In an I.T.V. television discussion last month between Lady Wootton of Abinger and Lord Brabazon of Tara on the recent unsuccessful Debate in the House of Lords over special courts for motorists, Lady Wootton pressed her views that the community should be made to appreciate that all motorists who break the law are criminals. In the House she said “even the smaller motoring offences are still crimes and this fact should be realised.”
On T.V. she preferred to confine this to the more serious offences, and, unless we misheard her, she made the remarkable statement for a magistrate, in connection with court cases, that usually witnesses (under oath) are not telling the truth. Lord Brabazon sleepily made half-hearted replies to her accusations against motorists. His suggestion that wherever there is a road fatality a cross might be erected for a week is certainly not one of his brighter remarks. In fact, Slough Safety Town has anticipated him, showing a red light after a fatal traffic accident, a morbid and nauseating piece of publicity which is surely an indictment of the town’s safety methods. And if Lord Brabazon’s idea were to be adopted, think how many crosses might be needed after a rail or air disaster.
We have looked up Abinger in a reliable gazetteer and can find only one — the picturesque village in Surrey where every hour on the hour a little man emerges from the clock and strikes the time of day. A charming place to visit with the children or in which to relax on a summer afternoon. But with Lady Wootton, who regards many motorists as “criminals” (technically the term may be infallible, if the law has been broken . . . but still!) and who advocates heavier fines, as magistrate . . .? We wonder . . .