"I'm a friend of the motorist. Why wouldn't I be? Like I said, I'm a motorist myself."
What's more, he's not embarrassed by the fact that he is good friends with an unapologetic, politically incorrect petrolhead named Jeremy Clarkson.
“I know that things have been tough at the petrol and diesel pumps over the last few years, and when I've filled the car I've been confronted with some frankly astronomic bills.
"Add that to the way this government has hammered people with stealth taxes and retrospective Vehicle Excise Duty hikes, then it's clear that we have got to do things very differently and make life easier for families facing these sorts of sky-high motoring bills."
So, hey, people, let’s listen one last time to the current chief executive of the London Cycling Campaign:
get part of that feelgood… the leadership is genuine…
Yes, thrill to the fact that we now have
a cycling prime minister!
Christian Wolmar isn’t quite so optimistic:
Philip Hammond’s first encounter with the press has sent me into deepest depression. He is quoted as saying that he would end Labour’s “war on the motorist”, a ridiculous concept born emanating from the Daily Mail and the fantasy world of Clarkson.
This is utterly dispiriting in two ways. First, having gone into government with another party, such ridiculously partisan pronouncements suggest there is not going to be any Libdem influence on transport. But secondly, why does Hammond feel he has to play these sort of populist politics, given there is not going to be an election for another five years. If that is his level of the understanding of transport, then we are in for a fallow few years.
Well, exactly. Over the period of the current government it is dismally predictable that car dependency will continue to be pampered, walking will continue to decline, and cycling will continue to flatline.