As the election looms, Mike Rutherford says that none of the major parties deserves our votes based on their unrealistic motoring policies
On this, the week before the 2019 General Election, please click here to enjoy a healthily sceptical read of the motoring policies of the party manifestos – none of which stand up to much scrutiny.
The Conservatives are promising a “transport revolution”. But really, there’s nothing revolutionary about how they intend to improve journey times and the safety of the millions who travel by car. The optimistic vow to “invest £1billion in completing a fast-charging network” sounds more like phase one of a vital, colossal infrastructure programme, rather than its completion – which is decades away, I fear.
• Bristol diesel car ban approved by city council
A consultation (ie stitch-up) process relating to “the earliest date we can phase out the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars” is, I reckon, a clear hint that the official 2040 cut-off point will be brought forward by the Conservatives. Crikes! Also, take the party’s half-hearted promise of free hospital parking with a pinch of salt: it’s unworkable.
Labour, meanwhile, reckons it will “ensure the UK automotive sector isn’t left behind by the electric revolution – by investing in three new gigafactories and four metal reprocessing plants.” So far, so good. But then it lazily repeats itself from the nineties by banging on about building an integrated transport system.
It’s also “aiming for” a ban on sales of new combustion-engine vehicles in 2030, not 2040. But a more immediate threat is that “Labour will help people to become less reliant on their cars”. Never mind that we like relying on them, ta very much. The Liberal Democrats are the most motorist-loathing of the three major parties. They talk of “air pollution – mostly caused by cars,” despite the irrefutable fact it is not.
“Reduce the number of cars,” is another Lib Dem war cry. They warn that in 10 years every new car and van sold must be electric. And across Britain, they intend to roll-out low-emissions zones that will mean more bans or tolls for more drivers. The Lib Dems have to realise that there’s nothing liberal or democratic about adopting a vicious anti-motorist stance against law-abiding drivers and their 30 million perfectly legal cars.
Of the smaller parties, the SNP jumps on the “encourage people out of their cars” bandwagon. How imaginative. How comforting to folk in remote areas. Meanwhile, the Brexit Party should be telling us how life might improve on Britain’s roads if/when we leave the EU yet, stupidly, it does no such thing. UKIP is vowing to scrap smart motorway plans, toll roads and financial penalties for drivers of diesel cars – but it’s wasting its breath, because it has no chance of even being part of a coalition.
Congrats to the Green Party for correctly stating that all vehicles (not just cars) are partly (not entirely) responsible for poor air quality. Also, it admits “even electric vehicles pollute, so they represent an improvement… not a solution”. Good on the Greens for acknowledging the facts. But no, they can’t rely on my vote. Come to think of it, I’m not sure that any party can. I’m a car user. Therefore I am disenfranchised. As things stand, I honestly feel inclined to vote for the NOTA (None Of The Above) Party. Know what I mean?
Do you agree with Mike? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…