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News and Comment May 2024

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27 May - Wagwan endz mandam? (*)

A weekend drive to Malmesbury was an eye opener in several ways. The M25 was restricted to 50 m.p.h. from Junction 5 (Sevenoaks) almost to Junction 7 (M23) with Junction 10 signed as being “shut”. The M4 was restricted to 50 as far as Reading and to 40 around Newbury. Nowhere was anyone working.

All of it due to the installation of emergency stopping places which would have been installed in the first place if the Smart Motorways had been built to the original specification. I felt the journey was a metaphor for the whole country, nothing is done right and the consequences are dragging everything and everyone down. Contrary to the many illuminated notices, Junction 10 was in fact open but whether to all exits drivers could only guess.

My son, just home from a trip to Europe where his mission was improving vehicle safety, said that Smart Motorways are by far the safest to drive on and the implication was that whoever made the decision (Sunak and a non-entity called Mark Harper) to bow to tabloid opinion was not very bright. As a political aside he has met the Shadow Transport Minister (Bill Esterton) several times because he turns up at all the industry safety events to learn his brief and no Minister ever has.

Wiltshire is as you might guess very much Conservative territory but their Net Zero policy is going to see the farmland around my son’s village disappear under two billion (†) solar panels and protest posters were everywhere. The Lib Dems look like mopping up the protest vote which is ironic when you think that if it was not for those idiots we would be benefitting from cheap and reliable nuclear power right now and not on imported gas.

When asked recently how old my granddaughter was I said 13 but time has flown even faster than I thought. I was subjected to non-stop Spotify via an ear offending Bluetooth speaker for most of Saturday. Teenage (she is approaching 15) music has changed since Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley in a pair of too tight jeans (according to my mother) and my own daughter’s preoccupation first with Saturday Night Fever and Grease and later Madonna. The song Greased Lightnin’ could not be played in polite company because of the inclusion of the word shit and Madonna took things a step further.

How things have changed. Some of today’s songs require translation into English. Google ‘Roadman Slang’ if you are as ignorant as I am. You too can then glorify shanking a peng ting.

Fortunately she doesn’t seem to be influenced by it and recently achieved school notoriety by telling the school’s smoking, vaping, drug dealing (and arrested) bully exactly what she thought of him and got away with it. There is the Young Citizen of the Year Award to be respected and the D Day beacon to be lit. I forgot to photograph her certificate from the Mayor and glass statuette but let’s say it was in a different class to Bexley’s plastic tat.

While watching her take her first driving lesson on a disused airfield a Bonkers’ email arrived. It said…

I’m sure the election will throw up some amazing stuff. Iְ’m relying on you to brighten the next month. No pressure then!!!

Do I really have to? At present I have two metaphoric pendulums before my eyes. One is firmly stuck in the Sunak richly deserves total humiliation position. I have met many people in my life who go to work and make a total mess of things but none ever set out to do that. There are so many things where Government policy could be changed towards a more Conservative position at little cost but Sunk [sic} is the first person I have come across who appears to go to work solely to eff things up as much as possible.

The other pendulum, the one on which party to vote for, oscillates wildly daily or even more frequently. I couldn’t tell you where it is today!

Another email commented on the Section 32 exemptions and the fact that some missing addresses are easily found on the web. That is true but the example given is out of date. The contentious issue the blog was trying to address was purely the absence of such addresses from the official Council Register of Interests and why, not whether it can be found elsewhere, such as this website. My personal view is I don’t much care as long as they live locally and know their ward well.

Over the years some of the reasons for an address being absent from the Register have come my way and none have been frivolous. Returning if I may to Malmesbury for a moment, one of my son’s friends stood for election in 2021 (Covid delayed) and got so fed up with the death threats he didn’t bother earlier this month. It is not only in Khan’s London that you might be smoked by a shank wielding road.

† My estimate based on claimed output.
* What’s up local friends?


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