Transport Secretary Philip ‘Big Hamster’ Hammond is sick of dawdling up and down the motorway at a measly 70mph in his Jaguar XJ saloon. The notorious Essex-born teaspoon purchaser, has decided to raise the top UK speed limit to 80.
But, let’s see, hmmm… how can we justify that? Aha! How about arguing that faster travel will bring unspecified environmental benefits and economic gains by getting business people to their meetings faster and, you know, moving things around the country quicker. Genius.
Road safety groups may argue that there’ll be more road deaths as a consequence, but, let’s be brutally honest, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs (although, technically, you could make a very small one using just one egg).
And it hardly seems fair that that the French and Italians are free to drive at over 80mph – and those crazy Chermans get to go just as fast as they like – while decent hard working junior ministers are forced to pootle along at 70 like some somnolent septuagenarian slow-lane Sunday-driver on sedatives.
Sensing certain difficulties with the criteria traditionally applied in determining road speed policy, Hammond mused “We need to do this on a pretty rigorous cost-benefit analysis basis… at the moment there are [sic] a clear set of criteria for making these decisions. Perhaps we ought to ask if we are using the right set of criteria.”
Meanwhile in Spain, the government has decided to introduce lower speed limits to save fuel and thereby blunt the short term economic impact of fuel supply disruption resulting from the Arab Wind of Spring or whatever it’s called that’s currently sweeping the MENA region.
“We’re going to go slower and, in exchange for that, we’re going to use less petrol and we’re going to pay less money,” explained Pérez “Prez” Rubalcaba Spain’s first-choice deputy prime minister.