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Six million holes in Bristol

Comments Off on Six million holes in Bristol 08 March 2018

Six million holes in Bristol

I was not exactly staggered to read the report from the RAC that Britain’s roads are more riddled with pot holes than ever following last week’s brief winter episode. Anyone who drives around Bristol these days takes their life, not to mention their MOT certificate, in their hands. However, I’d describe most of these holes as craters rather than pot holes.

This is where I get fed up with politicians who at times like these remind us that they tell us what to do rather than the other way round. Our government employs the same strategy as most governments by telling us how they feel our pain – presumably their chauffeur-driven ministerial cars feel it on their behalf – by apparently spending “record sums” on roads. Wow: that sounds a lot. What does it mean? “We know road surfaces are a concern for all road users and that is why we are providing local highway authorities in England, with just under £6bn to help improve the condition of our local highway networks.” You are? What does that mean? It gets better: “We are also giving local authorities a record £296m through the pothole action fund – that’s enough to fix just under six million potholes.” Yes, yes, but…

This is what Theresa May does for a living, trots out massive figures and assumes we will all be impressed. As few of us are experts on what the figures mean, the idea is we just shut up. “Good old Theresa,” we shall announce to our fellow customers at Kwik Fit, trying to get our punctures repaired. “She’s giving the council “record sums”. We all smile and nod, gratefully.

If there are four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire, there must be more than six million potholes in Bristol. In fact, driving home from Frenchay, I counted at least five million before I arrived at Tesco. Furthermore, I do not expect many of them to repaired anytime soon.

We hear this all the time. “We are spending more money than ever before on everything,” say governments. “Which is why we are cutting back on public spending.” This is how you eliminate the financial deficit by at the same time doubling the national debt. No wonder why we don’t understand anything.

Us poor bloody motorists pay an absolute fortune in direct and indirect motoring taxes. I know they are just taxes and are not supposed to be earmarked for any specific purpose but I would love to believe, which I don’t, that a substantial sum from our tax burden makes our roads a little less bumpy. I suspect that the “record £296m through the pothole action fund” is 296 million parts of fuck all in the grand scheme of things and once again we’re being had over by a government that doesn’t give a toss.

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