Sunday, June 01, 2008

Fuel is a Feminist Issue

Fascinating column in the Times Online;
Fuel duty is not just a political deal-breaker for Gordon Brown; it is a genuinely feminist issue. Without the short cuts afforded to women by cheap, flexible, personal transport, many working mothers would simply not be able to honour their various commitments to home, children and employer. Until someone can arrange the establishment of a Utopian Britain, where children cycle half a mile to school down empty, safe country lanes and mums work just around the corner, the car, for better or for worse, is going to remain king - and fuel duty an issue that affects even those sections of society without tattooed forearms.
Amanda Kovatanna put it best;
Along the way, he reveals pithy insights to explain how the American system works in contrast with the Russian one. For instance the story of the classless society is exemplified by the concept of a middle class — something Americans have proudly espoused — which he points out is held together by the common denominator of everyone owning a car. That's right, not education, not equal opportunity, or equal rights but the one-ton behemoth that we must have to get around the wasteful geography created by suburbia.

We know about this waste from the film The End of Suburbia and James Kunstler's Geography of Nowhere and all the other peak oil fellows, but Orlov points out that
because we are so identified with owning a car as part of this American middle class identity we will be hard put to let it go. And when we are forced to (due to diminishing and increasingly expensive gasoline supplies) so will go the myth of the middle class.
And there it is in a nutshell. Few national politicians dare give voice to what's just beyond the signpost up ahead. Being unwilling and unable to discuss reality, how then could they ever go about proposing, much less implementing, any of the radical engineering redesigns required to genuinely rebuild along viable and sustainable lines? The patient is as yet utterly unwilling to hear an objective and accurate diagnosis. With no diagnosis, how can she participate in her own treatment, much less get on board with the radical measures required to effect an actual cure?