Fringe Box



The Dragon Says: Potholes? Don’t Moan – Vote

Published on: 24 Apr, 2013
Updated on: 24 Apr, 2013

Dragon Roar Still 470Most of us complain about potholes on our roads, so why don’t most of us bother to vote at local elections for people who will be overseeing the next four years of repairs?

Generally, our knowledge of local politics is poor. Many, when they observe a problem with local services, simply blame ‘the council’ without knowing whether it is a responsibility of the borough council or the county council or neither.

This is a great shame. The decisions taken by these bodies often affect our day-to-day lives much more than those taken at Westminster, important though those undoubtedly are.

One hapless county council candidate is reported to have said recently that, when canvassing, the issue most frequently raised on the doorstep was gay marriage.

This is an important issue to many people. Strong feelings exist on both sides of the argument but there is nothing a county councillor can do about it. Those concerned should write to Anne Milton our MP who, to her credit, has tried to carefully assess and reflect feelings within the constituency on this issue.

The state of the roads is another problem many voters raise. This is a county council issue. It is understandable. They are in a very poor state. Surfaces in some residential roads have never been so bad in living memory.

Even on the A road between Guildford and Godalming, not the worst, I’m sure, there are some bad patches on roundabouts, almost impossible to avoid. They must be affecting tyre life and thousands of pounds of our money is being paid out for vehicles damaged by pot holes.

But it could much worse. An accident could be caused if a driver or cyclist suddenly deviates to take avoiding action.

After many years of the county council carrying out road repairs and maintenance with in-house teams, it followed the trend and outsourced the job to a contractor. This, it was expected, would increase efficiency and value for money.

But it does not appear to have worked. Profit is the main objective of any business and we should not expect those contracted to mend roads to be any different private companies do not work on a break-even basis. If we expect high quality, well maintained road surfaces, and we do, we need to budget accordingly and properly supervise those responsibe.

We are told that despite raising council tax Surrey County Council has a surplus in the region of £100 million. The county council has also told us that to avoid shortfalls in years to come it is necessary to raise council tax and forego available subsidy from central government. Perhaps this is true.

But somewhere, somehow the resources need to match the need and we need the roads fixed!

So, don’t just moan about the roads: next time someone knocks on your door asking for your vote, don’t ask them if they play for the blues, or yellows. Who cares? Ask them what they would do about the roads (or any another issue that for which the county council is responsible that irks you). Then vote for the one the you feel gives the best answer as an individual, not a party member.

If you don’t vote you can hardly moan because you are part of the problem. Not voting is not a protest it is simply giving up.  Nothing will  improve that way.

And if you really can’t stomach any of the candidates then just write across the paper, ‘None of these!’.

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Responses to The Dragon Says: Potholes? Don’t Moan – Vote

  1. John Schluter Reply

    April 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    The more than capable David Goodwin makes it plain here.

    Now you know where to place the cross

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