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Hang on a minute, lads. I’ve got a great idea….

February 13, 2011

 

Braemar, Scotland – It only seems a moment ago when the then “new” UK Lib-Con Coalition Government promised us……

A reduction in public relations spin, off the record and unattributed briefings, engineered leaks, special advisement and prevarication.

Did someone just shout: “in your dreams?”

Look this is politics UK style and its all about public relations spin, off the record and unattributed briefings, engineered leaks, special advisement and prevarication.

There’s nothing like a nice bit of prevarication, especially when it comes to thorny issues. Take drinking and driving, or in our case, drinking and riding as an instance. Secretary of State for Transport, Phillip Hammond, has been prevaricating on the issue of reducing the drink-drive (ride) limit from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitre of blood to 50 milligrams for nearly a year.

Admittedly our Phil’s got a few issues to think over. Like? In opposition the Conservatives, Hammond’s party, said they were “not minded” to cut the drink drive limit. Like? The recommendations in the report by Sir Peter North, the Government’s adviser on the issue, which recommended a cut to 50 milligrams. Like? The House of Commons Transport Select Committee who recently called for the reduction of the drink-drive limit from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitre of blood to only 20 milligrams. Like?  The Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations, which represents pub landlords, and the Portman Group, lobbying for the brewing and alcohol retail sector, both bringing pressure to keep the current limit. Like? The road safety organisations and lobby groups asking for the limit to be reduced, even to zero.

What will Phil do? Obviously prevaricate, play the long game and commit to a new limit of 20mg in stages to 2016, handily after the next election.

Then of course there are leaks. BRR likes a nice little leak. Remember our recent stuff about the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). Well  there’s been another spurt at the DSA.

It seems that the DSA are a bit strapped for cash, bit surprising that as they managed to spend better than £77 million pounds on building test super centres. Anyway as a UK Government Agency they cannot make a loss, thus its creative thinking time lowering costs wise.

So its “delegated examiners” time. This is one where the DSA grant franchises to private firms and individuals to carry out driver and rider testing. The DSA gets to shut down or rent out its test centres to franchisees plus grant franchises that allow testing on franchise holders own sites ; we could even see “travelling examiners”. Hey what about whipping down to Tesco’s for the motorcycle test, wonder if it’s covered by Club Card points.

This appears to be an excellent move. Make finding a convenient test centre easy. Train and test on one site. Wow and it’s a nice fit with Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Mike Penning’s, plans for a new, single, on-road motorcycle test, that’s a surprise then! Not to mention the Conservative Party doctrine on creeping privatisation.

Question is will it cut costs. Will, for example, the ‘industry’ bundle a bike and test package to make entry to biking cheaper. If the cost of getting a motorcycle licence can be forced down more people will take the opportunity to get one. It’s that simple.

Will it be advantage bike, or are we simple replacing one over priced operation with another. Will we, as the result of takeovers and deals, end up with a privately operated test conglomerate instead of a Government owned one.

Will it help to secure the future of biking?

Ride! Just ride!

© Back Roads Rider 2011

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