Jeremy Clarkson is in the doo doo again. It seems that once someone gets a reputation for being normal, meaning not politically correct, it's open season on them by all the self-important, pompous nutters and pressure groups in the world. Today it's the turn of Disabled Motoring UK. This outfit is in high dudgeon without bothering to find out the facts. Clarkson and James May are being lambasted for parking in a car park's disabled bays. Nasty, evil monsters!!
Now, you don't have to be a TV actor, cameraman, producer or whatever to know that filming something like Top Gear you do not just turn up in a car park and start filming. No, days, weeks or even months before a car park will have been located, the owners contacted and an area agreed to be sealed off at a certain time, on a certain day for filming. In this, as in all cases I hope, the car park owners had ensured there was ample disabled parking still available. But no, Disabled Motoring UK went into a self-righteous rage about the evil Clarkson.
I have every sympathy with disabled drivers needing to park in bays that allow them to access to where they happen to be visiting. My mother-in-law needs a wheelchair and, although she doesn't have a Blue Badge, has to be parked in a disabled bay so that her driver (usually my wife) has enough space to take her wheelchair from the boot, take it to the passenger door and ease her from the passenger seat into the wheelchair. Please note, she never uses Blue Badge bays.
But on the other side of the coin I find it somewhat galling when I see a Blue Badge holder park in a special bay then get out, without any evident mobility problem, to spend the next couple of hours trotting around the city centre or the local shopping centre. Yes, I know that a disability isn't always evident, but I also know that the Blue Badge system is being widely abused which means that our taxes, yours and mine, are being wasted on people who are effectively defrauding us. I know of one person who has a neck problem, but often goes walking in the Lakes. Why does she get a Blue Badge? Even though she is registered disabled, it affects neither her driving apparently nor her ability to yomp up Scafell!
On one shopping trip with her mother recently my wife got back to her car to find an abusive note from a 'militant' Blue Badge holder because she had parked in a disabled bay without a Blue Badge. The bay didn't say 'Blue Badge holders only' merely 'disabled only'. A major difference. If the 'militant', who had probably been waiting all day to be morally outraged and angered by someone more fortunate, had waited by the car he would have seen that my mother-in-law can barely walk five paces, even with the help of a zimmer frame.
God preserve us from the self-righteous militants who are forever seeking to be offended so that they can get on their morally superior soapboxes and preach their holier-than-thou sermons at those of us more fortunate. That includes Disabled Motoring UK.