Unprincipled Britain


Further evidence of the general dishonesty and untrustworthiness of the Great British public emerged this week as market research firm Consumer Intelligence revealed that one in twelve motorists is a self-confessed liar and a cheat when it comes to filling in their motor insurance application form.

It’s a wonder insurers can bring themselves to deal with this nation of liars at all.

On the plus side: Britain’s drivers may be dishonest, but at least they’re disarmingly open about it. Fully 8% of those interviewed by Consumer Intelligence blithely confessed to lying about where they lived (9%), where they parked their cars at night (16%), how many points they had on their licence, and – alarmingly – how far they drove each year (10%).*

The disturbing possibility remains, however, that, if one in twelve happily admit they lie to their insurers, the other eleven may be lying too – but are so shockingly dishonest (brace yourselves) that they even lie to market researchers!


* Things are no better on the household insurance front, incidentally, where one in three consumers admitted to the heinous crime of “guessing the value of their contents” and a further 20% thought that they were “only accurate to within £5,000”.

Don’t expect to get any of those claims paid!


Scarily-old people may soon outnumber the rest of us ten to one. But if they think they’re getting it all their own way, they’ve got another thing coming.

Hot on the heels of the savage backlash against death-driving old dears (see previous story), road safety charity Brake is calling for compulsory annual re-testing of the over 70s.

The jauntily named ‘fit to drive’ initiative would involve “professionals” checking whether wrinklies can perform mission-critical driving tasks such as seeing and hearing – and whether they’re liable to keel over at the wheel.

Brake woman Cathy Keeler said:

– the current system whereby septegenarians self-certify every three years “isn’t good enough,”

– everyone should be re-tested every five years – as health problems can arise at any age,

– “drivers who have a high risk of heart attack or fainting fits must not be allowed behind the wheel,”

– there should be a legal maximum driving age.

Come to think of it, human beings are kind of fallible. Maybe driving’s best left to robots or something.


Shocking news from the land of cream teas, fudge and inappropriately sexualised confectionary-bar-toting lady rabbits: A car-cloning epidemic is sweeping South Devon.

In just the last few months police have recovered cloned vehicles worth £250,000. Mild mannered local lawmen believe criminals send in the clones from outside the Devon and Cornwall force area.

Car cloning, they explain, is achieved by giving the vehicle a false set of number plates, an illegal copy of the V5C document (log book) and a different Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Vehicles ‘bought’ by the ten latest unsuspecting local victims include a VW Touareg worth £20,000 and a top-of-the range Ford Mondeo worth £15,000.

All 10 ‘purchasers’ have lost their money — and the vehicles have been returned to their real owners. PC Mark Humphries warned: “Anyone paying less than 70 per cent of the market price for a vehicle should be on their guard.

“Don’t pay cash,” he told the South Devon Herald Express, “particularly if the car is more than £3,000. Some cloners will take a bankers draft as part payment because the cash part is sufficient profit without ever cashing the bankers draft.”

“Don’t meet sellers in remote locations like car parks or service stations,” he warned. “If in doubt keep hold of your cash.”


You know how distracting loose dogs in cars can be. One minute you’re bombing along happily down a curvy A Road at an exhilarating (but obviously safe and legal) speed. The next you’ve got Rover on your lap, saliva all over your face, and you’re headed for the ditch. Happens all the time. Probably.

Well now RAC and the Dogs Trust have come up with a cunning plan to put an end to such canine calamities. The precise nature of said plan, put succinctly, is this: seatbelts for dogs.

Yes indeed, why bother with one of those cagey things behind the back seats when you can give your pooch the ride of his life held firmly in place by chew-resistant canvas strapping?

But, shockingly, a new RAC survey has found that although 88% of Brits agreed that “belting up during a journey is an important safety measure,” an appalling 60% had “never used a dog harness/seat belt to keep their dog secure.”

RAC patrol leader Phil Ryan, a keen dog man himself, says: “At 30mph, for example, an unrestrained 50lb border collie would be thrown forward with a force equivalent to almost nine 12 stone men”, so it’s not just your pet you will be protecting if there is a crash.”

So pretty bad then. But imagine if you had nine unrestrained 12 stone men in the back of your car and they were thrown forward with a force equivalent to almost 31 50lb border collies. Doesn’t really bear thinking about, does it?


Motor cover is falling out of fashion with today’s young people – a group who allegedly account for four times as many RTAs as anyone else.

According to a new report from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), one in five motorists aged between 17 and 20 (18 and 19 year olds, then?) is driving (illegally) without insurance.

What’s more the Mibsters found that one in ten of these tearaway tyro tykes has the effrontery to claim “What, it’s illegal to drive without insurance?!” Or words to that effect.

The insurer-funded body claims that 250,000 17 to 20 year olds (we think that’s what they mean) drive without any kind of motor cover. The two-to-three-grand-per-annum cost of insuring the motoring antics of a 17-year old male cited in the report may perhaps offer a clue to the root cause of this problem – that and a flagrant disregard for the law of the land, obviously.

MIB man Ashton West (just outside Bristol we think) says: “Young people make up a significant number of uninsured drivers, and with one in five newly qualified drivers having an accident in the first year of driving they need to make choices based on the consequences of driving without insurance and not just on price alone.”

How does he mean, exactly? How about having their vehicles seized, being fined and receiving up to eight penalty points on their license for starters?

Quoted in The Guardian, Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance is not surprised but shocked: “I’m not surprised at these figures,” he says, “even though it is shocking to see this statistic confirmed.

“Young drivers are 10 times more likely to be involved in a collision than more experienced drivers,” he continues, offering a shocking statistic of his own. “If they have no insurance, any claim has to be met by the MIB, which in turn is funded by honest insurers.” Honest insurers as opposed to anyone in particular? Maybe he meant honest insureds.

The Guardian’s report offers some salutary comparisons between UKland and its continental neighbours: “The UK has one of the highest proportions of uninsured drivers in Europe,” it claims, “with around 5% of motorists not having a policy in place compared with 0.1% in Sweden and 0.2% in Germany. According to [the] latest government statistics, a third of drivers killed or seriously injured on the road were under 25.”

Bankstone News blames the parents.

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