Long-term readers of this pile of offal will implicitly understand how thrilled I was to discover that this week heralds the start of yet another government initiative. In case you don’t already have it seared into your subconscious, I’m referring, of course, to Road Safety Week. Conceived specifically to heighten awareness of the carnage out there, RSW also sets out to tell us that we drive too fast in built-up areas, pollute too much and should really consider walking and cycling a bit more.
Yeah, okay okay. But this morning I caught my first fleeting glimpse of the 2012 mascot, with which we are expected to bond and empathise for seven whole days. He’s a lumpy builder type with an American Dad chin and all the yellow kit on (you know, that standard issue safety stuff that prevents you doing the job you’re actually being paid for). From the protective haven of his hoarding he gurns at the viewer in an encouraging yet profoundly disturbing manner. And guess what? He’s a bloody drawing. Ad agencies across the land must dread Road Safety Week. For they know that if they are passed this particular poisoned chalice, that two-bit scribble knocked up in the blurry vortex between Toke Thursday and Chang Friday will have to hold its own against timeless classics such as Tufty Squirrel, the evil Nick O’Teen or that moustachioed shithead helping you with your tax return. And there’s not a fart’s chance in a windtunnel of that happening.
So what is it with the Nanny State and its compulsion to get its manifesto across with doctrine our own children would find condescending? More often than not the message has some not inconsiderable weight but is ultimately let down because WE ARE GROWN UPS AND WE WOULD LIKE TO DECIPHER OUR WORLD IN WORDS OF MORE THAN TWO SYLLABLES. And even if we were pre-pubescent renegades on the cusp of changing our ways, the very first whiff of being patronised would have us back on the streets torching Previas. We may be kids, but this is the Devil’s Playground. Strap yourselves in.
Speaking of kids, the above at least is an attempt at bringing order into a world of chaos. Now that we can’t fag on in public houses and our pandering governors wish to make them increasingly attractive to infants, those once hallowed spit and sawdust floors (previously only accessed by scurrilous journalists and students) are now hugga-mugga with Mamas and Papas, the small person vehicle that abides by no law, laughs in the face of common decency and, if it were subject to the stringent demands of Road Safety Week, would be slammed into the nearest pound quicker than you can say Jeremy Clarkson. So come on, mums and dads! If you insist on bringing your three-wheeled buggies of anarchy into the public domain, let’s have some rules: You make way at the bar, and we’ll slow to 20. Deal?