Or stupid legislation. Or nanny state personified. Call it what you will.
Busily browsing the internet about Land Rovers, as you do when you have things you need to do, and don’t want to do, I chanced upon an interesting article about the Land Rover Defender in Australia.
But the Defender can’t stay the way it is now. Well, it can, but only until 2015 when pedestrian safety legislation will kill off the current-design off-roader.
Although the LWB Defender may continue until at least 2017 as it’s considered a commercial vehicle and they’re exempt from the tight legislation due to be introduced in 2015.
What’s my gripe? Well, that I don’t see why vehicles should be changed to ensure that people aren’t killed or injured by stupid drivers.
And what happens about all the Defenders (not to mention Series vehicles) that are currently on the road? This is exactly like the stupid roo bar/bull bar discussion. The old vehicles will still be there and * posing * a huge danger to people, just like the older vehicles with their bars that were fitted before legislation.
The cause of vehicle accidents is poor driving. Either speeding, talking on mobile ‘phones (I mean just why?), not driving appropriately for the weather conditions, not concentrating, etc etc. It is not down to vehicle design. Or roo bars.
As a total aside, many years ago, I read a fascinating skit in Viz (satirical British rag based in Newcastle) referring to a woman sitting at the traffic lights putting on her lipstick and playing with her nipples. Clearly there were more interesting things to do before everyone played with their mobiles while driving. And at least her vehicle was stationary.
In Australia, my partner was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser (old style) and hit a roo one night. It frightened the life out of him. There was no roo bar on the vehicle and the radiator was smashed in. When the vehicle was repaired, he added a roo bar.
We’ve always had a bull bar on our Series, and later transferred it to the Santana. We actually don’t have anything on the Defender.
So far, in however many years of driving, touch wood, we haven’t managed to mow down too many pedestrians. He did have one accident at a roundabout when someone else reversed into him. Mistook reverse for first. I think she was sorry. She got out, no damage to the Land Rover, car not looking pretty. Her fault anyway, so they parted on good terms and that was that.
The whole point of the bar is for personal protection. It’s not about macho 4×4 driving, but it does make idiots think twice before they pull into you. And if you have driven on the N340 in Spain you will understand that.
It’s like airbags. They are for personal protection too. Trouble is, they tend to make people think they are safe in their little bubble while they are driving along listening to their favourite CD, the radio, and texting on their mobile. Talk about multi-tasking.
And although the big bull bars are now banned on new vehicles in the UK, we have a rest of the world specification (being in Gibraltar) so could legally fit one. Just need to find somewhere to sell us one.
What is the symptom here though? Four by fours hit pedestrians. Or could hit them. Possibly. So could every other vehicle under the sun.
What is the cause? Bad driving. It is not the design of the vehicle or the bull/roo bar that is at fault. It is the person behind the wheel.
How about treatment? Well, far better enforcement of speeding limits to start with. Perhaps placing more emphasis on accidents caused by bad driving. When I used to go to court, the biggest fine was always for not having insurance. Not for lacking an MOT/roadworthy (ie a risky vehicle) and not for speeding. Just make sure you are covered to pay out. Monetary society or what? Doesn’t matter if you cause an accident so long as you have insurance. What sort of message does that send?
Here in Gib, at zebra crossings, drivers invariably stop to let people across. A nice courteous gesture. We also have some streets without pavements. The courtesy goes out of the window and our nice driver suddenly becomes Toad (of Toad Hall from Wind in the Willows), expecting total right of way and making pedestrians squash themselves against a nearby wall to avoid getting their feet run over and worse. I joke not. I’ve had one verbal confrontation with a rude speeding oik on a pavement-less street and it was not pleasant.
Why do drivers think they have right of way over other road users? Total lack of respect and and obsessive driving culture.
Enough about driving. How about folic acid?
This is fortification of flour and bread without actually labelling any products that they contain synthetic folic acid because women who don’t eat properly and get pregnant are at higher risk of babies with birth defects.
Apparently half of all pregnancies in America are unplanned. No idea what the figures are elsewhere.
So, because some couples have sex without contraception (because, you know, there are two people involved in sexual intercourse that results in conception, so it is NOT just the woman’s responsibility), we all need to have our food loaded with folic acid?
Straightaway, it is not relevant to half the population (approx) ie men. Secondly, it isn’t relevant to a) women who are too young to get pregnant b) women who are too old to get pregnant and c) women who seriously can’t think of anything worse in life than getting pregnant (me, in case anyone hasn’t worked that one out).
And because some women can’t eat properly, and some couples can’t work out how to go about contraception, the rest of us have to be forcibly fed folic acid in fortified products?
What’s the problem? Well, too much is bad for you. And as a vegetarian, my diet is pretty high in folic acid coming from natural folate. My diet and my health is put at risk because of someone else’s issues. Unfair. And statistically not a good public health move as it is not in the interests of the majority of the population.
Appropriate Response to Homocysteine in Your Blood
The main motivation behind fortification of flours and taking supplemental vitamins has been to reduce the occurrence of serious birth defects, especially the occurrence of neural tube defects (NTDs). The effort seems to be working a little—since the onset of fortification there has been a 19% decrease in the incidence of NTDs. Unfortunately, these same widespread recommendations to take folic acid may be causing more heart disease and cancer. So, what to do?
All that money and effort now spent on supplementation with the hope of reducing birth defects, heart disease, and cancer should be directed towards educational programs to teach people to eat more legumes, vegetables, and fruits—the plentiful and safe sources of folic acid. (The name folic comes from the word foliage, which refers to plants.) When packaged in the plant, folic acid is never harmful and always beneficial. Further efforts should be made towards making sure all people have ready access to plant-foods.
Symptom – babies born with birth defects.
Cause – poor diet.
Treatment – chuck folic acid all over the place at the whole population. I mean why? Why not just give pregant women folic acid supplements for goodness sake?
Or tell them to eat greens, citrus fruits, (you’d probably need to spell out they are lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits because if they don’t know the c word for contraception they probably won’t know what citrus fruits are either), legumes, liver and kidney. No, on second thoughts, they wouldn’t know how to cook either of those last two at a guess. They certainly wouldn’t be capable of peeling the fat off a kidney, taking off the thin skin, slicing it down the middle and pulling out the white bits (whatever they are called). No, I can’t see Ms and Mr Lets Have Sex and Who Cares About Pregnancy cooking kidney and liver.
Folic acid is somewhat like the fluoridation debate. Needless to say I don’t agree with compulsory fluoridation of the water supply either. You can tell I worked with public health specialists. We had a meeting back in my health service days at one point, and a couple of colleagues made a presentation about ‘What has public health ever done for us?’
I thought it was wicked. Their basic premise was that after the introduction of public drainage in the UK, public health had done nothing ever since (one was a nurse and the other was a builder). Got to justify your job though – so we have lots of unnecessary public health/medical proposals – because as we all know, doctors know best.
When I was in the UK NHS I learned about ‘ash money.’ During work time, public health consultants would clear off to the local council offices to sign a few cremation certificates for which they would then get paid privately. Very nice. Earn money from one source and double up from another. All at the cost of the UK taxpayer/ratespayer. You UK residents do all know this don’t you?
How about the economy? Well, at the ripe old age of 50 something, seems to me it goes up and down or round and round. Swings and roundabouts.
But the latest scenario is not good. Spain now has the highest unemployment rate in Europe (more on that on roughseas in the next day or so).
I’ll cut to the chase:
Symptom – government, firms and banks struggling for money, all over-extended.
Cause – greed, lack of financial safeguards, inability to read and forecast the market correctly, reliance on a previous boom, not looking at the American problems that caused/contributed to the catalyst for the world recession.
Treatment – impose austerity measures on a population that is already suffering hugely through unemployment, by cutting public services, cutting state funding to industries such as the mining ones in the north of Spain, and reducing dole payments (actually they are unbelievable but that’s a different story). However, while I am not an economist, putting a blatant freeze on the country’s economy is hardly likely to invigorate it. About the only thing it does do is send yet more people out to work illegally on the black market.
Quick fix solutions are everywhere. They don’t work though. More investment in education, and a society that becomes responsible rather than one that waits for the state to fix everything might be a good start. And a state that stops inflicting ridiculous legislation that affects ME because it’s an easy fix to placate the whimpering masses and get more votes next time around, or dig yourself out of the morass, or whatever.