Devolution is the ruling class solution to Britain’s problems, both the major parties support it in its current form but are also pushing for more. How this benefits the people of Britain, is still yet to be established.
We attended the Ultra Low Emission Zone protest in London on the 28th of February 2023, you can watch the video below. The Ultra Low Emission Zone is a scheme that was originally announced by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London at the time, in 2015. The scheme has only been expanded under the current Mayor, Sadiq Khan, with the protest mainly focused on his intention to expand the ULEZ to cover all of Greater London. The expansion will now encompass more than 9 million people who live in Greater London or around 14% of all people who live in Britain. This does not include the people who drive into Greater London for work, school, leisure etc. Under the scheme, motorists will be forced to pay £12.50 a day to travel into the zone if their vehicle does not meet the emissions standard.
This isn’t the only anti-car scheme that has been imposed in London, there is the ULEZ, the Congestion Charge, the Low Emission Zone, and HGV’s have to abide by the Direct Vision Standard which is set to become even more restrictive next year.
Now you may think, I don’t live in nor travel in London, why should I care? Well, you should always care about your fellow citizens but even if you don’t live or travel in London: do not think you are immune. Clean Air Zones are being introduced up and down Britain, for now, the following areas are affected, Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Tyneside – Newcastle and Gateshead. All of these areas have been forced by the Conservative Government to reduce the ‘pollution’ in the air; hence the Clean Air Zones charging motorists for driving. Some councils such as Bath & North East Somerset Council have chosen not to charge private cars and motorbikes and instead only charge business vehicles such as Taxis, Buses, Lorries etc. But as has been proven with the ULEZ, what do we know about these schemes, they always expand. Bath might not charge you to drive into the zone now, but next year, or maybe the year after, you will have to start paying £9 a day to drive on the roads that were built using the taxes you have already paid.
The Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, is one of the few politicians opposing charging motorists, and has fought the government enforcement of these zones, hence why Greater Manchesters Clean Air Zone is currently ‘under review’.
These zones and schemes are being forced upon councils by the Conservative Party, and are being expanded by the Labour Party, with the full support of Keir Starmer, and we have basically no national opposition. Is this what living in a democracy looks like?
Another scheme which has found increasing usage, are Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, which are now in place across the country, implemented by councils. LTNs aim to reduce traffic in areas by basically blocking roads with barriers such as massive plant plots. So whilst you have paid your tax like a good little citizen, thereby expecting to be able to use the infrastructure your taxes have funded, alas, you can’t drive on certain roads because the council don’t want you to. Hackney Council is set to ban most vehicles from 75% of the roads in the borough.
So, you think to yourself, I will raise my concern with the council, and surely they will listen, alas, they won’t. In fact, they won’t even allow the meeting to proceed. As Haringey residents found out when the elected members abandoned the meeting due to alleged (and disputed) ‘disruption’. This is democracy.
The ULEZ expansion was *at least announced with a public consultation, but this allows politicians to put up the illusion of democracy whilst being able to skew, or just straight up ignore the results of any consultation they do not like. In an act that would make Kim Jung-un proud Mr Khan has set a great example of why politicians like to use fake ‘consultations’ by removing more than 5000 votes against the expansion of the ULEZ before the report was published. Only about 0.5% of Greater London’s population responded to the consultation, again proving why politicians like to use them because they don’t have to deal with the masses like they do in an actual election.
The useless Greater London Conservatives are opposing the expansion of the ULEZ, but this expansion is just a natural progression that anyone could have foreseen back when the original ULEZ was introduced by the Conservatives when they were in charge of the Greater London Authority in 2015. They made their bed, now they can lie in it.
If I were a member of the Greater London Conservatives, a ghastly thought, but if I was, I’d be campaigning for the Greater London Authority and the Mayoral position to be abolished. Is Sadiq Khan value for money, and is local government value for money? According to the people we interviewed, the answer is no.
I don’t drive, and you might not either, but there are 32 million registered cars in Britain, people use their cars to drive to work, take their children to school, travel for work or leisure, as taxis or Ubers, to pick up family and friends, and to travel safely and securely in their own space. The people most affected by these schemes are the less well-off, who cannot afford to purchase a car that fits the emission standards that are required, but who also cannot afford to pay the charges in the first place. A taxi driver in Bath has to pay £9 a day just to do business, and a self-employed plumber who uses a van to carry his tools will have to pay each day he travels into a clean air zone to conduct his business.
The British ruling class are punishing hard-working men and women going about their business, at every level there is no opposition to these anti-car schemes. Councils are implementing them, Mayors are expanding them, and the government is enforcing them supported by the opposition party.
You may point out that the Conservative government are forcing these schemes on some councils, correct, but most of these councils are more than willing in the first place, they just want extra funding, as usual. After all, 75% of all councils have declared a ‘climate emergency’ which is the guise they are using to ban your car and restrict your freedom to travel.
But in places like Oxford, the council, of their own accord, has introduced the world’s first Zero Emission Zone, in which all petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles are charged to drive into Oxford. Scottish cities, such as Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow have been given the power by the Scottish Parliament to establish their own zones, with Glasgows due to start in June of this year.
Why have the ruling class given jumped-up councils the power to impose these restrictions on people? Why has Sadiq Khan been given the power to damage London’s economy? Where is the organic support for these schemes? I ask you, when have you witnessed anyone campaigning or supporting restrictions on travel?
Devolution, the giving away of power from Westminster to local authorities, which no one asked for, which no one wants, and which has been forced upon the populace is responsible for these schemes. When you give officials more power, they almost always use it. And they will use it to make everyday citizens’ lives harder and more expensive.
The ruling class welcomes devolution because it allows them to skirt responsibility, they support all these schemes, they just would rather not have the backlash against them, so in their infantly cunning way, they push the blame onto councils who are more than willing.
If Britain had serious and principled rulers, they would stand by their decision and implement it centrally, ready to be judged by the electorate at the next election. After all, who is easier to get rid of, 300+ councils, or one government?