I'd love to give you a lift, but dashboard says: no

Published: 5 Apr 2012 09:300 comments

FOR a born and bred, dyed-in-the-wool technophobe it's a given that ignorance is bliss; a state of mind usually accompanied by the vacant smile of someone confident in the belief that a little knowledge is truly a dangerous thing.

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Heck, when there are people better qualified than yourself to understand how and why a thing works, surely it's sufficient to know that it does.

Take cars. Once upon a time you kept them fed and watered and, unless something fell off or blew up, you drove thousands of worry-free miles before getting a service, which might or might not reveal defects of which you'd hitherto been blissfully unaware. These days my car sends me dashboard messages; mostly mundane stuff about the lights being on, a door being open, the presence of ice or rain, the kind of stuff even I can usually figure out for myself. Then one day recently, out of this diet of banality, it suddenly shattered my ignorant bliss by proclaiming "anti-pollution system faulty".

Fearing militant greenies setting up a protest camp on my drought-stricken front lawn, or worse, I hastened to the garage to discover the fault message was being transmitted from something called the 'inlet camshaft position sensor'. However, after investigation, it transpired it was the sensor itself which was faulty; a physician heal thyself kind of a thing. And without the little knowledge imparted from the dashboard, I could have continued blissfully driving the car without danger or hindrance till the next service.

Hapless Hattie Harman sounded as if she'd been caught in her own ignorance is bliss moment when she was wheeled out last week to explain why Saddam Hussain's mate had left Labour's Bradford West by-election campaign looking like a weapons of mass destruction bullseye target.

"Only a week ago," burbled Hattie, "People were telling us they were going to vote Labour." Heaven forbid someone should lie to a politician. Or simply want a free lift to the polling station.

Francis Maude, of course, probably wished we'd all remained blissfully unaware of his ignorance after a cunning PR stunt to make the Unite union look bad, something we'd all thought it quite capable of doing unaided, had backfired so spectacularly.

But of course British politicians should really steer clear of anything to do with the oil industry. Successive governments have made a pig's ear of keeping a check on oil levels in the North Sea.

Yet how could they do otherwise when all the dipsticks are in Westminster?

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