This story has just gone up at the Times website:
"The government is to cut the national speed limit from 60mph to 50mph on most of Britain’s roads, enforced by a new generation of average speed cameras. The reduction, to be imposed as early as next year, will affect two thirds of the country’s road network."
This story interests me for two reasons. First of all, it nicely distracts angry people from the fact that the economy is going to shit for a few days - which Gordon Brown will like. And secondly; speed cameras on two thirds of the country's roads - are they fucking mental?
Jim Fitzpatrick, Roads Minister and MP for Poplar and Canning Town - which doesn't have any roads - said:
“There will be some in the driving lobby who think this is a further attack and a restriction on people’s freedom. But when you compare that to the fact we are killing 3,000 people a year on our roads, it would be irresponsible not to do something about it. I’m sure that the vast majority of motorists would support the proposals."
Let's be clear, this has everything to do with nannying, raising money, and restricting freedoms; and fuck all to do with road safety. Let's not forget that, despite the huge explosion in speed cameras and the lowering of speed limits right across the country, the number of people killed on the roads each year has always hovered around 3,000.
Also, like everything the government does, this is going to be completely arbitrary, take years to implement, and go massively over budget in setting up. But the real aim is clear; to get cars off the road by stopping us driving anywhere quickly, and to raise a load of cash in the process. I don't advocate speeding, nor do I do it - I have a clean driving licence. But I know precisely the sort of roads they are going to change down to 50, when they should be changing them up to 70.
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