Saturday, 4 January 2014

Oxford – the cycle friendly City

Having recently moved to Oxford from the wilds of car worshipping West Kent I am enjoying your cycle friendly city. The majority of drivers are brilliant – bus drivers in particular are very considerate of cyclists. Yes, you get the few Neanderthals who try to run cyclists off the road or deny them space, but overall cycling here is a joy.

But even Oxford could improve the environment for cyclists. Local cycling campaign Cyclox is not impressed with the City Council’s proposals to improve the layout of a major round about ‘The Plain’. See their ideas of how to improve the roundabout for cyclists here:

Other measures to improve cycling have been suggested by Green Party Peer and member of the London Assembly Jenny Jones:

She continues her campaign for presumed liability: in an accident cyclists and pedestrians would automatically be entitled to compensation unless there was proof of fault or alternatively the Dutch version where the driver is automatically 50% liable. She also argues for more widespread use of driving bans as punishment and for longer bans.  

My personal favourite is her plea for Advanced Stop Lines to be treated the same as yellow box junctions with the offence being decriminalised so that enforcement can be done by local authorities. Do have a look at the web site below for more detail on her cycle friendly proposals.

So yes, there are a few inconsiderate drivers even in Oxford, but the vast majority are extremely considerate towards cyclists – thank you.

Friday, 3 January 2014

The country that hates foreigners

So where are the floods of Rumanian and Bulgarian immigrants promised by David Cameron and other politicians? Keith Vaz MP could only find two new Rumanian immigrants entering the country via Luton airport on 1st January – and both had firm job offers.

Why would Rumanians, who mainly speak French not English, choose to come to this country in masses? The figures of Bulgarians and Rumanians already working in the UK show that this country is not an attractive destination for these workers. Approximately 141,000 Bulgarians and Rumanians already work in the UK, about 0.3% of the working population – hardly the threat to our jobs and working conditions that Labour claims

Worryingly, an e-petition to stop ‘mass migration of Bulgarians and Rumanians’ garnered over 100,000 signatures before it was closed.

Yet the impact of such immigrants on the labour forces is likely to be minimal. In fact immigrants are more likely to be working, less likely to have health problems and generally an asset to this country. See comments by Jonathon Potts and others here:

We even treat highly qualified immigrants who have a lot to offer as though they were a threat. The government’s declared aim is to attract the ‘brightest and best’ immigrants. Yet the restrictive policies and petty requirements for academics trying to get work visas in this country are leading to highly qualified international academics being forced to leave the country even when they have firm job offers  Read several haunting personal accounts here:

When did this country start to hate and fear immigrants so much? During World War 2 we were a safe haven for those fleeing danger, now we have become a  small minded fortress.