Why 20mph speed limits, in residential streets, are a must

Driving on a local road this afternoon, on my way to deliver public meeting flyers. Suddenly, from behind a parked car appears a football, followed by a young lad, who luckily saw me and stopped chasing his ball.

If I was doing the legal speed limit and hit him, would it make me feel any better at all, that I was ‘in the right’ and he was silly enough to run out in the road without looking? Absolutely not!

The problem these days, is that far too many drivers see 30mph as a target to be aimed for, as opposed to the absolute maximum if, all road conditions are absolutely ideal – and that’s a very big if.   Parked cars, junctions, narrow roads and the strong likelihood of children out playing in a residential street at the weekend, especially if it’s not raining or very cold, all this means that 30mph on most residential roads, is unacceptable, legal or not.

Too many of us become selfish and blinkered when they get behind the wheel of the car, determined to get where we’re going, as fast as we can and with the least amount of slowing down, let alone stopping. You only have to witness the way so many drivers launch themselves at the traffic calming build outs, to see just how reluctant drivers are to have slow down if they can possibly avoid doing so.

I’m not claiming that my, ‘old-man in a flat cap’ driving technique, saved this child from serious injury or death, given that he put his breaks on when he saw the car. However, if the boy had continued to charge on, with only ball recovery on his mind and I had been doing 30 mph, the injuries sustained would have been far greater and far more likely to cause death, than if I had been doing only 20 mph or less and that is something I defy anybody to argue with.

Internet porn is damaging our kids

Internet porn is damaging our kids and restrictions are needed, but what about their exposure to music? Viewing pornographic images online when you are only ten or eleven, or even younger in some cases, can twist the attitude of a young person to sex for the rest of their lives.

Boys exposed to this stuff, can turn into the men who carry out the assaults and rapes we read about everyday. Within the home, they can often be the ones guilty of domestic abuse, or even worse, if there are children in the family. Girls become the unwitting victims of this exposure, firstly by being pressed into viewing it by the boys they are so eager to please and then as either the girlfriend, or wife of a man with all the wrong attitudes when it comes to women and sex.

Sadly, it’s already be too late for many of the young people who have grown-up with such easy access to pornography and we can only hope that they have not suffered long term damage, or that they are helped in the future if problems arise. The controls on access to Internet pornography, that are being talked about, will almost certainly take time to be implemented and will have only limited effect, but at least it’s a start.

What worries me, is that whilst this attempt to deal with the tide of visually unacceptable material is being made, we are ignoring what our young people can listen to. In its own way, this aural pornography is nearly as bad when it comes to the long term effects it can have on the attitudes of young people to sex. How many of today’s modern pop songs have more than one version available on the Internet? One version will be suitable for broadcasting by the radio stations that promote the music and bring in the money. However, the other version, always listed with the tell-tale ‘explicit’ marking, is just as available to underage young people via the Internet.

One of the most striking things about any young person these days, is the photographic like memory they have for the lyrics of the songs they like. Given that many of these songs are almost unintelligible when listened to and unlikely to have readily available written lyrics, it’s likely that the kids have listened to them over and over again. it’s also more than likely that the version listened to will be the one flagged ‘explicit’. It therefore follows that these kids are potentially being exposed to exactly the same negative and destructive attitudes to sex and women, as those portrayed in pornographic images.

If you don’t believe me, try listening carefully to a song like Starships by Nicki Minaj. Even worse than the use of every sexual swear word imaginable and in the context of some form of sexually activity, is that many of them are sung, with great enthusiasm, by young woman. So, having seen woman subjected to all forms of sexual activity, in the pornography imagery that is so readily available on the Internet, our young people are also able to listen to young women endorsing this treatment via their favourite music.

Is it too late to address such issues, given the financial implications and the powerful lobby the music industry can present and the fact that much of the worst stuff originates in the USA? Put another way, if there were significant tax revenues to be gained from pornography, in the same way as there are from gambling, drinking and even payday loan companies, would the government be as keen to clamp down on Internet pornography as they now seem to be?

20 mph speed limit needed on our residential streets

Living Streets is a national charity that campaigns to make our streets and roads safer places for us all to use. Their strap line is, ‘putting people first’ and they have just launched a national campaign to encourage more councils to introduce a 20 mph limit in residential areas.

This is something I have been trying to get the county council to consider for sometime now and the more public support there is, the more likely it is LCC will give it some serious thought. If you would like to make the streets safer for our children, please go to the Living Streets website and take part in their ‘Show You Love 20mph’ campaign.

There would also be a further benefit to making the 20mph speed limit legally enforceable in Lincolnshire. Many of our schools have what is currently only an advisory 20mph speed limit on the street outside of them. This advisory status means that even when a driver is spotted exceeding it, the most they will currently get from the police is a ticking off and advice on being a more responsible and considerate driver.

For Sale – One Green and Pleasant Land

Much loved and well cared for over many generations, but now no longer needed because the custodians believe that they have the right to flog it off to pay some bills.

Maintaining the finest traditions of previous Tory Governments, most notably that of Margaret Thatcher, it now seems that our national woodlands and forests are now anybody’s for the taking.

Note I said custodians above, because that’s what the government is, the custodians on behalf of the nation, not the owners, with the right to dispose of them as they fancy.  As with so many politicians past and present, they seem to see the cross in the box on a ballot paper as a mandate to do what the hell they like, when the hell they like.

Reading today’s newspapers, it seem  100 plus prominent people have written to government, voicing their outrage at this latest proposal to sell off the family silver, or more accurately, to sell off the land of our children and their childrens’ children.

As prominent as these 100 people might be, unless millions of ordinary folk tell this government exactly what they think of this proposal, I suspect their words will be just that –words.

Given that the probable figure to be raised will be no more £100m, yet again one is forced to ask the most obvious of questions – why damage the homeland, whilst continuing to squander taxpayers’ money on that piece of political vanity called the overseas aid budget?

Britain’s overseas aid budget is not just ring-fenced at £6 billion; it will grow — by 2013 it should reach £9 billion. The Tories agreed this whilst in opposition, supporting Labour’s target of increasing the aid budget to a level equal to 0.7 per cent of GDP.

It’s bad enough to squander our hard earned money on this badly managed and allegedly often plunder fund in times of plenty.  To do it when our own people are suffering rocketing household bills, job losses and service cuts, as well as selling off assets such as our national forests and woodlands, in a bloody disgrace – shame on you My Cameron.