False consciousness and car purchase ...
The Marxist concept of false consciousness has had a lot of bad press over the past century or so, but you have to wonder just what the one in six Londoners planning to buy a new car who want a 4x4[SUV] are thinking.
Even motorists in Scotland, who faced harsher weather and rougher roads than are found in the capital, were less likely to invest in a four-wheel drive vehicle, with only one in 10 planning to buy one.
Looking around the roads, it strikes me that 4x4s are going the way of Burberry - it is the wealthy working class who are increasingly buying them as a fashion accessory. The problem is that is a large group, to add to the already traditional "Chelsea tractors" (middle-class mothers on the school run) and "suits" - men in white-collar jobs living out some "he-man" fantasy.
There are, I think two answers to this: 1. tax the hell out of them - reflecting the real cost to the amenity of London; 2. Mock the hell out of them, and make them unfashionable.
In related news, a pair of blackbirds (which normally mate in March) have succeeded in raising a clutch of young in the Wirral through mid-winter. That might soon be the breeding season for all birds, since an historical study shows the northern hemisphere's climate is now the warmest since at least 800AD. (And the study only stops there since that is where the data stops.)
Ten of the 14 records were based on tree-ring data, which went back as far as 800AD, one measured ice cores from Greenland, one involved historical documents from Europe and one covered the chemical composition of sea shells on the east coast of the US. The final set of records came from China and Japan and used a variety of records, from ice cores to historical documents.