23 Jan 2020

Cars - A Manifesto

The car is under attack. Politically, socially and environmentally it is hated by a certain type. A certain type that is vocal and has people in power and the mainstream media on their side. The bureaucrats, the cyclists, the zealots and the Followers Of Greta. People in positions of power look down their collective noses at the plebs in their tin boxes. Ordinary people should take the train they say. Ordinary people should cycle they say. Ordinary people belong on buses they say, as they tap their chauffer on the shoulder and are whisked off to yet another meeting about how to stop the masses thinking for themselves.

The printing press allowed people to be educated. Before the printing press only monks and scholars would read. Books were written but copies could only be created by hand, painfully slowly. Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press in the 15th century allowed information to be shared and ideas to be spread amongst the general populous. It provided for a step change in human evolution and ushered in the Age of Enlightenment which in turn provided the foundations for modern society.

Similarly the industrial revolution, the invention of the aeroplane and air travel, the creation of the internet and, of course, the automobile provided similar Gutenberg revolutions.

It was the creation of the automobile which allowed society to move beyond the physical restrictions of their origins. The farm and factory workers of the 19th century could only travel overland by walking or by horse for their work, to visit relatives, to explore the world outside their immediate environs. The introduction of the train in the latter part of the 19th century allowed for faster travel but it was incredibly restrictive in terms of where and when the trains ran.

Humans have to work around the train network, while cars work around the humans who drive them. Trains start and stop in predetermined locations at predetermined times - even if that is inconvenient. That has always been and is still the main issue with trains. I can drive the 20 mile journey from home to work in 30 minutes outside of rush hour and 45 minutes during rush hour. Using public transport would involve a one hour walk to the train station followed by a 53 minute journey on one train, a 16 minute journey on another train and a 10 minute walk from the station to the office. 45 minutes in the car versus 2 hours 20 minutes on public transport.

The car revolutionised society in terms of where we live, where we work, where we shop, the shape of our houses, the shape of our roads, the size and shape of our towns and villages. The car improved our lives beyond the imagination of the most forward looking Victorian. It changed how we dress, how we meet partners, how we spend our time, how fast we can access medical facilities. It made every single aspect of our lives better.

And yet we are told in the 21st century that cars are somehow bad. That cars are killing us. That we should move away from the car and into the various forms of mass transit that are provided for us by the benevolent state. Mass transit, don’t forget, that can’t even pay it’s own way. That is massively subsidised by people who don’t use it for those that do. Car drivers are paying for train users. The local butcher driving to work in a village in Lancashire is paying for the London banker, who earns ten times more than him, to take the train to work.

Why do the anti-car crowd adopt this mindset? It’s been coming for a long time. It wasn’t long after the invention of the car that someone was killed. In 1869 Mary Ward was riding in a steam car built by her cousins when she fell out on a bend and was run over. She died immediately. Nowadays around 1.25 million people per year die on the roads. In the UK it is around 1200 a year. This is a seemingly intolerable number, until you think about the benefits that cars bring to society and how many lives would be lost were cars not to exist.

Yet cars are becoming ever safer. Crashes become ever more survivable. In 1973 a journalist called Richard S Foster could see the direction that safety legislation was heading and wrote a short story called A Nice Morning Drive, published in Road & Track magazine. It was a prescient piece which described a society where cars had become 2700kg MSVs – Modern Safety Vehicles – which were designed to withstand 10mph head on impacts undamaged. The drivers of these MSVs become lazy and stupid and the crash rate increased by 6% every year, to which the legislators decided that shortly in the future MSVs would have to withstand 110mph head on impacts undamaged.

When asked why modern cars are so big and heavy a VW executive is reputed to have said that if you were to remove the entire safety and emissions components from a Touareg and place them on the floor next to it you would have something of the same weight and cost as a VW Up! Modern cars aren’t becoming MSVs, they already are.

Legislation drives safety regulations. It dictates the shape, height, weight and cost of our cars. It bulks them out and it beefs them up. Small cars have to be designed to withstand the impact of a 2.7 tonne Range Rover Sport. So they become less small and less cheap and more ugly.

All of this is done in the name of safety yet the humans who drive these increasingly huge and heavy cars receive no training and are not penalised for antisocial, dangerous driving. We are increasingly policed by camera and computer which catches only those who don’t pay their tax and drive a little too fast. Meanwhile the drunk, the drugged up and the frankly stupid get away with it.

In August 2019 Harry Dunn was riding his motorcycle when an American diplomat called Anne Sacoolas, driving on the wrong side of the road, smashed into him head on in her Volvo XC90 SUV. The XC90 weighs 2300kg and is pretty much the safest car on the road. Unless you’re outside it and have been smashed into by it. Then it is absolutely, catastrophically deadly. Sacoolas fled the country and escaped justice.

But what punishment would she have received? On 8 March 2018 the journalist Henry Hope Frost was riding home on his motorcycle when he was hit head on by a taxi driver called Tahir Mehmood who was driving his Toyota Prius on the wrong side of the road. Mehmood was found guilty and received a £670 fine and sentenced to 200 hours unpaid work.

The state controls every aspect of cars and car safety but allows complete idiots to drive cars on the public roads and when they kill other road users they get away almost scot free.

We need a government-led campaign of compulsory education and training. Driving should be a privilege enjoyed only by those competent enough to engage in it without endangering the lives of others.

And then we turn to the other issue of the modern age. The environment. Cars are bad for the environment, they say. Therefore cars should be banned. I tend to the persuasion that I will listen to arguments on all sides before forming an opinion. Some people are unable to do this. In the 21st century we in the West live in secular societies. Religion, which once bound the populace together and formed our structures, laws, meaning and entire reason for being, is gone.

Some people are simply unable to exist without a belief system that guides them, leads them and tells them how to think, behave and organise their lives. These people have been looking for a new Messiah and they have found one. In fact they’ve found several. The teachings of Marx, Greta Thunberg and political organisations such as the European Union as well as an ideological view of the world where people are designated good or bad by their race, sexual orientation, class, heritage and thoughts. Let’s call them Lemmings.

Let’s digress for a moment. Back to New York in the 1870s. Just as the car was being invented, but hadn’t yet become popular. New Yorkers were taking over 100 million trips a year by horse and by 1880 there were 150,000 horses in the city. Each horse would excrete 10kg of manure per day. That’s over 100,000 tons of manure and 10 million gallons of horse urine per year on New York city streets. Whatever we use for transport is polluting in some way. It is unavoidable.

Back to the present and in 2019 a man called Harry Miller was visited by police at his work place. He was told he was being investigated for transphobic hate crimes in the form of a tweet he had written which contained a limerick. When asked if this was actually a crime he was told it was not. The police then told his co-workers he was ‘dangerous’.

This Lemming mindset has infiltrated all aspects of the establishment. The police, the academia, the civil service, large and medium corporations, HR professionals, the press, silicon valley and the heads of all quangos and government organisations. And it is an inherently anti-car mindset. Cars represent freedom and individuality of the individual. In a car you can go anywhere you want at a reasonable cost.

The Lemmings do not like this. The EU bureaucrats, the Whitehall mandarins, the cyclists, the Cult Of Greta and the Town Planners say that cars emit so much CO2 that it is causing the earth to warm at an unprecedented rate and that because of that all cars need to stop polluting immediately or else the earth and all life on it will die (despite the fact that 400 million years ago CO2 levels in the atmosphere were five times higher than they are now).

And so the Lemmings who are in charge of writing the regulations that we must abide by have created a system of laws where in order to meet their stringent, legally binding, emissions targets cars are becoming yet more large, heavy, expensive and boring. And small cars are, perversely, persecuted even more so by the Lemmings and are being subject to such massive fines that each VW Up! sold in the EU in 2020 will be subject to a £2,400 fine.

So the buyer of a 950kg car with a 1.0 litre engine is punished far more than the buyer of a 2700kg car with a 3.0 engine, and a hybrid electrical system - which pays no fine because it can travel 30 miles on electric power.

Meanwhile standard petrol and diesel cars are becoming cleaner and cleaner all the time, without the ‘help’ of the State and its Lemmings. Each car would require less energy and less material to create were it not for having to fulfil safety and emissions regulations which mean that each car that is created uses a whole lot more energy, materials and rare earth elements.

It is as if they are doing it for political reasons rather than for safety and environmental reasons. The socialists in plain clothing who create our laws are moulding a society where the car is becoming so expensive, so vast, so ridiculous and so technologically advanced and therefore disposable (just like all other modern tech) that they can then criticise cars for being vast, ridiculous and polluting. They can demonise the car for being the thing that they created.

And think of all the other areas where cars have been marginalised. Town Planning creates towns and cities that are so car unfriendly that cars become stranded in islands, trapped between red lights, ultra low emission zones, single occupancy lanes and fast disappearing car parking spaces. New houses are built with too few spaces and more and more new houses are built with allocated parking. Allocated parking is a hideous modern invention which removes the car and the house from each other so that the car is emotionally removed from the occupant. It is out of sight and unloved. Bought as a commodity to provide cheap, convenient transport, then left out of sight and out of mind. It's almost as if this is done on purpose by the people who design our housing...

Private car drivers are being banned and priced out of towns and cities whilst the rich and the Lemmings are happy that the roads are quiet so they can let an Uber take the strain whilst a white van delivers their new kitchen, fresh scallops to their favourite restaurant and huge, polluting HGVs build the massive, dehumanising, concrete and steel skyscrapers which make metropolitan liberal elite even richer and happier.

So now cars cannot fit in standard parking spaces because they are too big and cannot be driven on roads in cities because for years transport planners have spitefully created a road network which penalises cars.

Reducing CO2 is a reasonable aim and one that can be achieved with proper planning and regulation but because those who have created the regulations hate the concept of the private car they have created a system which will destroy it if it goes unchecked.

CO2 can be reduced by making cars smaller and lighter and more efficient. Safety can be achieved by technology other than airbags and crash structures and more and more heavy steel. Carbon monocoques can protect occupants and education can prevent crashes from happening in the first place rather than making all cars withstand all crashes.

People will not be able to afford cars. They will not be able to insure cars because the car insurance industry is a corrupt scam. They will not be able to fuel cars because 65% of the price of fuel in the UK is tax, which pays for trains and buses. They will not be able to drive cars in places where they need to because they will be banned or priced out. They will not be able to park cars because they will not fit in the spaces available. Cars provide social mobility because they are cheap and convenient.

We are told electric cars are the future. But electricity storage is hopelessly backwards in terms of energy intensity compared to fossil fuels, and to hydrogen. Electric cars are even heavier than conventionally fuelled cars yet have tiny ranges and hopelessly long ‘refuelling’ times. 75% of the mass of the entire universe is hydrogen. And if used as a fuel it emits nothing more than water vapour from the exhaust pipe. Yet as a fuel it is marginalised. Hydrogen should be the future of transport but is ignored by the Lemmings because hydrogen is too conveniently ‘good’.

Motoring journalists are, one by one, being stricken with Stockholm Syndrome. They are starting to revere and praise the very thing that will kill off their profession - the electric car. They are given electric cars to test and they report back that this week's model is fast, refined and comfortable and, yes, the range is small and, yes, it takes forever to charge and, yes, a lot of the chargers don't actually work and, yes, costs twice as much as a petrol car and, yes, could be seen as impractical but as petrol and diesel cars will kill us all then we'll all learn to love them.

It’s a war being waged by them against us. By those with an ideology that favours their belief system – that of a weak mind – over yours and mine. They despise us and they do not want us to have the freedom that the car provides. They want to price and regulate the car out of existence for their own political ends.

For the first time in human history we are being told to go backwards. To devolve instead of evolve. To travel less and to do less. We are being told to take the bus when there is no bus available from where we are to where we want to be, and we are told to take the train when the train costs five times more than the car for the same journey.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The people are fighting back. The people are getting sick of the bureaucrats and the Lemmings and the elites. The people are voting to rid themselves of the EU, to reject Marxism and to embrace a new, populist capitalism. We need to make clear to our politicians what we think. We need to keep a check on them and make sure that they continue to support the car. To spend billions of pounds on roads instead of railways.

The car is the device by which people were freed from the chains of poverty. And long may it continue. Because if it doesn't we will all be in trouble.

Footnote - The song Red Barchetta by Rush is based on A Nice Morning Drive

By Matt Hubbard