Modified car enthusiasts bite back

Several responses to my post on the fallout following the modified car meeting, none of them very happy with my comments. One of them, was a well balanced and passionate plea for a better understanding of those who genuinely enjoy modifying their cars.

Another took the time to criticise my poor grammar, but offered little else. The third one suggested that I should have, or is it of?, been criticising the police for allowing the meeting to go ahead.

Having stirred up these enthusiasts, I suppose I should at least apologise for some of my more sweeping statements and also for classifying them all universally as boy and girl racers. However, I hope they will in turn accept that they were bound to stir up a s**t storm of protest by doing what they did in the first place – taking over a town centre car park without any form of permission.

I was going to suggest that if this had been a rally for mobility scooter enthusiasts, the response would have been very different. However, thinking about the bad behaviour of many of these people on our streets and footpaths, I’m not so sure. So let’s use mothers showing off their baby buggies as the example. Whilst the owners of the car park may have been slightly miffed at the uninvited takeover, the general public would probably have responded by saying, what’s the harm?

Unfortunately for the modified car enthusiasts, they come with a significant amount of baggage when it comes to public perception. Not least the belief of non-enthusiasts, such as myself, that they are all boy and girl racers at heart. Right or wrong, the simple act of congregating in a town centre location, to display the most obvious badge of the boy and girl racer fraternity – the soup-up motor car – was always going to create a negative response from the general population.

Can I therefore suggest that in future, if modified car enthusiasts don’t want to be pilloried in the local press again and see all the good stuff they do for charity ignored, they don’t takeover town centre car parks without notice. Also, if the local press is to be believed, it would also appear that a lot of litter was left behind, a particular bug-bear of mine and something that definitely winds me up.

It would also be nice if they could convince the less socially responsible boy and girl racer element of the modified car enthusiast brigade, to stop peeing off the rest of us!

Modified car rally – the acceptable face of boy and girl racers?

Outrage at car park takeover by modified car meet, followed by outrage at biased and unfair treatment of modified car owners meet in local press!

Those outraged modified car owners seem to have conveniently forgotten that they didn’t have any sort of permission to takeover the private car park they invaded for their meeting. They’ve also ignored the fact that those people who are unhappy about this coming together, we’re not really expressing their unhappiness at the car park takeover, but much more about the anti-social behaviour they have experienced involving modified car drivers – generally known as boy racers and more recently, girl racers.

I would also of been very interested to see how many of these vehicles were sporting the illegal number plates so many of these car drivers seem to treasure – or is that yet another illegal act they consider to be okay?

If these car enthusiasts really want to improve their reputation with the general population and not continue to be seen as anti-social yobs, then I suggest they clean up their act and encourage the bad eggs amongst their ranks to stop wheel spinning and speeding around our local streets and car parks at any opportunity they get.

If there are any modified car drivers reading this and muttering about the many being condemned by the behaviour of the few – tough. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and paddles about in water, then it’s probably a duck!

P.S. – While you’re at it, see if you can get our local Royal Mail van drivers to act more responsibly when driving around our local streets

Does this remind you of anybody you know?

Reproduced with thanks from The Daily Telegraph 15 August 2012

Confidence is key to success, but don’t trip on your ego

By Hannah Furness

THE secret to career success is not talent, hard work or education, but sheer, unashamed confidence, a study has suggested.

Although workers with big egos will often perform poorly and make more mistakes, their colleagues consistently fail to spot their errors and continue to believed they are “terrific” or “beloved”.
Their personality means they are often promoted over those who are more competent, as colleagues mistake their confidence for talent.

A study of more than 500 students, academics and workers, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, showed that those who appeared more confident achieved a higher social status than their peers.

Within a work environment, higher-status individuals tended to be more admired, listened to, and had more sway over group decisions.

Prof Cameron Anderson of the University of California, who led the research, said that, as a result, “incompetent people are often promoted over their more competent peers”. He said those who were overconfident often sought power, fame or success and that overconfidence was encouraged by the prospect of increased social status, respect and esteem.

“Our studies found overconfidence helped people attain social status,” he said. “Those who believed they were better than others, even when they weren’t, were given a higher place in the social ladder, and the motivation to attain higher social status therefore triggered overconfidence.”
The researchers found that many of their subjects believed sincerely that they were more physically talented, socially adept and skilled at their jobs than reality reflected. In one study, 94 per cent of college professors were found to believe that their work was above average.

Prof Anderson said: “In organisations, people are very easily swayed by others’ confidence even when that confidence is unjustified. Displays of confidence are given an inordinate amount of weight.”
In a series of six experiments, the researchers found evidence that companies should be sceptical of individuals’ confidence. In one test, they found overconfident individuals talked more and participated more extensively in group tasks, even when they were less competent.

In another experiment, a general knowledge test, those who made loud claims to know the right answers were held in highest regard, even when they got the answers wrong.

Prof Anderson, of the university’s Berkeley Haas School of Business, said: “Group members did not think of their high status peers as overconfident, but simply that they were terrific.”

Two final studies found it was the desire for status that encouraged people to be overconfident.
The study, entitled A Status-Enhancement Account of Overconfidence, concluded: “The individuals among us who are elevated to positions of status wield undue influence, have access to more resources, get better information, and enjoy a variety of benefits.

“Although we may seek to choose wisely, we are often forced to rely on proxies for ability, such as individuals’ confidence. In so doing we, as a society, create incentives for those who would seek status to display more confidence than their actual ability merits.”

Fly tipping initiative

Reproduced from:

Wednesday, 01 August 2012 14:38
Joining forces against fly-tipping
Written by Ruralcity Media

LANDOWNERS have joined forces with a local authority to make it easier to remove fly-tipped waste from private land.
The partnership between the Country Land and Business Association and Suffolk County Council aims to solve waste issues at a local level.
It builds on work already undertaken by the local authority on tackling trade waste.
CLA president Harry Cotterell said: “It costs around £800 to deal with each incidence of non-toxic fly-tipped waste on private land.
“Although we would like to see waste taken to local tips free of charge, we understand this is unlikely without a change in the law.
“However, the partnership with Suffolk County Council should help identify the barriers preventing fly-tipping from being dealt with.
“There must be a long-term sustainable solution, so we are pleased Defra is seeking to provide funding for the joint effort and, if successful, the outcome could be rolled out to other local authorities.”
One idea the CLA is keen to explore is a ticketing scheme for victims that uses a reference number to trace the crime, from the point of reporting the fly-tipping to the police or local authority to disposing of it at the local tip.
Mr Cotterell added: “The CLA will also continue to lobby the government to remove the potential for landowners to be prosecuted purely because they have not removed waste tipped on their land.”
The partnership was announced at a recent government summit on fly-tipping, chaired by Defra minster Lord Taylor of Holbeach.
The summit was a key government commitment to bring organisations across all sectors together to galvanise support for regional action on fly-tipping.
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Seb Coe for ……?

The Conservativehome website has a post suggesting that Sebastian Coe should be considered as a successor to Boris Johnson as the next London Mayor.

Let’s not get carried away. Sebastian Coe was found wanting as an MP and would be even more out of his depth as a replacement for Boris Johnson.

There’s been a few banana skins for him as the face of the Games, not least his dismissive approach to the tickets farce. It’s extremely fortunate that much else has been so good and that the security issue was saved by the intervention of the military, as well as all the good feedback heard about the volunteers, who it appears are well named as, Games Makers.

Will we ever know the full story on how much the London Games owe to the role of Seb Coe? I somehow doubt it, these things have a way of taking on a life of their own and turn into a fog of myth and hype, that can propel people into roles that often prove beyond their capabilities. Which of course takes us full circle to Coe’s selection as an MP; too much hype and not nearly enough substance seems to have been the propellant there.

Forget the mayoral job and just make him a saint, he’ll do far less harm.

Bin the bags everybody

Prompted by the CPRE, I have written to John Hayes asking for his support to address the plastic bag blight our public spaces suffers.

John Hayes MP
South Holland and The Deepings House of Commons
London SW1A0AA

I am writing to ask for your support on the important issue of single-use carrier bags.

Last year was the second in a row to see an increase in the use of single-use bags. In 2011 a total of eight billion ‘thin-gauge’ bags were issued throughout the UK, which represents a 5.4% increase compared with 2010 (7.8 billion). I am very concerned that all of the net growth occurred in England, particularly as England remains the sole home nation not to have a single-use bag levy in place or to be actively seeking to introduce one.

Single-use plastic bags are wasteful of resources and all too often end up as litter, which takes hundreds of years to biodegrade, whether on land or at sea; strewn in our towns, countryside or beaches they are an eyesore, and often a hazard to wildlife.

In 2011, when commenting on 2010 plastic bag use, the Prime Minister said: “Progress overall went backwards last year, and that is unacceptable. Retailers need to do better. I want to see significant falls again. I know that retailers want to do better too but if they don’t I will be asking them to explain why not.”

Locally, I have tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade our local Co-op shop to stop giving out plastic bags as a matter of course, as these have proven to be one of the most significant and obvious causes of local littering. A legally enforced charge, would be a huge step to achieving my ambition for our community.

In October 2011, Wales introduced a levy of 5p per plastic bag. Since then retailers have reported a drop in plastic bag usage of between 70-96%, while Welsh public support for the levy grew to 70%. When Ireland introduced a plastic bag levy in 2002, plastic bag use fell by 90%, as did the amount of litter.

I strongly support the Break the Bag Habit campaign run by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Keep Britain Tidy, the Marine Conservation Society and Surfers Against Sewage, which calls on the Government to reduce litter and waste by requiring retailers to introduce a levy on all new single-use bags.

Please raise my concerns with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman MP, and urge her to introduce a levy on single-use carrier bags in line with the successful actions being taken in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, so that England is not left behind.

Yours sincerely