There are various indicators of a region’s prosperity, empty shops being one of them, but also the condition of the roads and the general infrastructure. Here is a photograph of one of the many potholes in the roads in Sheffield. Nothing remarkable about a pothole, you might think, but this road is not an alleyway, or a quiet residential street, or a private road, or even a neglected B-road. This is the A61, the main route south out of Sheffield towards Chesterfield. This particular hole is nearly two inches deep and my foot has been included in the photo for scale, but there are many more. Here is a photo taken just a few feet further up the same road.
In fact, driving in Sheffield, both within the city and the wider region, progressively requires the skills of a rally driver and soon we will all need 4x4s just get to the nearest Tesco.
Fortunately, I was young when video games were first around and I honed my driving skills back in the late 1970s on the supremely challenging Atari “Night Driver”, the only thing lacking from that minimalist simulation being the barely avoidable holes that threaten to burst your tyres as you bounce over them. -G-A-M-E—O-V-E-R-
I don’t blame Sheffield City Council, they can only do what they can with what they’ve got. So who do I blame?
Margaret Thatcher, of course. And more recently Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron. These imbeciles have starved the local authorities of money and sold off the contracts with Private Finance Initiatives such that private companies are are now skimming the contracts to provide value for their shareholders whilst failing to provide the service necessary. It’s just another example of legalised theft.
It might be that there is some amazingly clever and wicked strategy to all this, but actually I doubt it. I think that David Cameron is the ignorant, media-trained stooge that he seems to be. The Conservatives claim to be friendly to business but are demonstrating a criminal level of negligence in the nation’s infrastructure, although a cynical mind might think that the local authorities are being starved of resources in order to soften them up for the fracking bribes.
Last year, my wife and I went on holiday to North Wales. I have been many times before, but not recently, and the first thing I noticed was how good the roads are compared with back home. I had assumed that the challenging condition on our roads was a country-wide malaise that was due to the the Great Bank Robbery of 2007/8 but it seems that not everyone else is making such a monumental fuck-up of their country as us English.
Margaret Thatcher was a deluded sociopath and a professional liar. She knew very well that privatisation would not bring “greater choice” and “better value”, as we were promised. It was just a con that was sold to the British public in order to legitimise the theft of public assets.
We have a government of thieves, liars and imbeciles and the sooner the general election comes, the better.
Even if roadworks started today, it will take ten years for South Yorkshire’s roads to approach anything like the standard one might expect in the First World.
So until then, Sheffield welcomes very careful drivers.