The Chancellor’s plan to force drivers and buyers of diesel cars to pay more to own, run and even park their cars – allegedly to reduce toxic pollution in city – must surely rank as one of the worst-targeted pieces of (proposed) legislation in many a long day. 

Budget 2017: diesel tax hike confirmed

The knee-jerk nature of Philip Hammond’s move, which will apply to diesel cars that don't meet the new RDE step 2 standards, is especially depressing. This man, whose judgement is supposed to be turned to our greater good, has caved into grievously ill-directed pressures. What he is proposing will have no effect on the problem; it will simply lower his level of earache. He will be seen – he – to have acted to reduce NOx, which “the experts” say “kills 7000 people a year”. 

Fully autonomous cars to be on UK roads by 2021

Such statistics are deeply suspect, as any sensible person instinctively knows, and spouting them brings no benefit whatever. Yet there is a NOx problem: why not attack it in ways that will work?