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End of the ROAD.

I reckon New Year's resolutions are there for only one reason ... to get rid of guilt.

And let's face it, motorists have been on the receiving end of some pretty serious guilt- tripping over the past 12 months.

Firstly, we are all really selfish for wanting to drive our cars and not rely totally on some form of 1960s Eastern Bloc Public Transport System.

And as well as being responsible for killing the rain-forests, motorists are demons who hunt down harmless bunnies, and throw poisoned fish for those lovable and very smart dolphins.

Road rage has tarnished all drivers as homicidal maniacs just waiting for the wrong trigger to send them on an orgy of destruction. Even thinking about using a mobile phone in a car is now viewed as about as socially acceptable as drinking meths and urinating in phone boxes.

Drivers of foreign cars have brought about the death of British industry ... and the resulting unemployment.

And anyone who owns a Vauxhall Tigra or Ford Ka is guilty of gross and wilful sins against good taste.

It seems it's time for motorists to crawl into a hole and beg for forgiveness. But while going to confession and acts of contrition may deal with other, less mortal sins, motorists are going to be dammed to the fiery pits of Hell.

So my New Year's resolution is to get driving made illegal.

Yep, that's what I said. For 1998 The King of the Road will be lobbying Parliament, holding demonstrations and seeking public support for a national ban on motorists.

Why? Well with 23 million people totally addicted to driving, Social Services could soon become a boom industry. If something is legal, then it's bad. But as soon as it is made illegal, you get thousands of social workers and counsellors at your door, making tea and handing out sympathy.

With lots of motorist rehabilitation groups springing up, Lottery cash would start rolling in and in a humane country like ours, nobody would expect drivers to go through cold turkey.

We would be given car substitutes to wean us from our dreadful addiction. The Ford Methadone, the Vauxhall Valium and the Toyota Temazepam would lead to new forms of traffic jam where the responsibility would be shared by society as a whole rather than just the long-suffering motorists.

There would be no guilt - but best of all, someone else would have to pay for my petrol. Of course, I would make all the right promises about meaning to cut down and would even make tearful confessions at my regular Drivers Anonymous meetings. "My name is Conrad... and ... and ... I'm a motorist."

As a car shrink, my income would go through the roof. I would get a regular slot on Richard and Judy, doing star interviews with film and sports heroes who couldn't give up the demon driving.

Then there would be the self-help books and tapes, personal appearances and finally a part in the next Spice Girls film. Okay, I'll admit it. My New Year's resolution was to achieve world domination and feel no guilt. But I figured that getting driving banned would be the best way to achieve it. Maybe I'll just try being kinder instead.

Vardy drive home a jobs boost: Britain's biggest-selling car retailer is expanding north of the Border.

Reg Vardy plc have confirmed plans to establish a Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealership in Paisley on the Renfrew Road site previously occupied by the Caledonia Motor Group.

All 24 staff have been retained and at least 10 new jobs will be created over the next few weeks.

This latest purchase comes days after Vardy's pounds 2.5 million state-of-the- art Merc commercial dealership opened in Port Dundas, Glasgow.

The company now have 52 dealerships across the UK with eight in Scotland.

Chairman Peter Vardy said: "The Paisley acquisition will give us a dominant share of Fiat and Alfa Romeo business in Strathclyde."

Murray Hanely, Vardy's sales manager at Springburn, will take charge at Paisley.

He said: "Fiat has traditionally done very well in Paisley but we will be seeking to grow sales volumes even further, so I have at least 10 vacancies - including an urgent need for sales staff."

Vardy also hold franchises for Jaguar, Rover and Chrysler Jeep in Aberdeen.

TWO employees at Parks of Hamilton are feeling Yankee Doodle Dandy. Steve Murray and Malcolm Lowe have won an all-expenses-paid trip to America for outstanding Chrysler Jeep sales.

Next month, they'll be lapping it up in LA and San Diego.

CUSTOMERS for new Daewoo Lanos, Nubira or Leganza will be quids in for the first 12 months.

The cars now come with a year's fully comp insurance and free servicing as well as three years' membership of the AA.

VAUXHALL's quality used car operation - Network Q - sold more than 105,000 cars last year.

Sales were 10 per cent ahead of the previous 12 months.

Every Network Q car is sold with a 114-point service, 12 months guarantee and a 30-day exchange pledge.

COOL CAT: BILL CAVEN reckons the new coup from Ford, the Cougar, is going to be the car to beat. He also checks out two other new offerings that look like they will be high on car fans' wish lists

COVER STORY: Two of the hottest models around meet up and BILL CAVEN is there to judge the reaction. Miss Scotland got to sample the stunning Jaguar XK8 and was totally smitten by its looks - that's some compliment

CLASSY BUY: Grab yourself a slice of luxury on a budget by getting your hands on a second-hand BMW 5-series. RUSSELL BRAY gives advice on what to look out for.

RECORD BREAKER: TREVOR WALLS pays tribute to a biker who took on the world and won - along with his trusty Triumph
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:King, Conrad
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 9, 1998
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