Nigel Humphries is an idiot

“In fact, it makes us feel a bit guilty that we haven’t campaigned hard enough on the legitimate front against the things that we oppose, to do with criminalising and bullying motorists, and because of our failure to campaign hard enough, somebody’s had to resort to this.”

[Nigel Humphries, Association of British Drivers. Quoted in BBC News Online, “Letter bomb injures DVLA worker]

No-one’s “had to resort” to anything. Motorists aren’t a persecuted minority, they’re the majority; thankfully the true minority are pillocks like you who think that just because you’re in a car immediately absolves your responsibilities towards anything else, and scumbags like this letter bomber (whatever the aim may be.) The ABD, for example, campaigns against ANPR cameras – the entire aim of which is to make motorists safer by spotting uninsured and stolen cars and taking them off the road, since anyone who’s ever had their car stolen or been hit by a stolen or uninsured car will testify to the hell it is getting compensated.

Over 3000 people a year die in motoring related incidents, with the largest percentage being other car users. Honestly, it’s really depressingly like the US Christian Right’s claiming persecution by “liberal establishment” when they’ve got one of their own as President and Fox/CNN/et al; motorists already get far too little examination by the mainstream.

Google for their website and you’ll find global warming denial, doing the usual stupid quote mining. As an added bonus, they quote Kary Mullis, a creationist, astrology freak and HIV denier. Brilliant minds at work there. Honestly, why are they even getting airtime?

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3 thoughts on “Nigel Humphries is an idiot

  1. I dont think the author of this piece has much right to criticise anyone for “selective quote mining”, as he seems pretty good at it himself.

    The BBC aren’t above it themselves, which explains the quote above. To understand an answer, you have to know the question. In this case it wasn’t “What is 6×7?” but “What do you think the possible motivation behind these bombs could be if indeed they were the work of a disgruntled motorist?” A psychologist was asked the same question on the Today programme and gave pretty much the same answer, but you dont accuse him of supporting the bomber!

    Nobody said motorists are a minority, and what gives you the right to say that ABD members absolve themselves of responsibility for anything else when they get behind the wheel? Exactly the opposite is true – we are the ones who stand up for those who take responsibility but are pushed around using those who dont as an excuse.

    We support the use of ANPR cameras to target illegal drivers – we have badgered the government to do something about this for years. What we want is safeguards to ensure that ANPR can only be used in conjunction with police patrols to do this, not by BP to send you fines through the post because you took 5 minutes too long to eat the food you bought in their shop whilst parked outside.

    Dunno what you mean by “examination by the mainstream” – I thought you said we were a majority!

    As for quoting Kary Mullis, the guy won a nobel prize for crying out loud. Why shouldnt we quote him? Just because he holds views on other subjects we might not agree with does not make everything he says wrong. To suggest that it does is just mudslinging – trying to discredit someone you disagree with instead of tackling his arguments head on – because you can’t. Your kind never can.

  2. I really wasn’t trying to do a full piece, just a little rant based on the “had to resort to this” sentence in the piece and a look over at the ABD website, but I don’t feel that I was really quotemining anyone – just giving my opinion on the speed issue.

    (As it happens, I accept the title – and much of the mood of the piece itself – is a bit too inflammatory, but too late to fix it now. No matter how much I may disagree with you, at least you’re not as bad as the animal rights zealots I’ve been hearing justifying their “tertiary targeting” techniques on News 24.)

    Going over your points, paragraph by paragraph:

    1. Indeed, but the term “had to resort to this” suggests an awful lot. It’s got that loaded ‘had’ – ‘had’ implies that the guy was somehow justified in doing so, even if that wasn’t your intention in saying so (heaven knows I’ve messed up enough words in my time – I’d hope I wouldn’t do so on Radio 4, but I know there’s a good chance I would). If that wasn’t your intention, I accept it, but it really did need to be worded better.

    Must note here that we still don’t have any idea why the bomber may have done it and won’t until after the trial (or even long after if the charged man turns out to be innocent, of course.)

    2. The problem is your position on speed cameras. Speed cameras are absolutely no panacea, but the only other alternatives are having a massive number of road cops boring themselves to tears at blackspots all over the country (removing police from being able to do their job elsewhere, for instance calling at your home if you’ve just been burgled), having private officials doing the same thing (which I understand from your website you’re not a fan of either) or just allowing people to get away with speeding, which seems unacceptable to me. They do need to be controlled to make sure they’re in the right place, but they are for the most part.

    I used to live near a notorious accident blackspot in the Highlands – an area in which the public transport alternative to the car was pitifully awful – where a lot of accidents, many fatal, took place in the 30mph section. Many could easily have been avoided if the responsible drivers weren’t speeding (or wearing their seatbelts etc). Far too many people ignore it and they really shouldn’t.

    That drivers should have a responsibility is something both of us seem to agree on. The problem is that a lot don’t, and if they won’t do it themselves the law really has to do it for them before they hurt someone.

    3. Excellent on illegal driver targeting, but oddly you seem to attach too much faith in technology.

    What I’ve always found odd about your opposition to road tolls et al is that you go for the conspiracist “the government wants to listen into everything you do” option first. Considering the Blair government’s history with anything to do with computers (passport service, NHS modernisation, Child Support Agency computer system, tax benefit computer system, etc etc etc), I would be protesting it on the basis that it isn’t going to work.

    It’s a vastly overengineered blue-skies idea from ignorant management consultants who think that having something instantly phone home from a wireless device to update a database with hundreds of millions of entries in it is easy (hint: it’s not. Google manage it but they spend a massive amount every year on expanding their server power, something which wouldn’t be possible in a government situation.) The only systems that have any chance of working with the computer power et al we have right now are Congestion Charge style systems, and that’s simply not convenient to put everywhere. The status quo will almost certainly remain for a long time to come.

    Put it simply: I don’t think they’re competent enough to spy on us, even if that’s what they wanted to do (as opposed to being a side-effect of their overwrought scheme.)

    4. I must have intended “media” to go after “mainstream” – the word must have got lost along the way. It makes a lot more sense then.

    Media portrayals of road issues always seem to be somewhat fawning; take for instance media portrayals of the truly perplexing M74 extension in Glasgow (the £500m “road to nowhere” of which the public enquiry said no because it was useless and of which the government mysteriously overruled), of congestion charging and so on, especially in the tabloids. There are road projects that need building – a full dual-carriageway A9 would save a lot of lives and congestion, for instance, especially if there’s a new road through Dalwhinnie – but there are public transport projects that need building too that sit in limbo, for instance the Borders railway project that is finally under way after being stuck in committee for far too long. Almost every TV news and tabloid article I’ve seen on public transport recently has been negative, for instance, which has never been really my experience in the UK (or indeed elsewhere.)

    5. Kary Mullis did play a massive role in the development of PCR, which is why he won his Nobel prize. He is also a creationist, HIV denier, global warming denier and obsessed by astrology. I can criticise him for that whilst still accepting his achievements, much like PZ Myers does in the link.

    Overall: I can read your website and disagree (and I still do) and you can read mine and disagree. That’s brilliant – that’s what the Internet is for. People who just read a newspaper or just watch TV news as opposed to taking in a full mix of media are really missing out. It’s why I love blogging and reading blogs from a wide range of personalities.

    Thanks for responding. No, really, thanks.

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