Letter: Car ownership, not class, is the great divider

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The Independent Online
From Mr Antony Alexander

Sir: Hamish McRae describes the car as

a machine of democracy: breaking down differentiation by class and replacing it with differentiation by wealth. Everyone is equal in a traffic jam, but each can proclaim their wealth and status by the car in which they sit.

Mr McRae presumably means "everyone who is anyone"; because "everyone" includes the many non-drivers whose lives have been made significantly worse by the immoderate level of car ownership: whether through pollution, noise and visual degradation, the slowing of buses, the decimation of the rail network, danger to children, increased opportunities for criminals, and the cost of various hidden motoring subsidies, including for health care and road space in town centres.

Far from breaking down class divisions, the "Great Car Society" has imposed a kind of caste system in which car drivers obtain the benefits and everyone else suffers. More democracy is surely found on public transport: at least the different classes are travelling on the same train.

Yours sincerely,

Antony Alexander

Douglas,

Isle of Man

19 January

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