James Delingpole James Delingpole

Why don’t we stand up for our freedom to drive?

The Fawn came up to me the other day in a state of extreme agitation: she’d been listening to George Monbiot on the radio.

The Fawn came up to me the other day in a state of extreme agitation: she’d been listening to George Monbiot on the radio.

The Fawn came up to me the other day in a state of extreme agitation: she’d been listening to George Monbiot on the radio. My ears pricked up. I do so love it when the Fawn gets cross about the same things as me. It makes me glad that I’m not married to one of those leftie wives — we all know the sort — who drag their more right-wing husbands down the siren path of bien-pensant foolishness.

Monbiot had been on the Today programme with Tiff Needell, the likeable racing driver who used to co-present Top Gear. They’d been discussing the decision by Spain’s socialist government to ‘lower energy costs’ by knocking 10kmh off the national speed limit. What had driven the Fawn to near-apoplexy was when Monbiot had put on his soft, reasonable, caring, Watch With Mother voice and said: ‘Just slowing down a little bit would do us all so much good.’

Having listened to Monbiot just now on BBC Radio 4’s Listen Again I entirely understand the Fawn’s fury. What’s so maddening is the ruthlessness and glib, practised ease with which he tickles the BBC’s prejudices. He can afford to be relaxed and expansive because he knows Sarah Montague isn’t going to challenge him. After all, why should she? Doesn’t every reasonable person in the world know that life in the fast lane is killing us, that slow food is the opposite of McDonald’s, that we all need to relax just a little bit more, that cars are evil, trains are good, and bicycles even better?

Actually the points Tiff Needell made were very good ones.

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