Saturday, 23 May 2015

Rugby Post

This Car+Driver story caught my eye today.

It is about a specially-build Land-Rover Defender that will be touring the British Isles promoting this year's IRB Rugby Union World Cup.
Looks nice doesn't it?  It even has a glass trophy cabinet constructed in the rear to show off the prize.
I particularly like the paint-job - it has a 1970s JPS Lotus feel to it.

Now being an American site, I could understand if Car+Driver felt the need to explain what rugby was.  But it looks like they actually need to explain what the UK is - to their author at least.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Illegal Immigrants Travelling in Luxury Cars

I'm surprised that The Daily Mail hasn't got this story.   Mind you - it is hot off the press so they'll probably get it soon enough.  ITN have got it.  And now I've got it too.

It looks like a group of illegal immigrants have managed to get into the UK hiding in the boots of new Maseratis on a car transporter.  They have been arrested and sent back where they came from - Dover.

Presumably, if proved to be illegal, they will then be sent back to where they came from before that.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

I'm Not a Fan of "The Apprentice"

Either the British version with Sir Lord Prince Alan Sugar:
Or the American version with Donald Trump:
I'm not particularly a fan of Mr.Sugar - but at least he likes cars and football.
And he isn't obsessed with the insane idea that Barack Obama wasn't born on US soil.
And his surname doesn't mean "fart".
Although the UK version of the show has produced its own vile creature.  She is either unbelievably ignorant or completely desperate for publicity.  So I'm not going to mention her name.  In either case she should be starved of the oxygen of said publicity.  In fact, I'd be quite happy for her just to be starved of oxygen full stop.
Anyway, I don't watch The Apprentice for the same reason I don't watch Big Brother - I discovered quite early on that I don't actually like any of the people taking part.
Good job apprentices in Germany have the right idea.
This Autoguide story from yesterday covers a couple of very fine concepts created by Volkswagen apprentices for the forthcoming W├Ârthersee festival where Audi/VW tuners congregate to show off their work.  this GTi based car is called the Dark Shine.  Ok, it probably loses something in translation but it still looks very desirable.
Meanwhile here's a story from last year about what Mini Apprentices got up to - a fun Mini Countryman Pick-Up:
I bet none of them wrote a mission statement first.
Now, all we need is a new show that shows genuinely talented apprentices like these at work.
While Al and Donny could be fired.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Fine Times

Two BBC News stories today concern motoring convictions.

The first concerns David Pickup, a Cheshire motorist caught doing 101mph in a 70-Zone.  I couldn't find a picture of him so here's a David:
 Here's a Pick-Up:
 And here's a David Pickup:
...but not the one from the story - this one's the wrong age and lives in the wrong place.  And, as far as I know, the bloke in Court wasn't dressed as a woman.

Anyway, what's so worthy of a speeding conviction that it gets a mention in my 'blog?

Well, and this will concern David Pickup, he has ended up with £11000 to pay.  The defence questioned the accuracy of the in-car police speed camera so the prosecution hired an expert who rented an airfield and an Audi R8 like the one Pickup was driving at the time.  The expert carried out tests, the results of which were presented to the court - leading to the guilty verdict.  And David got the bill for all that.

I wonder how much the defence team charged him for their work.

Meanwhile, in London, the second story played out.  It involved ex-footballer Clarke Carlisle - someone who has always impressed me with his demeanour and his intelligence.  He was also chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association.  Unfortunately, he has had to own up to drink-driving.

Here he is competing on Countdown:
I can see a five there - FINED - except he wasn't.  I can also see DEMONIC for seven but that's not relevant to the story.
Here's a picture of him I include purely because Jeff Stelling and Rachel Riley are also in it.

But back to the story.  Despite his successes on and off the pitch he must have had some serious personal issues - in fact a couple of days after being caught, he was injured when he tried to commit suicide under the wheels of a lorry.  This is no excuse for drink-driving - especially as it isn't his first offence - the BBC report he had previous drink-related convictions in 1999 and 2011.  The 2011 one was a spectacular drink-driving offence with him getting pulled over because he himself had earlier reported the car stolen when he couldn't remember where he'd parked it.  That story, as reported by The Mail, is here.

As I mentioned, he wasn't fined, but he had to pay costs (albeit not £11000 of them) and he now has a three-year driving ban.  For an intelligent man, he has been very stupid.

I hope he manages to get sorted out. It sounds like he needs to completely give up drinking or completely give up driving.  Not a choice I'd like to have to make.  I wish him well.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Why I'm Voting Labour Tomorrow

For the past five years, The Tories & Liberals have been punishing the firemen.  And the teachers.  And the librarians, the doctors, the nurses, the binmen, the Town Hall staff, the police, the soldiers, the street cleaners, the school crossing patrols.  In fact anyone paid by the public purse.  Apart from the politicians.

They have been punishing them for the crimes of the bankers.  This annoys me.

David Cameron says that this austerity is the fault of the mess they inherited from Labour - the huge debt-pile.

Except there is nothing wrong with debt - properly regulated and properly accounted debt.  How else does he expect people to buy these properties that he's forcing the Housing Associations to sell off cheap?  It is the same way Thatcher sold off the Council-owned properties in the '80s.  It is how most of home-owning Britain buys its homes.  It's how I bought mine.

It is with a mortgage.

The problem comes when corrupt bankers decide to give mortgages to people they know cannot afford them.  Then they sell those debts on to other bankers, gullible ones or incompetent ones or greedy ones who then sell them on again.  Until the people who can't pay don't pay.  Then we have the big crash and the world governments have to step in.  That is the real cause of this austerity.

The bankers seem to have gotten away with this though - certainly there aren't any languishing in prison anywhere - and I'm pretty sure they are not worse off than they were five years ago.  Cameron says that the economy is recovering now.  I'm not convinced.  I'm certainly worse off than I was five years ago.

So what about the other parties?

UKIP are just Tories who have argued with their constituency parties.  They have some very right-wing ideas.  They would probably try to reintroduce fox-hunting.  And smoking in pubs.  And probably fox-hunting in pubs.

I live in England so couldn't vote for Plaid Cymru, DUP, Sinn Fein, SNP etc. even if I wanted to.  Although if I lived in Scotland I would be asking myself why The Sun was saying Cameron is no good, vote SNP whereas South of the Border, the Sun is saying Cameron is wonderful and the SNP are trying to hold Britain to ransom.

Next question - what is this doing in a motoring blog?  Where are the usual inane comments about Formula 1 or Top Gear?

Well that brings me on to The Green Party.  Less than a month ago, they wanted to ban my car.  And my wife's.  And, almost certainly yours too.  They have now relented a bit on that and just want to fit future-tech speed limiters to all new cars.  Bad enough in itself but reading the rest of their transport policy does sound like war on the car-owner.

So, that just leaves Labour then.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Top Nearer?

So, the Sunday Express has revealed the BBC's "Dream Team" to take over from Jeremy, James & Richard?
And the rest of the World's press has run with the story.

Which is based on an overheard conversation between ex-show producer Andy Wilmin and Jay Kay of Jamoriqui fame.

So could be a load of tripe.

And even if it is right, there is no guarantee these three would sign up for the job.

Based on the reader comments (worldwide, not just the Express) any new presenters would be unwelcome but there is suspicion of Jodie's name in particular because it is believed that the BBC is being politically correct in choosing a woman.  It is true that I have said that I would like to see a woman or three in the line-up- but that is because I believe it would add a new twist to the show - but I would be just as happy with another three grumpy, middle-aged, white men again if the show continued to thrive.

Andy Wilmin is currently writing the story of Top Gear TV in Top Gear Magazine.  In it he states how the BBC did originally want a female presenter but he argued the toss and the all-male team was agreed upon and worked extremely well.

Right, what do I think of this so-called "dream team"?

Jodie Kidd - presenter of The Classic Car Show - needs to be a bit more natural in front of the camera but basically should be good.

Guy Martin - presenter of various things on Channel 4 but I know bugger all about his work

Philip Glenister - presenter of For The Love of Cars - typical grumpy, middle-aged, white man - should fit in very nicely.  Incidentally, For The Love of Cars seems to be turning into Car SOS.  This new series has just had two very soppy episodes where the finished car has been suspiciously sold at auction to someone guaranteed to make the original owner very happy.

Whoever they get, providing they are petrol-heads, I will watch and give the new show a fair go next year.  We have to trust the BBC on  this - I dread to think who ITV would choose if it were up to them...