WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Land Rover Monthly - - Letters - Peter Mil­ner We­ston Colville Cam­bridgeshire

LRM Ref­er­en­dum: Should we call green­lanes green roads? You de­cide!

I’M WRIT­ING to you as the ed­i­tor of the lead­ing Land Rover magazine and ask­ing you to sup­port a cam­paign to pre­vent our green roads from grad­u­ally be­ing closed.

I be­lieve it is a fact that the more a lie is re­peated, the more it gets as­sumed to be true. This is cer­tainly true of the pub­lic’s per­cep­tion of the na­ture of our hobby of green­lan­ing, as they have the view that it is off-road mo­tor­ing. This view is pro­moted by many of the ram­bling-type groups, in­clud­ing GLEAM, the Ram­blers As­so­ci­a­tion, the Peak Dis­trict Green Lane Al­liance and many more (I found 20 such groups in a quick Google search). In fact, they ac­tu­ally de­fine green­lan­ing as an off-road ac­tiv­ity. And this is how the pub­lic have now ac­cepted this as a fact. It is too late to re­deem this sit­u­a­tion.

Hence I be­lieve that we must change the words we use to de­fine our hobby so as to al­ter the pub­lic’s view.

Con­se­quently I sug­gest that we change from say­ing ‘green­lan­ing’ to us­ing the term ‘green road driv­ing’ / ‘green road days’ / ‘green road days out’, etc.

This phrase has been cho­sen as the pub­lic think that it is their God-given right to drive on a road and would be in­censed if there was any like­li­hood that this might be with­drawn. Their sym­pa­thy may in­flu­ence the treat­ment of pro­posed green road clo­sures. And, this is par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant when this sub­ject is put be­fore Par­lia­ment again.

I have made this sug­ges­tion to sev­eral mo­tor clubs and other rel­e­vant bod­ies. For in­stance GLASS are now us­ing this term in their news­let­ter and Trail Rid­ers Fel­low­ship use it ex­clu­sively. Some mo­tor clubs have adopted the phrase, too. How­ever, it will not be­come pop­u­lar un­less a re­spected pub­li­ca­tion, such as your­selves, gives it a stamp of ap­proval. Hence if you used it in your magazine it would have so much im­pact that it would drop into com­mon us­age.

Of course, this is a sub­tle change, but if it in­flu­ences the gen­eral view, then it must help. And if you lead this ini­tia­tive then oth­ers will fol­low.

On the same topic, you could be­come the cham­pi­ons of the green road com­mu­nity by lead­ing a cam­paign to save our green roads. No main­stream magazine has taken this up with any en­thu­si­asm yet, but one will even­tu­ally when they re­alise that a large part of their read­er­ship are green road users. If green roads are sub­se­quently shut then you could lose a por­tion of your read­er­ship.

The ram­blers are well or­gan­ised and have sev­eral con­tin­u­ing cam­paigns di­rected at Par­lia­ment and the press with the sin­gle ob­jec­tive of ban­ning mo­tor ve­hi­cles from green roads. But where is our re­sponse? In­di­vid­u­als agree that there should be a spear­head and what could be bet­ter than a magazine of your cal­i­bre?

So I ask you to join, or rather lead, in the fight to pro­tect our green roads from be­ing taken from us, by a sim­ple cor­rec­tion to the text you use or bet­ter still by be­com­ing the cham­pi­ons of this im­por­tant cause.

I like your line of ar­gu­ment, Peter, so I am putting it to LRM’S read­ers to de­cide: should we call green­lanes green roads? Please let us know your thoughts – Ed.

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