Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A Gridlocked City

Thanks to Michael at View From The Bar I am reminded of todays story of politicians and their hypocritical ways.

Yesterday afternoon a burst water pipe stopped the city of Leeds.

In the manner of Sods Law the burst water pipe just happened to be on a particularly busy part of the city, the Inner Ring Road, the route that takes all traffic through and across the centre, the route that nearly every commuter in the city has to use or cross in order to go home and the route that 90% of the traffic coming into or through the city has to use or cross when exiting the motorway.

And as Sods Law goes the burst didn't just happen on the busiest stretch of the Inner Ring Road, it happened on a stretch where the road dips down a little in order to pass under a railway viaduct - this 100 yard undulation in the road became a very nice two foot deep water feature yesterday afternoon and completely closed the route for the rest of the day.

Because of the interdependance of all routes in and through Leeds on the Inner Ring Road the traffic soon stopped and shortly afterwards was reported to be backing up into all of the surrounding suburbs - stories abound this morning of people taking three hours to make a ten minute journey home last night - I'm lucky, my journey to work takes me all of four minutes on a bad day in the suburb of LS16 and last night was no different.

And as Michael has pointed out, last nights chaos will be eagerly pounced upon by the city's elder statesman Councillor Carter, never a one to pass up an opportunity to criticise the Leeds City Councils ruling majority of Labour and Liberal coalition he will no doubt be available today for rentaquotes to all flavours of local media outlets being that he is a fierce critic of private motor vehicles and never misses an opportunity to insist that we should all be using public transport for city bound journeys.

There are of course a few slight flaws in Councillor Carters theories.

The first and most blindingly obvious is that due to central government spending too much pocket money in Iraq and Afghanistan our prestigious Leeds Supertram scheme was cancelled last year by an embarrassed Dept of Transport after they had spent eight years encouraging us to spend £40 million on planning and compulsory purchase issues - Leeds does not have a co-ordinated public transport system at all, not one that you'd like to use if you need to be anywhere on the same day anyway.

And the second point is the hilarious hypocrisy of Councillor Carter and his hatred of private motor vehicles being used in frivolous ways such as getting to work and back every day.

You see a couple of decades ago the noble Councillor Carter was elected mayor for a year, an office which he proudly accepted and an office which bore certain privileges, one of which was the use of the City of Leeds limousine, a rather nice large black car with official council crest on the front, ride in it and you felt like the Queen, or so I was told by my cousin.

And how did my cousin know ?

Well my cousin, the now famous cousin who is getting married in a showbusiness "Hello!" magazine double spread wedding in November and who has allegedly invited me although I have yet to hear or see of this invite - this cousin of mine just happened to be best friends with Councillor Carters son.

The Leeds City Council had another little perk for their employees and guests - at the time they owned a significant proportion of Leeds United's football ground, significant meaning all of it actually, and the council had a private corporate box at the ground.

So it was that for the season that Councillor Carter was mayor, the city limo would pull up outside my cousins house at every home game to collect him and his friend Carter Jnr to take them to Elland Rd to make use of the corporate box there - and then bring them home afterwards of course.

Frivolous use of a motor vehicle when public transport would have done the job just as well ?

No, just political hypocrisy.


Anonymous said...

"There are of course a few slight flaws in Councillor Carters theories."

Actually there are a few in yours. Leeds City Council is not ruled by a Labour/Lib Dem Coalition. Carter is not an opposition politician. Carter is very much pro car.

Gary said...

What a shame you remain anonymous - in fact the situation is actually worse, our beloved councillor holds the post of joint leader of the council and has his turn at the helm from Dec of this year, and if he is pro-car then he has a strange way of showing it, the whole of Leeds City Council's policy for the past couple of decades has been to rid the city centre of private cars and the non-development of the outer ring road continues to provide bottlenecks all around the city for those who don't wish to travel through it.

Mind, if he is pro-car then it would explain the spectacular collapse of the supertram scheme...