Lessons learned…

Author: Mike Clough

Date Posted: Wednesday 5th April 2017

As I get older I find myself wondering why we never learn from history? (…my wife will laugh at this comment because she knows I hated history at school and that I’m useless at remembering dates and times that relate to important events).
What I’m getting at here though is not the date when the romans invaded England or when Harold got shot in the eye – but the various improvements that we made during what is loosely called ‘progress’ – and how we have managed to get rid of these improved areas of society and go back to something less efficient.

Simple things like;

Public toilets.
How many times have you been caught short in a city center and just unable to find any loos? Then when you do find one …there’s a sign on that says ‘closed – nearest toilets are too far away… please pee on lamppost …’ Surely when these public conveniences were built somebody must have done a calculation that said… ‘there are ‘x’ number of people that require toilets so we need to build a facility at this location’. So, when they closed the toilets where do they expect people to go???
Policemen on the street.

When was the last time that you saw a policeman just wandering along the streets whistling the ‘z cars’ theme? When was the last time that you saw a police patrol car – just patrolling? There was a reason that policemen were put on the street – it was a presence that kept people in check. When I was a teenager out and about late at night – any rowdy or unruly behavior you knew that a ‘bobby’ would be around and sort it out. There have been various cut backs and money saving schemes – and this has now the local neighborhood copper has just become memory of old TV programs and fictional thrillers featuring Sherlock Holmes.

Road sweeping.

How many times recently have you seen leaves being cleaned up or drains and gutters emptied? This used to be something that was done on a regular basis to ‘maintain’ the drainage integrity. Some smart arse just cut this off the rotation and probably saved a big chunk of money – without a second thought as to the possible issues caused by blocked flow to drains and the flooding that would be caused…
Road Verge Management.

Have you noticed that its more difficult to see oncoming traffic when you reach a road junction? Have you worked out why yet? It’s because the road side vegetation is no longer managed as it used to be. The grass and weed control has been abandoned in favour of what is called a more ‘natural’ approach. This is just an excuse to do nothing and save on the budget…. but how many accidents have been caused by simply not being able to see oncoming traffic??…which is why it was trimmed back for years…
Weed control.

Japanese knotweed requires repeat applications of herbicide often over a period of several years before it is fully eradicated. Local authorities in their wisdom have seen fit to cancel regular applications of herbicide in identified JK locations. This will simply result in re-growth and a return to its original condition…meaning that previous money spent on chemical control has been completely wasted.

Local Parks

Every town should have a park that is pride and joy of the local ‘parkies’. Let’s get some flower beds and hanging baskets. Let’s get some pride back into our communities – let’s bring back the grumpy old bastard that chases the kids on bikes in the park and is proud of his herbaceous borders. Too often now we see parks maintained by idiots on gang mowers rushing around not knowing a thing about horticulture and planting schemes…let’s see gangs of lads planting and maintaining our parks with pride….

All I’m saying here is that whilst I understand the need to make savings and the need for ‘austerity’ …all I’m saying is that many of the things being cut …were there for a reason…and when you cut them …. everybody then remembers why they were done in the first place.
These jobs that have been cut back and lost were all done by somebody – and whoever these people were, their jobs have gone. Surely there are roles for unemployed youths in just road-sweeping and cleaning leaves from roads. Couldn’t we have benefits packages that were boosted if the recipient carried out labor that benefitted the community…. or would this be deemed degrading? Let’s spend more on our local parks – not less…. let’s employ people to care for our environment …

Personally, I don’t want robots doing everything and the thought of more people just sitting around playing on their Play Stations or X Box’s horrifies me…

History – lets learn from it!
Mike C

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Mike Clough

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