It’s a bad time to be a politician at the moment - and so it should be. We now know why they are so out of touch with the everyday running costs and implications of running a house, let alone a car. They have never been much good at answering questions and, although I’m no Woodward or Bernstein for that matter (ask your parents), I did try once to find out just how they justified what they drove. 

In May 1997 I wasn’t exactly humming ‘Things can only get better’ along with Tony, Cherie, Gordon, John and Mandy. That’s because it didn’t take long for New Labour in general, and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in particular, to suggest that not only was one car bad, but two would virtually become a criminal offence. They had declared war on second car families by promising to make public transport so good that we would abandon our cars.

It seemed reasonable to ask in a national newspaper just how those responsible for these policies  managed to get around when not enjoying free first class rail travel or being comfortably chauffeured about in the back of a ministerial Rover. What cars were we the taxpayers subsidising at 48.4 pence per mile?

‘What Labour Drive’ was published in September ’97 in The Independent, who were at the time very much on message when it came to New Labour. “I’ve had John Prescott’s office on the phone,” said the bloke at the Indie. “and Prescott isn’t happy.” Job done then, I thought, but the timid voice went on. “They want to speak to you so I’m going to give them your number.”