Tuesday, 24 March 2015

That Idle Lot in Westminster

And that's just the ones that turn up:
Actually this isn't a political story - it is one of two unrelated motoring stories that caught my eye on the BBC News Website this week - the newly revamped BBC News website.

Which I don't like.

It's not as good as the one it replaced.

Which I didn't like when that came about because it wasn't as good as the one it replaced.

And so it goes on - but then you get used the latest one and everything is good again.

Anyway back to the story - it appeared yesterday.  It's about how motorists sitting in their vehicles in Westminster will be liable for £20 fines if they leave their engines running if they aren't actually going anywhere.  I think I'm in favour of this - it is irratating to see exhaust fumes belching out of a parked car and the thought of fuel being wasted.  I don't see how they could police this rule though.

The taxi drivers aren't happy.  The article quotes Steve McNamara, general secretary of the LTDA saying that the fines were "absolute tosh" and a public relations and money raising exercise from the council. He went on: "It is not going to do anything constructive to tackle the pollution crisis in London. When was the last time you saw someone idling in the city? It doesn't happen."

OK then, if it doesn't happen you've got nothing to worry about, have you Steve?


The other BBC story that grabbed my attention today was this one.  It is about how a group of descendents of Confederate soldiers wanted to have the following design on their Texas State licence plates:
This request was declined as it was deemed offensive to a large number of people affected by or ashamed of Slavery.

So the battle was taken to the US Supreme Court with advocates saying that banning it was in contravention of the First Amendment because it restricted their right to free speech.  The State argued back that licence plates are Government property and therefore not subject to the First Amendment.

I was intrigued to see how Fox News was covering this - expecting a lot of right-wing bile against the ban but after searching using the American spelling license, I was pleasantly surprised to just find a sensible article putting both sides of the argument.

I had always liked the Confederate Flag and didn't realise its associations until I saw The Dukes Of Hazzard movie.  The movie just didn't live with the TV series which was my favourite show as a child of the '70s & '80s but the real reason I mention it is an excuse to show this picture of the flag on the roof of the car:
Now, there are plenty of better pictures showing more of the flag - but they show less of Daisy Duke.

Appently, a decision on the confederates' licence plate is due at the end of June.  Meanwhile, a quick Google Images search for funny licence plates caused me to put together this little collage:

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Some Say... ...He Doesn't Like Clarkson

Quite a clever headline in this week's Radio Times.  The subtitle is "The Stig gives his verdict on Clarkson"
Actually, The current Stig maintains his usual silence.  The original Stig admires Clarkson's style and thinks the show could not continue without him while making a reference to Last of The Summer Wine - which is a comparison I have myself considered on more than one occasion.  The second Stig clearly isn't a Jeremy fan but reckons that the show could continue without him.

In case you're wondering what I'm wittering on about, surely you must have heard the news by now about the rest of the current series of Top Gear being cancelled/postponed after Jeremy hit a producer on the show?

This story is worldwide!

Here is some of Australia's coverage.

And here is someone I feel very sorry for:
This is Oisin Tymon, the producer that Jeremy allegedly (or dare I say "actually"?) hit.  This guy has done nothing wrong.  It looks like he encountered a tired and emotional (usually a euphemism for "drunk") Jeremy who was knackered after a days filming and wanted some food - food that the hotel did not provide at that late hour.  So Jeremy took it out on this producer.  This producer is now getting all sorts of threats because the show is off the air possibly never to return.

This isn't Oisin's fault, it is Jeremy's!

Maybe Jeremy is now struggling to keep the show fresh after 13 years and it is getting to him.  It was Jeremy that reported the incident to the BBC hierarchy and Jeremy, in his newspaper column last week, who made a speech about dinosaurs having had their time.  That's a shame because I want the show to continue - and I want it to continue with Jeremy.  I did consider signing the Keep Jeremy petition that must be apporaching the million signatures mark by now but when I visited the site I decided that Guido Fawkes and his readers don't seem to be very nice people so I opted against being a co-signee.

If Jeremy cannot be persuaded to stay (I don't envisage a sacking) then I agree with Stig II that the show could go on without him.  Obviously speculation has begun with the not-too-serious suggestions of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, my favourite Vladimir Putin and Jeremy's nemesis Piers Morgan.

A more serious suggestion would be Jodie Kidd - she still seems a bit stilted on The Classic Car Show but she would bring a fresh new dynamic to the show stood alongside James & Richard.

Failing that, I'll do it.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

I Drive a Green Car

It's a V6 2.5 litre all-wheel-drive Jag - but it is green:
I know it's a bit blurry, but that's because it is on Google Streetview.

It also goes faster than "the majority of EU national maximum speed levels"

Which means that the Green Party want it off the road - along with just about every other car that is currently on the UK roads.

Six Green Party members have noticed that this may not be a vote-winner.

Caradvice.com.au alerted me to the story here.

Which prompted me to check out The Mirror story here.

Which prompted me to check out The Green Party's own Website for their Transport Policy.

And sure enough - it is in there - it is well-hidden but it is in there:

"TR310 Vehicles would not be permitted for road use that had the ability to travel at greater speeds than the majority of EU national maximum speed levels."

Now I could be in favour of this...

...if it meant that the majoirity of EU national speed limits were raised to 200mph - the M6 Toll Road is a bit like that now - although it is mostly Zafira Drivers who speed along there for some reason.

But what I suspect the Greens want is for us all to drive around in slow cars.

Perhaps something pre-war - with rubbish brakes and rubbish fuel economy and rubbish passenger-crash-zones and horrific emissions.  They don't want to ban that, but they would ban a Smart Fortwo II 0.8 CDi:
To be fair, I also wouldn't mind that being banned - but that's for different reasons.

The Greens' transport policy looks like war on the motorist.   There are 570 paragraphs and it includes the word "holistic" which is never a good thing.  It also advocates a lot of  "public awareness campaigns" to tell us why what we are doing is wrong.

Believe it or not - I am environmentally friendly -  I cycle and I recycle - a bit - and I don't use my car for unnecessary journeys - but if the Greens want to try to engage with me, they are going to have to be a lot more understanding of the modern world and the fact that people can get a lot of enjoyment from cars and driving.  The world looks very dark under the greens.

Dark green.

Like my car.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Lotus Appoint Caroline Aherne

Actually, her name is Carmen Jorda which sounds too much like Jordan to me - which implies bimbo when applied to an attractive woman.

I haven't a clue whether Ms Jorda is a bimbo or not - I would suspect not - but she is incredibly lucky.

She has been appointed as a Lotus F1 team development driver. CarAdvice have an article on it here.

Her racing history is spectacularly unremarkable.  She has clearly been given the job because she is an attractive woman who can drive a bit.  However, don't expect to see her in a race.  Like Susie Wolff at Williams, she is there to gain headlines, not drive cars.

And it seems to be working.

It just seems a bit unfair on more talented drivers who are missing out on a chance to show what they can do because they happen to have a Y Chromosome.  Or because they don't have lots of money.

It is also very unfair on women racing drivers everywhere (and I'd like to see more of the good ones at all levels of motorsport) who will probably be told that they are only getting chances because they are female.

Maybe this is a sign of desperation in Formula 1 - viewing figures continue to fall - shall I mention the shameful BBC/Sky deal again?  No.  But you don't see my beloved, successful, free-to-view-on-ITV4 BTCC resorting to female drivers.

But we should.

There are plenty of talented women competing in the BTCC support races.

Come on Team bosses - you know you want to.  Give a girl a chance - and give her a grid-guy to stand in front of car - you may get more lady viewers and that can't be a bad thing.


Sorry about that - I don't normally say anything sensible - I promise everything will be back to normal for my next post.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Everything's Getting Smaller

We used to buy our Coca-Cola in 2 litre bottles.

Then suddenly, last year, they became 1.75 litre bottles.

For the same price.

Were they hoping we wouldn't notice?
Apparently not.  And we're supposed to be happy about it too.

That's still three-quarters of litre more than some Mondeo drivers will be getting though.

This car review from The Telegraph caught my eye this week.  It's of the Ford Mondeo 1.0 EcoBoost.
Don't know why they used this picture though - that's a Ford Mondeo Titanium Tdci.

The review is by Andrew English who is described as "Motoring Correpondent, Telegraph Cars" - I wonder what other sorts of correspondent Telegraph Cars have.  He gives it three out of five stars.  Andrew English also provided the review for Auto Express and gave it 3 out of 5 stars there too.

He says that the engine looks small in the engine bay - I would have liked to see a photo, the nearest I could find anywhere was this Ford diagram:
He also quotes Ulrich Koesters, Ford’s vehicle line director for larger cars, who says: “most customers do not trust that such a small displacement engine has enough torque to pull a large car like the Mondeo.”  I can well believe that - it would be a concern of mine - even though it is turbo-charged.

I am guessing that this car is being aimed at the fleet market where engine size and economy play their part with tax incentives.  I have visited a few Ford dealerships over the past year or two and you never see a Mondeo on the lot.  I guess Focuses and Fiestas have gotten bigger so these have taken over the family car market along with the SUVs, people carriers and German upmarket marques.  So when I say "Everything's Getting Smaller" that doesn't include Focuses or Fiestas (or Corsas or Golfs or just about any other car too)

Can't see the average sales rep being happy driving one of these although it does have a claimed top speed of 124mph - but it might struggle if you put some passengers in it.  Probably won't be a big hit with the Caravan Club either.

Unless...