Tuesday, 22 October 2013

My Wee Pal,"Me", the BBC, Democracy, the "Most Powerful Man" in Britain, and a Gable End in Leith

I was watching the TV last night and a BBC reporter on the six o'clock news,  while commenting about a new investment programme to create even more nuclear based energy, referred to David Cameron as "the most powerful man in Britain,"   and here was I not thinking that along with every person who has the right to vote in this country, I was the most powerful person in Britain? I mean that's what the politicians and the media like to tell me to think when they are talking about free speech and letting me know what great privilege it is to live in a "democracy" like ours. Up to now I've always really tried to believe this last noble bit of their message.

Sunshine on Leith : pictures of some of the people whose labour made Britain powerful.

Perhaps you'll say that in accepting this vision I was just being too much of an unweaned bairn not to see that the world of media and politics is busy being fed by and feeding off the members of its own small clique, while they give each other bigger and bigger helpings of power and wealth. You'll tell me I can hardly expect them to have time to be concerned about being of service to my fellow citizens and me, even though, according to the romantic myth of democracy they dole out to us,  each one of us has equal rights. True of course until that is we turn up with tuppence and they turn up with a tenner.  Well I just can't swallow their fake food any more.

Friday, 11 October 2013

18 years of age : old enough to vote and die but certainly not to drive

The United Kingdom  government  -  which these days doesn't very much like many of the citizens it is supposed to serve - is thinking of not allowing young adults to drive until they are 18 or 19 years old and even then they may not be allowed to hold a full licence. Government ministers are due to publish their proposals in a Green Paper following a report by the Transport Research Laboratory.

Of course everyone wants to see a reduction in the number of road accidents with their potential for destroying lives and this should be addressed by looking again at the way driving is taught. Nonetheless questions of  equal rights and equal privilege are raised when a government declares an intention to withdraw a privilege from a certain section of our citizenry. This appears to be what is happening with the proposal to prevent 18 years old adults holding a full driving licence. Should the voices of these adults be heard before any legislation is prepared ?

I imagination these are the same 18 years old adults who are old enough to vote, who for two years have been old enough to get married and who are old enough to be killed when serving in the United Kingdom armed forces. 

Apparently the statistics show that the plan to ensure young adults are well and truly off the road is valid and reasonable. Did you know that drivers between 17 years old and 24 years old cause 20% of the serious accidents on our roads ? The rest of us cause the other 80%  so we'd better watch out or the government may catch on to that. I'd be devastated if I wasn't allowed a driving licence until I was 69. Still maybe it would really be fair enough -  since the likes of me have been causing 4 out of 5 of all road accidents. 

Finally, a message to young adults :  I would warn you not to protest about these proposals. You know what happened when those badgers moved the goal posts.


No driving licence until 19?  Richard Wescott, BBC on 10.10.13 at   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/24481574
 Driving test age rise considered for teenagers, BBC 11.10.13 at 


John Stein writes :

I read with dismay your piece on driving licenses for young people.  My personal experience here in Louisiana, where kids were able to get learners permits at the age of 15 (they require a licensed driver in the car), was that kids who started driving earlier learned to be responsible, while kids whose parents didn't let them get a license until later, like the age of 18, went right out and had an accident very soon after getting their license. 
I'm not convinced that waiting helps.  I think teaching responsibility and safe driving is the better way to go.  The younger they are, the more likely they are to learn.  At 15 (they could get a full license at 16), it is a REAL privilege.  Only a few years later, it becomes a right.
But, just my opinion from a different place and a different time...