Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Thursday, 7 January 2010

No salt and no snow ploughs.

From the Universality of Cheese, via Charlotte Gore

Now Gordon the North Britisher wouldn’t do this, would he?

Not that I’m the kind of chap to comment on unsubstantiated rumours……….but word reaches me that a certain cooncil official, maybe in the South of Scotland, in a rare display of initiative and foresight, realising that said cooncil was rapidly running out of salt for for the roads, contacted the people in the Welsh salt mines and placed an order for a sizeable amount of the anti-slippy salt.

A local haulage company were allegedly asked to nip down to Wales and pick up a convoy of the salt to get us through the next part of what we like to refer to as Winter.

Upon arrival, much chagrin ensued as the tired truckers were told to Ecclefechen off, as the company had allegedly been told there was no salt for them, as HM Government in ThatLondon had ordered that all salt be retained for the exclusive use of the South East of England. Also the drivers supposedly were told that the company were under explicit instructions not to sell any road grit to local authorities or the Scottish Government.

Michty, I suggest a trip to local chippy and some bulk purchasing of brine if this story is at all true….

If it's true it's rather an odd sort of abuse of authority isn't it - stopping people from being allowed to buy what they've ordered and are all too willing to pay for?

But then Charlotte also says this
Caught briefly on the radio – the Government intends to use Emergency powers to bail out feckless, useless councils who’ve found themselves utterly unprepared for snow by raiding the grit and salt supplies of useful, competent well prepared councils who’ve still got supplies.
Ah, "emergency powers" - they had to come out of Pandora's Box before the election, so this is a good excuse.

Here in Rigbytown the situation is fairly horrible, the snow the Met Office said we wouldn't have has stopped food getting to the supermarkets. Schools are closed and we've been told that University term will be late starting - because nobody can get there.

When Mrs R was little there was snow, lots of it too, but there was no question of either not going to work or school. Somehow we all managed to eat and keep warm too - but then we hadn't been brainwashed into relying on central government to tell us what to do, and when.

The village of Cow Ark in Yorkshire has been cut off for 22 days - what does the local council say?
County Councillor Keith Young, who has a responsibility for highways, gave residents little comfort, asking them to 'bear with us'.

He said: ‘At the moment we have a very extreme set of circumstances and the priority is to keep the main roads clear.

‘As soon as we can we will treat the other roads we will do but we will not jeopardise our grit stocks.

‘My message to the residents in Cow Ark is that we are not doing this deliberately and I am sure their community spirit will see them through.’
"Community Spirit" my eye - let's see the same councillor stand in front of a people living on a tough inner city estate and tell them to look after themselves. He and his council are ignoring their responsibilities and they're doing it because they can. They know the people of Cow Ark - who contribute to the public purse - aren't important or vocal enough to count. And they're probably all British too, so won't fit any particular government quota of need.

The current situation is a terrible indication of how bad things are in Britain just now - for the world to see that we can't cope with snow and that some councils are willing to leave communities to suffer. Where are the emergency helicopter drops of food and water? Those things used to happen when Mrs R was a girl, but not now, not in a cash-strapped Britain that's more bothered about sending money abroad instead of looking after its' own population.

Looking around news from the rest of the northern hemisphere it doesn't seem that any other countries have ground to a halt, and it doesn't look as if other people are being told to stay indoors.

Is it any wonder that the country has slipped to 25th in the list of "Best places in the world to live" - behind Uruguay, Hungary, Czech Republic and Lithuania.

The people who draw up these lists aren't stupid, and they read the news too, they can see what's happening in Britain. They can see how the population is being bullied and cowed into submission by an increasing list of petty rules and regulations that should be laughed at and ignored. They can see a government that's involved itself in the petty minutiae of everyday life - from how to wipe your nose to what you should eat, whilst ignoring the bigger issues facing the country - such as a recession, unemployment, over-reliance on benefits and excessive immigration ... and being prepared for Winter, something that happens every single year.

The Mail's story about Cow Ark seems to have changed a bit, quoting
Ribble Valley Council leader Michael Ranson said: ‘There needs to be a complete rethink on the county council's policy on dealing with the sort of extreme weather we have seen.

‘We know that the council cannot deal with every last road in the area, but with the help of farmers they can clear them. More has to be done to help people who live in these very rural locations.

‘In the past farmers have been offered expenses to clear roads that the county council cannot get to. This must be done now and should already have happened.’
Mrs R thinks he's got a point, she also thinks that what he's said raises questions about both funding and spending, because Michael Ranson, Leader of Ribble Valley Council, is over-ruled by a County Councillor, even though
road safety [is] among Ribble Valley Borough Council's priorities for 2009/10.
How can a local council have any sort of priorities when they can, apparently, be blocked by the chaps with bigger wages, and bigger budgets?

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