I love the BBC, no really, I do. I worked for them for about 12 years and I still know a lot of people who work there. It is an amazing institution I support with pride and vigour.
I believe it is vitally important that the BBC survives, there are plenty of powerful people in the commercial sector of the media who would love to see it crushed, sold off and ‘commercialised’ and I firmly believe we should resist this.
The BBC news service is literally second to none, it is a globally recognised and trusted brand, I’ve never been anywhere on earth where people haven’t heard of the BBC. It’s brilliant and we should be proud of it.
It also can make mistakes, I can say this with confidence because so do I. I recognise a mistake when I see one, I only have to look in the mirror.
I have received much criticism, some of it well founded, when I have had a bit of a go at the BBC in these scruffy blog pages. It’s always a very specific criticism on a very specific, narrow, niche topic.
I’ve had to look long and hard at my reactions to these stories that are now a regular feature of the BBC’s news output. I am mainly mystified, I don’t expect the BBC to put out pro-EV propaganda, that’s my job, but I expect some balance from them. A hint of balance, a balancing sentence, a vague nod to balance somewhere.
An example would be,
‘This electric car has a range of a mere 100 miles, but it does only cost about £1.20 to go that far.’
‘When this electric car sits in a traffic jam, it uses no energy. However the energy they use when moving comes from a wide variety of sources including some that emit Co2.’
See, balance, but it seems they never do that and what I question is the BBC’s editorial policy on this topic.
Believe me, there will be one, they will have had meetings and they will have talked about it.
I am concerned about the information they are working with and the sources of that information. Like all news organisations they receive thousands of press releases every day, from the latest film starring Russell Brand to the public spending cuts and the effect on the police force.
They will also receive ‘reports’ from ‘research organisations,’ these reports will cover things like airline safety, legislation over landfill or how the silence of electric cars has alarmed health and safety organisations due to the massive increase in pedestrian accidents.
Wait a minute, where did that report come from? Who did the research? Who paid for the research? Why did anybody bother to do it? What is this research based on, actual experience, actual statistics, actual accident reports, or supposition? There are only a couple of hundred electric cars on the roads in the UK at the moment, out of 30 million cars in total. Where is the experience?
I think the Rolls Royce argument gives us a clue here. For over 100 years the engineers and designers at this historic company have been doing everything they can to make what is essentially a noisy, rattling machine of many parts (the internal combustion engine) run as smoothly and silently as possible. They have done an incredible job. At low speed, the Rolls Royce is, well, it’s as silent as an electric car.
Have we ever seen a report claiming that the new Rolls Royce model, with an even more refined engine, is a potential menace to pedestrians?
So why has this story got so much coverage and who decides it’s worth running with it? Electric cars are no more or less dangerous than any other cars. Cars and people don’t mix, it’s a constant danger for anyone walking along or near a road. Drivers go too fast and don’t concentrate enough and pedestrians get injured or killed. What powers the car, the noise it makes has absolutely nothing to do with it.
When I reverse out of a car park space in an electric car, I make sure no one is walking behind me. Strangely enough I do exactly the same thing in a petrol or diesel car. As a driver it is my responsibility not to knock someone down.
When I drive down a narrow street in an electric car and there are many shoppers walking about, I drive very slowly and concentrate on the road ahead.
Strangely enough I do exactly the same when I am driving in a petrol or diesel car. As a driver it is my responsibility not to knock someone down.
The cruel use of blind people as an excuse in this absurd concoction of ‘facts’ I find particularly galling. I shared a house with a blind man for a couple of years in my youth. His ability to get around London on his own was nothing short of admirable. His difficulty in crossing roads was legendary, the noise levels in cities are off the scale and for him, judging if something was coming by merely listening is a cruel joke made by people who have no idea of the real challenges facing blind or partially sighted people. My mate wasn’t going to cross a road if he thought he couldn’t hear a car. What about bicycles? He had to cross roads where he knew it was as safe as possible. That’s what pedestrian crossings are for, that’s why they go meep meep meep when the walking man is green.
It is a driver’s responsibility to drive safely, it is a pedestrian’s responsibility to use what ever senses they have to ensure they are not endangering themselves when they walk across or near a road.
The silent car danger story is a classic non-story, it’s sourced from a ‘press release’ from a ‘research organisation’ which will be without question, funded in part by parties connected with oil companies.
I know that will annoy some people, I know I will be accused of conspiracy theory paranoia but
a) It’s true… and
b) I think it’s right that the oil companies do what ever they can to convince us to continue buying their products. That is their job. They will say and do anything to prove that burning oil in a piston engine is better than using electricity to drive an electric motor. I’m fine with that, I just believe we, and more importantly the BBC should be very aware of that and take it into consideration when running with such stories.