Monday 26 March 2018


I have always thought that high intensity headlights are a pestilence. Now I find I am part of a massive majority. 80% of drivers surveyed by the RAC think that there should be better regulation for modern headlights.

“The headlights of some newer cars are so bright they are causing a road safety hazard for drivers with as many as two-thirds (65%) of motorists saying they regularly get dazzled by oncoming headlights even though they are dipped.

“Fifteen per cent of motorists surveyed by the RAC claim they have suffered a near-miss as a result of being dazzled by modern headlights that they believe are too bright.”

This is clearly a safety issue, but I was worried by the tone of some of the RAC’s press release. First of all, they see brighter lights as an improvement in technology. “the new designs of headlights are brighter, making it easier for drivers to see and therefore potentially safer for them...”; “Headlight technology has advanced considerably in recent years, but while that may be better for the drivers of those particular vehicles, it is presenting an unwanted, new road safety risk for anyone driving towards them...”. I doubt that it is safer for them. And it is only “better” if you accept the dominant view that people should be able to drive as fast as they want regardless of road, traffic, weather or light conditions. It is not better if one person’s ability to drive carelessly is bought at the expense of another’s difficulty.

We would not need brighter headlights if we drove a little more slowly. We might also reduce the 1800 deaths and 23000 serious injuries we cause on the roads every year.

Friday 23 March 2018

In which I once again blame Jonathan Agnew unfairly

I refer to my previous post on the failures of the England cricket set up.

England's latest embarrassment has that sinking feeling of predictability about it. The only consistent thing about England's batting is its magnificent inconsistency. I would not bet against them scoring either 50 or 500 in their second innings, if the weather lets the game get that far.

I have given up being frustrated by England's performances. I remain frustrated, however, by the level of analysis of what goes wrong when it goes wrong. I have named Jonathan Agnew, which is unfair to him, excellent commentator that he is. He is merely an example of the direction of analysis of England's failure in the first innings against New Zealand. I agree that the preparation provided for visiting teams is unfair, but to blame that for what happened yesterday is to mistake a symptom for a cause. A test cricketer should be able to come out of six months in the freezer and keep their wicket. Much of the other commentary I have seen (not an exhaustive trawl) focuses on individual technical failures, listing the individual mistakes in detail, some with a sense of schadenfreude. There is a larger, and I would argue, more important issue, which is how do we get to the point where nine experienced, talented, skilled, highly coached, competitive individuals all make such school child errors at the same time. Why was there not one single batter (until Craig Overton) who, seeing what the others were up to, went in determined to sell his wicket as dearly as possible? The answer, I believe, lies in the culture of the England set up, management and teams, and can only be dealt with by reform that starts from the top and reaches very widely.

Trevor Bayliss skirted round the edge of what's going on. "When one person sneezes it seems that we all catch a cold. It’s not good enough."  I relied on Cricket Badger for this quote, so it may not be entirely accurate. If it is, then Bayliss has put his finger on, or at least somewhere near, a major issue for the England set up that nobody otherwise seems to be talking about. As I noted in my previous blog, there is a major question about the system and the culture that produces so many collective failures. Dealing with the batting failures at an individual level will never solve that problem.

Thursday 22 March 2018

Save the coffee cup!!

This is my thermos flask. I have been a home worker for quite a few years. For a lot of that time, I have broken up the day by walking up to the village bakery at lunchtime, and buying a roll and a coffee. The coffee always used to come in a disposable cup. About five years ago I bought this thermos, and the bakery now fill it with my coffee. Since starting to use it, I have saved well over a thousand coffee cups. Simple actions can make a big difference.