It is very easy for those of us who want to drive for progress to fall into the temptation of only writing blogs and articles that focus on what’s wrong with our system, our politics, our everything.
But it might also be useful to reflect on what’s right with our world. Most often, our everyday experiences are generally positive and sometimes one comes across situations that restore one’s faith in people and progress.
One such happened to me last week in London.
I hopped into a taxi and gave the driver my destination. A few seconds after he pulled out, he leaned back and said: “You know gov, Pall Mall is closed from this end. I’m going to have to go a long way round. You might be better off getting out, walking fifty yards and getting a taxi there.” I thanked him, hopped out and got another taxi as he suggested.
The second taxi I hopped into was a spanking new black cab. I remarked to the driver that this looked brand new.
He said that it was one of the new electric taxis – fully electrically driven but with a small, petrol-powered generator that served only to charge the batteries should the charge run out. Apparently it is no longer possible to buy diesel-powered London taxis.
The new taxi is more expensive to buy. But, including incentives, discounts and the cost of running and maintaining the vehicle (it has almost no moving parts so less breakdowns) the driver calculated that, over a five year period, he would be £15,000 better off.
He also calculated that, taking into account the electricity cost of charging and the small amount of petrol for the generator, his new vehicle’s running cost was the same as a diesel vehicle that did 200 miles per gallon. And no worries about running out of charge away from a charging point because of the backup generator.
My taxi experience put me in a great mood. A taxi driver who was more concerned with my needs and what It was going to cost me to get to my destination than with pocketing a bigger fare. And another who explained to me just how far we have come in tackling the issues of city pollution and climate change.
What’s not to like?
Help us lay the intellectual foundations for a new radical politics. Sign up to get email notifications about anything new in this blog. See also our new book: Backlash: Saving globalisation from itself.