+A coalition of green groups has called for the banning of adverts for ‘Sports Utility Vehicles’ (SUVs). Well, join the club! A dozen or so years ago whilst in parliament I sought the introduction of tobacco-style warnings on car adverts, but the environmental movement paid no attention. I am now reminded that in practically every sphere of life there is a degree of proprietorialism, which is to say ‘If I didn’t think of it first, nobody else is allowed to think of it.’ This has been the undoing of the great Aubrey Meyer, whom I along with other MPs nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the origination of the Contraction and Convergence approach to tackling climate change. Because they hadn’t thought of it first, many green groups shied away from it, even denounced it. But none ever came up with a better plan. And poor old Aubrey was made a pariah for his (unpaid) troubles.
+We might do well to remember that the American invention of SUVs had everything to do with simple tax evasion. They were designed to take advantage of tax loopholes for vehicles which might be classed as semi-commercial. If I could have my way, all SUVs, e.g. in supermarket car parks should be forced to park together. In standard sized parking spaces.
+I read in the Guardian this morning that the champagne grape growing season has been particularly good this year, and that there is likely to be some crop left to rot since there is already a surplus of champagne in stock. The growers are up in arms that they will be forced to see so much waste. And the brand name producers don’t want to see their prices fall. In the end, the French government may have to intervene to dictate the terms of what is allowed to happen in what you may have thought might be a free market. But the French have their traditions. One of which is that ‘good’ champagne must never cost less than £60 a bottle, and God forbid it ever becomes as commonplace as Prosecco. There is a certain irony in that the iconic symbol of free market excess is itself unable to function in a free market. Were it not for state intervention, I suspect we’d be looking at the £5 bottle of champagne. But if that was the price, would it have any more cachet than a bottle of Lambrusco? At that price no self-respecting quaffer would want to touch it.
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