The GOS hears that government ministers are considering proposals to allow super juggernauts onto our roads.
At present the largest lorries we have to contend with are 62 feet long and weigh 44 tons. The new ones will be 110 feet long and weigh 84 tons.
It is claimed that these will only travel on motorways and dual carriageways (yeah, right!), that the load will be widely spread so they don't increase damage to the road, and that they'll cut pollution. The GOS says he doesn't care what they say, we just don't want these monsters thundering through our towns and countryside. The lorries we have at present are too big, and we certainly don't want them any bigger. OK, government ministers, have you got that? You can justify them all you like, we don't want them!
The reason road hauliers want to introduce these new vehicles is to save just 8% in fuel costs, which leads us neatly to another question that is bothering us all at the moment.
It has only taken a few newspaper reports about possible fuel protests to send drivers rushing lemming-like to join the queues at petrol-stations. Consequently petrol-stations are running out of petrol (apparently some have sold as much in one day as they normally do in a week) so if there wasn't a shortage before, there certainly is now. The press are now calling on Gordon Brown to cut the duty on petrol, because of course that is what the road hauliers are concerned about and what has given rise to the talk of protests. It is a fact that we pay roughly twice as much duty on our petrol as the rest of Europe.
It's hard to see why this should be so. Gordon Brown can't be short of revenue, for God's sake. We are taxed to the hilt on everything we do - we are taxed to be born, taxed to eat, taxed to travel, taxed to save, taxed when we work, taxed when we go on holiday, taxed in retirement and taxed (and how!) when we die.
And yet one of the wealthiest nations on earth apparently can't find the money for decent schools or hospitals. We can no longer provide free university education, NHS dental care, or adequate hospitals. Our road system is a joke and new road-building is about 10% of what it should be. Our railways are worse than a joke, and the most expensive in Europe.
So where's all that money going?
The GOS doesn't know. He certainly hasn't got it. Unless …. wait a minute …. could it be …. is it the government that's costing too much? We can't afford decent public services - can we actually afford the government?
The GOS thinks he's hit on a solution to this mess. We should get rid of Tony Blair, bulldoze Westminster, send the House of Lords back to their acres in the shires, make all the civil servants go out and find a proper job, and apply to join France. Let them govern us. They could hardly do worse. They have marvellous roads, really cool railways, pretty decent schools where disruptive pupils are almost unheard of, they pay their teachers properly and their hospitals are excellent (the GOS has been in one). Their petrol costs three-quarters what ours does, and both cars and houses are cheaper too. I expect we'd all have to speak French and watch really crap television, but that seems a small price to pay.
A couple of vaguely relevant snippets from our visitors ….
David Watson says:
Today - UK BP Wild Bean Café, one cup of tea = £1.59
US, one gallon of petrol = £1.59
Who's laughing? It took a hurricane to raise the price of a gallon in the US to the price of a cup of tea in the UK.
The GOS says: What's a Wild Bean Café, then?
… and Lloyd Walters says:
21%, the BBC claim to have. I didn't think there were that many morons in the country. What do they offer their viewers - wallpapering, digging the garden, selling houses? Well I must be a superstar - I've done all those! Thank God for Sky Sports and the radio.
The GOS says: Don't knock it, mate. It's not as bad as all that. There's the repeats of "Only fools and horses" and the second-rate American movies. You wait till the French take over.
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