Shock News for the Dept. for Transport, TfL and Cyclists -“Cyclists hurt seven times more often than figures show”

AND number of people cycling “flatlined over the past decade.”

The Times 17 May, 2018 buried this on page 21. It spared its own blushes as well those of former Deputy PM Nick Clegg, former London Mayor, Boris Johnson, and the autophobic cycling lobby Sustrans. When Nick was deputy PM he tweeted that he wanted to see the number of cyclists double by 2020, and he may have been behind the £214m Ambitions Grants to UK cities to try to bring this about. Boris ,when he was Mayor, said “Let’s make Britain a cycling country.”  Sustrans, the recipient of a vast amount of this money to give effect to it, had as its vision statement that one driver in five would give up his or her car for a cycle for all short journeys if there were cycle lanes to cycle on.

No market research, just wishful thinking by cycling zealots having an exaggerated sense of their own importance with an entitlement to safety on the road. It was based upon an exponential growth of cycling in London because of the cost of living there, especially hard on young people, and a naïve belief that the cycling culture in the Netherlands and Denmark could be replicated in UK’s narrow, twisting, congested urban streets if cycle lanes could be squeezed into them. And they wanted to save the planet and combat obesity at the same time. A tiny tail wanted to wag a very big dog.

A cold douche in the article: The average adult made only fifteen journeys by bicycle in 2016, two fewer than ten years earlier.

Cycling has flatlined over the past decade as traffic has risen steeply.” Measure this against and despite Austerity cuts elsewhere – £1.2bn is allocated to this: “The government wants cycling and walking to become the norm by 2040 and will target funding innovative ways to encourage people onto a bike or to use their own two feet for shorter journeys. Plans include specific objectives to double cycling, reduce cycling accidents and increase the proportion of 5 to 10-year-olds walking to school to 55% by 2025″.

And if once you don’t succeed, fail, fail and fail again

See how the report in the Times article was worded: The Report by Rachel Aldred, a reader in transport at Westminster University, will fuel demands for an increase in the number of segregated cycle lanes. She said that British cyclists were four times as likely to be killed as those in the Netherlands, where cycle lanes are more common.

And we have this nonsense; The government is likely to consider imposing mandatory passing distances to prevent motorists overtaking too close to cyclists on busy roads. In London it’s the cyclists who overtake too close to motorists!

When you worry about the overstretched NHS take account of the fact that the article said that Dr. Aldred suggests “that the true scale of injuries could exceed 125,000.” Cycling will always be dangerous. How many people do you personally know killed or injured on roads near to you?

No-one owns up to this cock-up. And there is no sign whatsoever of second and better thoughts.

The moral of the story, the explanation why I have hit the fan so many times after I successfully challenged cycle lanes for non-existent cyclists in Gosforth High Street, Newcastle – the State protects its own, regardless of cost and consequence, waste, and wantonness, and maybe corruption, and no-one tries to stop them. Instead the apparatchiks working for the Local Government and Legal Ombudsmen and the lawyers in Bindmans LLP and BLM LLP lend it a friendly, helping hand. The Ombudsmen themselves, hands clean, pockets lined. And the media? Not a word.

Here, the Department for Transport should be focussing on the coming of electric autonomous vehicles not on urban cycling, especially charging points for them. That is where the big future lies. Of course, they also have a little job trying to sort the railways out too.

PS Miscalculations? TfL, Transport for London – with a little £500m miscalculation on Crossrail – managed to get only 3,672 Londoners to approve partially or fully their major plan to squeeze cycle lanes into road system at Swiss Cottage and expects Londoners in Hampstead to switch from car to bicycle when they have done so. Electric chargers by 2050 if you are lucky.

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Why Labour deserves to Lose – In a word, Mediocracy! – Preface to a New Book

 

 

Self-Deception – Anatomy of a Cover-up

a Sequel to Death of a Nightingale with ispy

 

(Dedicated to the memory of my friend James David Astley Sanford who died in a cycling accident in Singapore in 2012)

In 2008 and years following I wrote Death of a Nightingale – the play, the book, the website, and the blog   to show how very best intentions and best laid plans can go astray. Here they were built upon a dream word Inclusion, upon a human right to equality of opportunity, and upon a false premise, that education should be single track.

It’s Hush Hush

In fact, Inclusion has become for many a nightmare word. The human right for some to equality of opportunity has ignored the human rights of others, denied them their opportunity and, in some cases,victims of bullying, mentally and emotionally damaged them. Education should be multi-track, each track different and separately costed. Equality here is supremely irrelevant. The pursuit of excellence – not to be confused with elitism – should always pre-empt a legitimate concern for the disadvantaged. A society should play to its strengths not its weaknesses.

The real mischief lies in the pursuit of Equality when, as I keep saying, we are equal only sometimes, unequal most times, and different always. It also lies in trap laid by human rights lawyers that once you have a legal right to something, a human right to it, you do not need to consider its practicality or its affordability and, most importantly, the different rights of others.

Fair play is what you need, plus professional, street-wise, management knowhow. A totally different way of doing things.

This is as relevant today as when I wrote it. The Times Educational Supplement, the flagship for the educational establishment, forty years on from the Warnock Report of 1978 headlines its edition on 4 May 2018 “The Long Road to Inclusion.” The Editorial was headed “We’ve come so far on inclusion, but we’ve still got so far to go.”  You can’t blame shortage of money when you consider how many TAs have been employed to try to make it work.

If you don’t succeed, fail, fail, and fail again.

It is important to realise that the starting point was not the 1978 Warnock Report but the Labour Government’s 1976 Education Act that tied its hands. That’s when a group of educational zealots hijacked the system and it has been hijacked ever since.

I was provoked to write this. Nothing in my life has been pre-planned. Certainly, none of this. I retired from a successful company, now nation-wide, for a quiet life. When my membership of Rotary introduced me to the late Fredwyn Haynes, the inspired and inspiring head teacher at Barbara Priestman School in Sunderland – a special school for children with a physical disability and a learning difficulty – I entered a world I had never seen.

When I became its Chair of Governors I was able to help parents, governors, and the pupils themselves in their successful campaign to keep their school open while over 100 others were being closed. The private sector certainly not lily white, but pristine compared to the duplicity, hypocrisy, insensitive bullying I was to witness in the public sector. This reached out from Sunderland’s Local Educational Authority, truly the organ grinder’s monkey, to its power base in London.

And what I witnessed at close quarters, smear tactics, ultimately a sting to discredit the governors and destabilise the school. The standard weapon of crusading zealots. Here an obscenity, the details best left in my archives.

A small picture can sometimes tell you more than a large one. The devil is in the detail.

Now here another small picture. My complaint against cycle lanes for non-existent cyclists in Newcastle.

This time the dream world of the Cyclist – saving the planet, combatting obesity. Their right to be on the road, for society to make it safe for them regardless of cost and practicality. Here another group of crusading zealots, notably auto-phobic cycling lobby Sustrans,  capturing and defending the high ground.

Again it’s hush, hush.

In recent years my blog has told another revealing story. Once again, the private sector pristine compared to the machinations of the Teflon-coated public sector. Watchdog, Rip-Off Britain, and Fake Britain studiously ignore this. And some in my own profession, the Law, pigs in the trough like the rest.

To understand why the UK suffers from chronic inertia, why Whitehall is sclerotic, you’ll find some clues here.

Once you have seen why the Left and its lawyers are the agents of their own disappointments, why they betray the hopes of those who trust them, you cannot un-learn it.

And the world will be a better place.

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Politics is not for angels, and Donald Trump is no angel.

 It is a power game and a dirty one. He is not stupid. He plays to his strengths not his weaknesses. He is a phenomenon. He knows the game and fits the part. The Left will have to get used to dealing with him or look stupid themselves if they don’t. Welcome him to the UK.  We have welcomed many worse people.

PS Corbyn is no angel either. The only difference. He plays to his weaknesses, his perception of anti-semitisim for example.