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Number Plate

Ah, personalised number plates.  Doncha just love ‘em.  Er, no, says Laurence Inman.  Not when they come at a cost that would feed an African village for several decades.

My Saturday morning (nice cup of Earl Grey, quiet bash at the Sudoku and Futoshiko, little bowl of home-made muesli) was ruined by a photo in the paper of a smirking dickhead squatting down by his twattish car.

It was a very expensive car. A very very expensive car. The man was able to afford this spectacularly expensive car because his ‘job’ is to take other expensive cars (belonging to people like footballers, celebrity hairdressers, celebrity personal trainers, celebrities’ dogs’ manicurists; important people like that) and make them even more special and expensive and unique to their owners.

You see, if you’re paid millions every month for kicking a ball about, it isn’t enough to own the most expensive car in the world; it’s also got to look more special than all the other expensive cars owned by all the other brainless and tasteless rich bastards in the world.

And don’t start telling me I’m only jealous because I’m poor and I can’t afford any of that stuff because (and I don’t normally tell people this) there was a time when I had a lot of money and I can tell you it’s not worth a fig.

Anyway, this bloke (the first one) discovered that he had a spare £440,625

In his pocket and wanted something to spend it on. As you do.

What do you think he chose to do with that not inconsiderable pile of dough?

He could have bought a house and turned it into a hostel for the homeless. He could have given ten homeless people £44,000 each. Or a hundred homeless £4,400 each. Or a thousand….you get the picture: he could have helped the homeless.

Or he could have fed four-and-half million people for six months who would otherwise have starved. Or set up a small foundation to help just about anyone.

But no.

He spent £440,625 on a number-plate for his car.

The plate was F 1.

But it was worth it, he thought, if it means that everyone who sees his car flying past thinks to themselves: ‘My, how successful that man must be, how impressive his car is and how fortunate I feel to live in a society where such ostentation is regarded as laudable!’

Except they won’t. They’ll just think ‘Flash bastard!’ and spend the next few minutes fantasising about having the car removed and crushed. (Or is that just me?)

And he won’t mind that really, because F 1 might as well read F OFF.

I say that because in his own tiny way, that man is contributing to something deeply and viciously ruinous which pervades our whole society.

He is, in fact, saying F OFF to the whole idea of society itself, of a nourishing network of interpersonal contact.

F OFF to anyone who hasn’t got money like me. F OFF to anyone who’s not a celebrity, who doesn’t ‘live’ in a gated-off mansion and drives round in a blacked-out gated-off monster of a car. F OFF to the poor, the victims of the system which allows me this luxury. F OFF to thought, and feeling, and sympathy, because it’s all too much trouble, for me and my ruthless friends.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for personal freedom.

But I really would like to take every one of these people’s cars and push them over a cliff. I’d like to limit the pay of footballers to £1000 a week. If they all go abroad, that’s fine; we’ll just do without football. It’s not that important.

The greatest footballer this country has ever seen, Colin Bell, used to thrill crowds every week with his magical displays of dribbling, his surging unstoppable runs down the wing, his balletic leaps onto crosses from….

No he didn’t. He just kicked a ball about. The most worthwhile thing he ever did was produce a son who went on to become a heart surgeon.

Which personalised number plates have you seen?  It doesn't have to be real.  Just make one up.  Leave a comment on The Stirrer forum.

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