Good piece by Tom Utley in the Daily Mail this morning about Lambeth Council proposing installing speed humps in his street. Utley objects on several points. There is the cost of the scheme itself (£15,000 a hump coming to several hunderd thousand pounds for the area proposed.) Combined with the point that he doesn't want them anyway. ("So how ironic that no sooner does George Osborne set aside £100 million in his Budget for filling them in, to ease the flow of traffic, than along comes Lambeth with its infuriating humps to slow it down again.")
Then there is the consultation – which included distribution of five glossy documents full of biased, patronising and irrelevant material. It includes the "inevitable" query:
"Which of the following best describes you?
I am heterosexual/ straight; I am gay or lesbian (homosexual); I am bisexual; Other; Don’t know; Prefer not to say."
Yes, I know what date it is today. But Lambeth Council really does say that before I unburden myself of my views on speed humps, it’s ‘important’ that I should reveal whether I fancy men, women, both or neither.
I’ve been racking my brains to think what conceivable bearing my sexual tastes, race or religion could have on my attitude to traffic-calming measures, and I’m completely stumped.
Yet presumably Lambeth employs an official, at my neighbourhood’s expense, to send out these questionnaires and collate the answers — always assuming he or she is not too busy recording audiotapes for Twi speakers, explaining that driving carefully can contribute to road safety.
Do they think we can survive for ever like this, shelling out well over 60 per cent of our earnings to ensure that the country retains its full complement of health and safety inspectors — and that Twi speakers are kept fully informed about plans for speed lozenges in the Lambeth area?
If my great-great grandchild, scavenging for food on a rubbish tip in the year 2111, should happen to come across a 100-year-old questionnaire about a traffic-calming scheme in Lambeth, he should hand it to the nearest historian. It will explain a lot.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is opposed to humps. However as a good localist he says the borough councils should be able to decide whether or not to have them. Fair enough. But let them come out of Coucnil budgets. Boris should issue the most emphatic prohhibition on any Transport for London funding going on further humps.