Dec 192007

On Saturday morning my girlfriend and I decided to brave central London for a bit of Christmas shopping en route to the countryside. The second we parked up in Sloane Street a camera crew came swarming towards us, bearing fluffy mikes and heavy Australian accents. At first I thought this was a paparazzi onslaught in some case of mistaken identity, but soon all became clear. They had spotted my Toyota Prius, and were doing a feature for HDNet World Report on US television about SUV’s, and how London is thinking of dealing with the so-called ‘Chelsea Tractor’ problem (for non British readers this relates to the bizarre people who think nothing of driving tiny distances in central London in 4 wheel drive cars the size of small houses whilst the planet burns).They picked the right couple to interview for sure, as we were fresh from watching the overnight drama of the Bali climate change conference on Sky News, complete with delegations hissing, booing and a Chairman crying tears of despair in front of the world’s media. It was nice to be speaking on TV as a ‘citizen’, rather than for work. So both girlfriend and I rather let rip, explaining how you can’t frankly sit there watching the news about climate change, which places millions of the world’s poorest people on a collision course with displacement, hunger, flooding and even more deprivation and then plonk yourself in a Range Rover to drive 2 miles. The best bit was when my girlfriend sounded off about how unattractive she would find a man who drove such a thing, whilst standing next to my Prius, which it must be said is not the most attractive of designs. Lucky for me… SUV’s have gone from status symbol to tarnished brand – so much so that the very nice Aussie reporter told us that 4X4 drivers had literally been running away from his camera crew all morning. Seemingly the Sloane community of SW3 thinks that plans to tax these gas guzzlers are part of some left-wing conspiracy against rich people. Well many of the world’s richest and most successful people are environmentalists these days, so get over yourselves. A satisfying morning all round, which even made the shopping trip bearable. 

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