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Anyone Seen the Road Safety Zealots? – Chapter Two…….

January 17, 2010

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Blackpool, England – I’ve received a considerable number of e-mails accusing me of having a downer on Harriet Harman MP.

I make the presumption that this is because, in a recent post, I took Ms Harman to task over her driving abilities, ‘Anyone Seen the Road Safety Zealots’. As BRR readers may recall Ms Harman, a former solicitor, is Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Ms Harman who is also Cabinet Minister for Women and Equality, Party Chair of the UK Labour Party, Lord Privy Seal, Leader of the House of Commons and formerly Solicitor General, was alleged to have crashed her car into another vehicle while talking on her mobile phone in Dulwich, London, on 3 July 2009.

10 days ago Miss Harman’s case came up at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. She was unable to attend, writing the Labour Party Manifesto perhaps or even snowed in, and was represented by a lawyer. Ms Harman pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention in relation to the incident in July. She had previously “strongly refuted” the allegations and had claimed she would “deny the charges”. Harman was fined £350, ordered to pay £70 costs, a £15 victim surcharge and had three points added to her licence.

Interestingly the Crown Prosecution Service dropped a second charge of driving whilst using a mobile phone and no action was taken over claims Ms Harman had left the scene without exchanging registration and insurance details. According to BRR’s legal adviser either of these charges could have led to Ms Harman, if found guilty, having them recorded on the police national computer, not a criminal record, but pretty near it.

Did Ms Harman ‘get off light’. I’m a bit biased to offer an opinion on that but Nick Freeman, the lawyer nicknamed “Mr Loophole” for his ability to secure reduced penalties for clients, said: “She has been treated incredibly leniently. If she was my client, I would consider it a fantastic result.”

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. In April 2008 Ms Harman was again caught breaking the speed limit, this time in a 30 mph zone, and of course in Jan 210 Ms Harman was fined £350, ordered to pay £70 costs, a £15 victim surcharge and had three points added to her licence.

Does any of this matter? I belive it does. I’m not attempting to hold the moral high ground here, but  it seems we have a considerable number of politicians who are only to willing to ignore what they see as petty misdemeanours. The MP’s expenses issue raised public awareness of this. Apparently it is ok to claim for porn, Tampax and duck houses because the rules say it’s ok. ‘I was just following the rules’, that’s really not so far from the Nuremberg defence i.e. ‘I was just following orders’. Newsflash – just because the rules say I can does not mean I have too. Public position, elected, moral judgment, think!

It appears, unfortunately for me, that I have been programmed to hold the view that people in authority, particularly in elected posts, conducted themselves in a manner appropriate to that post, in short set an example. I simply do not accept that Ms Harman’s is doing that. It’s the wrong message.

Anyway Harriet could always consider some advanced driving lessons, on expenses perhaps!!

Bit of a buzz on the news wires today as the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCI) call for a motorbike scrappage scheme again.

In advance of the MCI and its posse trundling off to see, well hopefully, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson in February, the mighty MCI PR machine is turning up the heat on the scrappage scheme idea.

With 2009 sales down 20% scrappage inducements for bikes seems a good idea and with an election looming the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform may just come up with the goods.

Err don’t forget to mention at the meeting that 1.5 million bikers are eligible to vote.

Tip of the week – Do not flog that 10-year-old bike yet!

© Back Roads Rider 2010

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dave permalink
    January 18, 2010 8:46 am

    It’s not really a big surprise, since politics became a career rather than a calling back in the late 1980’s it joined the ranks of ‘profession’ where, as with banking and lawyers only the most greedy and self serving succeed. Is it any wonder that in a culture that rewards deviousness and back stabbing people like Ms Harman, and indeed Lord Mandelson, rise to the top of the political elite while those MP’s who really are just trying to serve their community (I think there are at least 3) are left on the back benches? Still, they say we get the government we deserve, we must have been very bad… Who was it that said – ‘those who are most hungry for power should never posses it’?

    • backroadsrider permalink
      January 19, 2010 9:22 pm


      After digesting the evidence from today’s Chilcot Inquiry session it is apparent that Hoon ‘the loon’ has reached heights of ministerial indecision that far outstrip the altitude achievable in Willy Wonka’s lift.

      It appears that the ‘Peter Principle’ the principle that: in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence, put forward by Dr Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull, applies to a considerable number of out politicians.

      Peters and Hulls theory is that in time, every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is too incompetent to carry out his/her duties’ and that the real work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.


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