August 3, 2011

“Minibus drivers may not be starkly mad, but they have some mental health issues and they smoke a lot of cannabis,” said Dr Oluwayemi Cecilia Ogun, acting director of Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Lagos.

The latest attempt to instill some order into the Nigerian capital’s notoriously disfunctional traffic system, involves subjecting anyone caught driving the wrong way up a one-way street to a one-day psychiatric examination.

It has been suggested that anyone taking the decision to drive in Lagos must, by definition, be afflicted by some degree of insanity. But the Lagosian authorities have decided to draw a line between the benign low-degree madness that makes life possible in one of the most chaotic cities on earth, and the extreme lawless craziness that prompts rogue individuals to attempt shortcuts involving wrong-way driving.

“The legal logic is simple,” Lagos state ministry of transportation Sina Thorpe, spokesman told the Wall Street Journal: if you violate one-way rules, “you should have your head examined.”

Perhaps something similar could be attempted in the UK. The Coalition could perhaps revive Margaret Thatcher’s nascent project for distinguishing between right thinking people and enemies of the state.

Just a thought.

Read the WSJ piece in full here.


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