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Anyone Seen the Road Safety Zealots??

November 22, 2009

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=Harriet+Harman&iid=7099505″ src=”3/b/7/f/Harriet_Harman_Faces_ed3e.jpg?adImageId=7677471&imageId=7099505″ width=”380″ height=”282″ /]

Chelmsford, England – Harriet Harman MP for the London constituency of Camberwell and Peckham and deputy leader of the UK Labour Party is to be charged with driving without due care and attention and driving while using a mobile phone, the UK Crown Prosecution Service has announced.

Ms Harman, a former solicitor, who is also Cabinet Minister for Women and Equality, Party Chair of the UK Labour Party, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons and formerly Solicitor General, is alleged to have crashed her car into another vehicle while talking on her mobile phone in Dulwich, London, on 3 July 2009. Driving without due care and attention carries a maximum fine of £5,000 and an endorsement of up to nine points on your licence.

Ms Harman has previous driving convictions. In January 2003 she was banned from driving for seven days and fined £400 after admitting speeding at 99mph on the M4 near Swindon, Wiltshire. In April 2007 she was fined £60 and given three penalty points for exceeding a temporary speed limit while driving on the A14 near Ipswich, Suffolk.

It thus seems surprising, to this observer at least, that the usual “good for a quote” road safety zealots have remained hushed on the subject of Ms Harman’s driving skills. Yes, Road Safety GB, Brake, Road Peace, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, the AA Foundation, the RAC Foundation, and the Institute of Advanced Motorists etc etc etc has maintained a notable silence on the issue.

Is this perhaps because a considerable number of the zealots are currently on a jolly boys and girls outing attending the Global Ministerial Summit on Road Safety in Moscow. Where, incidentally, Minister for Development Gareth Thomas has announced his intention of giving £1.5 million to third world countries to assist with “road safety issues”. That’s in addition to his previous announcement of £3.5 million to assist with “transport issues”. Don’t get me wrong I’ve no issues with humanitarian aid, but £5million on road safety and transport to regimes that spend considerable amounts of their GNP on purchasing military equipment to secure their power bases. £5million could sure build a lot of flood defences! I digress. Or is it because said zealots are funded by the Government, via various grant schemes and simply don’t want bite the hand that feeds them.

The point I’m making here is one of double standards. These same road safety zealots are only too pleased to jump on the bandwagon of criticising motorcycling and motorcyclists. Remember all the comments in the media when the police nick riders for excessive speed. Don’t worry about the niceties of commenting on court cases, wham straight in with the good old road safety rhetoric even before the ink is dry on the summons. Ok doing a ton and half down the A9 is not particularly responsible sensible or safe, but didn’t I read somewhere about a fair hearing. So come on you zealots either we going to shoot Ms Harman down in flames or shut up about those nasty horrible bikers.

Will Ms Harman resign over this? I doubt it. Unlike politicians in the EU, Canada and Australia who have committed traffic offences and resigned, even before being taken to court, I don’t think she will go. This of course sends the message that it’s all right to do anything on the road as long as you can get away with it. Then there’s the issue of respect for the democracy. You see when you hold a Ministerial post it’s the post itself that the post holder and the people must respect. Thus in the opinion of this writer Ms Harman is simple sticking two fingers up at our democracy and by definition everyone whose fought to keep it.

Of course the real irony is the fact that the law banning driving while using a hand held mobile phone was introduced in 2003 when Ms Harman was the Solicitor General.

So don’t do as I allegedly do, do as I allegedly say.

© Back Roads Rider 2009


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    November 23, 2009 1:31 pm

    Road Safety GB have never criticised motorcycling or motorcyclists. Niether have the IAM as far as I’m aware – and given that a substantial amount of the IAM’s funding comes from it’s motorcycling members it’s unlikely to. Media comment on excessive speeders, riding or driving, tends to come from the media itself or members of the legal ‘profession’. Perhaps you should start your ‘knives out for Harman’ campaign there. Riders have traditionally had a rough time when it comes to the courts, all riders know the score there. If you’re going to ride at those kinds of speeds then you should be grown up enough to accept the likley consequences of getting caught – or getting it wrong. Lets hope Ms Harman has seen the error of her ways and takes her punishment on the chin. Although sadly as a Labour Minister she is likely to try and lie and cheat her way out of it first…


  1. Anyone seen the Road Safety Zealots? – Chapter Two……. « Back Roads Rider

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