Ed West Ed West

Cycling, HIV, domestic abuse. You can find discrimination everywhere, if you try

You have to wonder about the future of the Conservative party when you hear stories like this, from the Birmingham Post:

‘Councillor Deirdre Alden (Con, Edgbaston) said she was concerned that such a large amount of effort and investment was being spent on a mode of transport predominantly used by young men.

“The vast majority of cyclists on our roads are young, white men,” she said.

She added that, while there were exceptions, “most elderly people are not going to cycle, and it would be dangerous for them to start on our streets now”.

The councillor said disabled people did not benefit from cycling and that “women of any ethnic group who wish to wear modest clothing, and I count myself in that category, are not going to cycle. It is a discriminatory form of transport”.’

Yes, but cycling facilities in Birmingham also discriminate against people with no arms, or no legs, or who can’t see, or who just don’t like cycling or don’t ever go to Birmingham, although I’m not sure why the councillor thinks women cannot dress modestly and cycle. Weren’t old maids always cycling through misty mornings on their way to church?

Councillor Alden has been widely mocked in the cycling community, who tend to veer to the Left politically (although not, as Rod complains, when they’re on the road). But she is being no more ludicrous in her use of the word ‘discrimination’ than many people. For example, what is the difference between saying that cycling discriminates in favour of young white guys and saying that theatre discriminates in favour of the middle class, as respectable members of the political-media complex frequently declare.

I suppose cyclists aren’t too happy that Councillor Alden (who is white) raised the issue of race, but most activities we associate with the progressive Left are dominated by white men – cycling, gourmet coffee shops, organic farms, transition cities, reading the Guardian.

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