DUNCAN BARKES: A case of personalised plates pretention

Duncan Barkes
Duncan Barkes

I HAVE never seen a personalised number plate that looks remotely classy.

They seem to be the domain of overpaid prancing footballers, the self-made man (or woman), or those craving attention.

They prove that no amount of money can buy style.

But, for the DVLA, it is a nice little earner, as there are plenty who are prepared to hand over vast amounts cash to satisfy their vanity.

Figures from last year show the DVLA made £67million from the sale of such plates.

Since 1989, £1.8billion has been raised for the Treasury by the flogging off of personalised plates at auction and through its website.

The question, surely, is why on earth you would spend such a lot of dosh on something that, frankly, makes you look a bit desperate?

Lord Sugar gets around London in a top-of-the-range Rolls-Royce bearing the plate AMS1.

It can be argued that he is the classic example of a working-class boy made good, but is the Rolls-Royce Phantom, the seat in the House of Lords, the many millions and a top-rated television programme not enough to showcase his success?

Perhaps the personalised plate is an East End success symbol?

Lord Sugar is not the only successful businessman who likes a fancy plate.

In 2008, Robert Harverson spent almost a quarter of a million pounds on plate 1RH.

I can only presume that in the world of business such things matter, but it all seems incredibly shallow to me.

And I have never understood why someone would blow a fortune on a bespoke plate but then drive around in a posh car with blacked out windows. It is a paradox in the purest sense.

Then you get those who do not quite have the cash for a personalised plate, so they “change” their existing plate by moving certain numbers and letters closer together, or by using the rivet as a dot to the letter “i” or as a full-stop.

I assume these people are a little bit soft in the head.

Of course, it is a matter of personal choice but, to me, personalised plates scream pretention, overindulgence and an obvious insecurity about your own identity and status.

Do people really not have better things to spend their money on?

Calling all Downton fans

IF you are a fan of Downton Abbey, then there is a rather splendid event taking place that you might like to attend.

Jimmy’s Banquet and Auction in Aid of Medical Detection Dogs is being held on Saturday, June 29, at The Hilton Avisford Park Hotel, near Arundel.

The event is being supported and attended by cast members from ITV’s Downton Abbey.

Tickets and more information are available online, via the website www.jimmysbanquetandauction.eventbrite.co.uk

The event is being organised by Sarah Miles, a local lady, who owes her life to the charity and her magnificent hound, Jimmy.