Above is a photo of Studley Royal, a world heritage site now in the care of the National Trust. Just outside Ripon in the North Riding of Yorkshire, it is one of the NT’s most visited properties. There is a satisfying irony in the knowledge that this national asset is now protected and cared for into the future because it is one of the few assets the British People have that were purchased with the proceeds of the South Sea Company scam of 1721 – the greatest scam in British History before the Great Global Warming Scam of the present day. The water gardens at Studley Royal were commissioned by one John Aislabie. Like Hammond, he was a Tory being the member for Ripon. In 1718 became Chancellor of the Exchequer. In 1720 Aislabie put a bill before Parliament to align the nation’s finances with his share push scam. After this collapsed (the South Sea Bubble), he was expelled from Parliament and disqualified for life from public office. His ill-gotten gains however went into the construction of the magnificent gardens we have today.
The other day we set off to visit Studley Royal and went our usual route – through North Rigton. This involves us leaving the A61 Harrogate Road turning left onto Dunkeswick Road that leads to North Rigton. Before reaching North Rigton however two obstacles have to be crossed. The first is the level crossing on the Harrogate to Leeds railway line. The second is the A658 Harrogate Road. Normally the first obstacle is not a problem as most times a train is not on its way. The second, the A road, is nearly always a problem due to the heavy traffic. This time however the barriers were down and we pulled to a halt and waited the couple of minutes for the train to arrive. When it did, it presented the usual spectacle, a two car diesel multiple unit train with all but two passengers! One per rail-car! Truly an expensive way to travel – for we taxpayers that is – for this is heavily subsidised.
This brings us to Mr Hammond. He and his ilk have a familiar refrain: use public transport! Leave your car in the garage!
You see, Mr Hammond is suffering from the delusion shared by most of the political elite in this formerly sovereign country that somehow the emissions from the people’s cars are threatening planet Earth! He is particularly worried about the life sustaining CO2, believing it to threaten him, his children and his grandchildren!
As well as suffering from this particular delusion, Mr Hammond does not understand why his constituents do not take his advice and leave their cars in their drives and garages and do as he asks and use public transport.
Three words can explain this Mr Hammond: Full English Breakfast.
In the early part of the twentieth century, our family owned a farm outside Honiton in Devon. It was called Northcote Farm. It was a mixed farm of just over 100 acres. The livestock included diary cattle, with the bull calves gelded and raised for meat, some sheep for the higher ground and some pigs. Crops were also grown, to feed the livestock and such as barley for local breweries. Seven o’clock in the morning would see my grandmother and her maid in the large farm kitchen busy putting the finishing touches to the breakfast for at that time my grandfather and three or four farm workers would come in for their breakfast. NB: there was no “upstairs downstairs” with the Rogers family – such meals were eaten together – employers and staff. These fine men tucked into this early feast as they had been up and about since around 4:30AM doing physical work – they were hungry.
Today, we like to visit the South West in the summer months on holiday and go round the old places from whence our ancestors came. When we do we “go B&B” eschewing hotels as a nice room, always en-suite, can be had for between £30 or £40, whereas at a modest hotel the tariff is double that. As with the hotel room costing between £70 and £80, the room has a TV and tea/coffee making facilities. Unlike the expensive hotel, breakfast is included in the price.
This brings us back to the Full English Breakfast. You see, it does not matter whether one has a small glass of fruit juice, a bowl of cornflakes and a cup of coffee, or two small glasses of fruit juice, a bowl of cornflakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, mushrooms, beans, black pudding – followed by half a dozen pieces of toast and marmalade and two pots of tea – PER PERSON. You still pay £30 to £40. So what do we do?
Have the Full English Breakfast.
How do we feel afterwards: Stuffed!
And there you have it. Why do we stuff ourselves? Because we have already paid for it! Our problem is that we have been lying in our beds until 8:00AM and have not been up and about digging trenches and so forth since the wee small hours. Such feasts were designed for men who had worked up an appetite, not for those who have just fallen out of bed hours later!
You see, that is what multi-millionaire Tories like Hammond cannot understand. Take for instance a typical constituent of his: a young man setting off to work in his motor car. There is Hammond, jumping up and down like a demented banshee prattling on about CO2, urging his young constituent to abandon his car for “the sake of the planet.”
Why does this young man ignore him: Apart from the obvious that he does not share Hammond’s delusion about CO2, the young man has and is paying for his motor car.
He is likely to have bought his motor car on finance which means that he could be paying around £200 plus a month to the loan company. Then we have the insurance. If the young man is in his mid twenties this will amount to well over a £1,000 per year. Again, the young man will be paying this in monthly stages. Our young friend will of course realise that he will be paying out this money whether or not he uses his car or keeps it locked up in the garage as Hammond wants him to do. Of course, our young friend will still have to pay dearly for his motoring as the taxes on petrol and DERV have been set at such extortionate levels that would even make a Chicago gangster blush!
What does Hammond and his ilk do with that money? Hand out huge subsidies to train operators to put on services to ferry two men from Leeds to Harrogate. It would be cheaper to transport these two by chauffer driven Jaguar – just like the one Hammond has the use of. Wait a minute: there we have it: the two men who want to travel form Leeds to Harrogate can be ferried by Hammond’s Jaguar and Hammond can use the train!
The fact is that people like their cars. Using your car you do not have to stand in a vandalised bus shelter and read the misspelt obscenities written by the nation’s semi literate youth. You do not have to wait for three quarters of an hour and then choose from three buses travelling in convoy (rather than one bus arriving in fifteen minute intervals). You do not have to sit next to an asthmatic vagrant who is intent of infecting as many people of possible with his particular strain of tuberculosis. You do not have to listen to the incessant “thump thump thump” emanating from the earphones of the moron trying to shatter his own ear drums using his MP3 player. Or watch the empty ring pull beer cans hurl themselves across the floor every time the bus is thrown into a corner by the bus driver who learned his craft in the streets of Azerbaijan. You do not have to enjoy your spine been shattered in three places as the bus driver fine tunes the bus’s suspension by seeking out every pothole in roads that would shame the dictator of a banana republic. You do not have to enjoy being hurled bodily down the stairs (from the top deck) when the bus driver does an emergency stop when approaching every bus stop.
In your car you can do things that you would not want to do using public transport: like talk to yourself, even, dare we say it, fart! Of course, there are many less restrained members of society who do just these things whilst using public transport.