Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Association of British Drivers
Praise be to the ABD. That's where I got the link illustrating just how green and pleasant Britain still is (see below). It is also the location of articles on why the car is not a threat to the environment and how asthma is actually the result of clean air. Personally, I thought it was a result of the abolition of leaded petrol but it is something of a pet theory of mine.
England's new first airport
Brian Micklethwait of Samizdata writes:
Sean Gabb was on BBC Radio Oxford last week. He was on to denounce the hideous notion of a national, compulsory DNA database, and denounce it he duly did. He also legalised all drugs and abolished gun control.
I know all this because Radio Oxford sent Sean a tape c/o me and I had a listen. After Sean was finished, I carried on listening and just before the tape ran out there was a report about how the British government intends the construction of the second biggest airport in the world (with only Chicago being bigger) in a green bit of the midlands, in the Rugby-Coventry area. The first report was a mere listener ringing up about a horrified letter a friend of hers had sent her. A hoax right? Apparently not. A local BBC reporter came on and said, yes, this is indeed the plan. It was apparently announced on the day before parliament broke up for its summer holidays, and there will only be a few short months for the inevitable protesters to protest against it all.
Personally I'm for it. I don't live in the Midlands, but if I did I would probably be even more for it. I'm confident that airplanes will go on getting quieter, and airports accordingly ever less disruptive. Airplanes fly over me when they land at Heathrow. Only Concorde is at all noisy and Concorde would be magnificent at twice the din. Even more magnificent in fact, because then you'd know even sooner when it was coming and could rush out and look at it even more easily than you can now.
Plus, if you take the trouble actually to fly over England in a airplane, you can observe that England is anything but overcrowded. It consists mostly of empty greenery, and it will go on doing so for many decades to come. The only reason people think it's overcrowded is because the crowded bits are the bits that most people spend most of their time looking at. Most people now live in towns or cities, and motorways and mainline railways, in addition to themselves (motorways especially) being development also attract more development alongside them, and people confuse the view from the car or train window as they whiz from one English town or city to another with the state of play everywhere. "Overcrowded" is a typical townie cliché, not a reality.
Even so, did you know about this new airport plan, Patrick? It sounds like it may be about to keep you very busy.
Err... no I didn't. It does seem a rather odd place to put an airport though. [Ed.]
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
The Greatest Railway in the World
This photo comes from the Japanese Railway Society and is captioned "A 113 series EMU passes Tamachi station on its way to Tokyo station on a Tokaido Line suburban working in June 2002."
There are a couple of things that really struck me about this photo. The first is how clean everything is. The train is clean, front and side, the platform (what little you can see of it) is clean and free of litter. The ballast (not that I am an expert on this) is clean and neatly laid. There is no litter on the tracks (as there so often is in the UK)
The second is how ugly everything is. The train is ugly, its livery is ugly. The overhead masts are ugly as are the cables they support. Even the platform looks ugly. It is a million miles away from the romantic shots of steam trains puffing their way across rural landscapes that most of us are used to.
I am not going to speculate on whether this ugliness is a product of commercialism or Japanese culture or some other factor but I would say that if the choice was between this ie Japanese levels of punctuality, reliability, capacity and cleanliness, and what we have in the UK at the moment I would take this every time.
Monday, September 16, 2002
The New Labour Fear Factor
In an otherwise platitudinous article on why we should elect him Mayor of London, Tony Banks does at least say:
I often have to travel home late at night and it can be a disgusting and frightening experience.He won't do anything about it, of course, but it does at least indicate that Socialists are having to suffer the consequences of their own actions.
Sunday, September 15, 2002
Tee hee hee
See this. If only Stelios had called it easyVirtue.