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”.
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 …