Tuesday, September 20, 2005

L. J. K. Setright.

I came across his obituary in my newspaper yesterday. Leonard John Kensell Setright was born in London on 10th August 1931 and died in London on 7th September 2005.

I remember reading his articles over the years in many car and motorcycles magazines. He also wrote for the Independent newspaper. He seemed to have been around for years and I always enjoyed his writing. It was always different to other journalists and the quality of his writing was always higher than his peers. He seemed like a wise old wizard giving advice from the top of a mountain. His script was always knowledgable yet entertaining at the same time. He would stand aside from the crowd and offer alternative views, giving the reader something to think about that other journalists had probally not touched upon. He combined a unique writing style with a technical knowledge that led the reader to understand the engineering principles involved. I feel as though I grew up with him like an older brother I never had. When the world of automotive engineering advanced he was my guide to understanding the way things were developing. He outlined trends as they developed and put things into perspective. I shall miss his articles now that he has left this earth but his writing has left as big an impression on me as did his own father. His father was best known as the inventor of the Setright ticket machine, widely used on British buses. I remember using these ticket machines in my earlier working life, they were very well built and reliable. I never had a problem with one and they were elderly when I got to use them on a daily basis. They seemed a masterpiece of precision engineering to me and seemed to work like magic with their audit register - you never knew what management had set the audit register to record.

Journalism has lost a great writer and I cannot think of another automotive journalist to replace him at the top. The only journalist I read regularly of his calibre today is the Indepedent Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk. Hopefully, terrorism and war permitting, Robert Fisk can continue to write his quality reports, although he is in his mature years.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The fuel protests.

Oh what fun the media and the public have had this week with the possibility of protests against the price of petrol and diesel. The media have warned the public that there may be shortages with garages running dry. Motorists have panicked to top up their tanks and queues have formed around filling stations. Our government have drawn up contingency plans with the Police and the Army. Demonstrations outside oil refinerys yesterday have been an embarrassment for the protest organisers for their extremely small turn out.

The handfull number of loudmouth protesters are wasting their time.

We live in a democracy and we have elected a government to run our society, set taxes, set laws and provide a Police force and a defensive land army. The population have elected representatives to speak and act for them. These loudmouth protesters cannot hold our government to ransom. The protesters have not been given a mandate by the public unlike our democraticaly elected government has been given, again and again. I do not believe the protesters have much support amongst the general public. Yes, we would all like cheaper petrol or diesel but these are governed by global market forces not a handfull of farmers or hauliers. The taxation on road fuel balances the whole taxation budget to provide all the services that our country runs.

Our state has the means physical and legislative to stop any unlawful protest. The Police can arrest people under many laws and with the new anti-terrorism legislation their powers are vastly increased. You can be done for damaging our country with economic crime and our Police even have a shoot to kill policy. They could even justify rough treatment because the protesters are near flammable and explosive liquids. The Army has the physical strength to remove any obstructions around oil refinerys and the Police can arrest and/or prosecute any road hogs.

So the protesters are onto a non starter and are wasting their time with very little public support for their cause.

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