Recently, I chanced on one of those rather awful talk-TV discussions, about ULEZ. A former Tory MP was trying to get over the message that Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion into Outer London is nothing but a money-grab. Two other panellists, and the host, were doing nothing but virtue-signal how terribly important they thought improving London’s air quality was.
Now, I make no secret of my views on the subject. I regard air pollution in outer London as a non-problem. I used to live in outer London in the early 1980s, and the only pollution problem I experienced back then was exhaust fumes from diesel buses. In those far off days, I was a cyclist, and I hated the damned buses, particularly when they “cut me up” again and again as I pedalled laboriously up Cricklewood Broadway on my way home from work.
But since then, emissions from all forms of road transport have been reduced by orders of magnitude. There was no big air pollution problem on the roads of outer London back then; and objectively, there isn’t any problem at all now. Any “problems” are only in the minds of troublemakers with political agendas, like the UN and its WHO, and those that follow them.
Yet there is a popular form of transport in London, whose emissions of pollution have not been reduced in any serious way in decades. I refer, of course, to the Tube. Indeed, a recent video monitoring pollution levels at different places in outer London [] showed that the Tube is a major source of pollution! Standing outside Kingsbury station, with cars and buses constantly going by, the measuring device showed no significant pollution. Until a Tube train pulled in… then the pollution levels went right up! The levels started to go back down as the train pulled away again. And this is an above-ground station; pollution levels are much worse when you go down into the deep “Underground.”
The Daily Mail covered the subject a couple of months ago, here: []. This is quite damning. The only road on which this kind of pollution was even comparable with the levels found on Tube stations was the North Circular itself.
Watching these “talking heads” rabbiting on about how much they wanted car drivers to suffer for “sins of emission,” I thought – Hang on a moment! If you want to improve the air quality experienced by Londoners, then surely the way to go about it is to stop people from going into the worst polluted places? And stop the activities that cause that worst pollution?
So, why not just close down the Tube? Close down the whole network, permanently! It would also hugely reduce pollution being exported from the centre of London to the suburbs. Problem solved! Also, a huge saving in public funds, due to not having to run the Tube system any more. Win, win, win.
Now surely, I thought, those virtue-signallers ought to be overjoyed with this idea! Their attitude to ULEZ expansion proves that they have no concern whatever for the people on whom they want to force sacrifices against their wills and their needs. Therefore, how can there be any limit to how much sacrifice they will be willing to make for the sake of the air quality they feel is so important?
If closing down the Tube impacts their lives negatively, they should be eager to take the hits! Should they not? For example, an hour’s walk to or from work, or the supermarket, instead of a five-minute journey by Tube. Or, some journeys they are accustomed to making – visiting family or friends on the opposite side of London, for example – may become impractical.
And yet, I very much doubt our talking heads would actually be willing to support closing the Tube down. Those that are so happy to take away basic human rights, like personal mobility, from others in exchange for an air quality “benefit” no-one would even notice, wouldn’t accept anything that impacted their lives in the slightest. Hypocrites.
Or how about Sadiq Khan? It’s thirteen miles each way from his home in Earlsfield to his office in the far East End. Why doesn’t he cycle? Every working day? Not on an e-bike, but on a goddamn pedal-power machine? Like the one I rode from Nova Scotia to California in 1989? He’s only 52, and the route is pretty damn flat. On your bike, Khan (or Khan’t)!
Yet he claims that “security” requires him to be chauffeured in a bullet-proof Range Rover. What a hypocrite! If he didn’t make policies that victimize innocent people, he wouldn’t need “security.” The police ought to withdraw all special security for politicians, on the grounds that if people come to hate them enough to want to harm them, it’s entirely their own fault and they deserve what they get.
Why do we human beings need dishonest scum like Sadiq Khan? Or politicians – of any party? Or talking heads? Or hypocrites? We need only our own heads, and our consciences.