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Whickham and District Motor Club Limited

Thank God you can now stab a Burglar!

Stabbing burglars is not a crime, justice secretary Ken Clarke said recently - and people can use "any force necessary" to protect their home from criminals.

Mr Clarke said he would not be introducing a new law but would clarify the rules for people whose homes are broken into.

Currently householders can use any "reasonable force" to defend themselves but recently he went further and said their rights would be strengthened.

"We'll make it quite clear you can hit the burglar with the poker if he's in the house and you have a perfect defence when you do so," he said. "Given the doubts that have been expressed we're going to clarify that. It"s quite obvious that people are entitled to use whatever force is necessary to protect themselves and their homes.
"What they're not entitled to do is go running down the road and chasing them or shooting them in the back when they're running away."

Asked whether people could use whatever force is necessary to protect their homes. He said: "Yes. If an old lady finds that she's got an I 8-year-old burglar in her house and she picks up a kitchen knife, and sticks it in him, she has not committed a criminal offence and we will make that clear."

His comments came as the punishment of offenders bill received its second reading in the Commons yesterday. The clarification is expected to be tacked on to the bill or issued to defence and prosecution barristers.

Critics said Mr Clarke risked "encouraging vigilante attacks" on burglars.
Correct. That gets my vote.

Editors Note:

To me, it sounds quite simple now: if you catch somebody trying to steal your car, then you are perfectly entitled to try and stop him whichever way you can; and if the only means you have to hand is a shotgun, then give them both barrels; if the only means you have is a 1982 Vauxhall Chevette, then run the bugger down.

If he whinges about his Human Rights and any of that old rot just say "I'm so sorry I didn't really mean to cripple you as you tried to steal my MkI Escort worth thousands of pounds because you're a total scumbag that thinks you can take whatever you want"

"I know I spent years of my life working hard to afford this beautiful car but what was I thinking when I thought I should be able to enjoy it - but because you're from a broken home we should all feel sorry for you and appreciate you're not truly responsible for your actions"

Stuff that. If I ever see anyone trying to take a car that I"ve spent years working my nads off to afford, I'll run the bugger over to the full extent of my capability. I'll make sure he never walks again, and certainly never drives.

Ken Clarke - Thank You - you are just about the only Politician that's ever spoken some honest home truths. I respect that.

Charles Bronson, Death Wish. You were so right. Put the fear of God into the twats that steal our cars.

They"ll learn soon enough.

Young drivers are just too dangerous

Imagine not being allowed to drive after 11pm or only being able to carry certain passengers. Well that could become reality for new drivers if a road safety campaign is successful.

Young drivers hit the headlines again this month after a new campaign was launched asking the government to radically overhaul the learn-to-drive system.

Road safety charity Brake is appealing to MPs to make some serious changes to the current scheme, which gives new drivers a full licence after the driving test is passed, from the age of 17.

According to Brake, a revamp of the way driving licences are issued would cut the number of road deaths in the UK by giving motorists better training. In the last ten years alone, there have been 8,109 young lives lost in road accidents.

The insurance industry is supporting the campaign in the hope that reducing road deaths will bring down risk and cut the cost of car insurance for everyone, especially young people and new drivers. In 2010, the Transport Select Committee agreed that better driver training was key to cutting the cost of motor insurance in the long-term.

Nick Starling, director of general insurance and health at the Association of British Insurers, said: “The current learning to drive regime is failing young people, as there is much more to driving than simply passing the driving test.

“Too many youngsters get behind the wheel ill-equipped for unsupervised driving. This is why we have long advocated structured learning to help young drivers build up their driving skills gradually and safely, and graduated licensing for newly qualified drivers.”

A Radical New Scheme

What Brake want to see is a “graduated driving licence” , which would compel new drivers to undergo a minimum learning period of one year before taking a driving test. Once passed, the novice driver would be allowed to drive unsupervised but would have restrictions on their licence for a minimum of two years.

Other key components include:

* Restrictions on the time of day that young drivers can drive
* Giving young drivers a lower alcohol limit
* Restricting them from carrying young passengers
* Banning motorway driving in the first year after the test
* A second driving test at the end of the two-year period to help ensure safe driving on all types of roads.

Brake is adding weight to its campaign by enlisting the help of families with first-hand experience of road tragedies.

Bereaved father Tony Davison is fully supporting the call for a new driving system. “My 18-year-old son was killed by a young driver who took risks and paid the ultimate price, along with my son,” he said.

“I'm proud to support Brake in calling for the introduction of graduated driver licensing to help keep young people safe on the road, and reduce the number of families, like ourselves, who have to experience the untold grief of a police officer knocking on their door to deliver the news that their loved one has been killed on the road.”

The Brake campaign also coincides with the start of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety – a worldwide bid to cut the number of road deaths.

Julie Townsend, Brake's campaigns director, said: “Young drivers and their behaviour hold the key to the future extent of carnage on roads. These crashes account for a quarter of all road deaths and serious injuries. There is compelling evidence that graduated driver licencing would reduce these appalling casualties, and help protect young people from the biggest danger they face.”

Brake will be working with the Government to try and implement the proposals and get the graduated licence in place. Similar systems already operate in Hong Kong, New Zealand and some states in America.

MC Editor's Comment:

Far be it for me to be the one who makes the obvious comment, BUT:
So young drivers account for a quarter of all accidents, eh? That means that older drivers are three times more likely to cause an accident.

It's easy to say that over 8,000 young drivers have been killed in the past ten years, (so around 800 per year), but as we all accept that around 3,000 drivers are killed each year, it means around a quarter of all deaths are young people. We already did that, Ted. See above.

While I don't really want to add to bereaved Father Tony Davison's grief, I'm sure that he blames the 'young driver' for his 18 year old son's death, but isn't his son, at 18, another statistic along the way? Doesn't that mean that particular accident accounts for two young drivers and therefore raises the number of 'young deaths' a lot more?

Personally, I think that most young people are so intensely pleased to have passed their test that they tend to drive very carefully during their first year on the road. I know that my own kids were particularly careful and were so proud of their achievement that they made sure they did everything possible to ensure they were the best drivers that they could be.

I also think that the comment from Nick Starling, saying that he hopes the campaign will bring down the cost of Car Insurance, is a complete and utter load of bollocks. Since when did the insurance industry EVER give a toss about anything whatsoever other than making sure they got every single penny from everyone, made huge profits, and wriggled their slimy way out of every possible claim that they could.

Not that I'm talking from experience, but having driven for over 40 years, and seen the evidence of my own eyes for all of that time, it's fair to say that I have a fairly well balanced view of the insurance industry, and it isn't one that I would like to promote as a shining example of what is good about business practice. Insurers will do everything humanly possible to get out of paying a claim even if it meant selling their own Grandmother for prostituion in Kosovo. And that, my friends, is a cast iron, guaranteed, gold plated fact.

Give the kids a break, for Christ's sake. The papers are always saying that the exams are a giveaway, and they've never had it so easy, and they are all hoodies and criminals and we should all be frightened of them because they are all such anti-social twats.

I think that kids are great. They have the passion, the enthusiasm, the spunk and the sparkle to bring the world into the 21st Century the way that it really should be.
Dangerous drivers? Try putting my son Brian up against my Father-in-Law in a test of observation, interpretation and reaction.

I think we all know who would come out on top.

Stop it, you bloody interfering government bodies.
Just stop it. Now.

The Editor


January 2013

More deterrents for speeding motorists

The Daily Mail recently reported that drivers who break the speed limit will be faced with the introduction of more speed cameras to slow them down. "Lower limits and more road humps, chicanes and other "traffic calming measures" are also among the guidance given to councils. Ministers are calling for many more 20mph limits in residential and urban areas, and for the riskiest rural roads to be slashed from 60mph to 40mph."

The Government also want to introduce a new type of speed camera, described as "average" or "time over speed" cameras, to rural areas. The Daily Mail reported that "Unlike traditional speed cameras, which capture a driver at a specific spot, these devices take photo of a car and its number plate in one location and then, up to a mile or so down the road, take a second picture and work out the average speed between the two points. If this is higher than the limit, a speeding ticket is automatically issued to drop through the driver"s letterbox.

The moves come following a report from the Department for Transport which says that speed cameras should have a wider role in calming traffic, based on evidence that they greatly reduce fatalities and serious injuries by an impressive 69 per cent. Road safety minister Stephen Hammond said: "We want to see safe roads which meet the needs of everyone, so it is vital councils have clear guidance."

Government puts Roads back on the map

The Coalition is conducting what Downing Street has described as a "stock take" as it moves into the second half of its parliamentary term and, whether you like them or not, theyve got some good, and some controversial, news for motorists and transport companies.

In their mid-term review, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have set out their plans for long-term investment in Britains transport infrastructure. Whilst motorists will no doubt welcome a much needed cash injection to help repair the UKs roads and ease traffic congestion, they may not be quite so happy at the prospect of paying tolls.

The Sun reported that "Motorists using major routes could face an extra charge – but those who stick to B-roads and single-lane A-roads will get a cut in duty". Mr Cameron is also expected to approve the controversial £34 billion HS2 rail link between London, Birmingham and Manchester. An insider said: “We will be consulting soon and hope to get things moving by the spring. Speeding up the transport network will cut costs and save time.”

Whilst the idea of paying a toll on the motorway and therefore investing in the road network is a good one in theory, motorists will be reluctant to pay for something that they are used to seeing as free. This might mean that many drivers will avoid paying the toll by avoiding the motorway, and therefore increase congestion on minor roads. Cameron and Clegg might have to consider their transport plans a little further to avoid this, especially as motorists are already struggling with the cost of keeping their vehicles on the road.

Spring 2011

Morrisons - you are the boys!


Really, you are magnificent. (And I usually only use the term 'magnificent' at Spearmint Rhino)

Congratulations to Morrisons for doing a damn good thing and cutting the price of their fuel by up to 6p a litre if you spend £40 or more in their shop. Now, forgive me for being cynical, but we all know that supermarkets make money on everything they sell, and so Morrison's aren't going to be losing big time by knocking 6p per litre off their petrol.

However, that's not the point at all. Morrison's are at least showing all the signs of the great British trait of trying to flog the unfloggable - ie get the average British motorist to buy your petrol, rather than the next blokes. When a product is so ubiquitous, it really doesn't matter where you buy it, except of course to the retailer. Morrisons have identified that as being the key ingredient to making money - get the man to buy your product rather than someone else's, and you get the money, not them.

Now, far be it for me to pour cold water on what was fast becoming a warm and comfy feeling, but let us look at the true economics of the average gallon of petrol. Current estimates (and we all know that trying to get real figures out of Government is like trying to get a leg over Cheryl Cole whilst drunk and wearing a Gimp mask) would suggest that fuel tax accounts for around 59p per gallon of fuel.

Working on the basis that the oil companies have to buy their oil rigs, transport them out to the North Sea at huge cost, pay their blokes to work in the most inhospitable places on the planet, fly them to work and back, collect the crude, pump it, store it, refine it, transport it, market it, sell it and pay for the garages and shops, and I think personally they charge a reasonable amount for the work they put into getting the stuff into the pumps. On the other hand, the Government has an obscenely highly paid ponce at a warm and comfy desk somewhare in Whitehall who makes an arbitrary decision to charge 59p or so per gallon tax (yes that's around 44%) on each and every gallon of petrol that is sold and nobody can argue because it is the law of the land, and they just walk away with money for nothing, - and then have the cheek to try and elicit the emotional vote by pitching the motorist against the oil companies by making a 'Windfall tax' on them for the huge profits they make! Er, excuse me, but exactly who is the bloody bandit here?

And that's only half the story because successive Governments have simply robbed the motorist for years and years by taking their road fund licence (yes, the one that was supposed to pay for the upkeep of the roads) and blown it on pensions for their own public 'servants' (please, don't make me laugh or I just might go out and buy a shotgun) so that they can retire at 60 on an obscene final salary pension whilst the rest of us have to work until we are completely knackered and incapable of doing almost anything.

So the Government get shed loads of petrol money for doing bugger all, they take our road tax and spend it on anything that has sod all to do with roads, whilst the roads we all drive on turn into terrible, pothole infested cart tracks; they create legislation to make you pay more and more for the sheer luxury of car ownership - because you can always take a bus (a decision made in London where you can get a bus at any time of day or night, but not if you live in Stanley or Dipton or Leadgate or Greencroft) and then they try to turn everyone against you by telling the tree huggers and city dwellers how bad you are because you are using the planet's resources.

Now, forgive me, but are cows, and cabbages, and newspapers, and petrol, and electricity, and wood, and anything at B and Q, and pencils, are they all not the planet's resources?

Morrisons - you are a brilliant company and doing what you can to not only make money, but make the motorist feel a little less guilty. If I could change the world for a day I would stop the Government taking money from petrol so that the average, normal bloke could enjoy the drive.

Next time I'm looking for petrol, I'm particularly looking for Morrisons. They are the boys as far as I'm concerned.

The Editor


January/February 2011

The Lights are on but there's definitely nobody home...

I have to wonder about the intelligence of some of the decision makers in Government. However, it's not just Central Government that's got my goat today. That has to be reserved for the simply idiotic individuals who must obviously sit at their very well paid desks, working out the myriad of different ways to drive the ordinary man in the street mad with frustration, whilst he tries desperately to just get on with his everyday life, despite the plethora of stupid rules that abound in every possible facet of our lives.

I think there's approximately 60 million people in the UK. The vast majority of them go around for most of the time on their two legs, walking places, going into shops and cafes, pubs and shopping centres, and they seem to do this amazingly well. Given the opportunity to make their own decisions, (should I avoid walking into this other person by walking past them, speeding up or slowing down), seems to be a fairly simple decision that most people just get right.
I don't remember BBC North East reporting mass carnage at the Metro Centre over the past few days with reports of huge numbers of people careering into each other causing multiple injuries. Could it possibly be that the great human populace can actually make sensible decisions based on their surroundings and circumstances?

Apparently not, it seems, if you have any say in the running of Roundabouts.

Roundabouts must have suddenly become one of the most dangerous of road hazards that could possibly exist. I come to this conclusion because almost every time I come to a major roundabout when there's nobody about, whether it's 2am or 2pm, I have to stop at a red traffic light, and then wait for some arbitrary period of time to pass before I am allowed to proceed. It's happening at more and more roundabouts, even those where there is no traffic problem. Whatever happened to 'Peak Times Only' lights? What on earth is the point of sitting at red when you are the only car in sight?

Perhaps it is a form of entertainment. Each time it happens to me now I place a small imaginary wager on whether the only other poor lonely driver in the area will approach from my right only to be suddenly stopped by the lights, so he can sit, alone in his car, and watch as I triumphantly accelerate away from my own lonely stop light vigil.

It's an idiotic situation, and somebody with an ounce of common sense should put a stop to it.

If I ruled the world for a day, I would take all those people that place traffic lights on roundabouts, and fit stop lights on their toilet doors. And I would programme them to change to red just as somebody approached, and stay red just too long to be comfortable, and even longer if they started to fidget.

And no, if we can't have traffic lights set to 'Peak Times Only', then neither should they.

December 2010
How can this be legal?

How can it be legal for petrol stations to price their fuel in units of .9p? How can anyone put a price on something that cannot be sold at that price? I could understand it if you could only buy fuel in multiples of say, ten litres, then it would make sense. But if you buy your fuel as normal people do, any number of litres, then you must surely be getting ripped off as the price always increases before the fuel amount shows an increase.

I suspect the fuel companies would argue that the fuel cost is 'rounded' to the nearest figure, in which case it should technically be possible to buy your fuel cheaper than the pump price, by rounding it down. But I've never managed to get the litres to go up without the price increasing too. I think it is just not possible.

Why can the fuel companies not just stop all this stupid game of pricing at unbuyable prices and just tell it like it is. Don't put 119.9 per litre, you can't buy it at that, so don't patronise us. Put the price up as 120p per litre. Be honest, for heaven's sake.

November 2010

Carbon Offsetting? How does that work then Ted?

I've just been looking at Carbon Offsetting.

To me, it looked as though it would be a good thing if the Motor Club decided to plant a few trees, to offset the effect of Rallies and the like.

Unfortunately, it seems far more complicated than that. It would appear from research on the internet that each and every car produces 19KG of CO2 from every gallon of fuel.

Now forgive me for questioning the experts, but CO2 isn't exactly heavy, right? CO2 is a gas, and gases are not the sort of thing that you generally associate with a dead weight. Lead that gets nicked off Church Roofs is heavy, and comes in kg. Car batteries are heavy, and blokes like me that like a drink and a pork pie are heavy. CO2 is not what I would consider a heavy object, although I would love to see a bag of CO2 that weighed a Tonne. CO2 isn't the sort of thing that you can buy in bags from Tescos, and so measuring CO2 in kg is a rather spurious assumption.

I'm sure that there are a load of experts that can explain in simple terms just how a gallon of petrol will become 19kg of CO2 - but frankly, I just don't believe them. If they said that gallon of petrol equals about a kilo of CO2, then that is believeable, and I would be a bit lighter on the throttle. But to say that one gallon of petrol will produce THREE STONE of CO2 is bordering on the stupid.

One thing I do know - a woman that eats a cream cake every day will eventually put on 19kg. It may well take a few months, and she will need to be pretty dedicated in order to ensure she consumes at least one cream cake a day, but eventually, she will put on 19kg and will end up a very fat (but ultimately cuddly) friend. And you also know that she will be the one that YOU get on a blind date.

However. She could have saved a lot of time, effort and cream cakes by simply driving to Tescos and back again a couple of times, and that would have done the trick.

Scientists? Give me a break. Tell me something that's believable, and maybe I'll start to take you seriously.

Otherwise, I think I'll fire up the beast, give it some stick, and listen in awe at the glorious sound of me creating 19kg of pure, unadulterated Carbon....

Now THAT's what I call music.....

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