Monday 1 December 2014

Crumbs before dinner

Thursday and the politicians meet in central Bristol to announce a couple of hundred million for improving UK cycling over a few years —no guaranteed of continued funding, and such a pittance that it has to be focused on a few towns to show any sign of delivering anything useful

This is the meeting going on, behind the cyclist in the hi-viz and the man smoking

Turn 180 degrees and you see the cycling-in-Bristol bit of the council —all wearing hi-viz themselves. If even the council can't say it's safe to cycle unless you dress up like a christmas tree, then it's not safe to cycle.

And four days later: same politicians get up and show where their promised billions will be wasted. Billions. So that people from London will have the traffic jams on their drive to Devon moved a bit. So that people trying to get on or off a motorway in the north of England will have to weight slightly less. At first, anyway. The S/W of england want that widened A303 precisely because they want the traffic generation. It doesn't matter to them if the existing holidaymakers have to wait 30 minutes on a friday; they want more visitors. The alternative —a good electric train service via Bristol— doesn't get a look in.

That £15B announcement puts the crumbs of Bristol into perspective: a pittance to retain votes in a few cities where the green candidates threaten the libdems. £200M is all the libdem coalition partners could get out of Osborne, enough for their candidates to claim to care come election day. Well, now for those people in the city who have the campaigners come to their door in Stephen Williams's constituency have an answer: how can you promise £15B to road building within four days of £200M for cycling and keep a straight face.

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