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Hell On Wheels 1 - The Vigilantes

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Hell On Wheels 1 - The Vigilantes

Geoff Maxted
July 31, 2013

Recently I read a letter of complaint in which the author was “horrified and disgusted”. The complainant was referring to the litter-lout actions of a fictional TV character. I thought this was great as I’d assumed ‘Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells’ had died sometime in the 1970’s. Certainly, littering is unpleasant and this person should perhaps spend more time outside attending to the matter rather than moaning about some flickering fancy on the goggle-box.

‘What,’ I hear you asking - in a rather testy manner if you don’t mind me saying so - is ‘has this got to do with cars and motoring?’. Fair point and I’m coming to it next. Once some people get hold of an issue they are like dogs with bones. Single emotive issues tend to polarise opinion and a sort of swivel-eyed mania takes over those so afflicted.

In recent years we have seen a rise in the stigmatisation of car use. Motorists are dangerous polluters who run rampant through the town and country with a complete disregard for the residents. This gives rise to strident and virulent complaint and both local and national government rapidly cave in to the wishes of these screeching minorities in the interests of a quiet life. There is plenty of signage and regulation that is daft and pointless and is usually dreamed up by a local official with the IQ of a Pot Noodle who is part of the conspiracy against cars.

Clearly though, it is essential we have rules and our crowded road transport system should not be some free-for-all. By and large in today’s conditions motoring regulations are about 80% right - and this is from someone who likes going fast. For example, I have every sympathy with villagers whose through road is used as a rat-run or has become part of a major route; or with parents who are concerned by the actions of inattentive drivers near school crossings.

The trouble is this has all given rise to a type of vigilantism that sets neighbour against neighbour. Across the country certain locals have taken to our pavements and verges with placards and speed cameras with which they accumulate evidence, subsequently passed to the police for action. They become judge and jury. (The State just wants the money). These people may well have a case but with their single-issue blinkers on can’t see what is actually happening.

Whilst they are freezing on street corners they forget that they have already paid for the police and the council to do this. Surely these folk have a right to expect value for money? I personally object to civilians judging what I do. At what point will litter-louts be lynched from the nearest lampposts by baying hordes of passers-by? When will come the day that you are dragged from your car by rabid villagers and forced to listen to a thirty-point list of grievances? Don’t bet against it.

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