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Showing posts from September, 2011

We should put our foot down

You can always spot a Tory, can’t you? Transport Secretary Philip Hammond wants to increase the speed limit on Britain’s motorways to 80 mph because it will be good for business, even though it’s acknowledged by experts that the change of policy will lead to a greater number of accidents and pump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To a Conservative ideologue, the economic advantage always outweighs any potential social or environmental cost. In this respect, Hammond follows directly in the footsteps of one of his barmy predecessors – the chain-smoking old Etonian, Nicholas Ridley. As Secretary of State for Transport between 1983 and 1986 in the Thatcher government, Ridley – whose head was packed full of Hayek and Friedman – was known for his eccentric obsessions. If I remember correctly, Ken Livingstone, who led the socialist Greater London Council at the time, discovered that Maggie’s ministerial pal favoured getting rid of traffic lights because they disrupted the flow of v…