Love is, of course, available in many formats. There’s brotherly, conjugal, computer, puppy and unrequited, to pluck just a handful at random. Then there are more obscure loves like the idiot love which David Bowie predicted would spark the fusion, or that mysterious one that dares not speak its name.

Van Morrison in his pre-Cliff prime was wont to extol the righteous power of crazy love, while former ABI director general Marc Bolan was always a fervent advocate of the now infamous hot love. The love-style currently favoured by the body he once headed, however, is the up-close-and-personal no-holds-barred discipline that goes by the name of tough love. Here’s how it works:

Young persons, armed only with three-door runarounds, a shaky grasp of how to drive them, and a sadly misplaced confidence acquired from endless sweaty hunching over simulator games, willfully persist year after year in causing reckless death and injury to themselves and others, forcing insurers to charge them and their less culpable peers ever-higher premiums for their private motor insurance. This is not good.

But, fear not, the ABI’s Nick Sparrow this week announced a cunning “tough love” plan that will make all well again. “Novice drivers,” the ABI’s press release declares, should be banned from driving after dark (raising potentially tricky questions, at this time of year in particular, such as just how far dusk may descend before you pull over and walk the rest of the way home) and “should not be allowed to drink any alcohol while driving.”

Whilst Bankstone News strongly agrees that drinking whilst driving can be dangerous – especially when you tilt your head right back to drain those last few drops from the can – we feel bound to express a certain sympathy with Douglas Simon of Alcoholics Anonymous who responded to the ABI’s proposed restrictions on the under 25s with the observation that it would be better to lower the permitted booze-to-blood ratio for everyone – and with the somewhat euphemistic objection that banning driving after dark would alienate young people who rely on their cars “to drive to or from late-shift work or who find themselves having to drive at night for other practical reasons”.

Practical reasons like cruising round the local nightspots, perhaps.


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