Monday, 26 September 2011

No to increasing the speed motorway limit to 80mph

I am gob-smacked that the government wants to raise the speed limit on motorways to 80 miles an hour after years of telling we motorists  speed kills.

This is the most misguided, foolish piece of motoring legislation  I have heard of. The reason for its introduction is so  fickle – most drivers exceed the limit so the 70mph  is unenforceable.  So if enough of us break an law for long enough then the law can be changed – tell that to the recent rioters. Further there is talk of this higher speed limit boosting the economy as we will  reach place  quicker – have they ever  driven on the M25 , M3, M1, M4 at any time. There measures are in place to reduce the speed to increase traffic flow.

No mention is made of the savings that can made for travelling slower – real money being saved. The US limit of 55mph is no arbitrary limit , that speed was chosen as it was on the average  the most fuel efficient speed for most engines. Engine efficiency falls off rapidly after 55 mph falling by a staggering 28%  at 80mph when compared to consumption at 55 mph.

This change does not make sense at any measure – legally: we simply do not change laws when sufficient  people break a law; safety; speed kills: Germany has over twice as many deaths per year on motorways; economically: at 80 mph we are throwing away one third of the money, when compared to 55pmh, we spend on petrol to reach the next traffic jam... faster.

If the Government was really serious about climate change and reducing the nations's carbon footprint transport as it is the second highest,, after industry producer of carbon would seem a sensible place to try to cut back.

The UK has some of the safest  roads in Europe let us keep it that way; keep the speed limit at 70mph – you and your pocket know it makes sense. 

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The BBC Presenter as Celebrity ?

The BBC news has been reduced to casual conversation between mates comparing experiences: what it meant to them then and what it means to them now often with trivial speculation. ‘It ‘ is everything from the Monkees threatened revival to the reactions of Egypt’s rioters . I find it ‘toe curling’. I have absolutely no interest in their likes or dislikes; similarly their personal or family histories. I want to hear the news, the story, without the fog of the presenters personality.

Nor have a desire to see him or her take part , along with other D list celebrities, in one of the many gratuitous, embarrassing , ‘reality’ TV programs. Reality ? Another word for playing to camera, dubious cutting and scene selection.

The presenters need to have dignity , dear I say, gravitas many of the BBC news presenters have none. The BBC has come a long way from the days from when newsreaders were told to wear dinner jackets in the evenings and who could forget Alvar Lidell’s BBC English
when reading the news. I am not arguing for a return to that archaic BBC approach to news but one that reflects the zeitgeist while remaining dignified.

The BBC could learn much from Channel 4’s News Team who remain a respectful distance from their interviewees both on the spot reporters and the eye witness are questioned intelligently. This is in stark contrast to the BBC presenter who always seem to want to put the interviewee at ease or bond with them by sharing a common concern or interest.

Enough , I say to these BBC presenters, yes ask the questions in friendly, informed manner but please do not reduce the news interview to a casual chat between mates in a pub!