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Home > Politics

The Conservatives: Is it time to chase the paedophile vote?

6 August 2004

It's funny to think that the Tories were once seen as the natural party of government. Even in her 'increasingly mental' phase, Thatcher could have chosen a small piece of grey putty as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and her supporters would have praised her for knowing her own mind. (And the putty would probably have had more sense than to fuck Edwina Currie. Ooh, it still makes us feel queasy...)

But these days the Tories exude an air of absolute desperation. If the Tories were your boyfriend or girlfriend, they'd be so desperate for your 'love' they'd let you shag other people. In fact they'd probably give you the money for condoms, just so long as you promised not to break up with them. (Actually they'd buy the condoms for you, and sit weeping in the living room while you cheated on them. But they'd still make you dinner.)

Why our low estimation of the Tories? Probably because their latest desperate wheeze is to raise speed limits.

There's a kind of stunted logic to this. A big chunk of support for the Tories comes from car-driving, Daily Mail/ Express/ Sun readers. All these papers are constantly harping on about what a tough time motorists have of it. Meanwhile, many drivers, irrespective of political hue, are fucked off with police blitzes on motorists, speed cameras and the omnipresent 'traffic-calming measures' and 'street furniture' that make most major cities look like a giant game of Mousetrap.

Ergo, it's a guaranteed vote winner. Especially since the proposed raise in speed limits isn't that radical: clear stretches of motorway will have a limit of 80mph, while certain urban roads will have the limit raised from 30mph to 40mph. It's not like they're planning to turn Britain into the white-knuckle ride which is the German autobahn, where it's illegal to drop below 200mph and the recommended distance between you and the car in front is 5cm.

However, it's also the political equivalent of sticking a 'Kick me' sign on your back. Both the RAC and the AA have criticised the idea, saying that higher speed limits just encourage people to drive faster. There's also a body of evidence that lower driving speeds reduce the number of deaths on the roads. And research into Gatso cameras has shown that 95 per cent of them are associated with a lower rate of accidents.

There's also the niggling problem that if there's one thing the great British public hates more than speed limits, it's reading about children getting run over. Especially if they're cute, white and female. Whatever the arguments in favour of higher speed limits, they're outweighed politically by the entirely likely possibility of some awful TV journalist asking:

'So, Mr Howard, are you saying the Tories are in favour of more dead children like little Chloe, the four-year-old beauty pageant winner who tragically lost her young life to a hit-and-run driver yesterday? Before you answer 'yes', let us just show this home video of her birthday party...'

Who on earth devises Tory policy? There are loads of issues to attack Labour on, but the best they can come up with is a policy that could lead to more squished children (and adults) and humiliating backtracking. What harebrained ideas will come out of Conservative Central Office next?

According to the right-leaning press, at least 90 per cent of the UK electorate are paedophiles, so it might be worth going after the paedo vote. How about the slogan 'Child abuse: don't decry it 'til you try it'?

Go on Michael. Do it for us. It can't be any more ill-conceived than appealing to people who think the 'safest' speed is 110mph.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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