Posted on June 17, 2024

Is Fixing Potholes Racist?

Michael Deacon, The Telegraph, June 8, 2024

Maggie Chapman, an MSP from the Scottish Greens, is probably best-known for her expertise on gender identity. In an interview last year, for example, she suggested that eight-year-old children should be able to change their own legal gender, while revealing that she doesn’t know whether she has XX or XY chromosomes, because “I’ve never had mine tested”.

Now, however, Ms Chapman has started offering us her expertise on transport, too. Because, during a debate in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, she declared: “Road building is a subsidy for wealthy, usually white men.”

This is a fascinating comment in several ways. First, in its use of the word “wealthy”. I had no idea that Scottish motorists were all so rich. Forget going to university. We should be telling our children to become Dundonian lorry drivers or Glaswegian Amazon couriers, instead.

Then there’s the use of “usually white”. In progressive circles, “white” is a familiar boo word, employed to indicate that something is inherently bad. If white people, and in particular white men, are thought to benefit from a given phenomenon, we must regard it as a heinous social injustice, and oppose it. So, if white men use roads, then road building is wrong. And possibly racist.

Admittedly, some people may object to Ms Chapman’s use of the word “white”. Personally, though, I would contend that it’s the one part of her comment that is factually indisputable. It is absolutely true that wealthy people in Scotland are usually white. Just as poor people in Scotland are usually white. And, for that matter, people in the middle, too.

Instead, I feel that the real flaw in Ms Chapman’s argument came when she proclaimed, “We should be investing in buses.” An intriguing statement. Because it rather invites the question: what does Ms Chapman think buses travel on?

Perhaps things are different in Ms Chapman’s part of Scotland. But, in my experience, buses generally require roads. I might also add that, since a bus is quite a lot heavier than a car, it’s liable to cause more damage to a road’s surface.

Logically, therefore, road building is a subsidy not for wealthy white men, but for poor, non-white women. Or whoever else Ms Chapman.