Editor’s Comment: August 2019
- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
“Yes, the idea of electric cars is a lovely one. But what about the practicalities?” Tackling climate change – including getting petrol and diesel cars off the road – is a hot topic at the moment but are we being ‘too alarmist’ when it comes to tackling the problem, asks editor Mike Lowe
Gripped as we currently are by an almost hysterical drive to Save the Planet, the news that Jaguar Land Rover is to invest £1 billion in making electric cars in the murky West Midlands has been greeted with tears of gratitude from the kind of people who recycle their used toilet paper.
Now that may sound as if I'm one of those climate change denying monsters who would happily see their grandchildren gently fry before subsiding beneath the waves of a rising sea level. Far from it. I recycle whatever I can (manufacturers - please stop putting plastic windows on cardboard food packages), I have a well-worn Bag For Life (it's from Waitrose but I use it when sneaking out of Aldi) and I use my car as little as possible (it's a diesel that Gordon Brown conned me into buying) unless I'm driving to the tip to recycle stuff.
But I do think that we're in danger of being too alarmist when it comes to tackling climate change. Yes, there's a problem. Yes, we need to do something about it. Yes, we actually are doing something about it. But blocking the road outside Merrywalks in Stroud isn't going to save a single plastic-wrapped terrapin when the Chinese are firing up a new coal-fired power station every two weeks - and fully intend to continue at that rate with another 300-500 between now and 2030.
I blame Sir David Attenborough and that 16-year-old Smurf child. Winding up a generation of schoolkids (who, let's be honest, might just fancy a Friday afternoon off) isn't actually going to achieve anything. It's not as if there's a lack of awareness about the subject, yet if we're not careful we'll end carrying pints of milk back from the shop in sodden paper bags.
But back to Jaguar Land Rover. Yes, the idea of electric cars is a lovely one. But what about the practicalities? Cynics amongst us will have noted that model about to be electrified is the XJ saloon, which currently retails at over £54,000. A battery-powered version will end up being considerably more. This makes sense, as the people spending that much on a car will presumably have a driveway or a garage, and therefore a convenient place to charge them up overnight. But what about the rest of us?
What happens if you live on a terraced city street and have to park your car on the road? How are you going to charge it up then without incurring the expensive wrath of stumbling pedestrians and ambulance-chasing lawyers? And what if you can't find a parking spot outside your home? It just isn't going to work, it it?
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Best pull the plug now - at least as far as the mass market is concerned.
A glance inside any supermarket will reveal a veritable technicolour waterfall of assorted magazines. Amongst the visual cacophony sits little Cotswold Life, your essential guide to how to get the best out of our region.
To be seen and heard in this shouting match is a tough job. The experts (and there are always experts when it comes to magazine covers) tell us that we have just three seconds to grab the potential reader's attention. To that end, we work very hard on coming up with an arresting cover coupled with cover lines that might appeal - place names, big names and enticing features. We seem to be doing OK, with sales up month on month on month on month.
But when it comes to those copies we send out to subscribers - around half of our total sale - we thought that they might like a less noisy, less cluttered cover to adorn their coffee tables. After all, the buying decision has already been made. We do not need to bellow through their letterbox.
We have therefore been experimenting with different covers for retail sales and for subscribers. If you are one of these cultured, well-informed, intelligent people who get a copy of Cotswold Life delivered to their home at a very attractive rate, then please do let me know what you think. Whether or not we continue with this trial is entirely up to you, our readers. Feedback please to the email address below.
Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more of Mike's musings, follow him on Twitter! @cotslifeeditor