Within the framework of the UK Government’s declared aim of privatising ‘everything’, Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin’s announcement this week to sell off Britain’s entire road network came as no big surprise. However, few people anticipated that the sale was to be limited to car manufacturers, nor that a bid from BMW for the ‘job lot’ had already been accepted.
BMW’s funding for the project is being raised by a surcharge on the cost of their cars, applied retrospectively for 12 years. ‘Yes, it adds to the cost of an awful lot of BMWs,’ said Karl Sneidecker, ‘but this is good democracy where all our customers get a share in the privatisation.’ As well as a certificate of road ownership, BMW owners also gets a sticker they can put in their back window saying ‘I do, actually.’
McLoughlin said the privatisation scheme was ‘right for Britain and would ultimately create a world class system of flyovers, underpasses and autobahns.’ Fears that drivers of other makes of car could become ‘second class motorists’ are totally unfounded, he said. ‘I really don’t think they’re going to notice any difference.’