The MEN: Making Manchester look stupid

I found this piece by Andrew Grimes on the MEN website. I urge you not to bother looking on their site, for fear of driving up their site traffic and hence advertising revenue. Thankfully, the article is so very stupid that I don’t need to explain anything. Instead I have merely reproduced the article for you in its entirety:

It is seldom a goodidea to venture out on foot. Hail a taxi. Catch a bus. Drive a car. Cycle. Eachof these alternatives offers the likeliest chance of completing a journeythrough a British city without winding up at the undertakers.

Walking is a relicof cosy, Edwardian rurality, when one could take one’s chances in contest witha lumbering horse and cart. Nobody got his or her skull crushed under thehooves of a farmer’s shire.

But that was then.

Today is the21st century, burnt tyre rubber time, with a bloke in a tall cabin unableto see the assiduous pedestrian, striding alongside his fuel-stashedjuggernaut.

Yet the walkinglobby won’t give up. It never ceases to campaign for more road space – whichmeans clearing goods lorries, buses and motor  cars off great swathingwidths of our arterial highways—to make way for its insane multitudes of amblingromantics.  

The death toll amongthese people is distressing. In 2007 alone 646 pedestrians were killed onBritish roads, some crushed by heavy goods lorries. It’s safer to be a combatsoldier. In the same period, 576 soldiers died in Afghanistan.

Yet the walkingfraternity insists that it is a human right to travel on two feet wherever andwhenever, and whatever the grisly hazards of sharing tarmac in built-up citycentres with motorised traffic. Of course, it  would really like most ofthe motorised stuff out of the way. It calls for modified junctions, safewalking lanes, overhead platforms. 

To give it even halfoff what it wanted would require the science of civil engineering to dig up allthe arterial complexes of our cities and start roadbuilding again from scratch,as if the internal combustion engine had never been invented. If it could bedone it would cost billions.

Walking, itspropagandists claim, is “cheap, green and healthy”. How healthy can you rank amode of transport with such a high mortality rate ? Nor is green always itsemblematic colour. Many of the walkers I see are clad in a hideous andfluorescent yellow.

As for being cheap,well of course it is. Comparatively. That’s because, unlike slightly moreup-to-date road users, pedestrians enjoy the freedom of the highway withoutbeing urged to buy a driving licence or pay road tax.
I am fairly certainthat Dave Cameron has allowed himself to be photographed in practical footwear, but not, Ithink, because he wants to advertise the things.

At any rate, hiscoalition has irritated the amblers by  abolishing Walking England, aquango of Labour’s old transport ministry formed to entice motorists on to twofeet. Gone  with the quango is a pro-walking handout, funded by thetaxpayer,  of £60m a year.

The government’swithdrawal of this ludicrous facility seems to have been made on economicgrounds. But it is a humanitarian decision, too, whether Dave meant it to be soor not.

It is not safe towalk in the vicinity of high-cabined convoys of juggernauts. To pretend that itis, is to ignore the emergence of all mechanised locomotion since 1912.

Of course the walkers’propagandists point to Switzerland, where 45 per cent of the population walk towork, and to Amsterdam which allows neat little walking tracks alongside shinyrails for crawling trams.

But Switzerland andAmsterdam, compared to British cities, are mere villages.

They were put togetheron altogether different lines, 60 odd years ago, after getting blitzed tosmithereens.

I think that allwalking by major arterial roads, especially at peak periods, should be outlawedon pain of jail, apart from in places without traffic lights and where themotorised speed limit has been brought down to 12 miles an hour.

At the same time, Iam not completely heartless. Obviously, walking on bridleways should be encouraged. 

It is the only walking –apart from the competitive sort– that is remotely safefor its participants. I know that elderly cyclists consider these people pests,but the granny with her groceries is usually nippy enough to dodge a two-footed obstacle crawling past the shop window, even if she cannot always bringherself to knock him down. 

5 thoughts on “The MEN: Making Manchester look stupid

  1. @Anonymous,It is as originally published, although when copying it down I may have got a bit confused as to which group of people it was which was being vilified/the deaths of whom were being made light of.

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