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John of Gwent
Britain The Land Of The Two Speed Economy
Written by John of Gwent
If ever there was a need to nuke the Hot Air Pit in the Bay (The Welsh Assembly), then that time has come.
If they have their way, Britain truly will become a two speed economy.
For they have decided that Wales should opt out of the proposed increase in motorway speed limits to 80 mph.
On the grounds of sustainability and protecting the environment.
When I got my first provisional licence, Sheik Yamani had just discovered the power of raising the price of a barrel of oil. Many said we should have nuked the cheeky bugger at the time. Maybe we should have. After all, it would have saved us a couple of fairly bloody wars for the same reason a quarter of a century later.
When I passed my test, the roads of Britain were still full of cars built twenty years earlier with cable brakes and cross ply tyres.
The first car I legally pulled the starter control of for a solo mission was a sit up and beg Ford Popular with single engine vacuum driven windscreen wiper, "Harry Worth" trafficators and the sort of bumper that could shunt railway rolling stock. Heater ? You're having a laugh, sir. For ventilation, pull the lever by your right knee and a square metal panel opens like an airbrake to suck the freezing cold air in and over your dangly bits. No wonder then that men were less obese and had higher sperm counts.
As any student of engineering will tell you, an internal combustion engine works at its most efficient when developing its greatest possible torque in the highest possible gear.
For the Mini 850 I drove when I got married that was probably 54 mph at 2800 rpm in fourth. For the Maxi 1750HLS I drove before marriage would constrain my wallet more than Sheik Bloody Yamani ever would, that was 65mph in "sixth".
Green Arrow will testify to the accuracy of my assertion that my bright red Suzuki Alto which costs a piffling twenty quid a year to tax is readily both willing and able to pull a tight left hander at seventy five miles an hour.
It does so provided I disengage the arty farty traction control electronics ignore the myriad bank of warning lights on the dash that tell me "the wings are gonna come off" and drive it as a car was meant to be driven by a former rally driver.
Well, he might testify to it. He had his eyes screwed shut and was mumbling something like "forgive us our trespasses" at the time.
But that vehicle's most efficient engine operating point is 3,200 rpm in top. Which is eighty-one miles an hour.
Yes I know there are wind speed and friction factors to take into account. But the fact is the world has moved on from side valve engines, cable operated drum brakes and cross ply tyres.
The problem is we have legislatures stuffed with arse-licking political and social scientists who wouldn't recognise an engineering diagram, a mathematical equation, or a chemical formula if it bit them. These people have no right to claim the word "scientist" in their job description.