On Your Bike, Blair!

Cautious and I sleep easy in our beds, separate beds (not that it matters), knowing that our daily efforts make the world a better place to live. Sadly those around us seem determined to trash the place.

Our esteemed Prime Minister decides upon the perfectly reasonable step of charging people for taking their gas-guzzling, squirrel-squashing, asthma-triggering, planet-warming, penis-extending, road-raging tool of capitalist oppression out onto the nation’s cycle ways, otherwise known as roads. Unfortunately, he then allows his own website to be used for people to wish to express an opinion on the matter. Guess what? Things all get a bit Sheridan and over 1.8 million people sign a petition saying they don’t want to pay. People of Britain, you have been conned. Duped by marketing suits in red specs who have convinced you that your car will allow you to whizz around the Highlands without seeing another soul or take your family windsurfing and park right on the beach. The reality, brothers and sisters, is quite a different matter. You will be sitting in a sweltering tin box behind a huge truck belching out noxious gases in traffic jams 15 miles long, as your mobile phone rattles in your glove compartment and your arteries harden by the minute and all for the privilege of getting to work to stoke the fires of capitalist greed. It is time to break free.

Our friend from Shropshire who started the petition believes charging is “sinister and wrong”. We doubt that it is more sinister than an online petition that is hosted by the target of the petition. Just fill in your email address and contact details it innocently asks. So, you give the government your contact details as you complain about a matter of government policy. I think not, comrades. Mark my words, they will use this to come round your house and confiscate your laptop as a weapon of the revolution. Which, of course, it is. Do not be fooled. Mr. Blair now knows that road charging will cost him 1.8 million votes and he knows exactly who these people are. To us, that is as sinister as whale-skin trousers.

The petition also suggests that money should be found to improve roads to ease congestion. Maybe we missed a meeting, but Cautious and I can’t quite see how making something easier to use will encourage people to seek an alternative to using it. Congestion will be eased by getting the evil motor car off the road, not by making bigger roads. It is time, brothers and sisters, for a library driven transport revolution.

Under new LLF proposals, we aim to take road charging to radical new levels. Those with 4×4 cars have clearly more money than they need and will be charged 16 times the rate of the average family car. Nissan Micras will be exempt, as will Trabants, for they are revolutionary and quite cool. All those using the roads for cycling will be given library fine waivers and “Love me, love my cycle” t-shirts. The enormous state wealth generated from charging will be used for installing libraries on trains and to fund trips to China to politely ask them to stay on their bikes. While we are there, we will also be looking at ways in which mobile library services can be migrated to a rickshaw-based solution. Come and join us, you know it makes sense.

The Nissan Micra

The Accused

The Nissan Motor Company Limited

The charge

That the accused did wilfully and with malice aforethought manufacture very small low-powered cars and flagrantly market the same to immensely fat people with poor spatial awareness thereby preventing commuters from going about their rightful daily business.

The case for the prosecution

Ladies and Gentlemen, when Nissan USA president Yutaka Katayama introduced the compact pickup to America in 1959, he espoused a philosophy that was part Zen and part car aficionado: “Love cars, love people, love life.” When I was driving to this very court today I saw, and not for the first time, a hugely obese woman “driving” a Nissan Micra in the middle lane of the motorway at 40mph and I espoused a somewhat different philosophy. As there are likely to be children and people of finer sensibilities listening to this case, I will not repeat that particular philosophy here.

Suffice to say that the ghastly sight of some vast and lardy middle-aged female squeezed unceremoniously into a small tin and plastic wheeled box is not one that the eye welcomes so early in the day. Apart from the obvious visual enormity of the event, there is an altogether more sinister and indeed dangerous aspect to be considered. The viewer’s brain. Bereft of mental stimulation, the daily commuter will fall on the slightest curious incident like a pack of ravenous hyena on a wounded wildebeest. And this one is no exception. How did she get into that car in the first place? Given her relative bulk and the comparative tininess of the target space, the exercise was evidently not conducted by self alone.

So what fiendish accomplice, oiled and gloved, was responsible for squeezing and coaxing the behemoth into the Micra? How long did it take? Were wheels and pullies employed? Or large sticks and shoe-horns? Did a crowd of jeering small boys assemble to encourage the ingress? Which parts of respective anatomies came into contact to effect an entry? Hand on posterior? Like some appalling pastiche of Sartre, did it disappear right up to the elbow? What forces must have been at play!

And how would she be able to handle basic driving skills like steering when she clearly could not get her hands anywhere near the steering wheel, jammed against her voluminous folds of gut like it so clearly was. Had she perfected by way of necessity some kind of Tantric lower-abdominal muscle-control? And what of braking? The momentum of such a hideously disproportionate human frame encased in such a flimsy automobile careering along the Queen’s highway would surely not be halted by the mere application of rubber on metal. Presumably this goes a long way towards explaining precisely why a slow driving pace is required.

I think you will agree, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, that such thoughts are not the correct thoughts to be thinking when public road safety is of such obvious paramount importance.

In all the years that I have been kneeling at the feet of Genesius, I can safely say that I have never encountered such a depraved example of corporate barbarism as that displayed by the accused. The purveying of cancerous tobacco products, improperly-tested genetically-modified foodstuffs and even clackers pale into insignificance beside the considerable shadow of the Nissan Micra and its archetypal driver.

The case for the defence

Customer satisfaction levels are high.

Verdict

Guilty!

Sentence

Rarely have I had to listen to a case that so chills the marrow. Having considered punitive financial, custodial and indeed even mortal sentences, I am drawn inexorably to the most severe punishment that the law allows. I hereby sentence every senior executive within Nissan to drive a Nissan Micra until that day that he dies.