Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The hypocrisy of Haulage.

This is where I inadvisably make an enemy of lots of short tempered men who are considerably tougher than I am.

Admittedly the problem of making stuff stop being in one place and start being in another place is an ancient one. But taking it in lorries, by road, is an inefficient, environmental disaster of a solution. It is slow. It is the cause of slowness in others. It's massively polluting. It does huge damage to the infrastructure it uses and, because it doesn't PAY for that damage, it is subsidised by the rest of us.

The only upside to anyone who isn't a blood relation of Eddie Stobart is fuel duty, which is at least a useful source of government revenue. Yet whenever the price of fuel goes up (for global economic reasons over which the government has no control), hauliers cut up rough and blockade the petrol stations. They want us to cut the fuel duty to compensate them; to subsidise them even more than we already do by building all the bloody motorways for them to break in the first place!

Hell, we invaded Iraq! How much more of a commitment to controlling the price of oil do they expect our government to demonstrate? I can understand high fuel costs annoying them, but where the feck do they get the nerve to be militant about it? Surely, what they ought to be doing is keeping theirs heads down and counting their blessings that the combination of our unthinking acceptance of the status quo (and their own massively powerful political lobby) is ensuring that their unsustainable business is kept alive?? They need to stop acting as if they are victimised crofters, who are being denied their age-old right to pump the skies full of CO2 and occasionally plough into a low-hanging railway bridge.

Fuel duty is an important source of revenue and environmental good news. It's really not up to the government to cut that duty to sustain a business that isn't supportable. The system is already massively in the road lobby's favour. Transport money is automatically poured into motorways, and so our Victorian railway network becomes more and more antiquated and further away from the faster, cheaper, more efficient and far less polluting haulage solution that it could be.

No, mass transportation goods by road is a TERRIBLE idea. And it's not anyone's noble heritage, tradition, way-of-life or raison d'etre (apart from the late Eddie Stobart). But even if you disagree, surely the very worst way for lorry drivers to protest against unfair treatment is to cruise down a motorway in a massive, slow-moving convoy, pouring out emissions, browsing the internet on a laptop, while also texting, eating, drinking questionable coffee and getting in everyone's way! For God's sake, don't draw attention to THOSE aspects of what you do. That's like protesting against the accidental shooting of a gangster by holding a massive riot in London, but leaving SportsDirect well alone.

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