We’ve had both the Labour candidates and their Conservative counterparts canvassing this past few weeks in the lead up to the local council election. Which is itself interesting, as they have never bothered overmuch before.
Our ward swung from Labour to the Conservatives back in 2007 and is up for reelection next week. Back then, I indulged in a little tactical voting. Going by the significant swing away from Labour, I wasn’t the only one. All three sitting councillors lost their seats. I suspected at the time, that this would see Roger Berry ousted at the general election. I was not wrong.
This time around, I’m really not sure. The Conservative chappie was all smiles and told us that he was concerned about local issues such as the parks – and, importantly, the lorries that do a three-point-turn at the bottom of the road. Well, yes, I know they are keen to stop this as are their Labour opposite numbers. We get leaflets telling us about the campaign and how important it is that it be stopped.
Here, perhaps, I might give a little background. Our road is a horseshoe type cul-de-sac. This leads out onto a road that is partially one-way due to the narrowness of the road up the hill under the railway bridge to the left as you turn out. There is a 7.5t limit on the road under the railway bridge. As you turn right, there are small trading units. As you traverse this road, to your left is a small estate that was once a factory and on the right small businesses such as a timber merchant. At the end of the road is a car franchise. All of these businesses have deliveries and the trucks that deliver have to come into what is a eventually a residential road and get out again. Because of the weight limit, they have to get out the same way they get in. Ergo, they come to the bottom of our road and use it as a turning point. Residents, apparently, are angry about this. I am a resident and I have never been asked if I am angry about this. Maybe I should get angry that I wasn’t asked?
Okay, fair enough, I don’t live on the corner, merely a hundred years or so further up, but I have had my journeys slightly delayed waiting for trucks to complete their manoeuvres. No one has asked if I am angry about this. Maybe I should be angry about it – maybe I should be angry that no one has asked if I am angry that my journeys have been delayed by a few minutes. They could have been important minutes. As it is, I just select neutral, sit back and let them get on with it. I wasn’t aware that it was a big issue until I saw the election leaflets. Apparently it is and the local councillors have been getting bollards put up – I wondered where they came from – and 7.5t limit signs at the entrance to the road. Apparently, though, the one for going ahead is in the wrong place which is why the truckers are still turning into our road. The campaign, we were told, continues until this sign is re-sited to the correct side of the road. That way the trucks would have to pass it to conduct their manoeuvre, whereas at the moment, they don’t. And people are angry about this.
Once this happens – as it will – the only alternative for the truckers is to reverse out into a main road onto a mini roundabout – those that don’t deliver to the old factory, that is.
When this chap went, Mrs L made the comment that none of what he was on about bothered her in the slightest. It doesn’t bother me, either. Perhaps there’s something wrong with us. The trading units don’t cause me any problem and the trucks are, at best, a minor inconvenience on the odd occasion that they delay my journey.
All of which leads to what to do on next Thursday. I’ve stopped caring about the colours of the rosettes. I have no interest in the local campaigns to stop people doing things and while parks are nice, it’s not a burning issue for me. The stuff they think is important is of no consequence to me. All I want from the council is the bins emptied and the streets lit. I would prefer it if they didn’t piss my money up the wall on traffic management schemes and more traffic lights, but that’s about it – and it’s a lost cause anyway. Maybe I should start a campaign. Labour, Conservative – or that rare bird around here, the Lib Dems – won’t actually change the status quo. They are all part of that status quo. They like the status quo. It works in their favour after all.
I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that voting merely encourages them. It changes nothing other than the rosette.
So, what to do? Nothing, probably.