Monday, January 08, 2007

Eco thuggery!

Having just flown back to CZ from the UK for approximately £50 return I have presumably incurred the wrath of the mighty Ian Pearson, minister for climate change (I wonder if his position is subject to performance related pay), even if I didn’t fly with the infamous Ryan Air. I have to admit that this is an issue which causes me a certain amount of discomfort, as it genuinely does seem more or less ecologically indefensible to jet around the world for next to nothing whilst causing untold carbon emissions. Eventually we shall all pay the price, no doubt. On the other hand, back in the bad (good?) old days before cheap flights I used to take the coach back from Olomouc to London, approximately 24 hours of discomfort, followed by a bleary-eyed few hours hanging around Victoria waiting for the coach to Coventry. Door to door the entire journey could take up to 30 hours. I remember that I used to attempt to wipe out the discomfort and boredom by taking Rohypnol, the date rape drug. Selfish as I feel for saying it, this is not a situation I wish to return to. So therefore I, along with all the stag weekenders etc. (we’re all jet setters now), am guilty as hell.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to defend myself, or indeed Ryan Air, here. Nevertheless, there is something that rankles in Mr Pearson’s preachy tone. I’m all in favour of punitive taxes for ecologically irresponsible businesses, and if this means higher air fares, so be it. In any case, the figures I’ve seen have referred to an extra £25 on transatlantic flights – hardly extortionate or unreasonable. So far so good. The thing that bothers me is that this self-righteous outburst comes less than a week after huge price hikes on trains, buses and tubes. 4 bloody quid for a single from zone 2 to zone 1 in London? During the 2 weeks I was in the UK I spent considerably more on public transport than I did on the return flight from Prague to Birmingham. So it seems Mr Pearson, representing a government that has done woefully little to get people out of their cars and back onto public transport, is hardly in a position to start lecturing us on environmental matters. Perhaps it’s his very sense of impotence and projected shame at the government’s piss poor record on transport that has caused him to lash out at the only reasonably affordable means of public transport there is. The implication, when you think about it, is that if at any time we’re not being ripped off by unscrupulous bastards then we should be made to feel guilty for being eco-thugs. By not getting shafted for once in our miserable lives we’re not “playing ball”. Things aren’t what they used to be in the good old days when flying was the exclusive preserve of government ministers and the like. How frustrating it must be for our moral guardians in the government to see plebs like us enjoying such guilty pleasures. How very public spirited of them to chastise us.

This kind of preachy and hypocritical bullshit really puts my back up. Put your own house in order before you open your pontificating little gob next time Pearson, you loathsome New Labour piss-ant.

By the way, Happy New Year everyone!


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