Friday, 11 September 2009

Slow Down Unless You're A Banker (in which case honk!)

Last week saw the start of a new half-cocked (undemocratically elected) scheme to grind Oxford's traffic to a fume-farting halt by imposing a 20 mph speed limit on various sections of the city centre and residential streets.
Now narrow residential streets with cars parked on both sides with their multitude of hazards such as possible small boys running across the road in-between parked cars I understand, but MAIN roads which already have a plethora of crossings, traffic islands, lights and speed cameras to slow the motorist down? Where is the logic in reducing these to 20?
It feels as if we sensible drivers (and whatever my green sympathies, I am required to drive around the city quite a lot as part of my new job) are being penalised for the drink and drug-addled minority who commit the moronic acts such as cutting up or overtaking on a 30mph stretch and swinging out of corners at high speed minus signals - offences they continue to commit if not more so under the new more-restrictive regime, surprise surprise. Now if the REAL dangerous drivers such as these, not forgetting the latest breed who TWEET about how clever and badass they are to post to Twitter whilst driving faced stiffer penalties such as losing their licence for 10 years if caught, rather than a slap on the wrist, a life ban if they killed or mained anyone, THAT would be be more sensible and effective than this ridiculous money squandering scheme where it is 30 miles an hour one minute and 20 the next with no particular rhyme or reason attached to which section of road is which, bar the obvious side streets. And don't get me started on dangerous cyclists or lemming pedestrians who seem to rate listening to their iPods above looking before they pull out or cross! Don't they deserve a penalty or two? Or doesn't the Highway Code apply to them?
Cars are not going to go away after all. Though perhaps they might be drastically reduced at least if truly radical schemes such as the reintroduction of trams or the provision of continuous cycle lanes were considered, so what is the point of deliberately creating obstacles for cars, thereby promoting the mass pollution of idling engines?

Meanwhile on Radio 4's Today programme this week, a city finance chief was challenged about the fact that huge bonuses continue to be paid to bankers, despite the recession, and performance regardless - even in the cases where banks have been bailed out by the government via our taxpayer's money to stay afloat.

His reply was that they had to continue to pay large bonuses as our banking talent would otherwise be lost abroad.

What a brilliant strategical tactic, I thought! Kill the bonuses so they go abroad and destabilise somone else's economy with foolish risk taking whilst our own country has a chance to recover and fight back.

And do they leave us any alternative when no financial institution will seemingly hear of bonuses being performance-related, or at the very least, paid after tax, and after profit margins have been factored in? It now even emerges that a handful of cheeky bankers are suing for not receiving the obscene bonuses they expected.


MarkF said...

Just nationalise the banks - or turn the Post Office into one.

The fact that Nick Leeson's boss is one the panel overseeing how the money we "invested" in the banks is bad enough but we are repeating the mistakes made in previous banking collapses. We spend money to get them out of trouble but nothing has changed for the banks. They are still diverse, large casinos using betting to make profits. Make banks lend money, offer a decent return and only deal with those transactions. No holiday money, pet insurance, credit default swaps. Get the people who really run banks - those who didnt take the offer to convert a building society to a bank - to run a national bank.

moi said...

Your post proving, of course, that there never is a rhyme or reason to anything the gooberment – anywhere, any time – does. It would make much more sense to realize that we can't legislate for every possible outcome of possible action, and just punish the heck out of those who do break the law.

Steve said...

Interesting. Anyone driving around Oxford and obeying these new speed limits will feel like a kerb crawler... nice image!

David said...

The problem with the Oxford speed limits is that not every road is 20 - some remain 30, and it's really hard to tell where they change. It would be much easier if they were all 20.

Wisewebwoman said...

Can horse and buggies be far behind, then?
Idiots at the wheel will remain so, as you rightly point out.
As to the wanker bankers, don't get me started. And some decry socialism. The bankers are the major benificiaries of welfare payments.

Nota Bene said...

Oh I don't know about the bankers leaving...I'd deport them - probably to Nigeria, where banking scams appear all the rage.

As for the 20's all about battering us all into submission rather than finding better alternatives...

Roll on the revolution

Brother Tobias said...

Let them go, the bankers. They haven't brought us wealth, they've bequeathed a burden of debt for generations. Or make them drive their Porsches round Oxford.

Owen said...

It used to be that thieves were hung or had their hands chopped off. Today they get paid bonuses... Only just now saw your comment on the artichoke throwing, glad you enjoyed it. Maybe you could throw some artichokes at the people imposing these speed limits, and at a few bankers...

Paul Cowlan said...

To follow up this first bold stroke for the propagation of traffic jams, fume-belching and democratically motivated driver criminalisation, why not introduce a scheme to scrap all Oxford's street lamps, particularly targetting those which are working efficiently and effectively, and replace them with ergonomically designed, pro-environmentally sited, trouser-wettingly expensive new 'illumina-supervisory installations' or 'Illsupins'. There would be fewer of these than the original streetlamps, owing to economy measures rendered necessary by their introduction, and they would, of course, be dimmer, to minimise light pollution. They would be fitted with mandatory long-life bulbs in order to ensure that any breakages would disperse mercury into the environment, and, as a matter of course, would carry CCTV cameras, just in case any hazardous blades of grass or potentially lethal wall bricks had escaped surveillance by existing cameras.

In addition, hyper-sensitive, omnidirectional communal security microphones (CSMs) would pick up, record and analyse any conversations within a radius of 1000 yards (sorry 914 metres), automatically identifying the speaker, and loudly reprimanding them via four maxi-volume horns, known as FYOGs (For Your Own Good).

There could be a swingeing fine for anyone heard using the old term 'streetlamps', mispronouncing Illsupins or muddling any officially funded acronyms.

The potential for reaching out to all sectors of the community with warnings, checks, controls, limits, charges, intrusions, bullying, intimidation, patronising, suspicion and other health and safety measures, must surely recommend this suggestion to any bureaucrat with a fully functioning array of public spirited and anally retentive obsessions.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Mark F. Thanks for dropping by. You are so right. Sometimes it seems the banks do everything but banking these days and if I get another offer of a 'treats' account with a load of free insurance I don't want for only £10 per month, I will scream!

Moi, trouble is the law keeps changing according to who is in trouble.

Steve, I am officially a kerb crawler! I hope the fines for that are not higher than for breaking the 20mph speed limit!

David, you obviously don't live in Oxford. Or are retired and have all the time in the world to get from A to B. But you are right about the bizarre inconsistencies.

WWW - an astute comment - so many things about civilisation appear to be going backwards. Which reminds me must get some knuckle guards to stop the scraping when I walk!

Notabene - what a capital idea - our bankers could go out and sort all these hopeless Nigerian millionaires out who seem to need you and my help to access their funds to help all those dying mothers they seem to have! A purpose in life - that's what they need!

BT - quite. Let them go to Nigeria (see above). Or frankly any country that isn't ours.

Owen - hands chopped off. But that would preclude them from the community service of lifelong public toilet cleaning that I propose (for those who refused to emigrate and destabilise other economies, that is).

Paul F Cowlan - How did you know they did that last week?