Tuesday 30 April 2013

County Elections - who to vote for 4 - UKIP

This party present perhaps the biggest problem for those deciding who to vote for. Its not that anyone with half a brain-cell thinks that a UKIP government would be a good thing, its that in many ways their local candidate selection processes epitomise localism - as far as I can tell all you have to do is fill in a form and you're a candidate. How else can you explain the fact that no two UKIP candidates seem to have the same policies, on nearly anything?

But that means that its perfectly feasible for a UKIP candidate to be spot on with regard to cycling. Possible, if perhaps not very likely.

Now I've got to go as far as East Chesterton to see the nearest UKIP candidate who responded to Cambridge Cycling Campaigns questions, a Peter Burkinshaw. Quite a tough ward for UKIP that one - Ian Manning vs. Clare Blare is the fight we'll all be watching, it's looking like a LibDem - Labour battle. Manning ain't a bad chap and has a good record as a councillor, but as you know the Liberal Democrats are about as popular as the clap in a boarding school. UKIP usually get squeezed out - for me the question is whether thats because of the party or the candidate. Lets look see how he answered the questions...

Now, on the subject of cycle provision in and around new developments:
You are asking for benefits paid for by other road users.
I would prefer more car parks.
Gosh. Okay... So he doesn't understand how the roads are paid for?  We have to assume these candidates are being genuine, so for the moment at least lets assume he isn't taking the p1$$.

On to the key (for me) question of evidence based policing:
Cyclists are by far the most undisciplined road users.
On several occasions, I have had to stop or dodge cyclists riding through red lights when
crossing at pedestrian crossings. More police attention to cyclists would be useful.
Cars are not a danger to other road users, provided they in turn act sensibly.
It should be borne in mind that motorists have to pass a driving test. Cyclists are not tested for competence or knowledge of road signs and traffic lights.
So, no. He doesn't support evidence based policing, he supports policing based on his own prejudice. Show him data that demonstrates few harmed by bikes and hundreds harmed by cars, and he doesn't care - he's had to dodge cyclists you know, bloody cyclists coming over here ruining our country, bugger off back to Bikeland or wherever the hell you come from.  I don't know, youth of today, wasn't like that when I were a lad. You could tear down the roads at whatever pace you like, they knew their place then you know, these uppity cylists. Now they want jobs, houses, the right to vote, bloody cyclists.

Is the stuff Bozza is doing for cyclists any good? Would he do it here? Do we even have to ask?
No. This proposal amounts to theft from the people who pay to use roads and the benefit given to those who don't.
Oh, of course. Because there's a road tax which goes into the road fund, and anyone who says otherwise is just some namby pamby weirdy beardy yoghurt knitting liberal who wants to steal from hard working, oppressed motorists and spend the money herding lentils into their yurts.

Now you could be temtped to give up on his ranting right about now. Don't, you'll miss some comedy gold. I mean, put this in context; this was a survey done by Cambridge Cycling Campaign to help those who look at their site (more cyclists) decide who to vote for. This candidate has been so staggeringly dumb as to insult those people - he hasn't even tried to sugar the cyclist-hating pill he's trying to ram down our throats. 

We've then got assorted 'cyclists don't pay' kind of comments so why should we get facilities, a vow that nothing should be done on Orchard Park to fix badly linked up facilities that won't even cost the County Council anything (this is just spite!), an insistence that the Milton Road shared use facility is okay if cyclists stick to their half (much of this route doesn't have 'halves' and isn't segregated in any way; thats why its called  'shared use' Mr. Burkinshaw... The clue is in the name. Do you see what they did there? 'Shared' use?). He answers a question about the Green Dragon bridge with anecdotes about cyclists abusing him on another bridge entirely (I'm increasingly thinking they're abusing him because they know who he is - its not general abuse he's getting from idiotic cyclists for being in the way, I think people might know who he is and they're being highly specific in their insults), before closing with this absolute corker:
Why are there cycle tracks on Hill's road on both the road and footpath?
Road space is required for motorised vehicles who pay for it. It shouldn't be wasted on people who don't.
Just for your information, I walk to most places in Cambridge, but you should bear in mind that if everybody cycled, there would be no roads to ride on.
What is "sustainable transport"? Is it using things that other people pay for?
It transpires that Mr. Burkinshaw is wrong in every possible way. There are cycle tracks on Hills Road on the road and the footpath because for reasons best known to the County Council designing one high quality facility is too hard, they'd rather give us two poor ones. Road space isn't paid for by motorised vehicles; such things are inert lumps of metal that pay nothing. Road space is paid for mostly via council tax, which we all pay. VED covers fuel efficicney;  if you don't want to pay it get a Prius or a Nissan Leaf or any of the other low emission vehicles. Roads were not built for cars. Sustainable transport is using things you've paid for but doing less damage to the local and global environments... 

Wow. This guy has set out to alienate half of the population of the city - the half that regularly cycle. He's got half the potential electorate he might have had - he's going to lose. This has made local news, its had national comment. I was talking to a proud UKIP supporter from well outside that ward (from Milton in fact) who has stated that he'll never vote UKIP again after this. Mr. Burkinshaw, your frothing at the mouth, misinformed cyclist hate has ballsed this up for you. You. Are. Going. To. Lose. Why would anyone seek to make absolutely sure they can't win?

I was going to say 'lets not be too harsh on UKIP, look, here's their nominee for Gamlingay who is like a breath of fresh air' but Mr. Burkinshaws comments are so stupid that I feel like I've had myIQ beaten down by a mallet and I don't believe that UKIP deserve further coverage.

In conclusion, I flat out don't care which ward you're in - a vote for UKIP is a vote for the party that provided a platform for Mr. Burkinshaw. Vote Tory, LibDem, Labour, Green, even Loony if you're in Bar Hill, vote anyone but UKIP. 

When you put a cross in the UKIP box, angels weep for you. Their kind of stupidity is infectious - like head lice or the zombie apocalypse plague. Don't catch it.


  1. I was speaking David Kendrick (Melbourn) at the cycle hustings. He'd been pretty sane (barring his "britain is full up rants") during the event, talking about (among other sensible points) the frequent bad air quality issues in Cambridge that plague the roads where traffic is often stationery for long periods. he actually favours a congestion charge type scheme, with exemptions for EVs and low emissions vehicles (this would reduce the number of vehicles total quite well, like London, so we could have some more road space for cycling). He even has an LPG car- however I later researched him and discovered he's a Director of a firm that supplies gas... he's also barred from all horse racing due to betting "irregularities".

    He said the candidate selection process was not at all rigorous- requiring little more than a phone call to HQ. He said this explains the torrent of unsuitable candidates- UKIP wanted as many candidates as the Lib Dems, and they managed that at the expense of any sort of coherency or any ackground checking.

    1. It does indeed seem that they've gone for quantity over quality "with hilarious consequences" as the Radio Times used to say. And while you get glimmers of decency, the whole UKIP package is a disgrace.

  2. I emailed the guy. You know how you shouldn't argue with an idiot cos you'll lose. Yeah, that. Below is my email.:

    Dear Mr Burkinshaw

    As I'm sure others may well have pointed out, your misguided comments on cyclists will have done you no favours apart from with other mistaken "anti-cyclists".  Several points:

    "Road Tax" is a misnomer.  Churchill himself changed it from Road Tax back in the 1930s as he feared car owners would think they owned the road.  Roads are actually paid out of general taxation. Everyone pays for the roads via taxation on purchases and so on, even my 102yr old grandmother & my 7yr old son.

    "Road Tax" is actually a pollution tax on motorised vehicles.  That's why heavily polluting cars pay more and why electric/low emission cars don't pay any "road tax" either...In your logic, surely nil-contribution cars shouldn't be allowed on the roads either as they're not paying for them.

    Cyclists and motorists are not mutually exclusive people.  I cycle, I drive.  So even if the "motorists only pay for roads" belief was correct, I would still pay for the roads via my car which I use sometimes, and sometimes I don't.

    Cycling is fun, can keep you fit (and heavily reduce the obesity and heart disease rates in the UK), it is not polluting, can reduce traffic congestion, can make for more liveable city centres and residential streets, is often quicker for shorter journeys and so on.  For those that can be bothered to look there are plenty of studies to prove all this. UKIP really ought to be pushing for more & better cycling facilities akin to the Netherlands where the school run means a walk or bike ride and few chelsea tractors (I've family in Holland, I know this is fact), and whilst I have sympathy with some UKIP policies, there is not a chance I shall vote for them unless they have a balanced plan to improve cycling facilities and generally curb the "motorist is boss" attitude which has lead to streets where kids cannot play in roads safely anymore and 3k road deaths per annum with little responsibility (legally or financially) being imposed on the biggest culprit of all - irresponsible speeding and dangerous driving.

    I'm sorry to go on, I'm sure you've plenty of other things to work on too, but please take my email as it was intended - that is, to correct the inaccuracies of what you have stated and help state the reasons why you should be changing your views.  I certainly will agree that red-light jumping cyclists and so on are a nuisance - as are, shall we say, speeding motorists, tailgating motorists, motorists on phones and so on - so what if anything UKIP should be for is strong fines and penalties for ALL traffic violations, not just singling out a minority.  Whilst remembering, the roads belong to everyone.


    David Wilson

  3. Below is his reply. Fair does he replied, but wholly unrepentant in doing so:

    Dear David,
    Road tax is a convenient acronym for whatever you call the thing you display
    on your windscreen. It is a symbol of misguided policy that what the government
    asks you to display is a receipt for tax paid, not something that says your vehicle
    is fit to be on the road. Talking about "general" taxation is a fudge to conceal the fact
    that motorists pay a disproportionate share. The idea that road tax is something to do
    with CO2 emissions is a new, misguided idea that justifies ever higher road taxes.
    I find it odd that people would think that a 2 ton electric car would not create the same
    damage to the roads as a 2 ton petrol driven car. Especially as the electricity is largely
    generated by burning something somewhere else and then half is lost in transmission
    and conversion. It will also do nothing about alleged global warming. The weather
    systems operate on a timescale measured in millenia. We will have exhausted much
    of the fossil fuel resouces before any real amelioration is possible. I do not say that
    "zero" emission vehicles should not be allowed on the roads, only that there should not
    be any concessions for the illusion of not creating pollution at the point of use.
    I shudder to think how the government finances would look if everybody used
    electric vehicles. They would have to tax electricity used to charge your car.
    You have not actually "corrected" any inaccuracies in what I wrote. You have simply
    disagreed with it, which is your right. I never said anything about how healthy cycling
    might make you, except that it is beyond the physical capability of lots of elderly people
    whom you still expect to contribute their taxes to support.
    With regard to road accidents, speed is not the major culprit. Accidents for all road users
    are caused by doing something stupid. The only thing involving speed is that if there is an
    accident, it will be worse, the faster the vehicles involved are moving. Most motorways
    could have their limit raised to 100 say, without any danger.
    In Cambridge, where I live, it is virtually impossible to go faster than 25mph anywhere,
    but accidents still happen from time to time.