The ease with which the Government dismisses the views of more than a million citizens is just one of the jaw-dropping aspects of its "ham-fisted policy on road pricing", says Andrew O'Hagan in The Daily Telegraph. Tony Blair promotes himself as a people-person', but has always had a "magical ability" to ignore people when they join forces to oppose him. Take the protests over the war in Iraq, or the foxhunting ban: 1.3 million signatures on a petition against road pricing has proved no different.
As for the policy itself, everyone knows that something must be done to improve life on Britain's roads. There are now 33 million vehicles and the number of miles driven each year is rising by 400 million to 500 million miles. This is clearly unsustainable for both the economy and the environment. But the Government's "thoroughly stupid" solution which will cost taxpayers £200 per car, as well as tens of billions in set-up and running costs will unfairly penalise the poor and encroach horribly on personal liberty. Are there no alternatives? Is our public transport system comfortable and reliable enough to make one leave the car at home? Are we doing enough about the two million cars being driven illegally? Are there enough cycle lanes?
The Government could have done hundreds of "small, nimble things" over the past 25 years to manage transport better, says Libby Purves in The Times. Luggage-forwarding services for travellers, more lockers in city centres to dump shopping, more trains, and keeping rural post offices, cottage hospitals and shops open would all have reduced our dependency on cars. Instead, "we now have an attempt to build a big, crude dam. In a hurry."
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
I can't see what all the fuss is about, says Steve Richards in The Independent. The Government is far too busy to make sinister use of "film footage of motorists heading for Waitrose", which seems to be one of the main objects. It deserves credit for contemplating radical measures, and should not be intimidated by the short-sighted opposition of some motorists who are "perversely campaigning against measures that will improve the quality of their lives".
Who is the richest person in the world?
The top five richest people in the world have a combined net worth of $825 billion. Who takes the crown for the richest person in the world?
By Vaishali Varu Published
Top 10 stocks with highest growth over past decade - from Nvidia, Microsoft to Netflix, which companies made you the most money?
We reveal the 10 global companies with the biggest returns since 2013. One firm has posted an astonishing 9,870% return, meaning a £1,000 investment would now be worth almost £82,000.
By Ruth Emery Published