Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dizzy Fisks

THIS is one of the best Fisks I have read. It takes apart Steve Richards' column in today's Independent, which is headlined GOOD POLICIES SHOULD NOT FALL VICTIME TO THE BULLYING OF SELFISH, SHORT-SIGHTED PETITIONERS . Dizzy, you've missed your vocation, mate.


dizzy said...

you are too kind Iain.

Iain Dale said...

yes, i have been told it is my worst character flaw...1

javelin said...

The logic behind calling No 10 "Prats" is clearly wrong.

First, if you don't lik the petition set up one favouring the "Toll Tax" and see how many votes you get.

On a more general point, somebody said "who let that petition on the system" - the point of course being, who could have possibly predicted the "Toll Tax" would get a million+ votes. On that basis you shouldn't let any petitions on the system that are against Government policy because you can't possibly predict which ones will get the votes - therefore rendering the whole system meaningless.

Any sensible politician should welcome this kind of early feedback - however the instinctive ideological mindset of the left-wing is to trash The People's opinions because The People will find themselves in the "other world" after a few years of their social engineering - and when they see how wonderful it is they will all change their mind.

dizzy said...

and with a single sentence you crush me with your black heart!

Anonymous said...

Eh? Only a million people have signed this petition, largely thanks to a round robin email.

30 million motorists have yet to sign up. For most of us, I'd love it if someone upped the costs of using the roads. Like charging admission to a park or museum, it would flush out the people who needn't be on the roads.

Still, Douglas Alexander should be forced to travel by tube or suburban train every day and then formulate a policy. Alas, he only knows the ministerial car and helicopter.

Steve Richards is odiously pro-Labour isn't he! I'm no partisan political type but it does seem to be that in print and on Radio 4, he's ever faithful to Blair and Brown.

Shurelyshomemishtake said...

Steve Richards is one of the worst examples of a nuLabour apologist.

From the tone of his piece he just hates the Tories and adores Labour.

Just think he is paid by the notIndependent to write it and then his access to Govt info improves after he writes it. Two rewards for one piece, what a life.

What value is integrity?

jailhouselawyer said...

I thought that this issue was supposed to be the subject of a debate before finalising policy? If this is the case, then, at the very least, the 1M signatures against the idea would indicate the need for debate. However, it appears that the government's idea of debate is to listen to the objections then press ahead with its intended proposals anyway.

glasshouse said...

Iain - If Thatcher had recieved a million-signature petition to reverse one of the privatisations or to reverse the legislation to crub trade union power, would she have been duty bound to obey?

Im sure if the internet had existed then, there would have easily been enough signatures.

What if there was a petion up on the Downing St. website advocating the immediate withdrawl of troops from Iraq. It's conceivable that that could get a million signatures. Would you demand the government implement that policy?

Millions of people marched against the Iraq War - do you feel that the government should not have invaded?

Petitioners voices should be listened to, but government should not be bound by them. We don't live in a direct democracy.

Penlan said...

It is a shame because The Indy was a decent paper in its early days.It is very different now,I'm afraid.

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hg said...

Some infrastructural sectors of the economy are essentially the responsibility of central government and can only be socially chosen and socially funded, as is the transport infrastructure.

A decade they've been there, with that micro-meddling, economic ignoramus at the Treasury interfering further and further into the lives of us all, taking our earnings and challenging us to apply for its return by fitting his social organizing categories.

But no investment in mass transportation systems, as there has been continent-wide - no commitment to efficient, clean, fast, reasonably-priced, safe, 24-hour ways of getting to work, visiting family, having a day or evening out - just the use of vast amounts of the tax take to fund the Brownite Party voter base.

We're all in cars because in our country there is no other way to go about our lives. And now we are to be taxed for moving at all.

morrocanroll said...

TThere's a big con involved here. Greater Manchester has just revealed plans to charge the 15 arterial routes running into the city centre.

The Local Transport Plan calls for the 35 percent of commuters arriving by car to be pushed down to 31 percent. This means, of course, that GMR councils want the majority of motorists to keep driving and pay-up.

Mr Livingstone planned on 85 percent of central London drivers staying behind the wheel and paying him £200m per year to feed into the bus subsidy.

Sadly, his 'Green' tax worked and far more drivers stayed off the roads. The upshot is that the C-Charge, even at £8, raises just over £100m and the London bus subsidy is now £1bn per year (see the GLA website).

Public transport is very expensive to provide and bus fares apparently shouldn't reflect the real cost of providing each seat, which I can't understand.

Private motorists, by contrast, provide their own transport, and pay a tax on petrol, roads and maintenance.

The upshot is that treasury wants most of you to keep driving, but pay more. The PM said last week the money would subsidise public transport and old Labour also wants to use road charging for social engineering.


Adam said...

I have no idea what the solution to the British, and particularly the London, transport nightmare is. My personal solution was to move to a rural part of the US, where it's gridlock if I get stuck behind a schoolbus in my car that, by UK standards, is relatively large but in which I never feel cramped on the road.

I also have no idea how I lived in London for so long nor, indeed, how Dizzy still does.

hg said...

morrocanroll says 'old Labour also wants to use road charging for social engineering.'

How about using social charging for more road engineering and putting our taxes to a reasonable use.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

As usual Dizzy is spot on. And another thing: Steve Richards trots out the tired old argument that "the revenues from road pricing should be earmarked exclusively for improvements to public transport and cycle lanes." In other words he wants ring fencing; what the Treasury calls hypothecation of revenue.

Hypothecation is a TERRIBLE idea. Look what has happened to schools and local government, all initiative and judgment strangled by ring-fenced budgets. Enough with the ring-fencing already!

no longer anonymous said...

Personally I'd rather be stuck on a congested road than have Mr Brown thieving more money from me.

Furthermore, what happens when one drives in a non-congested area during "peak time"?

"Iain - If Thatcher had recieved a million-signature petition to reverse one of the privatisations or to reverse the legislation to crub trade union power, would she have been duty bound to obey?"

The curbing of trade unions had significant public support and there wasn't much public opposition to initial privatisations. This scheme almost certainly does not. I would be that the million petitioners are representative of public opinion as a whole as opposed to a loud minority.

"What if there was a petion up on the Downing St. website advocating the immediate withdrawl of troops from Iraq."

Personally I'm all for withdrawal but whether the country is as a whole I'm not sure.

judith said...

How many people 'needn't' be on the roads?

Has anyone done a survey to find out how many of us use our cars because we have to, not for pleasure jaunts?

Betcha there'll be an exemption for MPs.

Gerimo said...

No one seems to have realised that road charging already exists. What else is the tax on petrol and diesel?
In my opinion it's the fairest way to raise money from the motorist, which is really what it's all about. If you have a BIG car which does 20mpg you pay more than I do with my 60mpg motorcycle.
But, they couldn't get away with another big increase in car tax, even to save the planet, so they have to think of a new one.