Thursday, March 08, 2007


Over the years, people have been ostracised by society for many things; having sex before marriage, not going to church and even sleeping with someone who’s got the same wedding tackle as yourself. Today, the big sins have changed.

No longer will you be sent to Coventry for spending the Lord’s day in bed, instead woe betide any bastard who has the cheek to occasionally go to McDonalad’s or even worse, zip about town in a 4x4 car. In fact when it comes to taboos, driving an SUV is up there with admitting to fancying kids or wearing a shell suit for your wedding. Call the social services!

Before you get any ideas, I actually don’t drive one of these monster cars, in fact even though I’ve got a licence, I don ‘t drive anything. But there’s something about the vitriol that’s directed to the drivers of these vehicles that makes me want to stand up and defend them. For me, it’s about freedom.

‘But what about the harm they do to the environment?’ I hear you cry. Well, you’re right to some extent, SUVs do emit higher-than-normal levels of CO2 – the major cause of global warming – but less so than most sports cars and many people carriers. For example the Land Rover emits 244g of CO2 er km, while the Porsche Cayenne Turbo splutters out 378g. So why the fuss?

The truth is that SUVs – like fast food – tap into the current vogue amongst so-called liberals for decrying anything that they feel represents Bush’s America. Never mind that apparently “green” thinkers like George Monbiot and Al Gore clock up thousands of air miles plugging their books and films – as long as Guardian readers can have ago at “stupid Americans” then so much better.

If we’re so bothered about global warming – and let’s not forget the million or so people who’ve recently signed the anti-road pricing petition – then we’ve all got to change our behaviour. For someone who drives a Ford Focus to have a go at SUV owners is as hypocritical as a leather-wearing meat-eater getting all squeamish about fur coats. Directing your anger at the SUV is easy, actually changing your own behaviour is a little bit more difficult.

Until the day comes when collectively we all do something about the way we’re fucking up the planet then the drivers of SUVs have every right to clog up school runs – just like every other driver out there.