David Sparks, of the Local Government Association has been on the BBC Breakfast programme this morning, explaining how there is a national emergency, and therefore the feckless local councils who did not have sufficient supplies of salt must be rescued by taking (is stealing too strong a word?) supplies from those who did. There’s something to be said for that I suppose , but let’s look at it from another angle.
Suppose they didn’t. Suppose you live in one of those areas served by one of those councils who didn’t prepare, and as a consequence you -and all your neighbours- are stuck for a week or three, really getting back to nature and having to make survival decisions. You’re not supposed to have to, that is supposed to be one of the things we are paying for, to keep our roads and pathways clear in the event of an emergency. So, at the next local election pretty much the whole council is going to be out of a job. It will be an awful experience, mark my words, and perhaps one of the few things we are prepared to pay a central government for is to rescue us when our local government gets it wrong, but we could just be storing up more pain for the future.
In all the news footage I’ve seen of the salt mines, they’ve never said “we’ve been running at full tilt all year, and we just couldn’t keep up.” They’ve been saying “all our above ground reserve has gone, and now we can’t keep up. The salt seems to be there, they just haven’t dug it up.
So without a major cull of councillors, the same mistakes will just be repeated again and again, surely? I don’t know what it’s like in other areas, but around here there’s just a sense of apathy. The council are useless, but they never get voted out. Nobody really bothers to vote and it’s mostly the same old faces year in and year out. It would take something like this, a dire emergency that was able to be planned for and wasn’t, where people’s lives are in danger because councils dropped the ball for anything to change. By mitigating these incompetencies now, we could simply be enabling further and possibly more dangerous mistakes in the future.