Like the anti-smoking puritans, transport planners take it upon themselves to decide what is good for our health. In this case it’s festooning the country with roads signs in the cause of safety.
It’s all part of a syndrome which one psychiatrist has described as “information overload”, adding, “this can harm concentration more than marijuana, with men twice as likely to be distracted as women.”
The observation was seized on by Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, who told a conference organised by the Institute of Highways and Transport: “Clutters of signs lead to confusion that can result in collisions.”
Especially if a driver happens at the time to be smoking a spliff, which the government in its wisdom now deems more socially acceptable than a Marlboro light.
Lilley* guide to rhyming slang
All those efforts to tell customers in simple, plain English what was found to be wrong with their cars to justify the repair bill that brings on that look of despair mixed with disbelief are in danger of being sandbagged by internet dealer Jamjar Cars.
The clue is in the company’s name: Jamjar (old cockney rhyming slang for a car, for the benefit of those who live south of Esher) has produced a list of terminology which can be used by the garage Diamond Geezers.
So cop a load of this: “We found the rabbit was knackered when we took it out for a Charlie, so we replaced it as well as the charm, which was flat as a kipper’s, and the worn Billies. Here are the Cheddars. You can pay with a goose or Crosbys.”
Which, roughly translated, means: “We fitted a new clutch (rabbit hutch) after a ride (Charlie Pride), along with a battery (charm and flattery) and wipers (Billie Pipers). Here are your keys (Cheddar cheese) and payment is either by cheque (goose’s neck) or cash (Crosby, Stills and Nash).
*Lilley and Skinner – beginner.
Sugar’s a poll sweetie
His chin looks like a Brillo pad and that stabbing finger signifies the death of a dream, but there’s no doubting the awful appeal of Sir Alan Sugar.
Vauxhall’s Network Q asked over 1,000 people who they most admired for managing and distributing their wealth and the scourge of The Apprentice was voted in at number four. Sir Richard Branson, who favours a proper beard rather than stubble, topped the list, followed by Bill Gates, J K Rowling (who has no need of a morning shave) and Stelios Haji-Ioannour (never without a five o’clock shadow).
Least admired was Mikey Carroll, the ‘lotto lout’, who upsets neighbours by crashing cars in his backyard stock car races.
Gordon Brown may not have amassed a personal fortune, but he is responsible for managing and distributing wealth. By that yardstick, surely he should be giving Mikey a run for his money.
Guilty as charged
The story from What Car? claiming that “car mechanics charge more than barristers or doctors” has more holes in it than Emmental cheese.
The magazine reports that locum doctors earn between £80,500 to £115,000 a year (going on their estimates of £350 to £500 a day and assuming a five-day week and six weeks’ holiday). It goes on to comment that “even a criminal law junior barrister will charge as little as £30 an hour” (again, on a calculation of five days a week and six weeks’ holiday, that’s £55,200 a year). Then it claims: “Consumers frequently pay more than £100 per hour for labour at franchised dealers.”
Note the disingenuous twist here. “Car mechanics charge more…” is poles apart from “more than £100 per hour for labour….” Average pay of a mechanic at a franchise garage, according to the RMIF/Sewells Retail Motor Industry Pay Guide, is £19,972. Even allowing for the quirks of averages, mechanics don’t come within a sniff of £55K. What Car? has spuriously based its claim on garage ‘charge out’ rates which include labour plus overheads which come with any business like rent, rates, utility bills and equipment. And comparing the size and kit of a 10-bay workshop with a GP’s surgery or a junior barrister’s office is like saying that a five bed detached costs no more to maintain than a bedsit.
What Car? then goes on to point out that having your car seen to in the south is more expensive than other parts of the country. So is a haircut in Barnet compared to one in Bangor.
The magazine says it’s been the “car buyer’s champion for over 30 years”.
On the evidence of this misleading twaddle, M’lord, I would submit that it should be prosecuted under the Trades Descriptions Act. Or its editor made to attend a short course on ‘How to tell the difference between chalk and cheese’.