Monday, June 06, 2005

Elephant on the road

There was a flurry of stories yesterday about Alistair Darling's "new" plans on road charging, ostensibly aimed at reducing "gridlock" or Britain's roads.

Needless to say, not one report mentioned the "elephant in the room", or perhaps "the elephant on the road" – the fact that road charging is an EU initiative, based on the Galileo satellite system. See here and here.

However, on his website is a report from Conservative MEP Philip Bradbourn who has today accused the government of "secrecy and spin" over the transport secretary's plans for road charging.

Bradbourn, who was opposition spokesman on a "European Road Pricing Plan" some five years ago, reveals today the extent to which Alastair Darling has been working in cahoots for over two years with the EU on this very issue.

Speaking from Strasbourg today, Bradbourn, now Conservative transport spokesman in the European Parliament, said:

I have documentary evidence of secret meetings which took place two years ago at a hotel near Heathrow Airport between HM Customs and Excise, the Department for Transport and a German tolling company in which the issue was debated and a contract for the digital mapping of every road in the UK discussed. It is quite clear that, despite Mr Darling's protestations that this is not official Government policy, his department has been heavily involved in planning just such an EU-inspired tax.

Not only is this idea completely insidious in tax-raising terms, to use the European satellite system, Galileo, to monitor every vehicle in the United Kingdom is nothing short of Big Brother at the wheel of your car and is tantamount to changing the nanny state so beloved of Labour Ministers into something far more sinister.
Now watch to see whether the MSM carries the story.

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