Local Government

This page could be much, much longer than it is. It could indeed be several big, thick books. Problem with that is anyone reading them would be much more likely than not to slit their wrists long before reaching the end, so in order to avoid the possibility of a run on razor blades leading to supply difficulties for those who actually want to shave with them and a consequent proliferation of scraggy beards, I shall limit my discourse to coverage of only a very few instances.

(Also, I can't be arsed.)

Why is it that almost any report of the doings of The Council which appears in the local newspaper leads so inevitably to the thought "How is anyone that stupid even allowed to exist?"

I was reading the local paper on the bog the other day (I keep a copy or two in there, half a page folded up makes a good pan baffle and it saves money on bog paper too; fret ye not, the copy I was reading had not yet been put to either of these uses) and came across a report about a local councillor complaining about the state of the road surface in the High Street.

The substance of his complaint was that despite having been resurfaced only a few years ago, it was now in an unacceptably poor condition due to damage from heavy lorries. Moreover, this was a recurring state of affairs - lorry damage had necessitated several resurfacings at similarly short intervals in the past. His proposed solution was to ban lorries from using the High Street altogether.

One is driven to wonder if he even knows what the High Street is. Simply put, it is the principal shopping street of the town - as a High Street should be. It is, as one would expect, full of shops. These shops need vehicular access in order to receive deliveries of new stock. And with that part of the town still holding to its medieval layout and building density, no vehicular access exists to the rear of the great majority of the shops, nor is it possible to construct such access without knocking down all the buildings behind the shops. The only way a delivery lorry can get to any of the shops is by coming to their front doors - which means it has to drive down the High Street.

Which is what this frantic moron wants to stop.

So we'd have a High Street with an absolutely pristine surface. Unsullied by lorries. Unsullied, too, even by human feet... with all the shops closed down due to being unable to receive deliveries, why would anyone be needing to walk down it? Even the pigeons would no longer be there without any humans dropping bits of food for them to eat. The centre of town would become a ghost city, with a sparkling shiny road surface running between rows of spooky derelict shops. Or rows of insurance offices and other such dead organisations which don't need deliveries because they don't sell anything, which amounts to much the same thing.

And that's not all there is to it. The High Street is "pedestrianised". A few delivery lorries a day are all the traffic it bleeding well gets. But there are several main roads also running through the town, which see continuous heavy traffic all day every day - everything from bicycles up to much heavier lorries than the ones which typically use the High Street, and a fuck load more of them too.

Yet do all these other roads also need resurfacing every few years because of the lorry damage? No, they do not.

The situation that has led one gigantic dick to propose banning shops from receiving deliveries has arisen from the actions of other gigantic dicks in the past. Because the High Street is "pedestrianised" they think they only need to surface it robustly enough to cope with pedestrians. They ignore the fact that it is not solely used by pedestrians. They surface it to match a word, an ideal, and then have to keep re-doing it every few years because their fantasy High Street is not the same as the real one.

And the currently-active gigantic dick reveals further depths of stupidity when you realise that his lorry-ban proposal implies that he thinks it has to be done that way. He recognises at least that surfacing the High Street to standards appropriate to a fantasy idea of its usage does not produce a result which lasts well in reality. But the idea of actually doing a proper fucking job of it does not cross the half pint of putrid pea soup which does duty for his brain. He doesn't grasp the idea that it is actually possible to surface the street sufficiently robustly to withstand lorries, even though nearly every other street in the town is surfaced like that. For some reason he thinks it's somehow impossible to surface the High Street in any way other than shit, and so other things have to be turned to shit as well so as not to overload the shit's capabilities.

What amazes me is that he's still alive... I'd have expected him to have starved to death by now as a result of not being able to work out which bodily orifice he should use for putting food in.

And what's even more worrying is that he was elected. He's there because people chose him to be there. Which means they must be even more stupid than he is. The same people choose the national government, too. Every level of the country's government is chosen by people whose mental processes operate at the level where it is a major intellectual challenge to work out how to wipe their arse. It's a horrifying thought.

If we look at Bedford we can see another example of electoral stupidity. A few years ago Bedford decided that it was going to have an elected mayor. Oh, whoop-de-bloody-do, excuse me while I have a wank. And this will make things better how, exactly?

As it turned out, one of the candidates was Frank Branston, the editor of "Bedfordshire on Sunday" - a local newspaper rather better regarded than most local papers, much of whose popularity derived from it printing... well, stuff very like this page, in fact. All about the latest fucking stupid thing the council had done and what a bunch of fucking idiots they were, only without the fuckings. And because of this, well, you can probably guess - everyone voted for him. They actually thought that if he was the mayor he would stop all the stupid shit happening. Can you believe it?

Of course what did happen was that he totally sold out to the council and went all municipal and heavy. The council carried on doing fucking stupid things, only now it was Branston trying to make out that they were actually wonderful things and the new head and staff of "Beds on Sunday" calling him a dick.

Just what the juddering fuck else did they expect to happen? Can they really not see that anyone who actually wants to be in local government - or any level of government, for that matter - is necessarily a cunt, because otherwise they wouldn't want to, and once in office will proceed to act like a cunt? It's not as if there's any shortage of illustrative instances. It happens every bleeding time, and yet every bleeding time people expect it to be different. Which is like expecting it to not get dark when the sun goes down and being surprised every evening when it does.

As it happens, the topic of resurfacing High Streets gives a fine opportunity to illustrate one of the stupidities of Bedford council that "Beds on Sunday" wrote stuff like this page about - can't remember whether Branston was editor or mayor at the time, but it doesn't really make any difference. The council decided to resurface - well, not actually the High Street, which is the southbound A6, but a pedestrianised street which serves an equivalent function. In the process they flattened the kerbs, but they installed bollards along the old kerb line to keep delivery vehicles off the "pavement" bits.

These pavement bits, then, which really were only going to be walked on in this street... apparently there was only one surfacing material which could possibly stand up to such an arduous duty. Or at least, that's the bullshit they came out with, as if everyone couldn't bleeding see that every other pavement in the town was not surfaced with this magic material and yet still managed to stand up to being walked on. That material was... slabs of granite, imported from China at a cost of three quarters of a million pounds.

You. Great. Fucking. Twats.

Anyway, I've just had another shit, and this time the piece of council stupidity I found in the local paper was a different kind of fucking the streets up. One of the main roads leading out of the city is beset with chronic traffic jams. "One of the most congested roads in the city", they called it. So people are trying to find alternative routes to avoid getting stuck in the jams, as you would expect. The council were whining and binding about people who don't like sitting in traffic jams, and saying that something had to be done about it.

There's the start of the problem right there. They think "something has to be done about it"... regardless of whether it's actually possible to do anything effective or not. And in this case, it isn't. The problem is that the roads are not big enough for all the people wanting to get in and out of the city. As long as the city exists, there will be a lot of people wanting to get in and out of it - so there's nothing you can do about that. And the road is the size it is because all the rest of the space is taken up with buildings, so you can't do anything about that either.

You could, of course, solve the problem with nukes. Either nuke the outskirts of the city and get rid of all the buildings which are in the way of widening the road, or nuke the city centre so people aren't wanting to get in and out of it any more. But the practical difficulties associated with this solution are rather more than it is possible to cope with, so in practical terms, there is simply fuck all you can do except grin and bear it.

But the council, being composed of ingrained fuckwits, are too fuckwitted to see this obvious point. They are so hung up on the idea of "something must be done" that they simply can't recognise the idea of "it is not possible to do anything effective". So they do "something" anyway, even though it will at best be ineffective, and much more likely make the problem worse. As we shall see...

What did they think would be a good way to deal with this most congested road in the city and stop people wanting to find another route?

Install bus priority schemes and cycle lanes.

Now a "bus priority scheme" is essentially a massive cunt. What happens is that on wider sections of the road, there is a bus lane. Then you get to a pinch point, like a junction or a narrowing of the road. Here there is a set of traffic lights, with separate lights for the bus lane and the car lane. The lights go red for the cars and hold everyone up while a bus comes barrelling down the bus lane and cuts in front of everyone because the lights for buses have stayed green. Then after the lights there is no bus lane so the bus now shares the lane with the cars and proceeds to hold everyone up even more by stopping all the time. The result, of course, is that there is a lot more congestion and a lot more people being a lot more pissed off. It's the sort of fucking stupid idea that only a complete and utter wanker would like.

And since "complete and utter wanker" and "councillor" are strongly correlated states, the complete and utter councillors are proposing to "fix" the congestion on one of the most congested roads in the city by making the congestion worse.

Could it be that they are actually stupid enough to think that if the buses can get into town a minute or two quicker people will use them instead of their cars? I am very much afraid that this might be the case. It is after all a common characteristic of councils everywhere that they wank themselves silly over public transport, have this moronic idea that it'd be just as good as cars if only people could be persuaded to use it, and think that that magic can be worked by even the tiniest improvements, despite all the vast body of practical experience which contradicts such a proposition.

Buses are SHIT. They do not go from where you want to go from. They do not arrive at where you want to arrive at. They go when they want to go, not when you want to go. They are fucking slow because they stop every few hundred yards and fuck about letting people on and off. They take tortuous routes instead of direct ones which makes them even slower. They are expensive. And they are public. You can't make your journey in peace and privacy, you are forced to share your personal space with odd strangers who smell and fart and look at you funny and sing along to their Seashells in public and have screaming kids with them and all sorts of other annoying things. People don't use buses because they want to. They use them because they don't have a choice. People who have a car do have a choice, and no matter how fraught the car journey may be, it is still orders of magnitude less shit than doing the same journey on a fucking bus. So they choose the car. And they are not going to alter that choice for some reason as trivial and insignificant as a minute or two knocked off the bus journey time. They are not going to alter that choice unless the whole experience of bus travel is improved beyond recognition - improved to a degree which the whole nature of public transport renders impossible, because, for a start, it would have to no longer be public. But councils the land over are way too fucking thick to appreciate any of this and persist in their moronic conviction that a slow, indirect bus full of smelly people and screaming kids and covered in councillors' spunk is just as good as a car.

For fuck's sake.

Hey, councillor. You see that little zip on the front of your trousers? That's so you can get your dick out when you need a piss. No, really it is. It's great. It saves you having to do it in your pants and let it run down your leg. You should try it, it's much more comfortable than having soggy trousers... just make sure you remember to put it away again afterwards. Then, once you have advanced mentally to the point of not constantly pissing yourself, you might just about be ready to start to FUCKING REALISE THAT MAKING THINGS WORSE DOES NOT MAKE THEM BETTER!!!! And until you have developed a normal facility of thought just stay the fuck away from anything requiring more intelligence than farting. Got it? Don't try and fix our roads when you don't even know what the fucking difference between "better" and "worse" is. You great fucking stupid shit.

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