01 December 2006
An “official” report makes for fishy reporting
Patrick Crozier

The lead item on BBC Breakfast this morning (for the second time in little over a week) was transport.  An “official” (hmm, thinks: “I’ll have to add that to my list of banned words sometime”) report calls for road tolling.

This I am in favour of.  Sorta kinda.  Ideally, I’d have private roads some of which would be tolls and some wouldn’t.

It’s just that I don’t go a bundle on the particular scheme that the government has in mind.

But then the item really started to go haywire.  Where would all the people priced off the roads go?, the reporter asked - neatly avoiding the possibility that road pricing might actually increase the number of people using roads.

But assuming he’s right one would have thought the answer was more roads but somehow that possibility didn’t come up either - so the suggestion was a new high-speed railway.  Again, he didn’t consider the possibility that people might like to stay at home, far less the possibility that a new high-speed line might be a very bad idea indeed.

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