What am I bid for a 12-year-old BMW X5 diesel, low mileage, regularly serviced, full MoT, newish tyres, one careful owner? Only ever driven to church on Sundays, etc.
OK, so I lied about the church bit. The rest is kosher, though. Five thousand miles a year, tops, mostly local with the occasional trip to Costco in Watford and long-distance jaunt up the M6 to Jolly Jocko Land.
Good as new, if you ask me. When I bought it, back in December 2010, I thought with any luck it would see me out. I certainly had no intention of getting rid of it any time soon.
My take on cars is the same as my dad’s advice on shoes. Buy the best you can afford and they should last a lifetime. I’ve got brogues dating back over 30 years and haven’t bought a pair of suede loafers since Tony Blair was in No 10.
There’s no reason the X5 wouldn’t go on for another couple of decades or so, either, provided it was properly maintained. So why am I getting rid of it?
If you live in Outer London, like me, you already know why. I’m buggered if I’m going to bung Genghis Khan £12.50 on each occasion I take it out of the garage. This time next week, the extortionate ULEZ extension comes into force, backed by a forest of Big Brother spy cameras with a fine of up to £180 for non-payment.
Not that I can’t afford it. I drive so infrequently that twelve-and-a-half quid is neither here nor there. No more expensive than getting a cab to the curry house and back. Nope, it’s the principle of the thing.
Imposing the charge on a vast swathe of London where public transport is hopelessly inadequate and air quality is already pristine is a scandalous abuse of the mayor’s power. (None of the muntjacs in my back garden are using inhalers.)
Not to mention the wholly undemocratic way it will impact on anyone from the surrounding Home Counties who has to drive into London for work, pleasure or hospital appointments.
Put aside the hysterical rhetoric about evil exhaust emissions killing suburban children by the thousands and White Van Men dropping like flies after contracting asthma while driving round the North Circular with their windows open. Cars, even the dreaded petrol variety, are cleaner than they’ve ever been.
It’s pure propaganda, designed to disguise the fact Khan is desperately short of money after hopelessly mismanaging London’s finances and sees a smash and grab raid on motorists as the easiest way of making up the shortfall.
We have come to expect the worst from this preening two-bob chancer, who swans around town in a £300,000 armour-plated, gas-guzzling Range Rover while lecturing the rest of us about our cars killing baybees and silencing scientists he’d commissioned, who decided that the scheme would have a ‘negligible’ effect on air quality.