Democracy under threat?

And how this relates to photography.

I came upon this information whilst watching one of my favorite YouTube channels, which is about motorcycles in the UK. Prior to starting a family, I owned several motorcycles, and they were my preferred mode of travel. Fast forward to 2022 and I have a nice SUV sitting in the driveway that is a pleasure to drive but given the current price of petrol and the very real likelihood of increasing fuel costs, I am once again contemplating becoming a motorcycle owner.

Now that I have the time, I want to explore our country and undertake various photography trips. Most of which very rapidly become untenable given the cost of running a modern vehicle. Like most SUV’s they aren’t all that economic to run when compared to other cars we have previously owned.

With that in mind I have been watching numerous YT channels about motorcycles both vintage and new and in the process discovered some really interesting viewing.

When this was first mentioned in Stuarts YouTube video, I wasn’t entirely sure I was hearing it right so I rewatched it paying more attention to what was said. Stuart has a somewhat drawn-out accent and a slow delivery style, so it may take a moment to become accustomed to his commentary style.

In essence the city of Oxford is in effect forcing major transportation and movement restrictions on its residents in 2024. This will limit the amount of travel residents will be allowed within the confines of the city. It is suggested that this in an effort to minimize emissions and save the planet. With cars and trucks having to fit mandatory “black boxes” that will have the ability to track you and your vehicles every movement. It doesn’t take much to realize this can be used as a speed infringement tool as well as knowing your exact location at any time your vehicle moves. It was at this point alarm bells really started to go off.

Fortunately, so far, motorcycles and e-bikes are not included in these measures nor is your ability to walk or I should imagine taking public transport. Although these things may change as well. Most buses are fossil fueled and classed as heavy emitters which negates some of what the Oxford council is trying to achieve. While trains may be of use there is only so much that they can do. Trying to travel around Oxford with a car and a camera could well become an impossibility given you are only to travel out of your assigned area 100 times per year, so how are you going to get to work? make an emergency trip to a hospital? Perhaps you need to talk to the Oxford council for an exemption or decide on what day you are going to be unwell. Completely farcical!!

Something else that escaped notice was the city of Paris introducing what appears to be an almost identical set of directives last year. I haven’t yet seen much information in this regard, but I have to wonder just how Parisians feel about that.

How does this impact us here in New Zealand? At present we are free to move about pretty much wherever we want. Like the UK government our government wants to see the end of the importation of I.C.E. vehicles by 2030 or there about, perhaps earlier for some imports. This would have us move to an EV fleet. All well and good but I see little in the way of cohesive infrastructure being implemented, and would our national grid be able to support wholesale EV use.

For those of us, and there will be many, the option of changing to an EV is not affordable at current prices. Millions of us will still be relying on fossil fueled vehicles for some time. The next logical step in the climate conscious sectors will be to restrict the use of this type of vehicle and to grossly over inflate the cost of fuel, making it prohibitive to even move from your driveway.

Not only will that impact those of us who like to travel about and take photos, but the economic ramifications of these sorts of actions will be staggering.

You may have wondered why your favorite photography gear has become so expensive. It’s in large part driven by shipping costs. Under global climate agreements all shipping companies now have to move to climate friendly fuels for the ships that transport all your goods. In a lot of cases this has meant shipping companies have had to scrap ships that used bunker oil and build replacements. There’s a cost to all this.

All of most of these measures are being undertaken by governments around the world without public knowledge. Media companies are not covering this or if they do it appears that information is watered down.

As the people of Oxford are slowly coming to understand, the democratic process is being quietly subverted. We see that here in New Zealand as well with certain sectors of industry having to comply with draconian legislation that will almost guarantee business failing.

Here in New Zealand, we are constantly fed a list of things that have to change because they are bad for the planet. That may well be, but a great deal of care needs to be exercised for long term gain. What we see here and in Oxford is a willingness to shove through feel good decrees that are yet to demonstrate a sound outcome. The democratic process has constantly been pushed to one side by the use of the mantra “it’s good for the planet” and it may well be but, but just because someone says that doesn’t give elected individuals the right to subvert due process.

As photographers we love to move about and record what we see, coming changes to the way we live may well curtail this activity, I suggest we all keep a very close eye on climate issues and regulations going forward.

Going forward I will be watching events in the UK and will post my findings here. In the meantime, enjoy your Xmas break.


2 thoughts on “Democracy under threat?”

  1. You can bet your bottom dollar, if Labour and the greenies stay in power after the next elections, they will try to implement this, in some form. I’m not so sure that Act & National wouldn’t go along with the idea either. At 70, I have just about given up on trying to retain the values that I have lived with all my life.
    I despair at the thought of the world, my great grandchildren will live in.


    1. I’m inclined to agree with you there Arthur, not sure National & Act would be any different. And you are right, the values we had instilled in us seem to be remarkably lacking in the last couple of generations. While you have 3or 4 years on me we both hail from a period where you had a little respect for others, which is not apparent today. It’s all the “Me” generation now. We were at the hospital last Friday and everyone had their noses stuck in their phones. No one want to converse or interact, sad really. On a much brighter note I’ve had too much trifle for Xmas, now I need to sleep it off. Ciao for now.


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