Diesel tax - green or grasping?

I've never been a fan of diesel engines. I've never owned one, I've never aspired to owning one, but I do understand why it was compelling for some people, especially with the sweeteners offered by the then government to make the change a few years ago.

I can well remember, as a child, reading that derv particulates were carcinogens. In the 1970s. So quite how this came to be overlooked in an apparent rush to save the planet, I really don't understand.

Suddenly though, the government and councils up and down the land have woken up to the toxic fumes belched out by these evil clattering devices and are motivated to act to stop increasing thousands from being sent to early graves by evil private motorists.

Or are they? Surely if the evidence was this compelling they would be banned outright? Or are we to believe that it is acceptable to suffocate some babies if you pay £20 for the privilege? The fundamental question is how much of an issue is this really and how much of the issue is accounted for by private motorists? What about the buses, vans, trucks and taxis that clog up our city centres? What about trains and ships and aeroplaces? And industrial manufacturing and power generation?

If the Government wants people to believe that the new charges are justified it really needs to invest some time in coming up with a more compelling case. Otherwise it is all too easy to conclude that this isn't really about pollution, it is simply the latest Trojan horse measure to extract ever more cash from that softest of targets, the car driver.

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