PETER HITCHENS: Electric vehicles? They are still dangerous, polluting blobs that kill and maim
I’m starting to loathe the new complacency of people driving or driving EVs. I can’t take it that they are so pleased with themselves and expect the rest of us to love them.
Of course it’s good that people have started to understand that petrol or diesel-powered motorcar is the most ridiculous means of transportation ever invented. These ugly lumps of metal, glass and rubber wreak havoc on their users’ health and spread back problems and heart disease. Even after a century of traffic safety measures, they still kill and maim far too many people and always will.
A worrying number of their drivers are obviously drunk or on drugs. They pump dirt and noise into the air. They make the streets unusable for children to walk or ride bicycles. They destroy beautiful cities to make room for them, and they poison and devastate the land. They make us dependent on terrible despots who sit at the helm of the world’s oil reserves.
I’m starting to loathe the new complacency of people driving or driving EVs. I can’t take it that they are so pleased with themselves and expect the rest of us to love them
And they are financially insane. People are borrowing money to buy these deteriorating assets. And then, after paying a fortune for it, they leave it on the side of the road or in a hideous parking lot for 23 hours out of 24.
But almost none of these problems will be solved by switching to electrical energy. Yes, electric cars are quieter, but that only makes them more dangerous as people associate noise with speed. Otherwise they continue to cause large clouds of pollutants – only that it now comes from power plants instead of exhaust pipes.
As for the metal needed for their batteries, I have seen with my own eyes the appalling conditions in which it is dug out of the African soil by half-starved children, and I cannot understand how anyone using such machines could have a clear conscience can , or claim to be good. Anyway, they don’t work. Charging them is a near-impossible task, and if they ever become truly common, our creaky electrical grid will collapse under the strain.
As for e-scooters now on the verge of full homologation, it terrifies me to see such a huge mistake being made
As for electric bikes, I am amazed that there has been so little protest against these incredibly dangerous, unlicensed bikes that are as heavy as sin and are regularly ridden well in excess of the alleged 15 mph speed limit.
I can understand why an 80-year-old might need some support when going uphill. But these things are used by fit young people who could well propel themselves. After 40 years of advocating for separate vehicle bike lanes, it pains me to see these things snap on lanes like this.
I can understand why an 80-year-old might need some support when going uphill. But these things are used by fit youngsters who might well be self-propelled, writes Peter Hitchens (pictured)
As for e-scooters now on the verge of full homologation, it terrifies me to see such a huge mistake being made. And the pain is compounded by the smug expressions on their drivers’ faces, so often clad in head-to-toe black as they zoom down a sidewalk near you. Many will either kill themselves or someone else as these wobbly toys are inherently unsafe for their drivers and the public.
I suspect the Department of Transport is hoping that if they become common, it will provide an excuse to shut down bus services. I can’t think of any other reason why they fell for such a bad idea so completely. I’ve seen a lot of silly fads, but never one as silly as this one.
President Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia undoes months of Western propaganda against Russia. We were prompted to think that our animosity towards President Putin was based on our lofty moral disapproval of his regime, his murders of the Kremlin’s enemies, his repressive nature, and his aggression abroad.
But the Saudi ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (MBS), is said to have approved the gruesome murder and dismemberment with bone saws of dissident Jamal Khashoggi.
His country is a blood-spattered despotism that recently (just prior to a visit from our Mr. Johnson) executed 81 people. Saudi Arabia – to put it mildly – has no independent juries, free media or opposition. It’s a political slum. And it has launched a horrific aggression in Yemen, with Western nations helping to arm, train and equip its forces.
Mr. Biden always said he wanted to turn Saudi Arabia into a pariah. But now, in an embarrassing paradox, his pseudo-moral attitude toward Russia has compelled him to flatter the Saudis. He needs them to sell more oil because we won’t buy it from Russia.
That’s how it works. There are no real principles in such things. During World War II, the US was far friendlier to the Kremlin than it needed to be, blatantly siding with Stalin while snubbing Churchill. It even endured Stalin’s refusal to join the war against Imperial Japan for years. So you can be sure that Washington’s policy in Ukraine has nothing to do with democracy, freedom or anything like that. And in the White House and the Pentagon, worries about the war must grow. It’s not going very well.
Moscow’s control of gas and oil is hurting many European countries. Likewise the blockade of Ukrainian wheat exports. Serious heat and power rationing is in order. The West’s military machine is proving not to be as good as it thought. Russia, with its vast Cold War shell reserves, may even overtake us since we have closed many of our arms factories. NATO countries dare not intervene directly, as this could escalate the war and even lead to a nuclear exchange.
If Mr. Biden can now meet the grisly MBS (even if he tries not to appear too friendly), then don’t rule out that in time he will also meet Putin. And then all the bombast about evil regimes, appeasement and the rest is put aside.
I suppose someone will ask me why I haven’t written about the Tory leadership contest. Well why should I? While I don’t have time for Johnson, it was always apparent that his enemies had no credible alternative to him. Despite this, they continued with their suicide plan which will end with Keir Starmer at Downing Street. If you ask me who my favorite candidate is, I’ll ask you, ‘What’s your favorite disease?’
How I revived a BBC classic
A few months ago I wrote here about the mysterious disappearance of a classic BBC series, a dramatization of Jean-Paul Sartre’s Roads To Freedom.
The production was an extraordinary display of British acting talent including the much missed Alison Fiske, Rosemary Leach, Georgia Brown, Daniel Massey and Michael Bryant at the peak of their powers. However, for reasons never explained, it has not been seen since 1977.
Now (I think partly because of my efforts) it will be shown on BBC4 starting at 10pm on Wednesday 27th July.
To comment on Peter Hitchens click here