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the fast lane to privilege

The Treasury down in London is concerned that motorists are not paying enough road tax.

The Westminster Coalition has come up with some true blue-sky thinking on the matter.

The way to increase the £6bn a year revenue from vehicles is to have a two-tier road tax. Motorists will pay extra to use motorways and other fast bits of road.

The idea is to treat the highways and byways as cash cows and privatise them just like gas, electricity, the railway, and probably soon the air we breathe.

The Automobile Association says poorer motorists will be forced to use congested local roads and leave the motorway fast lanes as the preserve of the rich.

A Treasury source said the plan is "about making the roads more like utility companies and getting external sources of money into them". Or, to put it another way, for the private sector to have guaranteed revenue. A dripping roast as it is also known.

The word I would use to describe a two-tier roads system is apartheid.

Camera scanners will identify the vehicle registrations of cars that should not be on the well-to-do roads. Presumably the unauthorised drivers will be fined or arrested and have their cars crushed.

Why stop at roads? Pavements could be privatised. Face recognition technology would be used to ensure poor folk step aside to allow premium pedestrians to get past. Second-class citizens will have their own seats at the back of the bus. Cycle lanes are an obvious target for two-tier pricing.

Will the roads be safe in Tory hands? Only in the same way that the NHS and schools will be in a Britain where services are delivered according to the ability to pay.

But let's not just blame the Tories. The Lib-Dems are in cahoots with David Cameron's Conservatives. Even Johann Lamont's Scottish Labour Party wants an end to the "something for nothing" society.

People will point out that Scotland may not be affected by a move to apartheid on the roads because this aspect of transport is a matter devolved to the Scottish Government. Our right to drive the motorways will surely be preserved the same as our NHS, "free" university education, prescriptions, and care for the elderly. All of which is something to consider when voting Yes or No in the 2014 referendum.

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Automotive

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