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Pressing the nose against the shop glass

Still buzzing with pleasure after a terrific day with pals at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on Saturday, it struck me as I walked around the ground and past the huge car park as to how fantastic is the level of motoring engineering, aesthetics and of course safety these days. But we are hemmed in as never before by rules and regulations, speed cameras and road humps, the combined effect of which is to make driving in most of Britain a frustrating experience. The joys of flooring the accelerator on the open road, with the roar of wind in the hair, are over.

Such a shame. As my dad said, it is a bit like being surrounded by the world’s most beautiful women and then to be told by the State that you are not allowed to ask any of them for a date.

22 comments to Pressing the nose against the shop glass

  • Bernie

    Fun is becoming more and more vicarious. I watch Clarkson for my driving thrills but do at least remember times when I loved driving. The next generation won’t even have the memory unless we turn things around.

  • John East

    Bernie, there is no way things can turn round, but every cloud has a silver lining.
    They are well on the way to abolishing driving for pleasure and smoking, and soon they may abolish alcohol and burgers, and then tax sex to make up for the lost revenues.
    The silver lining is that there is a good chance you might live a few years longer.

  • Captain Gatso

    The silver lining is that there is a good chance you might live a few years longer.

    Silver lining? How is living for longer as a slave a silver lining? I already smash speed cameras (I do one or two a month at the moment) and have been looking at looking at branching out into more drastic things for some time.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Yeah, John East, a few more years of state-sanctioned “fun”?

  • John East,

    Because (as Captain Gatso says) it would worth living a few more years in Blair’s totalitarian Britain? I’ll take the unrestricted driving, tobacco smoke, high-fat foods and sex over and a few years off my life than a few extra years of life in ZaNu Labour’s fascist Britain!

    I do hope you’re joking, John.

  • John East

    Everyboby, it was tongue in cheek, I was being sarcastic.

    Capt. Gatso, good luck in your future endeavors.

  • Of course there is still the Nurburgring and have negotiated the Goodwood carpark with a seriously ricked neck. That was enough to raise anyone’s adrenaline levels!

  • Verity

    As my dad said, it is a bit like being surrounded by the world’s most beautiful women and then to be told by the State that you are not allowed to ask any of them for a date.

    Isn’t this an abnormal state of affairs? Why did you allow this to come about, Jonathan?

    These curtailments of your liberty, enjoyed without a thought by your father 20 years ago, and your ancestors for hundreds of years, are now the subject of a pert throwaway line, encapsulating the truth of what has been lost. Why?

    Everyone here makes comments as the Jaganath of repression and unelected, yet strangely well funded, pressure groups rolls unstoppably forward in Britain and Europe, and crushes their legs as it rolls over them.

    What was your point, Jonathan? How amusing it is that we have far, far less freedom than our forefathers – by which I mean one generation removed from your good self?

    I didn’t see a word about how to reverse the jaganath.

  • John East

    My philosophy on life is to keep smiling. I’m certainly not going to let modern collectivism get me down.

    I believe laughter and derision can play its part in undermining those humourless politicians who take themselves so, so seriously, i.e. most of them. Humour, and cynicism helped for example the Czechs and East Germans to expose their oppressive communist regimes for what they were. Once everybody is laughing at a dictatorship revolution is easier. Satire also did a lot in the 1960’s in support of a move to the left in the UK.
    When the time comes for us to rise up I will be there on the barricades with my AK47 alongside you Verity, but we’re not there yet. The sheeple are too well fed at the moment.

  • Verity

    That’s just it, John East. The Czechs and E Germans knew what we had in the West and knew they were deprived of material benefits. The people in Britain are not deprived, god know. They’re running cars and taking overseas holidays on welfare. Bread and circuses holds true after all these years. They’ve got an unimaginably vast range of food to keep them satisfied, and there’s reality TV and US sitcoms.

    They are simply not going to get angry, no matter what freedoms are slipped out from under them. They’ll get twinges of irritation, promptly forgotten, but that’s it. They’re fat and comfortable, and “the government” is taking care of them.

    As the great Kris Kristofferson wrote: ” Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.”

  • Johnathan

    Verity, try not to be such a predictable sourpuss!

  • Verity

    Jonathan, try not to be so predictably preachy!

    You know as well as I do that, other than the Samizdatas and the clientele at a few other like-minded blogs, and the No2ID campaign, no one really gives a monkey’s that the government is going to force Britons to carry “papers”. They’ll whinge a bit in the pub – but not to the extent of making an appointment to see their MP – then they’ll shrug and commiserate with one another how awful it is. They’ve lost the habit of being vigilant for their freedoms.

    I would love to see this vile project defeated and I am hoping there are enough doughty Brits left to bully the easily-bullied Blair into abandoning it.

    But the greater part of 60m people just don’t see the harm in it. I don’t think I’m a sourpuss for noting this fact.

  • Johnathan

    Verity, poking fun at authority is all part of what this site is all about. I wasn’t aware that the odd gag written on a nice Sunday morning was off-limits. You are not an editor.

  • Verity

    Touchy, as well. Jonathan, I cannot imagine why you post topics if you don’t want people to comment on them – or if you post them with the mental reservation that you only want bland or favourable comments.

    I will stay away from your posts henceforth because you become abusive if a participant takes an opposing view to your own. You’ve done this before.

    Thank you for pointing it out, but I was pretty much aware that I am not a Samizdata editor and such is not among my ambitions.

  • Johnathan

    Verity, you kicked the ball rolling by asking me what was the point of writing my original posting, to which you seemed to take exception for my making a lighthearted remark. Hence my less than amused response. I must admit that you seem to have that effect (and not just on me, either).

    I’ll freely admit I get ticked off, “touchy” even, about how some folk seem to dislike humour, levity, etc and demand that we contributors always try to offer solutions rather than just state the absurdity of life as we see it. This is not a public utility. I write this for enjoyment and enjoy all or most of the feedback, including yours. (Yes, seriously).

  • Verity

    Jonathan, I took your post as lighthearted and I enjoyed reading it, and also the first comment, Bernie’s, in which he said that thrills were becoming increasingly vicarious.

    But then it struck me – we make light of things, but perhaps such insouciance isn’t always such a good thing. My feeling, which I presented as a contribution, is, sometimes, laughing at things can render the intolerable acceptable. By diminishing it. Yet, although we have lightened the sense of threat in our own minds, it is still there – but easier to ignore.

    I was not saying you shouldn’t make a light-hearted remark on a nice Saturday afternoon!

  • Julian Taylor

    Personally I save up my ire for the occasional imbecile who insults Tsunami relief efforts, and the occasional dusted off has-been rockstar desperate to attract attention through his ‘Meet the Fokken Suckers Taxpayers” schemes.

  • Verity, fair dos.

    BTW, I recommend Goodwood Festival of Speed to anyone. It is a simply magnificent day out and very, very non-pc. As I said last year, if the Tories want to win, they must appeal to the sort of folk who attend these events. I don’t think there is a Guardian reader among em.

  • John East

    I wonder if the Tories will re-instate the road tax exemption on classic cars? I doubt it.
    Is politician-hate a crime yet? If not, I would like to go on record as having hated Gordon Brown from the very beginning of his career as chancellor. One of the first things this mean puritan did was to abolish the classic car tax exemption, thus condemning those poor anoraks such as myself who enjoy owning a sunny Sunday classic car to taxing two cars per year. This hobby incidently provides employment for many thousands of people up and down the country so why attack it? Just to raise a few million pounds in extra revenue, and demonstrate his green credentials. The bastard.

  • Verity

    It’s a draw, John East. I loathed Brown the first time I saw him and that shuddering mouth twitching all over his lardy face spouting Scots communism. And the Bolshi wearing of a business suit to a City dinner in his honour. Not just stupid, but crass.

  • Verity

    Sorry – forgot the point so forgot to add – the road tax exemption on classic cars. Classic, toxic class hatred – despite the fact that the thousands employed in this industry are just normal working people and it’s a segment of the economy. Not quite up to the revenue-producing standards of real nappy coordinators, diversity coordinators and street football coordinators, admittedly.

  • Yes Goodwood is a wonderful non-PC day out and I can’t tell you how many pro-Hunt bumper stickers I saw. Hot cars and good looking women with lots of tyre smoke, speed and loud engines. What is there not to like? Jon is right that the Tories need to attract the type of people who go to things like Goodwood & Silverstone.

    On the subject of fun wet-blankets I was once told: “Not drinking, smoking, driving, having lots of sex etc does not make your life last any longer it just makes it feel longer.