Squirrel Bridges, Porsches & the Politi on Conversation Street
This past week’s Conversation Street unsurprisingly saw topics centered around the Netherlands, and even amongst the peaceful bustle of the port, the boys managed to introduce some controversy.
Starting with the question of which country has the worst police cars, they moved swiftly to otter death rates (a topic which lent itself nicely to a Brexit joke). They then ended with several car-related jokes centered on assisted suicide by Jeremy.
One could argue that, with their fleet of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bugatti, the UAE has the best police cars in the world currently, however, at one time the Netherlands held that claim. Hammond makes the point that, generally, a country’s “average” police car is domestically made (i.e. Chevys and Fords in the USA, and BMWs in Germany), but that was not the case in the Netherlands.
They preferred the German-made Porsche 911 Targa. We know what you’re thinking, but the Dutch police or Rijkspolitie, did in fact drive specially prepared Porsches from 1945-1996.
According to Hammond, the police had a “masterful” plan to persuade the government into allowing this. It included outlining the supposed benefits of a rear-mounted, air-cooled engine for high-speed reverse chases, and the ease with which one could direct traffic in emergency situations from a car with a removable roof.
Richard then claims the Dutch police are still pulling the wool over the government’s eyes by insisting that their bike cops need mountain bikes. Of course, the Netherlands is a very flat country, and so this might seem ridiculous, but really it was just a set up so that Jeremy could show us this photo of some rather, shall we say, enhanced, apparently leather-clad officers. A nod to the Netherlands infamous Red Light District.
Jeremy then turned the conversation to the spectacularly high death rate of otters in the Netherlands. While this seems a bit random, it lends itself nicely to a comment on ridiculous spending. Clarkson makes a joke about a bridge recently built for squirrels by the Dutch, which cost “150,000 euros and that’s 150,000 pounds… 160,000 pounds… 170,000 pounds… We can’t even afford to put mayonnaise on our chips over here anymore!”
Hammond laughs, saying, “Yup that’s Brexit for you”. If you haven’t been following Brexit in the news, it might not have made sense. What they’re referring to is the British Exit (or Brexit) from the European Union, which was voted for this past summer. Since then, the British pound has dropped dramatically in value when compared to the euro and the US dollar. According the BBC, “On 15 December the pound was worth $1.25- compared with $1.51 a year earlier.”
Conversation Street really hit its controversial stride when Jeremy touched on a contentious bill being considered in the Netherlands. This bill would legalize assisted suicide for people over 75 who have an “intrinsic and consistent” wish to die. The boys do steer this neatly back to cars when Jeremy insists he would know it is his time to go when he no longer felt the need to race trains in his car.
Week after week, it has been suggested that instead of taking a smooth turn on to Conversation Street, we should be skittering out of control on to Controversy Street, and this week didn’t disappoint. Though the premise seemed innocent enough, the boys managed to make even a discussion about otters a point for dispute.