Monday, April 22, 2024

A Sticker Not A Solution

Nikolay Kalinin calls out Grant Shapps’ decision to replace ‘GB’ car stickers with ‘UK’ ones as utterly ludicrous

There are so many things that Conservative MPs could focus on right now.


They could work on reviving British business – if they truly care about Brexit – or strengthening links between the different regions in order to prevent them from declaring independence, but instead they decided to instead obsess about car stickers. Yes, you heard it right, car stickers.


Transport secretary Grant Shapps recently announced that production of traditional ‘GB‘ motifs used by British drivers abroad will be discontinued in favour of a legal emblem stating ‘UK.’ Their reasoning? The Daily Mail reports it is being done “as an attempt to win over unionists amid heightened tensions over post-Brexit border checks” and in order to “send a clear message about Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom.” Exactly how the new rule will “win over unionists,” however, was not explained by the minister.


Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger responded to the announcement by stating: “I can’t see the point. It seems to me to be a complete waste of money when we don’t need to be wasting money. It also seems to be a slap in the face for people who are proud to be GB.”


However, another Tory MP told the Mail: “The United Kingdom is stronger because it has the link with Northern Ireland because if you say Great Britain you are excluding Northern Ireland. I think it strengthen the ties at a time when we have got a problem.”


If the transport secretary really cared about “including” Northern Ireland within the country, he would by this point get on with the construction of a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland that Boris Johnson pledged to build a few months ago, which would benefit national trade and establish an easier connection between Northern Ireland and the rest of UK.


Policy like this affirms what many online satirists and journalists have been saying: The Conservatives care about anything but the people they’re supposed to represent. Instead of passing legislation designed to help people, they introduce initiatives that are either pointless, such as One Britain One Nation Day, or do things that make life worse for people, for example by not closing the country in time when the Delta variant began to spread.


COVID has exposed even more how these people absolutely don’t care about the public’s wellbeing, because while Boris Johnson has pledged to remove the rule of compulsory mask-wearing in shops and public transport, a recent poll by YouGov has concluded that 71% of people in England, Wales and Scotland want mask-wearing to be compulsory after July 19th, with 66% saying that the rules should remain in shops and enclosed public spaces.


If you need more evidence, just look at the Conservatives trying to suppress the right to protest with the Policing and Crime Bill, which Labour proposed to amend by introducing a minimum sentence for rape. Unsurprisingly, the Conservatives voted against the amendment. They don’t care about the people who suffered violence in their households during lockdown, because as Labour MP Angela Rayner stated, the Conservatives are “more interested in protecting statues than protecting women.”


The Conservatives need to realise that even though they have a 363-seat majority, that does not grant them immunity from public scrutiny and accountability. They still have a job of representing the people, and it’s about time that they started doing that, instead of passing laws that are unnecessary and pointless.


Pictured top: Aside from being “beguiled” by the e-scooter lobby, as we reported on Sunday, Grant Shapps is now set to inflict his plain personal obsession with ‘UK’ stickers over ‘GB’ stickers on the British public.


Grant Shapps UK GB car stickers 2
Shapps’ decision has been ridiculed on all sides of the political divide. It will not only anger Brexiteers, but also those whose loyalties still are to the European Union.
GB plate UK
Of the move, Ian Liddell-Grainger MP remarked: “That is a bit bloody rum. I can’t see the point. It seems to me to be a complete waste of money when we don’t need to be wasting money. It also seems to be a slap in the face for people who are proud to be GB. It is a waste of time, a waste of money. I don’t know why we are bothering.” Going further, ‘The Sun’ added: “The AA described the move, which was settled on in May but not announced, leaving them feeling left ‘in the lurch’ as stocks of some 50,000 ‘GB’ motifs are now completely worthless.”
Previous advice, such as shown in this video shared on YouTube in February, is now out of date. Those that don’t follow the new rules, ‘The Sun’ concludes: “It will be a legal requirement to slap the ‘UK’ one on your car, and rule flouters could face fines. These will be down to the individual countries.”
Nikolay Kalinin
Nikolay Kalinin
Nikolay Kalinin is a blogger who has been writing articles published on the automotive site ‘DriveTribe’ since July 2020. Previously, he ran his own blog about politics and culture in Russia.


  1. Grant Shapps or Michael Green. Why has this man been given any form of office? Has always seemed like a pound shop Bercow. Is this the best initiative that DfT can come up with? We have dreadful roads and a fragmented over priced and poorly delivering rail service for starters

  2. Indeed Nikolay; posturing bluster always wins out over meaningful substance or initiative. They might reflect that in allowing their Mail reading little-englanders to jingo the masses out of Europe the money was past on its way then over into it. An awful lot of British banking hails out of The Mound in Scotland and me-thinks that it will not be very long before Ms Sturgeon cottons on that her country is effectively underwriting £12T of M3 none of which is being played with in her Country. Of course she will want to break up The Union and go back in. I predict to you that she will do this (soon) by aligning fully with Ireland. She will do this not only for strength but that in a stroke she will meet all of the weighty requirements that enable entry to Countries.

  3. It’s a typical bloody MP, they have to come up with stupid ideas like this to justify their existence. How much will this stupid idea cost the tax payer?
    When you think of all the more urgent things this money could be spent on, it’s bloody just crazy.


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