I'm fed up of hearing about local empowerment, about giving power back to the communities. It is a load of nonsense, and it gets my goat. Like nothing else.
The things in the local community that I want to see changed I'm completely powerless about.
There are three things in my community that bug me. Dangerous driving, nuisance parking and "gimp grandchild" cyclists.
The main road from which our complex is accessed is plagued by dangerous drives. At one end of the spectrum you've got the boy racers, and at the other end you have the twit businessmen in their Mercs and BMWs.
Unfortunately, when I say dangerous I don't mean it is an accident hotspot. I just mean that it is a nightmare when you are crossing roads, trying to pull out onto the main road, or if you own that garage on the corner that has been crashed into twice in the last six months.
The local authorities won't do anything because statistically it is not an accident hotspot. When I say "do anything", I mean that if there were a couple of speed cameras, and if police were regularly in the area it would not be a problem.
But according to the police statistics (no idea why this is not the Highways Agency's statistics) there are not enough accidents to warrant any action.
In a similar vein, nothing will be done about the nuisance parking. The exit from our complex (a number of blocks of flats) is basically a T-junction. Cars park up one side of the stem, and right up to the junction on the main road.
Meaning that turning into the complex you can't see cars coming out, and frequently have to stop, reverse, shunt around and so on.
It also means that leaving the complex you cannot see the cars on the main road until they are right upon you.
So when combined with the frequent speeders, this is a nightmare, and a very dangerous one at that.
So, putting my empowerment cap on, I contacted the council. who sent me on to West Sussex Highways, who in turn send me on to the Highways and Transport HQ.
Several weeks later they get back to me to say that a) there is no intention to review the use yellow lines (or lack of) b) statistically it is not an accident hotspot and c) yellow lines can't be introduced "just because of" inconvenient parking and d) a bit of congestion is welcomed because it helps bring the speed down.
Hmm, yeah, brings the speed right down. So, what they really mean by "empowerment" is, um, "powerlessness" I guess.
And then there's those stupid cyclists. And I say that laced with grace and love. The footbridge is signposted "no cycling". This is not just to be annoying. This is because the footbridge is too narrow to cater for cyclists and pedestrians. The only acceptable thing to do is to get off your bike and push it over. It's only a short bridge dagnammit!
There are some cyclists who do this, but most are selfish imbeciles who do one of two things. The crash past you, forcing you out of your way, or they cycle right up against your heels the entire way, or until you despair and ask that they overtake. We've actually seen a cyclist crash into a pedestrian on this bridge.
But the police can't do anything, they have bigger and better things to do. Fortunately, being empowered and all, I can prevent them getting past, or knock them off my bike....
Just kidding. Honest.