Breaking with the recent trend the news was first announced via an announcement in The Times, unlike nearly every other recent celebrity, birth, marriage or death which has been announced using Twitter. It is no great surprise in this instance as Mitchell has been quite vocal in his dislike of social networks and the web. It seems that the online response to the news of his engagement may be changing his mind though as he said on Twitter: “Having received so many lovely messages today, I’m finally coming round to the internet.
“Thank you all. I’m incredibly happy,”
The announcement in The Times read:’The engagement is announced between David, son of Mr and Mrs Ian Mitchell, of Oxford, and Victoria, daughter of Dr Anne Coren and the late Mr Alan Coren, of London.’ Victoria’s father was of course the legendarily witty Alan Coren of News Quiz and Punch fame. Her brother Giles is often seen on our screens, normally acting as a food critic and has appeared in several shows paired with comedian Sue Perkins.
Mitchell is still probably best known for his appearances in Peep Show as well as his work with comedy partner Robert Webb, who he met when they were both at Cambridge University. He is also a fairly regular guest on QI.
Coren is the host of tv quiz show Only Connect as well as an author and professional poker player. She once won $1m in a poker tournament and has written a book about her love affair with poker as well as a book about her attempt to make a porn film.
Oh and one other reason that might explain David Mitchell’s dislike of Twitter is that someone using food critic Michael Winner’s name spent some time writing on Twitter about his fascination with Victoria’s breasts. You can read Victoria’s side of the story in her article for the Guardian.
The government has spoken before of how it believes that the 70mph is out of touch with modern driving and it is thought that the M20 between junctions 4 & 7 will be used to trial the new speed limit. This area of motorway is already using a variable mandatory speed limit and has been upgraded several times in recent years with this section now having extra lanes.
It is not altogether surprising that the news has been met with different responses from road user’s organisations and road safety organisations. The Transport Secretary said last year of the proposed increase in speed limit: “Britain’s roads should be the arteries of a healthy economy and cars are a vital lifeline for many.”
“It is time to put Britain back in the fast lane of global economies and look again at the motorway speed limit which is nearly 50 years old, and out of date thanks to huge advances in safety and motoring technology. Increasing the motorway speed limit to 80mph would generate economic benefits of hundreds of millions of pounds through shorter journey times.
The road safety charity Brake have said of the proposed increase: “It is hard to see the logic behind this trial when the potential benefits of 80mph limits are so questionable. On our congested motorways they are unlikely to significantly shorten journey times, and could lengthen them by creating an uneven flow and increasing speed differentials between cars and speed-limited trucks. Driving at 80mph also means higher fuel consumption and increased carbon emissions.”
The existing 70mph speed limit has been in place since 1965 and the argument from the government and many road users is that cars are now much safer than they were back then. The numbers of people killed on UK roads has fallen 75% since 1965 despite much higher numbers of people travelling on the roads. One thing that does seem to worry people is that an increase to 80mph may be seen as a signal that it is ok to travel at 90mph as people seem to routinely exceed any speed limit by another 10mph.
Even if the trial is proved to be successful the new speed limit will not apply to all of the UK motorway network. It seems likely from comments made earlier this month by the Road Safety Minister that all 2-lane sections of the motorway network will not have the speed limit raised regardless of how this trial goes.