Philip Hammond, MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, is the new Secretary of State for Transport. In an interview with the political editor of the Evening Standard he admits to driving a Jaguar XJ ("greenest car in its class") and having three points on his licence for speeding (62mph in a 50mph zone). He lives in Pimlico - half an hour's walk at most from his office on Horseferry Road, and an easy journey by public transport; but he does the commute in a ministerial car, telling the Standard that it is "a good 10 minutes' hoof" from the tube to his office.
The awful part comes when he is asked about cycling: "I've never actually cycled in London [...] I'd have to take a deep breath. I think you need to know what you are doing to cycle in London." He goes on to say: "Cyclists need to be more aware of the risks around them. It frightens me to death when I see them pull out around other cyclists, completely unaware there is a car behind. Maybe they need wing mirrors."
Both his points - that you need to know what you are doing to cycle in
London and that cyclists need to be more aware of the
risks around them - are obviously and uncontroversially true; and cycle training should be an important element of any sane transport policy. But Mr. Hammond seems to think that cyclists' lack of awareness is the main source of danger; as any experienced London cyclist will tell him, that's bollocks. However well-trained your cyclists are, they can't dodge every stupid and aggressive motorist. No amount of wing-mirrors will save cyclists from atrociously designed and maintained cycle lanes and stupid laws drawn up by people who haven't sat on a bike since they were twelve. The last thing we need is another motorised ignoramus in charge of transport policy.
What was that slogan again? Oh yes: "Vote blue, go green." Well, I'm feeling kind of nauseated.