New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Politics
26 May 2010

No cars for ministers, just for their red boxes

Ministers are forced to take trains and buses while their red box rides in a car.

By George Eaton

You’ll remember how, in his early “Vote blue, go green” days, David Cameron was rather embarrassed when it emerged that he cycles to work — but has his car follow behind with his suit and briefcase.

Perhaps in an attempt to atone for his environmental sins, Cameron announced a ban on ministerial cars in all but the most exceptional circumstances.

But today’s Guardian reports that the move has hit something of a roadblock. While ministers are now obliged to take the train, their red boxes, for security reasons, must travel separately in a private car.

To compound the confusion, the same ministers are prohibited from accompanying their red boxes in the car in order to work.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

There is something wonderfully English and absurdist about a minister struggling against the vagaries of the train timetables (and even the dreaded rail replacement bus) while his red box enjoys a smooth ride in a Jag.

But before he lets his ministers loose on the trains, Cameron might like to remember the unfortunate experience of his director of strategy, Steve Hilton, who felt the long arm of the law after an expletive-fuelled row with rail staff.

Special offer: get 12 issues of the New Statesman for just £5.99 plus a free copy of “Liberty in the Age of Terror” by A C Grayling.

Content from our partners
An innovative approach to regional equity
ADHD in the criminal justice system: a case for change – with Takeda
The power of place in tackling climate change