DON’T MESS WITH PEARL’S GREY ARMYAs a smug, elderly person, I can appreciate that my presence causes terrible annoyance to politicians and marketers. A blight on the landscape, with my lined skin and thinning hair, I’m smug in the awareness that I’m healthier, less conservative, more engaged, and a darned sight more resilient than the generations I’m leaving behind.
Oblivious to consumerism and ‘want’ accumulation, I’m living the hipster’s dream (without the $15 spelt loaf), unencumbered by acquisitions, an SUV, or fast food.
Is it any wonder I’m a government and marketing nightmare? From ‘Knitting Nannas Against Gas’, to Dick Smith’s controversial vision for a sustainable future, oldies like Pearl are pushing dangerous ideas and refusing to contribute a skerrick of our meagre pensions to the excesses of a consumerist society.
If oldies are not spending money, but instead loitering in publicly funded libraries and spreading propaganda when we aren’t listening to publicly funded radio, wouldn’t it be preferable to the government if we were confined to our homes by the regulation of our favourite form of transport: the mobility scooter?
Well, that just happens to be the suggestion of Nationals MP, John Williams, who is pushing for gophers to be limited to 6km/h (as well as a ban on vehicles over 150kg), plus on-the-spot fines and compulsory registration, after his wife was supposedly hit by a speeding gopher.
If driving a gopher 10km/h makes one a speed freak – if dozens of injuries and deaths have been linked to gophers over the years – how does Mr Williams explain the silence from politicians and the media when it comes to deaths caused by truck drivers? Heavy vehicles were involved in 194 fatal crashes – resulting in the deaths of 212 people – during the 2016/17 financial year. The lives of innocent people have been wiped out in a second by trucks travelling above the speed limit, by drivers who are pushed to the limit by unscrupulous businesses focussed solely on the bottom line Trucks kill a disproportionate number of people, yet governments do little to restrict haulage or hold anyone accountable, particularly the big two supermarkets, whose contracts with freight companies are deliberately convoluted to avoid accountability for death and impairment.
In his case against gophers, Mr Williams is also concerned that elderly people who have surrendered their driver’s licences are now behind a mobile scooter’s wheel. What a pity that this level of concern isn’t afforded to truck drivers with bad driving records, who get back into the cab and turn their vehicle into a lethal weapon. Instead, it’s a pathetic wrist slap – rarely jail time – for a death caused by an unsecured load, a speeding B-double unable to keep to its lane, or a meth-pepped truckie.
In the hypocritical silence, it really wouldn’t surprise me if the government has decided that the economic benefits of heavy vehicle transport far outweighs any downside associated with deaths caused by trucks.
And, as for the dozens of deaths caused by gophers, Mr Williams, just wait until the Range Rover (mobile phone at ear) Yummy Mummy set are behind the wheels of mobility scooters – only then will you have a valid cause for complaint.