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Decisive or Divisive??

August 25, 2010


Scarborough, England – Legislation being decisive or divisive rather depends on whose political views or which political party you support.

One person’s enjoyable day in the countryside fox-hunting is another’s chasing a small furry animal to an indescribable painful death. One persons pleasurable Friday evening down the pub with his mates, in a middle England town, is another’s gang of binge drinking yobbo’s making town centres a no go area and doing pretty obnoxious things to war memorials.

Of course it could actually be to do with class. Let’s face it the main driver behind the UK Labour Parties ban on fox-hunting was kicking the Conservative toffs in the teeth. Likewise the Conservative end of our current government coalition is now intent on legislation that will introduce a minimum price for alcohol, in the hope that this will control the working class jolly boys Friday night town centre antics.

What about said working class jolly boys other rather annoying habit of piling into various cars and after exploring the delights of the boom box, burnout and doughnut in the local Tesco’s car park hitting the open road for home. Only to discover that, even after reading one of those nice little drink aware beer mats, the consumption of a considerable number alco pops causes a significant gap between perceived and actual driving ability. And the consequence was – death, destruction and an awful, awful lot of grief.

Well if the hypotheses that legislation can be class driven holds true it may be thought that Conservative Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond would post-haste drop the drink drive limit t from its current 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg, the same limit as applies in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

But no, according to reports in some UK national papers Mr Hammond is concerned about the impact that any reduction in the drink-drive limit would have on country pubs, with at least one newspaper quoting a Department of Transport (DfT) “insider” who said: “The minister is very sceptical indeed about this idea. He is far from convinced that it would be a good thing.” Could it be that the Secretary of State is also concerned that dropping the limit to 50mg would upset all the Conservative middle Englanders who now enjoy a couple of drinks at the Conservative Club, the golf course, etc etc before heading home safe in the knowledge that with a blood alcohol level of 78.5mg per 100ml they are under the limit. Under the limit perhaps, but safe to drive???

So what’s it to be, a political decision or one based on facts and research? We will know in November when Hammond announces his decision on whether or not to drop the drink drive limit to 50mg. According to researchers doing so would save 65 lives a year.

No doubt some of those lives saved would be the lives of motorcyclists.

© Back Roads Rider 2010

5 Comments leave one →
  1. mhayworth permalink
    August 26, 2010 4:18 pm

    I don’t agree at all with your theory on fox-hunting. I’m a conservative who like so many of my conservative friends (including rural conservatives) abhor hunting with hounds. On the political front it wasn’t class but in fact money that was the driver. Labour was paid well to put the ban in place and the Tories have been paid well to try and reverse it. The only time class played a part was when dog fighting was first made illegal and the hunts managed to dress their bloodsport up as something quite different. There is actually no difference whatsoever. These are just better dressed thugs.

  2. dave permalink
    August 27, 2010 8:57 am

    Surely we either need to reduce the limit to zero – sending out a clear message that any amount of alcohol in your system is unacceptable when driving – or leave it as it is and actually have some proper enforcement done around it. Just lowering the limit is largely a paper excercise which will have no discernable benefits for anyone other than the lawyers paid to write it.

  3. Ian Cook permalink
    September 11, 2010 9:30 am

    How many accidents were CAUSED by drivers/riders with an alcohol level between 50 and 80mg? What is this number as a percentage of all accidents caused by drivers/riders above the current limit?

    Without this information, how can we judge whether this would be a worthwhile plan? Too much weight is given to the (understandably) over-emotional pleas by bereaved relatives and too little to fact-based information. We need to focus limited resources where they will do the most good.

    Figure out what the REAL causes of most accidents are and work on them in priority order – we need more information!


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