Anyone know where I can get some bull bars?
So will his spiteful, bandwagon-jumping, pretend-Green punishment put me off buying such a vehicle? Of course not. If I can afford a £35,000 car, I can certainly afford a couple of hundred quid extra road tax. In fact if anything, the class-based hatred NuLabour and its yoghurt knitting acolytes have for four-wheel drives makes me all the more determined to get one. It’s like the fox-hunting ban all over again, only this time there’s rather more horsepower involved.
(Not that I’m ridiculously wealthy. For instance, the only way I’ll ever get to travel first class on British Airways will be to drop dead in economy.)
I should point out that my “gas guzzler” will be no Chelsea Tractor. Instead of being loaded with school run booster seats it will carry dogs and guns. It will venture into fields and off the beaten track. It will get muddy, properly muddy.
And so will most of the other four-wheel drive vehicles in my neighbourhood. Because they have been bought not for vanity, or to make an on-road social statement, or to carry legions of Jocelyns and Jocastas from piano lessons to Mandarin classes, but out of necessity. They are working vehicles; the day-to-day tools of farmers and farriers, district nurses and digger drivers - in fact, the sort of people who can’t readily afford another couple of hundred quid in road tax.
I don’t suppose Mr Brown took that simple fact into consideration when deciding to punish these selfish destroyers of the ozone layer.
PS: I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m totally irresponsible when it comes to our environment. I will be continuing to carry out my weekly recycling run of bags of newspapers and boxes of empty wine bottles, only in future it will be at roughly 27 miles to the gallon.
AS WE’RE bullied and hectored from the cradle to the grave, our most rabid persecutors seem to be the local councils that we directly fund and directly elect. Daft, isn’t it?
The latest kick-the-council-taxpayer scheme emerges in Ealing, West London, where the Garbage Police are planning to leave tiny CCTV cameras lying around hidden in baked bean tins in an attempt to catch residents who have the temerity to put their rubbish out on the wrong day. For committing this heinous crime they will be fined up to £1,000.
One thing tells you all you need to know about the effectiveness of Ealing Council. If they consider discarded baked bean tins to be suitable camouflage – an everyday sight that won’t catch the eye – then they can’t be doing their rubbish-collecting job properly in the first place, can they?
NOW I’M not suggesting for one moment that we should force five-year-olds to read the classics, but it’s a sad condemnation of our laughable edukashun system that around 50 schools have rejected the offer of free books because they are “too difficult” for today’s pupils.
(Perhaps even more worrying is that a further 40 schools turned down the books because they had no library in which to store them.)
The free books scheme is run by the Millennium Library Trust, which donates sets of up to 300 books to schools to encourage youngsters to read classic works of fiction. The books include the likes of Jane Eyre, Middlemarch, Oliver Twist and Lord of the Rings.
But so woeful are our children’s literacy levels that many teachers won’t even attempt to talk them through some of the milestones of English literature. As one teacher says: “The bottom line is getting the pupils to read, whether it’s a newspaper, a comic novel or a magazine. The books for nowadays are Manga, the Japanese comic books that you read from back to front.”
Another school branded the covers of the books “boring” and said that what was needed was “the familiar paperback format with an attractive jacket and abridged versions.”
So there you have it. Goodbye David Copperfield and hello Electro Jelly the Space Ninja. No wonder we’re turning out generations of illiterates.
THE JUDGE who sentenced child-killer Ian Huntley recommended that he should serve a minimum of 40 years in prison. The Lord Chancellor says he thinks that Huntley should never be freed and should rot in jail. Even Huntley’s father and mother came forward this week to say that the prospect of their son ever being released is unthinkable.
So that’s clear then. Expect him to be out and about well in time to take his grandstand seat at the 2012 Olympics.
JOKEFORCE ALERT: A school in Manchester has banned knotted ties because it says they are a safety risk. Pupils have been told to wear clip-on ties instead, or face being sent home.
Two points: Firstly, the number of pupils who’ve suffered third degree burns after setting their ties on fire with a Bunsen burner or who have been dragged screaming into the woodwork lathe in the past 30 years equals exactly … err … none. Secondly, clip-on ties are the uniform of traffic wardens and special constables – social inadequates who expect to get routinely beaten up. Any headteacher who expects fashion-conscious teenagers to commit such a sartorial crime has been reading too many Japanese comic books.
MEANWHILE a teaching assistant in Brighton has trotted off to an employment tribunal claiming unfair dismissal on the grounds that she was discriminated against because of her faith. Sommer de la Rosa, who worked in her school’s religious studies department, is a witch. Yes, a witch.
I have to ask, at which point did she ever think that she was remotely suitable for such a job? Or is this just another compo scam, where the complainant counts on the (usually) publicly-funded employer caving in and handing over £30,000 or so before moving on to the next set of suckers?
I don’t know, but I think we should be told.