By Pete Moore On November 30th, 2014 at 7:09 pm
FOR THOSE unfortunate enough not to be British, we have a concept on our motorways known as the “Hard Shoulder”. It’s a lane over to the left which must not be driven in. It’s reserved for emergency vehicles (which need an open lane to get past a traffic jam) and broken down motors.
The M25 is the motorway which circles London. Government transport planners have long wanted to widen it because it’s a byword for congestion. Their bodged solution was to remove the Hard Shoulder on certain stretches of the M25 earlier this year, turning it from Hard Shoulder + three lanes to four lanes of traffic. Congestion has not improved, and it’s now a death trap. I know that because I almost ended up dead on it today.
At 4.15pm I was in the second lane of four, (no Hard Shoulder) going round the top part of the motorway. It was getting dark and the cruise control was rolling at 70mph. (Owners of American wheels are can be assured that motors really can go that fast). A van was in the first lane to my left, doing about 50mph so I was gaining on it. As I was almost level and about to go past it, the van violently swerved right, bang into my path and just feet away. I genuinely thought I was a goner. All I could do was stand on the brakes. Bailing out to the right would have me smashing into another motor, so the brakes juddered like mad while I waited for my motor to end up like an accordian.
Luckily the van driver accelerated as he almost killed me and I was inches from hitting him. Then I saw why he did that: a car was in the first lane, broken down. There’s no hard shoulder so the driver had no option but to stop in the first lane of a 70mph motorway. He must be dim because he didn’t even have the hazard lights on, and was standing on the motorway side of the armco barrier. I know for a fact that there was no warning triangle in the lane.
Obviously the van driver realised at the last second that the car lights in front of him weren’t moving. So he had to yank his Transit right and almost into me. That’s why it’s a death trap, because there’s nowhere for people with car trouble to get out of the way, with 70mph+ motors and 56mph trucks bearing down.
That’s some really impressive work from the Highways Agency, that is.
By Mike Cunningham On November 30th, 2014 at 11:53 am
As we approach the Season of Goodwill, with the ancient days of Advent heralding the true Nativity, the birth of the One whom Christians all across this world revere as the Christ, allow me to present the manner in which a sizeable proportion of our Populace will be readying themselves to enjoy their days of Peace and Goodwill to all men!
ATW readers are invited to suggest words, or indeed sentences, appropriate to the various people in the photograph; e.g. the fat one with the red hair, the black lady with the tasteful bonnet; etc.
By David Vance On November 30th, 2014 at 11:18 am
I agree with Bro!
A leading businessman has called into question the ability of politicians to deliver a lowering of corporation tax for Northern Ireland. There have been indications that Chancellor George Osborne may make an announcement in his Autumn Statement on Wednesday. The prime minister has said arguments made by politicians for devolving powers to Stormont were “strong””.
The current rate paid by businesses in Northern Ireland is 21%. However, the executive wants businesses to be able to match tax rate in the Republic of Ireland, which stands at 12.5%. The managing director of insurance company Allstate NI, Bro McFerran, told BBC Radio Ulster’s Inside Business programme that he is not convinced politicians in Northern Ireland are ready to take on corporation tax powers.
“Our Northern Irish politicians need to show that they can deal and resolve the existing issues before they get into the realms of corporation tax,” he said. “I think if we introduce something where we need much greater understanding and nuance and sophistication, I’m not sure those are words that we naturally associate with our Northern Irish politicians, and I think that is something that we have to be very careful about.”
He is spot on. The Stormont government is inherently dysfunctional and has shown itself unable to even agree on the need for welfare cuts of £80m. How it would cope with public sector cuts of more than £200m a year remains covered in mystery!
By David Vance On November 30th, 2014 at 11:12 am
As readers know, I am an implacable opponent of socialised healthcare for the simple reason that it removes the fundamental need of self responsibility and places politicians in charge of YOUR health. That has to be wrong. However the NHS is THE political totem ok the UK political class and NHS worship is the new State religion.
George Osborne has confirmed he will put an extra £2bn into frontline health services across the UK next year. The chancellor told the BBC it was not a “one-off” but a “year after year” down-payment on a long-term NHS plan. There would be no “unfunded giveaways”, he said, adding the increase in NHS funding was possible because the economy was strong. Labour’s Ed Balls said it was “crisis money” and they would pledge an additional £2.5bn to the NHS.
You have to laugh. The Libdems have been running around promising an extra £1.5bn. Now the Conservatives are raising the stakes with an extra £2bn. And Labour seek to see that £2bn and raise a further £2.5bn. And it is all profoundly misguided.
Throwing MORE AND MORE of our cash into the chasm of the NHS won’t do a thing. It’s inherently dysfunctional. Over the past four years, the UK has seen ONE MILLION immigrants come here. They consumer all public services, NHS included and whilst we remain in the EU nothing can be done to change this. So more cash will be needed to prop up this vast dinosaur.
By David Vance On November 30th, 2014 at 10:56 am
Babylon has a price tag.
Teaching children who come from immigrant families to speak English is costing the taxpayer more than £244 million a year. The extraordinary level of funding allocated to deal with the language problem in schools emerged just days after immigration from the European Union was revealed to have reached a record high. Department for Education figures for the current school year suggest the costs have risen by about £40 million in just three years – up from £204 million in 2011.
The madness carries a huge cost, and consumes vast amounts of taxes. And, of course, it is not just schools that have to fund these huge translation costs. The NHS also lavishes £££ MILLIONS on translation costs. All this waste of cash could stop overnight if we insisted that people cling here speak ENGLISH.
By David Vance On November 30th, 2014 at 10:47 am
Here is the thinking of a prominent European professor.
You see the problem with the multiculturalist mindset?
By David Vance On November 30th, 2014 at 10:44 am
I’m off to this city tomorrow to visit this architectural marvel, and others.
Yes, I shall be in Berlin for the next four days. Never been there before but am looking forward to exploring the history.
By David Vance On November 30th, 2014 at 10:40 am
I was doing the Paper Reviews on the BBC last night. Hosted by Stephen Nolan, It’s quite a fun experience but it does mean a late night. It was on BBC 5 live. This is what happens.
I arrive and am ushered into an empty studio. I am then given the Sunday newspaper headlines and have an hour to study them. Then, at 11pm, I go live and spent about an hour on the line going through stories and putting my angle on them. I was on with a chap called David Banks (former editor of the Daily Mirror). David is a leftist, I am not, so we had some lively but well intentioned debate. We disagreed on the NHS, on Islam, on the House of Commons, on the EU, on UKIP and on Labour!
It finished at midnight and I had a peaceful drive home.
By David Vance On November 29th, 2014 at 6:17 pm
I see that Islamic State grow bolder and are now using TURKEY as a base from which to besiege the Syrian town on Kobane.
Militants from the Islamic State launched an attack on Kobane from Turkey for the first time today – indicating that the Syrian border town is now totally surrounded. The clashes, which killed at least 30 fighters, began when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives while driving an armoured vehicle across the border, Kurdish officials have said. Nawaf Khalil, a spokesman for Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union Party, said the terror group ‘used to attack the town from three sides. Today, they are attacking from four sides’.
And then the predictable denial….
Turkey denied the fighters had used its territory for the raid.
They can deny all they want but Islamic State is a supranational structure that only sees a Caliphate. Turkey will be part of that.
By Mahons On November 29th, 2014 at 6:17 pm
Yesterday I enjoyed one of the great treats of the day after Thanksgiving. A leftover Turkey sandwich with stuffing, ham and cranberry sause. I don’t belive in American exceptionalism, but I sure do believe in an exceptional sandwich.
Which leads me to the leftover nation when it comes to Europe, namely Turkey. Called the sick man of Europe this nation of over 70 million is situated for sucess, but has often not succeded. A member of NATO, yet with a human rights record that would make a South American dictatorship blush. It has a tradition of secularism, but seems handicapped by the most obvious thing which can’t seem to be mentioned – namely an Islamic movement. Note I don’t say radical Islamic movement, because Islam as a political force and worldview is simply bad enough. I distinguish the practice of religion from the imposition of a religion.
The current leader of Turkey would like to turn the clock back on human rights. This may not be spoken out loud outside of Turkey, but is patently obvious to Turkey’s secularists who correctly see a danger when it presents itself. Yet secularists in Turkey have not captured the attention of Western Media who would rather focus on fantasy oppression in Ferguson and elsewhere.
Turkey could be a vital ally against Islamic movements, but until we support the secularists there, Turkey is going to be of little help abroad.