"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Ministers consulting on 80mph speed limit

In the USA it's 80mph. In Germany it's unlimited. In the UK it's currently 70mph. That's the legal speed limit for our autos on highways, expressways, motorways, autobahns, whatever we choose to call them. What's all the fuss about?
The UK Transport Minister Philip Hammond has said that he wants a review of the UK motorway limit of 70mph and suggests raising it to 80 mph by 2013 on the basis that modern cars are better, faster, safer than when the 70 mph limit was first set.Also he says that since nearly half of all motorists ignore the law anyway and routinely speed at up to 80mph, then the law needs to be changed. OK cars may be safer, but the number of idiots behind the wheel seem to be on the up and up, if my own experiences of driving are anything to go by. And crashes at 80 mph or more are that much more serious than at 70mph or less. And on his same logic we should abandon the law against using handheld cell phones whilst driving, since it is widely flouted. What utter lunacy!
Anyway we should be doing all we can to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and the amount we use, not legislating to increase their consumption. Hammond claims that he will compensate for higher speeds on motorways by increasing the stretches of residential roads subject to a 20mph speed limit. And I suppose when more and more drivers widely ignore and flout this law, he will increase it to a 30mph limit?! It was even suggested that a small increase in human casualties would be more than offset by increased business efficiency!! WHAT??
Get real, Mr Hammond!
Faster speeds on our highways will also mean ever more and longer tailbacks - it is already well nigh impossible to take a motorway journey anywhere in the UK without building an hour at least of delay into the equation.
There is some hope in all this. With the price of gas in the UK at an all time high there is evidence that people are cutting their speeds and their car journeys anyway. And perhaps more business meetings will be held on video conference facilities such as Skype from the comfort of our own homes?

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Cathedrals of the Mind, Hospitals of the Soul.

I'm talking about libraries.

I simply love quotations. I use them liberally in everything I write. I carry my favorites around with me. Those words that were spoken or written centuries, or perhaps even millennia ago, and that still resonate deeply with us today demonstrate that some things never change, including human nature! And they show us how important and relevant many of our ancient wisdom still is - why we should listen to the sages and prophets of long ago.

But here is a lovely modern quote brought to my attention by Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in a piece he wrote recently for the superb Credo column in The Times. It is from Caitlin Moran:

Libraries, she wrote, are "cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold, rainy island, they are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but a citizen instead. A human with a brain and a heart and a desire to be uplifted, rather than a customer with a credit card."

Wonderful! But actually our brilliant art galleries and museums serve a very similar healing function, as long as we resist the shop on the way out!

This is Funchal cathedral in Madeira

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Church of England clerics smug, arrogant and conceited!?

They are “people of such extraordinary smugness and arrogance and conceitedness who are extraordinarily presumptuous about the significance of their position in society.
So says Rowan Atkinson of Johnny English and Mr Bean fame – the chap who played Father Gerald in Four Weddings and a Funeral - and the guy who wrote off his £2 million McLaren F1 in an argument with a tree recently!

Well as it happens and as you read this I am in conference with several Church of England clergy, alongside scientists, journalists and other people such as myself who are all interested in doing something about the urgent need for sustainable living across the world. And if my own experiences to date with Church of England clergy is anything to go by - and I know and have worked with quite a few of them in my lifetime - none of these at conference with me will be smug, arrogant or conceited.

Perhaps those clergy who move in Atkinson’s social circles are a breed apart?

It's Time you knew - by Transition Rachel at YouTube

Many reasons to love La Gomera



with vapor trails


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