Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson

Clarkson on: Two Jags

I find myself hoping that Tony Blair has his suits lined with cotton wool. Much though I dislike the man, I wish him well for the next four years. I want him to take care crossing the road and I hope no naughty little diesel particles invade his lungs.

Obviously, I'd like nothing more than to hit him with his wife's Mystic Meg necklace but we must never forget that his deputy, John Prescott, is just a heartbeat away from Number 10. And the thought of Fatty Two Jags being allowed to take the reins makes me shudder.

I'm told that he's a nice enough bloke but not terribly bright - a point borne out by the publication of his 160-page transport White Paper.

What he seems to have forgotten is that he was elected to represent our interests. His job is to build park benches where we want them and when we want them. And that's it.

It is certainly not his job, nor indeed the job of anyone in Government, to lecture you and me on how we should live our lives. And I'm not kidding - if this White Paper ever becomes reality, it will have more of an effect on our way of life than AIDS ever did.

As I'm sure you've read, Prescott sees a future where cars are used solely to get from your front door to the nearest park-and-ride scheme. And, as we already know, it'll be one per family and then only if it's small and slow.

He wants more trains, more buses, more pedestrianisation, and he wants us to pay for it. Well, he can f*** off.

It is simply not his business how I take my children to school. And how dare he suggest charging us to use motorways and town centres. We already give him £25 billion a year. That is more than enough.

Yet now he wants another billion and, to make matters even worse, he wants local councils to collect it. Oh my god! I have some experience of local councils and I wouldn't let them look after a pencil case.

"Prescott sees a future where cars are used solely to get from your front door to the nearest park-and-ride scheme"

If he'd published this ridiculous White Paper in Italy, he would have been sacked. If he'd suggested even half of what he proposes in France, they'd have blockaded the ports and set fire to some sheep.

We'll do nothing - but he's inadvertently given us a get-out clause. Turn to page 47 of the document and you'll find a chapter entitled ‘The Role Of Motorcycling', which is best appreciated if you read it out as though you were reading to a four-year-old: "Mopeds and motorcycles can provide an alternative means of transport for many trips. Where public transport is limited and walking unrealistic, motorcycling can provide an affordable alternative to the car."

At this point, the authors suddenly realise that they might actually be promoting something with a killer engine, so they feel the need for some clarification. "Mopeds and small motorcycles may produce benefits if they substitute for car use but not if people switch from walking, cycling or public transport."

Sorry, then, but if you've been saving up to buy a bike to make getting to work that little bit easier than using the bus, forget it. Fatty Two Jags does, however, say that he wants to talk to motorcyclists about what role they can play, and he even asks local authorities to consider allowing motorbikes in bus lanes.

And this gives me the most fantastic idea. If Prescott's vision does become a reality - which it won't, because it's drivel from start to finish - I'm going to buy a Honda Goldwing - which, for those of you who practice heterosexual sex, is a (sort of) motorbike that's just slightly larger than Peru.

Once I have this gigantic machine, I shall practice the art of eco-friend-liness by riding it at no more than two miles per hour up and down bus lanes all day long. This will completely jigger up the system. I'll be a white knight in black leather.

And because I'll have switched my Levi's for the S&M gear that goes hand in hand with two-wheeled movement, young people will no longer associate jeans with old men. The denim industry will be able to get back on its feet.

Yes, this is it. Let bikes use the bus lanes. Everyone will be happy. Then, in four years' time, maybe we'll return to Tory rule - government we understand. You give them a wad of money in a brown envelope and things you don't like just go away.

 

Jeremy Clarkson, Column

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