The "War on Motorists" is obviously a nice and easy Daily Mailism, but isn't it rather odd and ironic that it is the Daily Mail that is leading the charge of raising the driving age limit to 18 for full licenses along with a formal requirement for hours behind the wheel under tuition before being allowed to get a full license?
You may or may not have heard about this, but essentially there are talks going on about making it a requirement that new drivers have up to 500 hours of tuition before being "let loose" so to speak on the roads. This is obviously being done in the name of safety, which makes it doubly ironic given the Daily Mail also loves a "'elf n safety gone mad" story too.
The thing is, if as is being suggested the Government does indeed go for such an idea, how will they square it with their claim to want to help the working classes, or what we now call "hard working families"? After all, an hours driving tuition costs around £30. Who can afford £15,000 to get a driving license? Without wishing to sound all Blairite, but that sounds like a policy that benefits only the few and not the many.
Actually it doesn't benefit the many, it positively discriminates against almost the whole country. Of course, in "joined-up thinking" terms it's a brilliant way of reducing the number of cars on the road and the consequent environmental policy targets around CO2 emissions. But wouldn't it be terribly cynical of me to think that such a consideration had been made?
When you add on top of this plans from the EU to try and regulate cars based on emissions as well, you have, in effect, the potential death of the second hand car market, along with the death of car ownership amongst the masses. The masses will not be able to afford to buy a new "legal emission car" whilst at the same time not being able to afford to get their kids a driving license either.
Again I come back to my cynicism that such a plan is being touted, and seriously considered in the name of safety whilst actually it's knock on benefits in terms of other policy areas are the real driving force behind the move (no pun intended). It will be interesting to see where this goes in 2008 and what position the Tory Party take on it.
I have often talked with local politicos about how the key to the Tories winning is to tap back into the "working class tory vote" that brought Thatcher to power and kept her there for so long. Opposing changes to the driving license regime that will price the majority of ordinary people off the road would be one way of appealing to that voting demographic once more.