Through gritted teeth….

Eurostar in happier, less snow-bound times....


Apparently, there is no business like snow business and the recent snow has elevated grit and gritting to the status of a political issue. The Guardian has an editorial praising it and asking rhetorically; 

Councillors and council staff may have got one big thing right this time by responding to the snow and gritting the roads. In too many places, however, they also got one big thing wrong by forgetting about pedestrians. Surely gritting the pavements should have equal priority? 

This should be basic common sense. Pavements layed in ice are as dangerous especially to vulnerable groups like the elderly. I am sure that many accidents that hospitals are currently dealing with are caused by this basic neglect. However it is something that is constantly overlooked; why? Well if you turn to the Daily Telegraph, where the AA is complaining about a lack of grit for roads, you get an insight into why. 

Motorists, being numerous, have many organised voices to lobby on their behalf. The same can certainly not be said of pedestrians who are  just atomised individuals; not less numerous but certainly less orgainised. One might think there is a political lesson inherent within this and I think you would be broadly correct in saying so. 

Another political lesson is that you can never be too prepared for the challenges thrown at us by our climate because no matter how much we anticipate them (at least we don’t have to deal with snow storm deniers).  Public transport systems have suffered particularly and their preparedness has to be as much an issue are the roads and pavements. This should be a matter of public policy not corporate strategy. 

To its credit, Eurostar has decided to launch an independent review of the debacle that stranded so many people and caused so much misery. However, do not be surprised if this amounts to a round of corporate buck passing as the inquiry finds most fault with Eurotunnel.  However, what occurred is a matter of public and therefore governmental concern; that is isn’t shows how disastrous privitisation has been.


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About darrellgoodliffe


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