Editor’s Com­ment

Cotswold Life - - EDITOR’S COMMENT -

NOVEM­BER is the month of rev­o­lu­tion; a time for re­mind­ing the Pow­ers That Be that they are only the Pow­ers That Be be­cause we, the great Bri­tish pub­lic, tol­er­ate it. And that at any time they could sud­denly find them­selves the Pow­ers That Were.

As well as our own his­tory of gun­pow­der plot­ting, this month also marks In­de­pen­dence Day in An­gola (11), Latvia (18) and Al­ba­nia (28) amongst many oth­ers. (It is also Na­tional Cake Day (26) in the USA. Make of that what you will.)

So with the whiff of cordite up our na­tional nos­trils, this seems to be an ap­pro­pri­ate time to ask the sim­ple ques­tion: Why are our politi­cians al­most com­pletely crap?

I try to stay away from pol­i­tics in these pages, al­though I’m more likely to suf­fer a snub at a cock­tail party than a stretch on the rack, but there’s no way around it. Most of them are bunch of am­a­teur­ish, self-pro­mot­ing, self-in­ter­ested dullards who would strug­gle to even get a job in the real world. That’s prob­a­bly why they went into pol­i­tics straight from univer­sity in the first place.

At na­tional level both main par­ties ap­pear to be au­di­tion­ing for the role of driv­ing the clown car at the circus. The doors fall off, cus­tard pies are thrown and min­is­ters get buck­ets of wa­ter tipped down their pants on a daily ba­sis. Mean­while the PM does a lit­tle dance while her party dis­in­te­grates and the na­tion heads for... well, what? The cliff edge or the sun­lit up­lands? No­body knows.

The op­po­si­tion is no bet­ter. Given a golden op­por­tu­nity to take a clear stance and show a united front, they in­stead de­scend into the fac­tional in­fight­ing that has dogged them for decades. The only thing they seem to agree on is that some­thing must be done about the nasty me­dia (and they will try, oh yes, they will try). And while that nice Mr Cor­byn might be busy mak­ing jam and tend­ing his cour­gettes on his al­lot­ment while re­peat­edly step­ping on gar­den rakes, the satanic Mc­don­nell is busy sharp­en­ing his ice pick in the pot­ting shed.

So let’s look lo­cally, where the de­ci­sions of our elected mem­bers mat­ter. The caveat must be that these peo­ple are not pro­fes­sional politi­cians and are giv­ing up their own time to serve their com­mu­nity. But still...

The trial clo­sure of Boots Cor­ner in Chel­tenham is a prime ex­am­ple of the cloth-eared ar­ro­gance of lo­cal coun­cil­lors. In­tended to make the cen­tre of town a more at­trac­tive shop­ping en­vi­ron­ment, it has caused traf­fic chaos in sur­round­ing ar­eas, in­creased pol­lu­tion caused by nose-to-tail jams, led to thou­sands of driv­ers be­ing fined and has had a dis­as­trous ef­fect on nearby traders. The ‘hot tub’ planter, part of the much-vaunted new street fur­ni­ture has be­come a lit­ter bin for night time rev­ellers and the de­ci­sion not to of­fer driv­ers a di­ver­sion but to “al­low them to find their own routes” would be funny if it wasn’t true. We’re talk­ing con­fused, sat-nav fix­ated car driv­ers here, folks, not herds of wilde­beest cross­ing the African plains.

Stroud District Coun­cil is an­other author­ity guilty of cir­cling the wag­ons against any crit­i­cism. Af­ter com­mis­sion­ing a re­port into car park­ing in Nailsworth, Durs­ley and Wot­ton (the cost of which con­ve­niently fell just short of the £10,000 thresh­old re­quir­ing pub­lic de­bate and ap­proval) the re­sults were rigged to make the case for charg­ing where park­ing was pre­vi­ously free. (Rigged, you say? That’s rather strong. Well de­spite claims that the sur­vey was done on “quiet” days, a count was car­ried out in Nailsworth on a Satur­day when 2,000 peo­ple had turned up to watch For­est Green Rovers play at home. That qual­i­fies as “rigged” to me.) The plan was only dropped in the face of wide­spread op­po­si­tion from wor­ried traders and the pub­lic.

Now the peo­ple of Stone­house and Pain­swick are quite rightly ask­ing for their charges to be dropped.

Just two ex­am­ples of coun­cil cock-ups where the needs of the lo­cal com­mu­nity are ig­nored in pur­suit of some un­re­al­is­tic and un­think­ing greater plan. Mean­while what are they do­ing to help us pre­pare for the consequences of Brexit? Noth­ing. Nada. Zilch.

So are we be­ing served? I’m not so sure.

The ‘hot tub’ planter - pic courtesy of L’ar­ti­san Chel­tenham

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