To whom it may concern I am not in favour of making any changes whatsoever

Diary of the last 26 hours

6.55am

We are still in the dark at this hour because we have nearly reached the shortest day. 

Also many of us are still in the dark, at this hour, about cars. Let us pause for a moment and look back.

Remember that cold dead hands election issue about the Nanny State forcing us to use LED lights?

This was Europe’s doing. Over there they tend to the view that you can't just be forever talking about the climate crisis, you need to actually do shit. Voila, LED lights.

Hello refuseniks from back then, tell me what you see when you walk up and down the aisle of Mitre 10 now. God, it's all LED eh. What do you reckon, have our lives been as grievously upended as you feared or are you gradually adapting to the torment of greater efficiency?

The spirit of  the refusenik lives on, though. The letter of objection works to a reliable template:

To whom it may concern, I am in favour of fixing this climate crisis.

I am not in favour of making any changes whatsoever to my living arrangements.

Kindly see to this with a minimum of disruption

Boy, you should read what all the big car manufacturers are saying right now about cars that use petrol, bro.

I am all in favor of picking up the pace to move us towards e-vehicles and away from ICE ones. I am even more in favour of us finding ways to make greater use of the most efficient mode of transport of all.

What gets lost in a cloud of dirty exhaust and all that faux handwringing by the National party in defence of people who can't afford fancy cars is that over the last 30 years we imported a flood of cheap second hand cars and entrenched a car ecosystem in favour of better options. 

I loved this from reader Rupert - hi Rupert! -  responding to yesterday's column

I'd like to make a point for cycling that I haven't seen you cover, and is one of the main reasons I bike (the other being that I like a drink, and don't want to kill anyone on the way home).

I meet a friend and ex colleague for a pub lunch every month or so down in Browns Bay. Time before last he passed me on Carlisle Road, me on my bike, him in his car, nearly 2km from our destination. Yet I got to Deep Creek before him, and was halfway down my first pint before he got there because he'd spent 15 minutes trying to find a place to park.

Someone estimated a while back that 20% of the traffic in the CBD is people circling, looking to park.

That’s so true. The ease of just pulling up outside and locking up is a beautiful thing when you're on a bike.

For reasons foregoing, then, I energetically endorse these Twitter suggestions:

My carbon emission lowering idea is for the govt to give out free bikes and free bike locks - ofc this will not suit everyone, but it will help a lot of poor people get their first bike and be able to go for bike rides with their friends and family. 

And 

Free bikes in schools and a 50% subsidy on e-bikes for adults. Flood the country with bikes and then separated cycle paths seems obvious. 

Dear Ministers Wood and Shaw doing many good things, Kindly see to these with a minimum of disruption, please and thank you.



9.10am

But back to all the faux handwringing. I am imagining a helpdesk. 

Kia Ora, welcome to the Nanny State Helpline. My name is Amy, and I’ll be assisting you today. How can I help?

Hi Amy, this is Chris. I’m poor and I’d like to get screwed over by this government that doesn’t give a fuck about people like me.

Certainly Chris, would this be with reference to the Feebate scheme, or cycleways, or the entire way of life for Kiwi Mums and Dads going forward?

All of them, cheers.

Nice one, Chris. And how much would you like to be fucked over?

Completely. Every single thing Judith Collins says they’re going to do to me. Might as well just get it all over with eh.

Oh, sorry Chris, that's not an available option.

How come?

Well, most of what she says is just what they’re getting her to read out from a pantomime script. It would never happen in the real world.

Oh, is that right? Ha! Crack up. Okay then well let’s just have all the stuff Mike Hosking says they're going to do then.

Oh sorry, no, that's not an option that exists in the real world either sorry Chris.

How come? Is that panto too?

Not so much, just 900% exaggeration and any old stuff that comes into his head while they’re blowdrying him.

Oh, okay, well, how about the Feebate scheme, can I put my name down to get screwed over royally by that?

Well yes, but you’ll have to buy a car first.

But I don't need to buy a car, I've got one.

Well, do you think you could sell the one you've got and buy another one?

I suppose so.

Great. I’ll text you a list of the dirty cars you have to choose from.

Wait, what? How come? Can’t I just get whatever car I like?

Well sure, but unless it's on the dirty car list, you won't have to pay a fee for it and you won't get fucked over.

But why would I want to buy a dirty car if I don't have to?

Well the dirty cars might end up being the cheapest of all, so if you have to pay more for a better car, that means you might end up being screwed over.

But what if I find a good deal on a car that's not dirty? 

Well you’re right, you might have to put a bit of effort into this to make sure you get screwed over.

I don’t know. I sometimes wonder if I want another car at all tbh. You get pretty sick of paying for gas and repair bills and everything.

Well that’s a good point Chris. Had you thought about a bike?

Shit I don't know, I don't think I could be a wanker in lycra.

No-one says you have to wear lycra, Chris.

But anyway, it's just not practical.

Are you sure? How long would you say most of your car trips are? Under 10km?

Yeah, I suppose so.

That’s easy on a bike.

But that’s just for rich wankers in leafy suburbs.

It hasn’t always been like that. It used to be that if you didn't have much money, a bike was for sure the best way to get around. 

Yeah but have you seen the roads these days? No way I’m getting amongst that on a bike.

Yes, but have you seen the cycleways that are being built all over the city? You can get from Mangere Bridge to Te Atatu without coming anywhere near a car. Would you like me to text you some maps? The city’s filling up with protected cycleways. 

That doesn't sound so bad actually. But how does that work, if cycleways are supposed to  be screwing me over? 

Don't believe everything they tell you Chris. One day those cycleways will be full of people and everyone will be saying God can you believe we were guts-aching about building these things?

Shit I don't know Amy, something’s not adding up here. Are you trying to tell me I might not get fucked over at all?

Oh sorry Chris, I think I might have gone too far with the good news. Stand by, I’ll text you the latest data on how fast the planet is warming and where we’re at with child poverty. 



11.35am

Some context for the entertaining clip clip we’re about to roll. Psychology Today reports that something in the order of 42 percent of all Americans hold to a literal creationist belief system, that is to say a repudiation of the theory of evolution. 

Clearly, they write,  America is still a pre-scientific society.

11.36am

Let’s roll the entertaining clip.




12.48pm

But wait! There’s more of this kind of thing!

And it’s just three hours flying time from here!

Crikey writes of the enduring friendship of Scott Morrison, dismal Australian PM, and this guy who, well, read on with gaping jaw.

Tim Stewart and Scott Morrison go back a long way — 30 years to be exact. The two met at their local Baptist church in Sydney’s Maroubra, with the men’s wives (Jenny and Lynelle) becoming best mates.

The two couples remained close. Morrison’s ascension to the prime ministership in August 2018, however, marked a transformative moment in the lives of the two men. Stewart’s embrace of the fringe QAnon conspiracy theory became more and more pronounced as the movement gained in numbers and political influence under US president Donald Trump.

Stewart’s standing in the Australian and international QAnon community grew exponentially. Unrestricted on Twitter, the Morrison family friend became a leading figure, with his spiritual pronouncements on the “Great Awakening” and the “coming of the storm” — end of days concepts that would mean the end of the all-powerful secret group of satanic paedophiles that runs the world, as QAnon has it. (Q is said to be an anonymous senior figure in the former Trump administration providing clues to followers via the dark web’s 8chan (since rebranded as 8kun) message board.)

Full story here.



4.19 pm

Darkness looms, and there hasn’t been much vitamin D or serotonin bounced around our brave little corner of the world today. But I remain positive, really I do. I truly cannot wait to get back on my bike.

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4.20pm