        1. Edward2
          January 22, 2019

          So reduce road space and there will be no traffic.
          You actually believe that Hefner?

          1. hefner
            January 23, 2019

            Ed2, ever heard of the difference between a bijection and an injection?

          2. Edward2
            January 23, 2019

            The road building programme lags way behind demand.
            So when a by pass that has been delayed for 20 years finally gets built it is busily used as soon as it opens.

        2. Lifelogic
          January 22, 2019

          Up to a point, but people do not want to spend all their time driving. Better to deter by road charging rather than by deliberate congestion as now, but only if you really have to.

    2. oldtimer
      January 22, 2019

      Travellers on Japan’s high speed bullet Trainain will know you can only take hand luggage on board. Your suitcase must travel separately. If you travel any distance (the point of a high speed bullet train) expect your luggage to travel separately by road and catch you up 24 hours later (if you are lucky).

    3. jerry
      January 22, 2019

      @LL; “Trains and buses (contrary to BBC think) are no cleaner or more efficient than a modern cars in general.”

      Please tell me of a MPV (or indeed stretched limousine) that can accommodate over 20 people, tell me of a bus that can accommodate over 90 people, tell me a car (other than taxi) that regularly carries more than 20 people in the course of its usual daily journey.

      “Also much waiting around for the next job.”

      Indeed that is what the private motor car does most of the time, either on the driveway at home or in the car park at the owners place of work…

      I’m all for the private car but lets not get tunnel vision, if you disbelieve the efficiency of trains and buses as people movers you do not remember the grid-locked roads, the need to turn parks into temporary car parks etc, in and around our cities and large towns whenever BR employees used to go on strike!

  4. Dominic
    January 22, 2019

    A pertinent and accurate assessment of what is happening not just in France but across Europe and indeed in the UK

    The political class across Europe and indeed in increasingly authoritarian Britain are becoming intolerant of freedom and democracy. Down that road leads social instability and resistance.

    While here in the UK we have a political class that’s become worryingly aggressive in their hatred of the common man in the street. They take away his voice, his vote and tamper with his thoughts through state sponsored propaganda.

    Liberal left fascism tries to control what we can say and what we must watch.

    Editors of newspapers are replaced using political pressure. Changes at the Express and the Daily Mail reveal something very sinister taking place in Britain.

    The BBC is out of control and not one single Tory MP ever stands up in the Commons and challenges the BBC’s intolerance and bias. Why?

    I admire those protestors. It takes courage to stand up and be counted. To confront authoritarianism and believe me what we are seeing is creeping authoritarianism not only across Europe but in this country as well

    We need a party and a leader that champions freedom (speech and thought) and liberty. A leader that rejects liberal left thought crime culture. A leader that champions the individual and rejects social group, victim based politics including all forms of identity politics and PC culture

    1. Gary C
      January 22, 2019

      @ Dominic

      Indeed, the politician’s in many countries are poking the wasps (Yellow Jackets) nest far too hard and continuing to do so will result in a swarm.

      1. Dan H.
        January 22, 2019

        Actually France here is a special case. For a long time in France, if one section of the population had a grievance which could only be solved by government intervention (which was quite often when so much economic activity was governed by the state) then the only way to make the government stop, listen and take notice was to call a general strike.

        This is a very stupid precedent to set.

        The French government are now reaping what they sowed; if the only way to make government listen is massed revolt, then massed revolt is what you get every single time there’s a grievance.

    2. jerry
      January 22, 2019

      @Dominic; Again your comment tells us far more about how far to the right your own politics is, and how ill-informed you really are, than it does anything else.

      “Liberal left fascism tries to control what we can say and what we must watch.”

      Really?! It was the “liberal left” that rid the country of the censorship of the theatre (via the Lord Chamberlain’s Office) and in broadcasting.

      “Editors of newspapers are replaced using political pressure. Changes at the Express and the Daily Mail reveal something very sinister taking place in Britain.”

      More conspiracy theory nonsense, the only media outlet were political pressure can perhaps be a applied is at the BBC, but even then it would be so publicly blatant as to do more harm than good to the politicos concerned, as it has when ever it has happened in the past.

      “The BBC is out of control and not one single Tory MP ever stands up in the Commons and challenges the BBC’s intolerance and bias. Why?”

      Because they would being ridicule upon themselves. On the other hand if they were to ask such questions of the UK broadcast industry, if not media industry as a whole -indeed the MSM in the UK is out of country, just look at how they treat Diana Abbott, never mind Mr Corbyn, or how they treated Neil Kinnock back in 1992 yet you claim the MSM is pro the “liberal left”…

    3. Merlin
      January 22, 2019

      Totally disagree. I think people used to be more respectful and accept that politics involves difficult choices.

      Nowadays everybody seems angry as hell and thinks they know how to run the country.

      My other, different fear, regarding popular protest is that Brexit remains a terrible idea and just because we leave the E.U, it doesn’t change the fact its a bad idea. I fear the mother of all backlashes when we leave as the mess that results will be put at the door of politicians rather than the British people – who, of course, are never wrong. (And yes, it’s an opinion, not fact.)

      1. John Hatfield
        January 22, 2019

        It has been calculated that a WTO Brexit would produce a GDP boost of 7 per cent to the UK economy over the next 15 years which would be worth about £140 billion.

  5. Lifelogic
    January 22, 2019

    We also need a revolt against Hammond’s appallingly high taxes on people who move homes or let out or rent property. Or people who chose to take private health cover or use private schools to save lighten the load on the NHS or state schools. Freedom of choice please, get the state and appallingly high taxes out of the way.

    We do not want dire state monopolies in health, transport, education plus endless “do as we say not as we do” from the establishment, the fake greens and Prince Charles types.

    1. Mitchel
      January 22, 2019

      You have the living saint,David Attenborough,and the terminally dull Prince William flying out to Davos this week to give the people that matter a lecture.Exactly who are they supposed to be representing?

    2. Lifelogic
      January 22, 2019

      David Attenborough has a nice voice for narration and seems to know a little about zoology. Alas he has fallen for the fashionable, co2 devil gas and catastrophic warming, climate alarmist religion – as nearly all at the BBC seem to have done.

      He needs to study more physics, maths, chaos theory and probability. Then he would understand that predicting the climate for 100 year hence is to say the least “impossible” – even if one did know the sun’s output, the world’s population, volcanic activity, genetic changes in plants, inventions and all the advances in technology, any meteor impacts and the likes for the next 100 years or so.

      But we do not even have this data. Time to grow up a bit at your age David.

  6. Everhopeful
    January 22, 2019

    Here the war on cars is continuing apace and the nearest town is becoming a boarded – up wreck as a result.
    A while ago we drove to a usually crowded car park near what was ( 10 years ago) a very thriving and lovely shopping area. It is now a dump where twice,in broad daylight we have witnessed gang fights.
    The car park was empty! We drove in. All payment machines covered over. We left since we know the draconian,no excuses parking fine system.
    Turned out you need an app to park there. No warning. Nothing.
    Elsewhere the car parks have become a nightmare of technology with metres that require you to type in your life history before being allowed to park . What with loading bays,twenty minute parking slots,residents parking and double yellows the shopping motorists gets the message. “ Neither welcome nor wanted here. Go shop online”
    For businesses this comes on top of the loss of footfall when banks shut down many premises after the damage they caused in 2008.
    Residents parking,very often given to residents with their own private parking just pushes the problem further along. We now have three broken down removal vans outside our garden literally being used for furniture storage,strange night-time goings on,vehicle repair and bedstead stacking against the fence. This because their “business” is in a new residents parking area about a mile away and they can not park there.
    Just like Brexit..needless,mindless chaos brought about by people who should be nowhere near power and authority. Doubtless they are following the agenda of creating car free towns.
    They just do not have the wit to understand that towns do not flourish without customers and customers need transport to get to the towns.
    Or maybe that’s the Orwellian plan. Derelict towns with people living in ex shops??

    1. Lifelogic
      January 22, 2019

      Indeed. Payment systems that require you to waste about ten minutes to operate them are a great irritation and put you off bothering with going in to town at all. I even received a ticket while waiting in a long queue to pay due to the complexity of the system and one machine being out of order. I appealed but still had to pay as the time going to a hearing would have cost me far more than my time was worth. Hardly justice you pay the fine anyway one way or the other, in the right or not.

      1. Everhopeful
        January 22, 2019

        Life logic
        The whole thing is lunacy. I got a fine for driving in a bus lane. Not my car as shown on council CCTV just a stolen number plate situation! Council just fired off penalty without checking. Luckily it was resolved but what a ***** mess!!!

        1. NickC
          January 22, 2019

          Everhopeful, Yes something similar happened to my wife’s car – a cloned number plate – leading to a parking fine 200 miles from where we live. Then a broken payment system when we visited the centre of Birmingham requiring two phone calls made from the car park to sort out.

    2. Lifelogic
      January 22, 2019

      Residents parking is often totally absurd. Parking it is restricted during the day but not at night. But generally it is at night when there is no space (as everyone is at home) and during the day loads of space but you cannot use it.

    3. Alan Jutson
      January 22, 2019


      Agree with many of your points about confused parking rules and payment by phone plus card only, especially when you are trying to communicate with an automated service, which will not even answer questions or recognise your voice.
      Rather than making parking easier to pay, so much automation makes things much more difficult and complicated.
      Wokingham has now joined in with this RinGo fiasco, where you must have a phone app, simply having money or a credit card is not good enough any more.

      More and more Towns and Cities seem to be going down the route of emission and congestion laws with huge entry fees, parking fees, or fines.
      London a prime example, followed by my recent experience of going to Brighton for the day.

      I see London will soon be regarded as an area within the boundaries of the North and South Circular roads, with a combined entry fee approaching £25.00 a day for diesels which are not Euro 6 compliant, thus including anything built before 2015 !
      Likewise older Coaches to be charged at £300 per day !

      God help you if you live, work or have a business within this area, and simply cannot afford a newish car, van or lorry.

      You will shortly have to have very good reasons indeed if you want to locate your business, staff, and travelling customers within such a zone !

  7. sm
    January 22, 2019

    Isn’t it strange that high-level politicians and civil servants across the world reject the fact that today’s world relies so heavily on modern, efficient transportation, whether by road, rail, sea or air – unless of course it suits their own needs?

    It’s almost as if they have a nostalgia for the days of the Sun King and his ilk, when those damn peasants knew their place…..

    1. NickC
      January 22, 2019

      Sm, Labour’s endorsement of a second referendum, and Theresa May’s revolving-door Remain policies, and enormous green taxes to pay for global warming hysteria, lead inexorably to the Yellow Jacket riots. Because it’s the only thing they understand, unfortunately.

  8. Roy Grainger
    January 22, 2019

    From April it will cost me £24 a day to drive my diesel car in Central London. However it will cost black cabs (who emit 16% of all the NOx and 25% of all the particulates in London) nothing because they are exempt. Private taxis will have to pay though. The lack of logic shows what a political game it is.

    1. Dominic
      January 22, 2019

      Black Cabs enjoy Labour protection. Like all of their interest groups do.

      Align yourself with Labour and you can say and do whatever you like. The normal rules of behaviour do not apply to you

      Trump is demonised. Corbyn isn’t demonised. Why?

    2. Lifelogic
      January 22, 2019

      It is about money and taxation not pollution control (that is just the excuse). Clearly if you are going to invest in cleaner air you would start with the vehicles that are in heavy & all day and night use in the city like taxis, buses, delivery drivers ….. and not private motorists. Also you would try to relieve congestion not deliberately cause it by constricting the roads and setting lights to red most of the time.

    3. Lifelogic
      January 22, 2019

      Why is a private taxi treated any differently than a black cab a taxi is a taxi after all? Some Taxis are more equal than others it seems but why!

    4. William
      January 22, 2019

      The protectionism being given to black cabs is absurd.

      1. Stred
        January 22, 2019

        Black cab drivers are being forced to use the new white hybrid electric cab costing £57k. Few can afford it and cab fares will have to rise. They need to make other cab drivers, who can buy a secondhand hybrid for £5k, expensive too. Khant gets lots more money to waste on fireworks snd PR either way.

      2. Anonymous
        January 22, 2019

        The alternative is race-to-bottom on wages.

        Ah. I see. You want Uber drivers living in their cars between shifts (or seven to a room.)


        Uber drivers raising families of ten (as I have spoken to) with state top-ups making up most of their money.

        Your average black taxi driver will still be living with Mum or in a small flat some way out of London.

        PS, Three times I’ve had to grab the steering wheel of an Uber driver. Once going onto a motorway the wrong way, once on the wrong side of a B road and once headed into a traffic island. How many accidents have been caused by *cheap* taxi drivers ? As with knife crime we will never be told the true figure.

        1. a-tracy
          January 25, 2019

          I’m surprised with your views you use Uber?

  9. Richard1
    January 22, 2019

    If there is to be the mass move over to electric cars, there needs to be an increase of several orders of magnitude of charging infrastructure and an increase of c. 50% in the capacity of the electricity grid. Obviously this isn’t going to come from wind farms and solar panels, so govts also need to be honest about where it will come from. Gas is the obvious answer but the green blob is opposed to that.

    1. jerry
      January 22, 2019

      @Richard1; “Gas is the obvious answer”

      No, the most obvious solution is Nuclear, but yes govt needs to be more honest, the cost of these new power station projects needs to be taken back in house and on-book, the tax payer is paying the bill what ever, either via their taxes or via their electricity bills.

    2. Merlin
      January 22, 2019

      The green blob? Are we getting ideological again.

      Not everyone who cares about the environment is a ‘leftie millennial snowflake’ you know.

      A better answer might be – it’s a complex question and energy production in this country is likely to come from a number of sources including gas, nuclear, renewables and even coal (which bizarrely isn’t mentioned).

      Also the green blob isn’t opposed to gas. It’s simply that the world is producing a lot of pollution and plastic. We can’t keep doing it as nobody wants to be up to their knees in garbage and breathing in smog, so something needs to be done. Probably a mix of wasting less, recycling more and polluting less.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 22, 2019

        I care about the environment the trouble is the “solutions” pushed by the green loons do not work and make things worse in general not better.

    3. Dan H.
      January 22, 2019

      Actually the answer is lots of small, modular nuclear reactors. Incorporating thorium into the reaction fuel mix is also a good idea, as is building the reprocessing capacity to recycle nuclear fuels and destroy long half-life “sludge”.

      It is also quite a good idea to start thinking about large community heating projects. Most of the energy used in the UK is used to heat houses; retro-fitting a steam supply system with a water recycle line under each steam line would solve this problem.

    4. NickC
      January 22, 2019

      Richard1, According to my calculations the energy provided by the grid would have to more than double, assuming all road transport becomes battery powered. A lot more than 50%.

      In theory the capacity utilisation factor could be increased – most obviously by load smoothing, eg: by charging car batteries overnight – but that is unlikely to be anywhere near enough. That is because CUF is heavily degraded by the intermittent so-called “renewables” as they are given priority.

      So we would have to approximately double the number of power stations. And we barely have enough now to keep the grid going in winter. To build another 380 power stations by 2040 is for all practical purposes impossible. Even the 50% (190 power stations) – meaning c9 every year – is not realistic.

  10. Sakara Gold
    January 22, 2019

    I think the real issue is the vehicle exhaust emmisions which are causing the highly unpleasant pollution in our cities. It’s caused by both petrol and diesel engines and in central London, it is quite choking.

    If we wish to do something about it, we could expand the subsidies when buying EV’s, introduce a proper scrappage scheme for the highly polluting diesel vehicles, expand the electric charging infrastructure and generally encourage the public to move to EV,s

    After the government encouraged the public to buy diesel cars this might be difficult, but my view is we have to try

    1. Stred
      January 22, 2019

      Measured pollution levels in London have actually been reducing, as engines and filters improved. They ate a quarter of what they were. It is the standards legislated which have been lowered, firstly by the EU and now much lower by the UN. The people who are badly affected are in places like China, India, Mexico and Nigeria. But all the action is in the EU and US, where pollution is ten times less. My own breathing is poor but that is probably because I lived in the North Midlands, where pollution was as bad or worse than China until the Clean Air Act came in in the 1950s.

    2. NickC
      January 22, 2019

      Sakara Gold, Pure battery powered EVs are unlikely to be the answer. Hybrids and fuel cell EVs are a more realistic long term proposition. In a battery EV the conversion of electricity to power at the roadwheel is more efficient than IC engined vehicles. But the inefficiencies in the chain to the roadwheel degrade the overall efficiency. Power station – transmission – charging – discharging, plus battery degradation and recycling issues, all add up to poor overall results. The environmental damage is probably of similar magnitude, just in different places.

  11. margaret
    January 22, 2019

    The more people , the more cars, the more traffic problems.Perhaps the amount any house should have should be limited for example a house with a mother and father and 6 children living all under the same roof should not have 8 cars.

    1. Steve
      January 22, 2019


      I personally have three.

      1. Stred
        January 22, 2019

        I have four. Two are diesels in good condition that I can’t sell except for scrap, so I use them to keep mileage down on the new ones. I bought a new big estate to replace the old one which also was in vgc but Hammond hammered with tax. Then the council brought in resident parking st £156 pa and reduced spaces by 50% on most roads and sold more than one space per house. So I bought a cheap mini so that I have a chance to find a space after 6pm. Three are kept off road and I only drive one at a time. This is all because of Hammond’s folly, as is the collapse in sales.

        1. margaret
          January 22, 2019

          If it is a personal choice for you alone then there isn’t a problem as you cannot drive them all at the same time. Its’s when the families multiple cars are being used simultaneously. There are simply too many people and too many cars. This is the root cause and we cannot keep brushing it up under the carpet . We have not got the capacity to hold any more.!
          There is non so blind as those that won’t see.

    2. Mark B
      January 22, 2019

      Oh the stories I could tell with neighbours and their multiple cars, vans, camper vans etc. One such would take over the entire street if they could. Selfish and greedy.

    3. Anonymous
      January 22, 2019

      If the children are grown up and forced to live at home because of high house costs then it’s an extra kick in the teeth to deny them a car.

      At this rate of inter-generational inequality we WILL get communism.

      1. margaret
        January 22, 2019

        So we pollute and clog up everywhere so those who won’t share in the same family. Something wrong their mate.
        Well I won’t harp back to China’s one child per family situation , but for heavens sake some one has to be practical .

  12. rick hamilton
    January 22, 2019

    JR You say ‘it is sensible to have road markings…’ which it is, on the face of it . However do you know that a Dutch city centre removed all traffic lights, lines on the road etc and the result was that accidents went down. Drivers are much more careful when they have to work out what to do for themselves.

    Of course our nannying political class could never allow such liberty, since ever more regulation and ever more overpaid local bureaucrats to enforce it appears to be the general policy. Good government should be capable of incentives and motivation just as much as control and oppression.

    In another area of regulation, the recent demand for licensing of ‘mixed used’ landlords not only demands an extortionate payment but warns that any violation carries ‘unlimited penalties’. Are they bringing back the death penalty for anyone who dares to move his fridge (part of the detail required) or is it just more of the epidemic of scaremongering to keep the peasants in line?

  13. Javelin
    January 22, 2019

    Limiting car use is relatively minor compared to ignoring democratic votes when the elites don’t like it’s use.

    The American wat of independence, the UN having powers to give countries political self determination, or even the minor poll tax riots shows major changes when Parliament tries to impose itself unjustly on the will of the people.

    It will be the end of the LibLabCons. The end of The House of Lords. The new party in Government would force many changes to the constitution. Not least the powers of the people over parliament. We could see a great deal more use of referendums to decide many political issues rather than rely on Parliament.

    MPs have shown themselves to be elitists – 70k a year elitists. Which is the average City IT worker or GPs salary. So MPs are not as special as they think they are.

    1. Javelin
      January 22, 2019

      Parliament doesn’t just need to flush out all the bad faith it needs to be recalibrated.

      A replacement House of Lords with proportional representation. A large minority of the new House should have the power to organise referendums which will be binding on the majority. Government laws of whatever sort should then be held up whilst the public is consulted on them.

      There should be an annual internet questionnaire where things such as MPs pay, immigration and sentencing guidelines are set by the public so that taxation and representation are linked.

      1. Javelin
        January 22, 2019

        In other words the people need to assert themselves over Parliament.

    2. A.Sedgwick
      January 22, 2019

      Blair blew the removal of HoL and Corby is not bright enough to see it is an election winner, along with an English Parliament.

    3. Original Richard
      January 23, 2019

      We need a more powerful Recall of MPs Act to include the way MPs are voting and not just for misdemeanors.

  14. L Jones
    January 22, 2019

    They’re not ”elite”, Sir John.

  15. Stred
    January 22, 2019

    The subject of batteries was raised in my favourite energy blog recently and a Spanish engineer who had been working for a car manufacturer on battery technology wrote in under a pseudonym. He revealed that electric car battery life is turning out to be much less than the advertised figures, especially in hot countries, that they do not last as long when fully discharged each time and that cooling technology is expensive. This will become known in a few years time.

    People are not daft and the Gilets knew that Macron is pushing false green ideology. If only we had their spirit of defiance in the UK.

  16. gyges
    January 22, 2019

    Hi John
    Use your position as an MP to ask (i) what is happening to lithium batteries at the end of their use; (ii) ask for details of the toxic nature of the electrolyte used in lithium batteries; and, (iii) where does the lithium come from to fill the batteries and the environmental consequence of said?

    1. eeyore
      January 22, 2019

      Those who like horror films should watch one of the many videos online of Li batteries going up in flames. Once alight they cannot be put out. An accident involving a burning battery vehicle would be a nasty business indeed.

    2. Deborah
      January 22, 2019

      I picked up this snippet about a year ago….

      There is 10 kilos of lithium in an electric car’s battery.
      37,000 tons of Lithium is produced every year , if all of it goes to produce electric cars it would mean we would only be able to produce 3,700,000 cars,
      The world car production is 90,000,000 cars.
      The total reserves of Lithium is 13,000,000 tons , enough for the production of 1.3 billion cars, or 15 years of electric car production.
      The planned increase production of Lithium isn’t even enough to cover the demand of the planned Tesla car production.
      Oh and much of the worlds supply of Lithium is to be found in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, China, Congo, Russia, Serbia.

      Happy electric motoring all………………..

      1. Mark B
        January 22, 2019

        The plan is to force us onto public transport by making personal transport very expensive.

    3. Steve
      January 22, 2019


      “where does the lithium come from to fill the batteries and the environmental consequence of said?”

      Afghanistan is rich in lithium deposits. (just saying)

      1. Mitchel
        January 22, 2019

        “Afghanistan is rich in lithium deposits…”

        According to some sources,the “Saudi Arabia of lithium” but have the reserves actually been proven yet?I’m not particularly in touch but I understood these assertions were based on old Soviet geological surveys and a cursory US report from 2007.And furthermore I’m not sure the Afghan government has effective control over the key regions.

        And the USA has already spent $1 trn-more than the Marshall Plan- in Afghanistan without much obvious benefit.

  17. a-tracy
    January 22, 2019

    This is all about poor planning throughout the last century, if you have a hospital and you want it to serve a large area make sure it is built near a transport hub (bus and tram/train) with regular links at low cost and people will use it rather than have problems parking.

    I hope the government tries to advance the driverless train services like the dlr in London. To go from my town to Manchester Airport on public transport takes 2.5 to 3 hours and there are only 16 buses per day the bus services stop at 6pm. In a car, it takes 40 minutes.

    To get to our main City takes 2 buses and 2 trains in 1hr 30mins; or 1hr 53 mins – 2 buses 1 train; in a car it takes 30 minutes.

    We get all the old stinky double-decker buses from the Cities at the end of their life, whilst the City gets the new modern buses and these travel around our narrow estate roads spewing out diesel smoke and breaking down regularly, blocking roads and causing public transport users to be late for school and work saw one just this morning!

    These decisions are made from London, a City very well connected by public transport, people complain if they wait more than 5 to 10 minutes even at weekends for their next connection. I would put all decision makes in our town without a car before they make any tax changes!!

    1. Dennisa
      January 22, 2019

      “To get to our main City takes 2 buses and 2 trains in 1hr 30mins; or 1hr 53 mins – 2 buses 1 train; in a car it takes 30 minutes.”

      But just think of the benefits to come from HS2….

      Until a year ago, before I moved, I had to drive 25 miles just to get to a station.

  18. formula57
    January 22, 2019

    Macron seems as much a busted flush as does May but at least his antics have given us the quaint aphorism “red sky at night, Renaults alight”. In these final few weeks of the May premiership, more needs to be done to provide her with a similar cultural legacy or Macron will have beaten her in that too.

  19. oldwulf
    January 22, 2019

    So governments cannot be trusted.
    Quelle surprise.

    1. Merlin
      January 22, 2019

      This is the sort of cheap response that makes me unhappy.

      Governments can be trusted. It’s just that people expect too much of them.

      In the current situation, whatever the government’s stuffed whatever it does. But carp from the sidelines by all means.

      1. NickC
        January 22, 2019

        Merlin, No, governments have shown they cannot be trusted. We voted to leave the EU treaties. Neither this government (Tory) nor the next (Labour) are prepared to implement our vote. Trust them? You have to be joking!

  20. They Work for Us?
    January 22, 2019

    The general public do not grasp, probably because they are out trying to earn a living how anti democratic we have become as a result of “new think, lefty “liberal” government”.
    We are informed, several times a year of proposed changes that will dramatically affect our way of life and cause us expense and inconvenience without the ability to say a resounding “No”, mean it and insist on it.

    We (the public) have not agreed to the need for decarbonisation in this country. The need for it in this country is scientifically highly questionable yet we are expected to replace our cars for electric ones, give up gas fired central heating etc etc. We should say no to it and de-elect any MP and councillor that supports it. Minority pressure groups should be treated as such and ignored. Windsor Davies RIP had it right “Oh dear, what a pity, never mind” Caroline Lucas, a one MP party please take note. Direct Democracy would sort this except MPs have become accustomed to not doing how they are told.

    Off topic, thank you for all you are doing to promote proper Brexit.

    1. a-tracy
      January 22, 2019

      The problem with this is that sometimes, just sometimes people are very resistant to change that works out to be ok. I think of the seatbelt law; wheely bins (although the service savings of this weren’t passed on to the end user when they personally have all the work to do, dragging the bin to the edge of their property, separating waste and problems having to go to the tip after being on holiday); motorbike helmets etc.

      The French have led the way with the gillet jeunes movement on mostly peaceful large protest.

  21. Kevin
    January 22, 2019

    “The intervention…by the EU…worked well, only for the EU then to change its mind”

    Speaking of the EU, on 27th December you listed “8 things wrong with the Withdrawal Agreement”. I believe the following is a reasonable summary of your points:
    1. The loss of bargaining power.
    2. The money given for nothing in return that we do not legally owe them.
    3. We have to accept and follow any law they pass for the next two years or more.
    4. We cannot sign any trade deals during the implementation period.
    5. We might be another 45 months stuck in the EU.
    6. The Irish backstop splits the UK up.
    7. The Withdrawal Agreement is legally binding. The Political Declaration is a vague wish list.
    8 Far from ending business uncertainty it prolongs it and makes it worse, as it makes a good outcome for the UK less likely.

    I found it very disconcerting yesterday to see video clips of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson in which they seemed content to focus on the importance of point 6 only (Mr. Johnson did raise point 7, while Mr. Rees-Mogg raised point 2, but in both cases only in the apparent context of addressing point 6).

    Am I misunderstanding their approach? If not – what are they thinking?

    Reply I stand by my analysis as do many in the ERG

  22. Alan Joyce
    January 22, 2019

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    MP’s, with some notable exceptions, can add making a misery of the lives of motorists to their other ‘achievements’ which are too numerous to mention here.

    That is why I am surprised that some of them advocate a citizen’s assembly as a means of solving the Brexit conundrum.

    What, I wonder, would MP’s do if the citizen’s assembly arrived at a successful solution? Presumably they would first announce it was merely advisory then split a dozen ways over how to implement it. The people might even conclude that other intractable problems might best be handled by them?

    The government seems to be encouraging motorists to switch to electric cars. Perhaps, when there is insufficient electricity to recharge millions of car batteries, because of their mismanagement of the power industry, they will have succeeded in limiting people’s use of their cars. Result!

  23. Bob
    January 22, 2019

    I heard Brexiteer IDS on the R4 Toady program today being constantly interrupted by the presenter. A little while later Amber Rudd’s Remoaning brother Roland was on and allowed to speak uninterrupted, almost as if the presenter couldn’t see any need to challenge his views.

    1. Peter Wood
      January 22, 2019

      I heard it also, IDS is too polite, I’m hoping to hear one of the senior Tory’s to tell an interviewer to ‘shut-up and listen’ while on air. It may not be polite but the interviewer will comply. Sadly, IDS got sidetracked and started to waffle, it is ever thus.

    2. bigneil
      January 22, 2019

      Radio Sheffield’s Toby Foster does the same. He had someone on ( sorry can’t remember name) that he talked over every time he answered Toby’s questions. Yet minutes later a Sheffield councillor……….was on the phone – -completely uninterrupted.

    3. Trimperley
      January 22, 2019

      Have given up listening to R4, now stream LBC to my car radio. Its much better than BBC radio and you get to hear a wider range of views from folks right and left who would never be heard on R4.

    4. Merlin
      January 22, 2019

      Could also be because IDS (and Diane Abbott) tend to consistently make foolish statements?

      Such as IDS’s moronic comment that ‘not one job will be lost because of Brexit.’ Talk about giving ammunition to the Remain side. The man seems to think Brexit will answer all our problems and the E.U are some evil force hellbent on our ruin. Oh, and he also gave us universal credit. Another example of ideology trumping common sense.

      1. NickC
        January 22, 2019

        Merlin, Errrmmmm . . . first we haven’t left; second “despite” the Brexit vote – which was predicted to remove 500,000 jobs – we’ve actually seen an increase of about 500,000. So IDS was right, and you are wrong.

    5. sm
      January 22, 2019

      I have met Sir John on at least 3 occasions, and know Mr Duncan Smith well, and can confirm they are both extremely polite…however, I would like to know why neither of them will say to a permanently-interrupting interviewer:

      “Why bother to invite me on your programme if you won’t let me speak?”

      1. Steve
        January 22, 2019


        Because they’re dignified people.

        Personally I am not so dignified, if it were me I’d chuck the mic at the interviewer and walk off, soon as it was evident the interviewer was biased.

  24. Steve
    January 22, 2019

    They Work For Us -supposedly.

    “We (the public) have not agreed to the need for decarbonisation in this country. The need for it in this country is scientifically highly questionable yet we are expected to replace our cars for electric ones”

    You might argue that why should we on our relatively small island, be expected to tolerate being mugged by our own governments while China and India with populations of over 1 billion each, are the ones stinking the planet out.

    If the environment was a concern both of those countries should be the ones cleaning up their act, not us.

    1. DaveK
      January 22, 2019

      It appears to be all part of the UN (via the IPCC) plan.

      From the UN IPCC Official:

      “(EDENHOFER): First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy”.

  25. JimS
    January 22, 2019

    I understand that having an engine management warning light on is a reason to fail an MOT.

    Unfortunately my experience (of three vehicles) is that the ‘technicians’ haven’t got a clue as to what needs fixing. The subsequent, testing, ‘repair’, re-test, ‘repair’, re-test, ‘repair’ cycle can exceed the value of the car.

    One more car off the road – which was probably the plan all along!

    1. Big John
      January 22, 2019

      Just remove the light bulb.

  26. agricola
    January 22, 2019

    The freedom to drive oneself within reason where and when one wishes is a freedom that politicians restrict at their peril. It is one of many areas where we suffer the appalling ignorance of politicians. There are areas in professional UK that work superbly well despite politicians. The NHS is thankfully one where the politicos refrain from advising on the transplanting of hearts. They do however manipulate the purse strings often disastrously. Aircraft operation is another area they are wise to leave to professionals, but when asked to do something about the wanton flying of drones the politicians ignore the professionals and develope useless solutions of their own that lead to the Gatwick fiasco.
    Returning to vehicles, they the politicians,ignore technical developments that make and can make diesels in particular much less toxic,but choose to mouth off against them. Result diesel production in the UK plummets and JLR set up a factory in Slovakia making 4500 workers redundant in Solihull. These same politicos push for electric vehicles while having failed to secure our supply of electricity for current needs. Witness Hitachi pulling out of the Anglesey project and the unbelievable expense of the Chinese/French project in Somerset.
    I conclude that the quality of politicians and civil service we employ are totally unfit for purpose. The present dishonesty of politicians in what I see as the current Brexit fiasco visibly exudes from their pores. We the electorate would be better trying to herd cats.

  27. oldtimer
    January 22, 2019

    Commuter trains indeed make travel into major cities a feasible if at times uncomfortable proposition. but they also have peak usage times twice a day with longer periods of relative idleness for the remainder of it. They require, of course, significant capital assets and a small army of permanent staff to keep them running. Like all modes of transport, they have their sweet spots (of time, cost. distance, convenience) where they out compete the alternatives. I do note that users dislike the annual hikes in rail fares needed to update and maintain the system.

    Although buses max out at c90 passengers, I have seen situations (Hong Kong many years ago) where the passengers had other ideas.

  28. Anonymous
    January 22, 2019

    It is quite clear they want us peasants eating rice (veganism) and riding bicycles.

    The gilet jaunes movement’s antic are not my preferred way of doing things (the ballot box) but, for the first time in my life, I find myself applauding rioters in a western country. Andy, Newmania, Margaret Howard certainly don’t respect our peaceful methods and we still get called a ‘mob’ by at least one of them.

    The bloody Tories.

    I did better than get on my bike. I took responsibility for myself and got a car to find employment. Now you tax and punish me for it.

    I did my bit in limiting the size of my family. Now you cram my country with people while ordering me to reduce my carbon footbprint.

    You asked us to vote and so we did. Now you subvert the result.


    Your competition is no longer UKIP. It’s a Communist (sympathiser?) that any decent government woud have seen off years ago.

    I’m voting for him.

    Why ?

    Because if we’re going to be a socialist state then let us be a real one. I cannot take the insult that the Tory party has become. It even has more care and respect for prisoners than it does its own voters !

    1. Anonymous
      January 22, 2019

      PS, Log burners.

      I’ve just got back from a run. I don’t need to be a toxicologist to know that these fumes aren’t good – far worse than traffic.

  29. Den
    January 22, 2019

    I suspect the Brussels cabal are using the fear fact of AGW to further their aim take vehicles off of the road. Like all of those totalitarians who live in their own Palace bubble they cannot and obviously refuse to empathise with their ‘subjects’.

    I beggars belief that there are those both here and throughout the European Union who do not have a problem with this. Perhaps they are complacent or apathetic or neophobic or more likely, brainwashed . Much like the old citizens of the USSR.

  30. MB
    January 22, 2019

    Battery electric cars are not the way to go. Where are the batteries that can provide 400+ miles of range and where are the batteries that can be re-charged in a few minutes.
    Has the government got the necessary plans in place for the extra power stations to handle re-charging demand ? I think not.

    How would those people who live in flats or where there is no private driveway, re-charge their electric car ? With a long wire over the pavement or from the window of a flat ?
    don’t think so. Maybe they would not be allowed to own a car.

    Why is this government not promoting hydrogen fuel cell cars. The emissions are just water, and they can be re-fuelled in anout the same length of time as a petrol car, in a few minutes.

    The only thing lacking is the infrasture, as was the cae in the early days of motoring when petrol stations were few and far between.

    1. formula57
      January 22, 2019

      @ MB “…where are the batteries that can be re-charged in a few minutes” – apparently they might be at StoreDot which is developing battery technology that could see EV charging times reduced to similar duration to that for fueling ICE vehicles.

      Hydrogen fuel cells do appear attractive but the cost of producing the hydrogen is unappealingly high I believe.

      1. hefner
        January 22, 2019

        There is an item on cars with hydrogen fuel cell technology in the Telegraph on 11 July 2018, a rather balanced account of the advantages and present drawbacks of the technology, the main one being how hydrogen is being produced to start with (clue: it requires energy).

        1. Stred
          January 23, 2019

          50% grid electricity is gas to support renewable. Grid loss plus electrolysis to make hydrogen. Then hydrogen leakage through pipes or fuel to power tankers. Then loss in the fuel cell and electric motor or IC engine. In the end extra generation means no CO2 saving.

    2. Original Richard
      January 23, 2019

      Using hydrogen has two advantages :

      1) It can be used to store excess wind and solar energy when they are producing more than the current consumption. It is currently a better and cheaper method of storage than batteries.

      2) It could also be used to replace natural gas for CH in homes thus eliminating the need to replace all gas boilers with electric. The old coal gas was essentially hydrogen.

  31. Bryan Harris
    January 22, 2019

    So labour have another excuse for allowing our roads to deteriorate to the point they have, while they were in power, having spent practically nothing in 14 wasted years – “The EU told us not spend money on roads.”
    Our government is as responsible as any for the dire state of our transport networks, but at least the Tories have been trying to improve some aspects.
    There is, however, this crazy idea that we don’t need more capacity or more car parks, despite cars flooding onto the roads – The government actively encourages more cars to be built, while the older ones remain active. The mayhem caused by congestion is therefore self created.
    Never mind what the environmentalists want, the government doubles it – There is no competent master plan to enable people to move where they need to, necessary or otherwise….. and I’ve yet to see any science or logic applied to our road and rails, for example, There has never been a national survey to work out where people travel to or why?
    So yes, it is viable to blame the EU for many of our problems due to their inept management, but as the EU elite keep saying to May, “We have to work out and decide exactly what we do want”.

  32. agricola
    January 22, 2019

    When we Brexit we will move into an area where MPs are capable of thinking things through by themselves and making decisions they will have responsibility for. Belonging to the EU has reduced them to the function of social workers. Takers of instruction from above and little else. This change of job description will make many of them unfit for the positions they hold. Just now they are in an anarchic state, neither taking guidance from government, hardly surprising in the circumstances, nor from the people who elected them. The latter is more serious because via speeches and numerous votes in Parliament they confirmed that they would uphold the will of the people. Too many are congenitally dishonest and many are sufficiently myopic to think this an essential on their CV.

    1. Mark B
      January 22, 2019

      I totally agree.

  33. Oh yea
    January 22, 2019

    They are a mob. Macron was elected with a decent majority a short time ago and openly stated many times he was intending to increase taxes, integrate with the EU in all ways. The French voted for it. The Left was wiped out. Ms Le Pen did not do well enough for others.
    They have disrupted a major European city, endangered life, destroyed property, prevented people from going about their lawful business. The French police have been weak as usual in clearing the centre of Paris. We expect our police to have it done were it to happen here in 12 hours or less.

  34. Javelin
    January 22, 2019

    I like to track comments in the online news to indicate public opinion. Over the past 10 years news comments are the best predictors of future intentions, as they rehearse arguments in public and make them legitimate.

    So a quick read of the top 20 Daily Mail comments.

    I see the following non-anonymous comments saying they are “impotent with rage”, threatening “revolt” or “war”, calling politicians “imbeciles” who are “damaging democracy”.

    These comments are a new trend over the past two weeks and are getting tens of thousands of upticks.

    I haven’t even looked at the Daily Express or Sun yet where comments like this started to emerge a couple of months ago.

    A guy just drove a digger into a hotel in Liverpool because of some far less serious reason. These comments are warnings made by a large number of real people in a public forum.

    Here are the comments.

    “If Brexit is not delivered by 29.03.19, we, the Brexiteers, will make French revolts look like a weekend at the fun fair. Be prepared Remainers.”



    “Absolutely. Leave won. The rebels are the sad little remoaners trying to thwart the will of the people and damage democracy.”

    “LEAVE MEANS LEAVE. NO DEAL BETTER THAN A BAD DEAL. This will not be forgotten at next election I can assure you. Children in the playground behave better than you imbeciles. “

    “Cancelling Brexit would be a declaration of war on the people by Parliament”


  35. Man of Kent
    January 22, 2019

    In my part of the Weald we have a frequent bus service .
    Unfortunately most of the buse are old double deckers that impede traffic in the High streets while idling at the stops emitting noxious fumes.
    This would not be so bad if they were full but they are not .
    They approach full to get kids to and from school but are quite out of proportion to the roads ,towns and villages.
    This AONB is anything but with these monsters on the road .

  36. Aside
    January 22, 2019

    I am afraid today’s article lacks in substance. A few facts:
    1 Volkswagen (I am not sure whether Volkswagen and Audio or also its subsidiaries Porsche, Skoda, and Seat) would need to buy the entire annual production of Cobalt if it were to switch its car production electric.
    2 Traffic in Germany contributed 0.5% of the annual production of CO2 worldwide whereas Germany’s total contribution was 2.15%.
    3 I am just mentioning the vast expansion of a supply network, the performance level of batteries, the need to generate more electricity and its storage.
    Please do note the difference between financial incentives for or against diesel/petrol/electric or what the EU has just decided: to outlaw diesel. You can always argue price signals are imperfect, but prohibition does not alter but replace price.
    Please do not get me wrong: It is fundamentally nonsensical to move a ton (car) to move 100 kg (a person) and a host of trips by car cover distance of less than 3 miles. However, if you do not want to punish the countryside, you would have to consider a land-value tax replacing income tax and, most of all, monetary reform to liberate the real economy from the financial sector.

    1. NickC
      January 22, 2019

      Aside, A land value tax turns us all into government owned serfs. No thanks.

  37. Paper Boy
    January 22, 2019

    Ex-Chancellor Osborne has just appeared in an interview from Bloomberg TV in Davros. He says Parliament is not like it used to be “we were like brothers and sisters” Also Brexiteers are making the way open for Corbyn. He looks very happy and content so he must have sold most if not all of his bag full.

  38. Ronald Olden
    January 22, 2019


    What happened to this economic depression and mass unemployment that the Remainiac fanatics told us was going to come because of ‘Brexit uncertainty’?

    I’ve been sitting at home worrying about it since the beginning of 2016 and things are more ‘uncertain’ now, any of us ever imagined they could be.

    But still no slump. Could it be they were lying? Or just thick?

    This is the time of year when non ‘seasonally adjusted unemployment’, (as we used to call in the dark socialist days) used to rocket.

    The tourist season and warmer weather hasn’t even started yet but local businesses I know are beside themselves because of unskilled labour shortages and are having to pay higher wages.


  39. Voltaire
    January 22, 2019

    Off Topic
    Parliament are discussing Proxy Voting and agreeing that it s not “Family Friendly”
    No. It’s not family-friendly. It’s a place of work. You get paid for it. You leave home, travel to WORK away from your goodly home and garden and pet budgie and have a boring time at someone else’s bidding who you could never like but play child-like PRETEND and you get paid from being AWAY from family and home and WORKING. WORK!!!!!Only the salary matters!!!
    But not in Parliament. That increasingly has become a children’s playground for the unemployable

  40. Dominic
    January 22, 2019

    To save Brexit and to save British democracy from destruction this PM, this government and all May’s lackeys must be upended and sent packing.

    We must have a Eurosceptic leader of the Tory party and then we must have a Eurosceptic PM.

    If these things do not happen then this nation and its democracy will be tainted forever

  41. roger
    January 22, 2019

    At this moment UK electricity demand is 46.65GW and on amber alert as it approaches the installed available maximum of 55GW from all sources.
    Gas generators at 25GW are on amber alert and nearing 27GW installed maximum
    Nuclear gens at 6GW are at maximum for those plants that are in service
    Coal plants at 5GW are in the process of imminent total closure to save the planet and have been unused for long periods recently.
    Wind is flat out where there is wind and producing a pathetic 3.5GW countrywide.
    Solar is producing less than 1 GW as it is winter
    Biomass using trees from the USA is flat out and producing 3GW
    The forecast for wind speeds for the next two weeks is very low across the country and it must be squeaky bum time for the National Grid directors who agreed to the wholesale destruction and abandonment of our reliable spinning reserve capacity and favoured wind and solar, assuring the Ministerial numbnuts in government that we would not have blackouts.
    As for Gove who thinks talking very quickly makes his utterances, based on believing three impossible things before breakfast, come true, could you please ask him John just how he proposes to have the extra power reserves for all the battery cars he imagines will be on our roads by 2025?
    Not that it will be his problem, because without a proper Brexit he will not be re elected and the tory govt will have been resoundingly replaced.

    1. Bryan Harris
      January 22, 2019

      Wow – Excellent content, which we can all agree with – Thanks for the data on power generators – It’s about time someone did sit up and take notice.

    2. NickC
      January 22, 2019

      Roger, Excellently put, and all true.

    3. Stred
      January 23, 2019

      And half our nuclear is due to be closed in the next 6 years while Mr Clarke thinks he can chose all the different designs for new nukes and get private firms to take all the risk so they have withdrawn. We have one on the way and this design is the most expensive and complicated. Only the Chinese have almost made one work.. It take 3 years to plan and approve a nuke and 7 years to build one, and these are minimum tmes for countries without slow regulation.

  42. Denis Cooper
    January 22, 2019

    Off-topic, in this article today:

    the author is justifiably scathing about the stupid “Norway plus” or “Common Market 2.0” scheme on a series of valid counts, but he does not go far enough when he criticises the idea of “… getting a derogation from EFTA’s free trade deals (which would be incompatible with an EU Customs Union) …” because the UK would need a derogation not just from any external free trade deals but more fundamentally from the internal free trade deal which is at the core of EFTA, the European Free Trade Association.

    In the 2002 Vaduz Convention, which replaced the original 1960 Stockholm Convention to which the UK was a founding party:

    Article 1 establishes EFTA, Article 2 states its objectives, including “free trade in goods”, and then straight away Article 3 prohibits any customs duties on the trade between the member states; and how could the UK or any other country conscientiously sign up to Article 3 while it was still allowing the EU to set its tariffs? Which might be zero for the other EFTA members, but equally might not be zero, as the EU determined.

  43. Captain Peacock
    January 22, 2019

    They want people out of their cars yet the farcical travelling circus which sees the European Parliament move between Brussels and Strasbourg every month has now cost British taxpayers up to a mind boggling £300 MILLION, it can be revealed today.

  44. ChrisS
    January 22, 2019

    Margaritis Schinas, the European Commission’s chief spokesman, has said that
    It is “obvious” there will be a hard border in Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

    This is proof enough that the whole fuss about the “backstop” is nonsense.
    The UK government is committed to not imposing any hard border and we won’t.

    If Varadkar is to be believed, the Irish Government is also committed to no hard border.
    That just leaves the EI to fall into line, unless, of course, they intend to send members of the EU “Border Force” into Eire against that Country’s will to impose one.

    I can’t see that happening anytime soon.

    So it’s all bluff and bluster that can safely be ignored.

    1. Original Richard
      January 23, 2019

      The EU will use the threat of a “hard border” to keep us permanently locked into the EU’s institutions and without representation.

      The only way out would be either for N.I. to be absorbed into Ireland or for Ireland to also leave the EU.

  45. Derek
    January 22, 2019

    97 is too old to drive a Range Rover.

  46. Derek
    January 22, 2019

    In a communist nanny state utopia everyone takes the train or bus.

  47. margaret howard
    January 22, 2019

    Brexiteer Dyson moving his headquarters to Singapore. Another rat leaving the sinking ship.

    1. Edward2
      January 23, 2019

      Perhaps marxist momentum Labour might like to consider how their high tax policies will help keep such high earning individuals and big businesses in the UK.
      This is an example of how easy it is to move to a more welcoming, pro business, low tax, low bureacracy nation in the modern internet age.

      I blame Hammond.

  48. Know-Dice
    January 22, 2019

    Sir JR, Now is the time for Mrs May to show strength.

    French farmers have blinked…
    German auto workers have blinked…
    The ROI now realises that they are “piggy in the middle”…WTO doesn’t demand a “hard border” just a risk assessment…

    To take “no deal” off the table now would certainly weaken the UK’s negotiating position, only a fool would do that.

  49. Christine
    January 22, 2019

    Unscrupulous car parking operators are given access to DVLAs database to trace cars. Signage is deliberately confusing to ensure a PCN is issued. Thank goodness for MPs like Sir Greg Knight who is trying to regulate these dodgy practices. One of the worst examples I’ve seen recently is the Dartford Crossing. The signs are deliberately poor to trap drivers. Both the Government and big businesses are in league with these cowboys. The feelings in this country are getting to boiling point. The arrogant MPs trying to thwart Brexit are playing a very dangerous game. They won’t be forgiven at the ballot box.

  50. Lindsay McDougall
    January 22, 2019

    Macron on a push bike? I like it.

  51. rose
    January 22, 2019

    The alienation of Les Gilets Jaunes goes back beyond this latest outburst: in 2005 the French voted against the European Constitution. Their votes were then set aside, giving rise to the the words: “Respectez notre NON. Une autre Europe est possible.”

    They weren’t respected.

    Arrogant and out of touch politicians here should take note. It is obvious the public see WTO plus as the only way out of the EU, but the arrogant ones are trying to abuse our democratic processes to rule this out and thus keep us in.

  52. Iago
    January 22, 2019

    Electricity demand in the amber zone, though it is not especially cold. It would be fitting if the grid were to fail in the next couple of weeks (though they have thousands of filthy diesel generators installed, ready to run night and day), a concrete display of the government’s determination never to do what is in the interests of this country. Perhaps we English gilets might get the government’s attention if we all put our kettles on at the same time.

  53. rose
    January 22, 2019

    I am very disturbed by the attempt to bring in proxy voting in the House of Commons. It seems that neither motherhood nor the House of Commons are being taken seriously and accorded proper respect. Babies should not just be fitted in around being an MP unless very careful and continuing arrangements are made to look after the baby. And being an MP should not be fitted in around motherhood, with the mother having six months of proxy voting. How can she take a proper part in the debates? How can her constituents be sure she knows what she is voting for?

    Anyone who thinks about this is being called a patriarchal dinosaur. As usual, when there is opposition to a proposed reform, personal abuse is resorted to rather than argument.

  54. Javelin
    January 22, 2019

    The Times today reports “Angela Merkel has hailed Germany’s new pact with France as a bulwark against the rising forces of populism and nationalism that are threatening to tip Europe back into an era of chaos”

    I’m curious what Merkel means ?

    Is this not a very shocking statement ?

    I see no other interpretation other than Merkel is saying she will deploy the new EU army against any one who votes for nationalists rather than the EU.

  55. Derek
    January 23, 2019

    So the strategy is TMs surrender document or No Deal? The idea behind No Deal is it will be intentionally chaotic so that a flash referendum is called and we all panic and rejoin the EU, (or thats what they are banking on). Thus its win win for the globalists.

  56. Derek
    January 23, 2019

    TM is running out the clock
    One way or another we are staying in the EU.

  57. Len
    January 23, 2019

    Are we going to get Operation Gladio now in Northern Ireland to increase the drama of TM getting a deal on the back stop?
    Also, JR asked her why are we not negotiating a free trade agreement and her reply was she wants to see how ambitious she can be? Whats that supposed to mean? It is all going according to the Script, BUT they are banking on a No Deal scaring us all into rejoining the EU (that is where they have miscalculated).

  58. Len
    January 23, 2019

    The only way to save Brexit now is sack May instantly, replace with a sincere Brexiteer (Redwood), extend the leaving period (even if JP Morgan do not like it) and negotiate a free trade agreement while preparing seriously for a No Deal. Only if we do these things will the EU take us seriously in negotiation. If TM had the wishes of the country at heart she would step down now as part of this strategy to give her replacement authority for the good of the country.

    For all TMs assurances about no second Referendum we will have one if the Script is not thrawted.

  59. davies
    January 23, 2019

    A school friend of mine who lives there recently shared with me an aggregated summary of film footage of police brutality and some gruesome scenes. Not shared by the BBC or any other main stream media channels of course.

    His view is that the whole situation is getting worse and could spiral out of control.

    When we hear Macron making stupid remarks in the media I am guessing he secretly finds BREXIT a convenient disraction from the real issue of this and the perilous state of the Euro.

    Who knows where this is likely to end up, time will tell

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