Here in the UK we've got a cabinet government system, where the Prime Minister is sort of like the chairman of the board of directors, and able to appoint ministers to head each division of his government. They sit down and discuss shit and (depending on the Prime Minister) do what they fuck they want (Major government), what the fuck they're told (Thatcher government), what the fuck they can get away with (Blair government) or whatever the fuck lines their own pockets (Cameron).
Beneath the level of the cabinet ministers (22 of them - with 8 more able to attend cabinet meetings without being cabinet ministers) are shitloads of junior ministers and pointless hangers on. Upwards of 130 listed here, drawn from the Lords and the Commons.
Now the way this is meant to work for most of them is that each is part of a government department (Transport, Defence, Foreign Office etc.) or part of the business of government itself (whips etc.), and while part of their job is to deliver government policy as stated and to communicate the governments message to the people (and vice-versa) a cabinet system with devolved duties to junior ministers works by each making a case for their own areas within the wider government, each fighting their own corners for their areas of interest. It is, or should be, a good system, and a minister who's good at his or her job would expect advancement, and of course for whatever that area of interest is to flourish.
And this brings me to Mr. Robert Goodwill. Among his remit is cycling - although its clearly not one of the things he's interested in (click on his interests in the above link - it ain't listed). He isn't taking the cycling part of his remit seriously - just read this and tell me I'm wrong. In fact he's taking it so lightly that he's making glib comments that women don't ride because they'll mess up their hair.
Lets be clear - Goodwill doesn't give a fuck about cyclists, if he did he wouldn't be droning on about the perception of risk being worse because cyclists being flattened by HGV's hits the news, he'd be dealing with the haulage sector and demanding the addition of wheel guards on all such vehicles to save the lives of cyclists. If he cared about cyclists he wouldn't brazenly refuse to comment on the woeful (and falling) investment in cycling while road spending goes up - you're getting £86 spent on road transport per year if you're a Brit, but 76p spent on cycling.
Goodwill isn't there to fight our corner - Goodwill is there for vanity road and rail projects, and like the rest of our current government he's a road-obsessive who'd render down the fat off the back of every cyclist for another litre of diesel. This man isn't interested in safe cycling, he's not fighting for investment for more cycling, he's not even respecting us enough to contextualise UK cycling spend within the EU. And when he does talk about cycling when not question dodging a parliamentary committee? Blah blah blah paint by numbers press release saying nothing but pretending to give a smeg.
He's Tory deadwood, and he's wheeled out in front of cyclists in the hope that eventually we'll be as dead inside as he is and we'll just shut up. That ain't going to happen though.
Can I really be the only person to feel that his name is a brutal irony, considering how he's talked about cycling? Goodwill? Having a laugh, mate.
We haven't got a minister with any interest in cycling, and our parliamentary committee that is meant to be all about cycling can be fobbed off with ridiculous ease. Right, that approach hasn't worked then. What next?