A Driving Instructor's Blog

News

Victoria Parry - now with THREE drink-drive convictionsYou couldn’t make this up.

Regular readers will know that I don’t hold back on telling it like it is. I don’t give damn that the trend is towards making it a crime to tell the truth if the truth involves women or those from minority groups having done something wrong. The truth is the truth, regardless of sex or ethnic origin.

This BBC article reports that Victoria Parry, 30, was three times over the drink-drive limit when she smashed into three other cars and careered down an embankment, where her car burst into flames. She’d drunk a bottle of wine. In court, she admitted to dangerous driving – a serious offence which carries an unlimited fine and up to 14 years in prison. To make matters worse, Parry has two previous drink-drive convictions.

Now, if Parry had been a man, he would have been starting a long prison sentence right now. He’d have been fined a lot of money. And he might even have been put on the sex-offenders’ register just as a precaution.

Sarah Buckingham - some sort of "legal" authority, apparentlyParry’s case was different, though. You see, both she and the Judge were women. As a result, she was not handed down a prison sentence – which would have been absolutely guaranteed if she were a man. In the Judge’s precise words:

If Miss Parry was a man, there is no question it would have been straight down the stairs, because this is a shocking case of dangerous driving against a background of two previous convictions for excess alcohol.

The BBC article makes no mention of fines or bans, either, and I can’t find any mention in reports from other sources.

Naturally, the mitigating circumstances – which also came from a woman – Parry’s lawyer, Lucy Tapper, pin the blame firmly on men. Parry is apparently an irresponsible pisshead because of being in an abusive relationship, so it’s clearly the fault of men that she has three drink-drive convictions (now) and is lucky she hasn’t killed someone. To be fair, there is no mention of who the “relationship” was with, and I might have got that particular anti-male assessment wrong. Tapper whined:

There is deep and genuine regret on her part.

You forgot to mention that that regret extends across three convictions, now, Lucy. You missed a trick to lay it on even thicker.

Parry and the Judge, Sarah Buckingham, should both be in prison. Parry for being the serial drink-driver that she is, and the Judge for utter contempt of what remains of our legal system.

The case has been referred to the judicial watchdog. Although she probably won’t be, Buckingham should be looking at applying for shelf-stacking jobs at Tesco, where she can do less harm.

Share

Part of me feels a bit sorry for Theresa May. She took on a problem – Brexit – which has no solution, and which is not going to let her keep her job however it pans out. But then, I remember she is also a Tory, and my pity vanishes. Being a Tory is probably why she comes out with crap like this.

The BBC reports on the “youth crime summit” taking place at Downing Street. She opened it with the comment:

We cannot simply arrest ourselves out of this problem.

This is stupid, even for a Tory. If the police had greater numbers and arrested more people, there’d be fewer of the twats hanging out on the streets trying to commit crimes in the full knowledge that currently they won’t be arrested, and that they’ll get off lightly if they are. They could at least arrest part of the problem away.

Then again, if the Tories have always been stupid and out of touch, they can’t hold a candle to the unions on that score. Plans to have teachers and youth workers help report crimes are being opposed by those fossils. So basically, you’re left with a  situation where teachers and youth workers want to deliberately overlook crime, and the police don’t want to (or can’t) arrest anyone anyway even if they’re aware of it. And we will no doubt continue to pretend not to see which groups are primarily involved in the problem – a detail which could be used to help sort it much more effectively if we stopped playing the PC card over everything.

In other words, we stay exactly as we are now, with juvenile wankers going out to stab people to score points based on where the knife enters the victim’s body, and having their idols write pathetic songs about it, thus fuelling the problem still further.

Sometimes, there is more than one thing that needs to be done to solve a problem. In this case, at the very least the police should be arresting people and the teachers/youth workers should be reporting people. Period. And speaking personally, I don’t give a damn who is committing the crime as long as I can see that efforts are being made to stop them from doing it.

Share

reg_fe17dkfIt is clearly a precondition to owning a BMW, Audi, or Mercedes that you have to be a certified f***ing twat, with no discernible brain activity in the head area (it’s all concentrated in the groin, of course). Their behaviour happens too often and too consistently to be a coincidence.

I didn’t have my dash cam on because I’d just been to the hand car wash, so I couldn’t catch the idiot on film, but driving past Chilwell Golf Club – at the traffic lights – there was a lorry, then me, then this f***ing halfwit in the silver BMW M240i (FE17 DKF) racing up at speed. The lights were on green, the lorry and me were moving, and twat boy decided he would still go for the overtake. He misjudged everything, and ended up slamming his brakes on and forcing his way between the lorry and me. There was no one behind me at all, so the manoeuvre was as pointless as it was dangerous.

It’s wan*ers like this who are directly responsible for the daily incidents involving injuries and death on the motorways and trunk roads. It was an oldish-looking guy, bald head, and the fact that he was in an automatic in the first place suggests his mental faculties were such that he ought not to be trying stunts like this.

If the police are interested – and they should be, although they probably won’t – he appears to live in the Rylands, since that’s where he turned off (ironically, he was stuck at red lights as I went by).

On the subject of arsehole drivers, I saw on the local newsfeed yesterday that drivers in Leicestershire were being advised to stay away from the notorious Watery Gate ford at Thurlaston. Water levels were already high, and were expected to rise further with overnight rain. They did, and the level gauge shows that there was 1 metre depth of water for about 40 metres of road to drive through (if you were stupid enough to try in anything other than an off-road vehicle).

Cue: a Mercedes driver, who was stupid enough to try.Mercedes stuck in Watery Gate ford in Thurlaston

They had to get a fire engine and a dinghy out to rescue the prat, and there’s an ambulance because he or she is probably “traumatised”. The poor dear. Note how the water is over half way up his doors!

They should have their licence taken away permanently for something like this. Or at least be charged for the emergency service call out.

I take most of my pupils through the ford on Beanford Lane near Oxton at some point during their lessons. Most haven’t a clue what the “FORD” sign means in the Highway Code – even if they’ve ever seen it. Almost no one knows what a ford is in the first place, these days. The Bean ford isn’t very wide, whereas Watery Gate is.

But I won’t go through it if it’s been raining hard, and I stop or slow down to assess the depth using the level gauge before I do. Attempting to take on a metre depth of water in a normal car is unbelievably stupid, especially over such a long distance.

Share

Father TimeAll other news has stopped these last two days (mid-January 2019, when I first wrote this) because of the motor accident involving Prince Philip near Sandringham. Apparently, he’s already back behind the wheel.

The last line in that article made me smile.

Chris Spinks, who led Norfolk’s roads policing team for five years, said the royal would not be shown any “favouritism” in the investigation.

It’s too late, Chris. He already has been if he’s back driving again already. If it had been any other 97-year old who had hit the wrong pedal because of being dazzled by the sun, they’d probably have had their licence confiscated on the spot. And if they’d have driven into a Royal vehicle, they’d still be in the cells helping with enquiries. And at that age, they’d be unlikely to get their licence back without so much hassle that it would be simpler to just forget it.

Age is both a progressive and a relative thing. We’re all affected by it as our lives progress, but some people more so (and more quickly) than others.

On the one hand, age should not be seen as a barrier against learning to drive. It should not be seen as a direct barrier to carrying on driving well into your old age (however that might be defined). However, there comes a point where you – as an individual – have moved as far along the timeline as you can without becoming a serious risk. As I said above, some people get there quicker – and earlier – than others. Getting the pedals mixed up – along with not being able to see very well – is most definitely the point where Father Time is telling you you should stop.

I would bet money that Prince Philip has never got the pedals mixed up before. But he’s 97 – and he has now.

Fortunately, no one was killed or seriously injured.


It gets better. If a normal motorist was observed not wearing a seatbelt, the police would go nuts over it (they have done, before). It’s a good job the Duke is not getting “favourable” treatment, isn’t it?


And in the latest update, Prince Philip has done the right thing and surrendered his licence. Whatever the reasons – sensible or political – he’s made the right decision.


And in still another development, he’s got off with it. No further action will be taken. Although my view on older drivers declaring themselves fit, and then proving that they’re not by driving into things, is no secret, let’s hope that the same leniency is extended to anyone who does this sort of thing in future – even if they’re not Prince Philip.

Share

gibraltarOr, “How to get deliberately angry over something trivial”.

Brexit is the gift that just keeps on giving. Unfortunately, these gifts are invariably parcels of dog crap.

The latest episode involves the EU’s reference to Gibraltar as a British “colony” in one of the latest documents. The flag-waving tosspots who hold court in this country are up in arms over it. A UK spokesman (well, spokesperson – the BBC probably made sure they spoke to a woman) said:

This will not change due to our exit from the EU. All parties should respect the people of Gibraltar’s democratic wish to be British.

It’s a shame the spokesman doesn’t feel quite so strongly about Gibraltar’s democratic wish to remain in the EU. Their result was the first to be declared and was 96% in favour of remaining! I repeat: 96%.

As far as UK petty semantics goes, Gibraltar is officially a British Overseas Territory. However, up until 1983, even we classified it as a British Crown Colony. Nothing much has changed in Gibraltar’s standing since then, except for the official British term to describe it.

Even in the Gibraltar Constitution Order referendum in 2006 the word “colony” was used. One of the campaign groups at the time issued a press release, stating:

[the new constitution]… is not the act of self-determination which will decolonise us… [and it]… is as colonial as its 1964 and 1969 predecessors

Interestingly, a British film archive website – which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council – carries old film of Gibraltar. What makes it interesting is that the site is called Colonial Film (Moving Images of the British Empire). So people still reckon Gibraltar isn’t a colony?

It doesn’t matter what you call it, anyway. It’s still the same piece of land it ever was, almost wholly self-governed, and still pissing Spain off just by being there. And it is still as much a colony as it ever was (or wasn’t), albeit one which has much more reason to remain in the EU due to its location, which voted with a 96% majority to do so, and which has had that strong desire trampled underfoot thanks to flag-waving morons.

Share

The Dark HedgesI don’t watch Game of Thrones, but there is apparently a natural feature in Northern Ireland called The Dark Hedges. It is a tunnel formed by Beech trees, and it has been used in the series because of its other-worldly appearance.

The trees which form the tunnel have apparently been damaged by the weather before, but another was felled by strong winds over the weekend.

Here’s what I don’t understand. A tree expert has said that the trees have stood since 1775, and that Beech trees have a typical life expectancy of around 250 years, so at 240 years these are very old. There were originally about 150 trees, but due to natural events there are only 90 left (well, 89 after the windy weekend). The tree expert says:

It’s sad to see that one by one they are actually falling.

Erm. Excuse me, but isn’t it possible to plant new trees when one dies or gets blown over? They could even clone the existing ones to keep the history alive if they wanted. I mean, fair enough. They have left it about 100 years too late, but even now the feature could be preserved for posterity – instead of just being allowed to fizzle out.

There really is something wrong with mankind that I can’t quite put my finger on.

Share

DroneI’ve been thinking about getting a drone for some time. If I did, I would also take the necessary flying courses to make sure I was fully legal and capable of handling it. And I wouldn’t break the Law with it.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will be aware of the chaos at Gatwick over the weekend before Christmas, where thousands of flights were cancelled or affected by someone flying what appears to be a commercial drone (or drones) into the airport boundaries. The disruption meant that tens of thousands of people were screwed for Christmas – they missed holidays, connections, funerals, and so on.

Whoever is responsible deserves to be flung, kicking and screaming, into the intake of a 747 engine just so they – and anyone like them – can see what the effects of a large object being sucked into an engine could do.

The editors of certain newspapers and current affairs TV shows – and I’m referring to both present and retired editors, here – should be flung in with them.

The chaos at Gatwick is hard to comprehend, but once you start to get your head around even a small part of it, you begin to realise how ineffectual the police were in handling it (more on this later, as it seems they may have actually been the cause of later disruption). I don’t necessarily mean that they were handling it badly (well, wait until later). Just that they didn’t have a clue how to do so, and so didn’t handle it at all. And that perhaps explains partly why they arrested a couple and took them in for questioning.

Precisely why these two were arrested – vague stories suggest a neighbour “tipped off” the police – has not yet been made clear. Of far greater importance is the fact that they have been released without charge. Not “under investigation”, or “on bail”. But without charge. That means that they were not involved in any way with the problems at Gatwick.

I stress at this point that the police didn’t do anything wrong. But the press did. Yet again.

You see, the police simply reported that a 47-year-old man and 54-year-old woman from Crawley had been taken in for questioning. However, reporters from trash publications such as The Mail on Sunday and The Sun (not to mention Piers Morgan on TV) crawled out of their sewers and U-bends and managed to obtain the names of the two arrestees from small-minded neighbours. And then they published those names, along with photographs, and went as far as it is possible to go towards saying that they were guilty without actually stating it. And they now find themselves right in the middle of yet another libel action.

The problem is that it doesn’t matter how much they get paid in damages. Mud sticks, and you can pretty much guarantee that there will be at least one twat out there who still believes they were guilty, and who could decide to take their own style of revenge. No amount of money can compensate for having to live with that. They’ve already had a ruined Christmas, but that is likely to be small fry compared to what they could endure. When certain sections of the press gets things wrong, to save face they usually tend to work on the principle that even if someone wasn’t guilty of one thing, there’s bound to be something they’re guilty of if you dig deep enough.

The Sun’s former political editor, Trevor Kavanagh, reckons the papers were right to name the two arrested people. It’s good to see him keeping down his standards into retirement. I didn’t think he could go any lower, but he’s proven me wrong. He reckons that by potentially destroying these two people’s lives, the police found out more quickly that they weren’t responsible, and that that’s a good thing. What a prat!

Since then, though, the situation has lurched from one farce to another. At one point, the police seemed to suggest that there might not have been a drone in the first place. They backtracked on that, but in the last day it has emerged that the latter sightings, which caused further flight suspensions even closer to Christmas, could actually have been police drones – which Sussex Police had started using as part of whatever it was they were pretending to do to sort the problem out. I mean, come on. They were flying drones, and couldn’t identify them as theirs when people reported seeing them? And that’s even before you ask what the hell they thought launching drones would achieve by way of bringing the matter to a suitable conclusion.

As it stands, 10 days after the first sighting and airport lockdown, no one is any closer to finding out what happened and who did it, and there is still the whiff of a possibility that no one did anything – so let’s go and arrest two innocent people and let the press loose on them.

Oh, and ban all drones.

Share

Definition of illiteracyI’ve been noticing this for some time now. Previously reputable news agencies reporting on things solely sourced from Facebook or Twitter.

It might not be what you’d call “reputable” in the usual sense of the word, but it is nevertheless a newspaper and so you’d expect some journalistic skill on display, but the Daily Mirror has reported on a “bizarre” TV interview between Joanna Lumley and The Black Eyed Peas. I saw it as an MSN newsfeed and wondered what might have happened for it to be labelled as such.

Well, the short answer is: absolutely nothing.

Basically, the “bizarreness” is simply that… well, Joanna Lumley interviewed The Black Eyed Peas. That’s it. That’s the entire story. The whole thing can be summed up perfectly in those five words. Joanna Lumley interviewed The Black Eyed Peas.

The Mirror, though, manages to string it out to 200 words and three screenshots from the interview. Two shots show people sitting on a couch, and one is a mistimed capture of the back of two people’s heads. The extra words come from The Mirror’s copy-and-paste-from-Twitter department, where they duplicate five complete Tweets from certified idiots, each saying that the interview was “bizarre”. As far as I can tell, the only reason it is “bizarre” even to these morons is because… well, Joanna Lumley interviewed The Black Eyed Peas.

The BBC does this sort of thing now, too. It isn’t averse to creating entire articles based on Twitter or Facebook posts, and it doesn’t even correct the appalling grammar that is endemic to those things. It even includes them totally un-spellchecked in most “sensible” articles. It must save them a lot of time.

I wouldn’t click on a link to any story about The Black Eyed Peas purely based on their music. It simply isn’t my scene. But the word “bizarre” is clickbait, and clickbaiting is the latest journalistic tool of choice to get people to pages full of adverts. MSN’s newsfeeds do it all the time – take my advice, and never click on any link which says “you’ll never guess what happened next” or has the word “adorable” or “sponsored” in it. Because whatever did happen next will be as interesting as staring at a wall, and I think that “adorable” is the Facebook generation’s preferred way of referring to any juvenile animal with less than six legs doing what juvenile animals with less than six legs naturally do (which frequently equates to doing absolutely nothing). “Sponsored” is a combination of those two things higher up the page designed to get you to the ads quicker.

We’re doomed. DOOMED.

Share