Archive for February, 2011
UK inflation hit 4% today and to judge by the images in the media it is all about petrol prices – the picture above is from the Guardian website.
But it isn’t. The Consumer Price Index is a weighted average and petrol has a weight of 4.1% – so petrol would have to double in price for it to cause inflation to reach 4%. Now I don’t hear even the most ardent Clarkson acolyte claiming that petrol has doubled in price in the last year.
So why the media images. Two reasons I think:
1) The price of petrol is on every forecourt and when people buy it they tend to buy just petrol. So increases are far more visible than, for example, increases in prices in bread and potatoes.
2) People know petrol is heavily taxed and they sense that complaining about petrol prices might lead to a weakening of resolve by Government whereas complaining about food prices feels similar to complaining about the weather.
Why should cyclists care? Simply because linking inflation and petrol prices fuels the ongoing delusion that everyone drives and everyone is affected and therefore petrol prices are the big transport issue. Personally I think this prevents serious consideration of other much bigger issues around transport, safety and accessibility.
After a very positive meeting of the Walkley Forum, support is building for the notion of a Walkley Active Travel Corridor which would make improvements to conditions for cyclists and pedestrians on this major route into Sheffield City Centre. Full details on the Cycle Sheffield site. The next opportunity to get involved is at the Cycle Sheffield meeting on 21 February.