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A New Authoritarianism??

November 29, 2009

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Ipswich, England – Authoritarianism – A form of government in which the governing body has absolute, or almost absolute, control. Typically this control is maintained by force, and little heed is paid to public opinion or the judicial system.

Why this stuff on authority? Last week I met up with a friend of mine who is well into the climate change issue, she’s a real climate change denier. Since she hangs out, academically speaking, in one of the UK’s better universities she has a well argued case. Thus she’s grinning like Cheshire cat over the mess that the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) has got itself into over the leaking of private emails sent and received by Professor Phil Jones, the CRU’s director. In them he discusses massaging the raw temperature data on which the CRU’s predictions of global warming are based in an attempt, presumable, to belittle the sceptics and deniers case.

This adds weight to another of my friend’s theories on climate change and authoritarianism. She reckons that the intellectual cranks involved with the anti communist movement and nuclear disarmament all decamped to the ‘green movement’ after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Bizarrely she believes that these people have become an authoritarian clique of climate change protesters with little tolerance of minority opinion or personal freedom. She may have a point here, if taken to extremes. No nuclear power, no coal-fired power stations, no cars, no cows and the government of the day charging everyone a carbon tax, a green authoritarian state.

All this discussion on authoritarianism set me to thinking about biking and authority. Traditionally bikers have not liked authority, got a bit of a bad boy/girl image, and lets face it the ‘industry’ has cashed in on that sales wise over the years. These days bikers anti authority gig is more likely to be doing 32mph in a 30 mph speed limit rather than shooting it out ‘cow boy’ style in Hastings, High Street.

It’s not as if we being stopped for simple being in possession of a motorcycle and thrown into some festering jail. But authority is showing its hand. 400 bikers stopped each weekend over the summer by North Wales Police. Last week Sussex Police stopped 150 motorcyclists and after giving road safety advice offered them a free hi-viz vest. Presumably using good old Section 163 of the Road Traffic Act. Tightening up the training and testing regime won’t, belong before you need a PhD to ride a bike or at least a National Rider Standard NVQ. Endless, endless road safety campaigns sending the message to non believers that if you bike you die.

Hang on a moment, I don’t seem to remember anyone asking me about this and I didn’t vote for it. My MP seems to be in the dark as well, I asked.

What was that about authoritarianism? Ah yes, little heed is paid to public opinion or the judicial system.

© Back Roads Rider 2009

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ashley permalink
    November 30, 2009 2:38 pm

    There would be an outcry if police failed to respond to the vast number of idiot motorcyclists – no, not the responsible ones – that are killing and maiming themselves every week on UK roads. Look to your own – with more responsible riding, the Sussex stops would not have been required and the Welsh stops would not have been needed.

    Police are entitled to stop any driver / rider to check there docs.

    What is your problem? Communicating (chat to police officer) is obviously not your strong point? Guilty conscience?

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