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No Excuses: British Ministers Have to Ditch Their Jaguars

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Government ministers in the UK are being given a choice:

All members of the Cabinet have been told by the government car pool that when their car is up for renewal they can swap it either for an XL Jaguar or a Toyota Prius.
The Jaguar costs £50,000 and is regarded by environmentalists as a “gas guzzler”, although it runs on biodiesel, which contains a 5 per cent blend of vegetable oil. The Toyota – priced at £17,500 – has a “hybrid” engine, running on petrol and electricity, which cuts its carbon emissions.

The Independent reports that at least one, unnamed, minister, has already said that he’ll go for the Jag on the basis of “security”.

Complete bosh!

A discussion on BBC Five Live radio this morning suggested that “security” came down to it being a bigger car, and hence more collision-resistant, and more powerful, so “able to get out of trouble”.

Two questions: How much risk are ministers at? Not great – since Northern Ireland has calmed, anyway. (And then, and probably now, the greatest risk was bombs, and short of massive armour-plating there’s not much you can do about them.) And how often has “a powerful car” saved a politician’s life? No examples that I can think of – and anyway, all of their constituents, who travel by public transport and small car, don’t get such doubtful “protection”, so why should ministers?

Any minister who opts for a Jag should be named and shamed, embarrassed out of the government. We’ll be watching …

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About Natalie Bennett

Natalie blogs at Philobiblon, on books, history and all things feminist. In her public life she's the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.
  • It would be nice to see something like that here. But the mentality of running the engine on the taxpayers’money, having big bulletproof limos (as if that protected Yitzhak Rabin from Yoram Rubin, his real killer) keeps people from buying the Prius or other modified rice grinders.

  • Here’s a wild thought. Maybe the MPs should buy their own cars and not have the provided for them by the government. Wouldn’t that destroy the very fabric of British Socialism.


  • But then Dave, we’d have to pay them some extortionate figure for mileage. No, it is fair enough they get cars to do their jobs, but they should only be the greenest, cheapest suitable cars.

  • Mileage rates in the UK as in the US are set by acturarial standards, so the rate they’d be paid is the same rate you pay the guy who travels from town to town counting homeless people or making sure that the local office of the housing ministry has enough long and pointless forms for their clients.