Open Letter to Lancashire County Council

I used to go swimming in my cousin’s indoor swimming pool near north west of Preston regularly until I lost my ESA on the 365 day rule and couldn’t afford the petrol anymore and I hadn’t been for ages but went on Monday 23rd June evening using the A59 to Copster Green then via Ribchester through Longridge to go straight across the lights at Broughton and avoid any traffic coming out of Preston on the A6.   The first new thing I noticed was that the main road through Ribchester is now a 20 Zone no problem through Longridge but  coming into Broughton I also noticed that the 30 Zone has now been moved back a mile towards Longridge despite the fact that the road is wide and straight and was no safety problem with the original 40 limit sufficient for anyone to safely get out of any junctions.   Straight across and then I found that the 30 limit on the Woodplumpton road has been extended right back past the farm perhaps nearly half a mile again for no valid safety reason. ( Length limit on Ribchester bridge deliberate attempt to bust WJ Riding transport main traffic ICI Teesside via A59 ? )
I got talking to my cousin’s boyfriend about it and he said it didn’t make any difference since the new traffic lights and road layout on the A6 roundabout under the M55, and how since the morning rush hour traffic was queued back that far from Broughton lights anyway and the other direction traffic was now queued up back down the M6 as far as the Longridge exit most days.  On the way back I on the edge of dark used the motorway and A59 and it was obvious that the new road layout is a potential death trap for cyclists as the new cycle lane starts before the new left turn lane and you have to cross it to get access to it.   Its particularly dangerous for any HGV’s wanting to access the M6 when you have to rely on your nearside mirror to spot cyclists especially and when its raining and now the cycle lobby are now festering a law which automatically makes motor vehicle drivers responsible if they hit a cyclist.  Perhaps its also been designed like that to allow cyclists to get to the front and then baulk the traffic when the lights turn green so not as many vehicles get through, and taking the possibilities further perhaps some corporate employers in Preston are giving financial incentives to employee’s to cycle to work in order to gain theoretical green brownie points to improve their corporate image or even things as simple as paying to install showers ?
I got baulked by a loaded 44 tonne loaded fuel tanker pulling out into the outside lane long before the summit in order to get in the lane for Blackburn with enough power to be doing 40 coming up the dual carriageway from the motorway which is safe at a most fuel efficient 60 yet the speed limit has now been cut to 50.  At least for once I didn’t get stopped for no reason by the new traffic lights but as soon I branched off onto the A59 I noticed that the centre white lines were almost impossible to make out they were so worn and the cycle lanes were worn significantly as well proving that it was not due to the road being surface dressed.   The fact that the cycle lanes force traffic into the centre of the road probably compounds the potential danger and perhaps its possible that under the cover of budget restraints LCC highways officers are deliberately attempting to engineer an accident in order to justify cutting the speed limit to 40 not content with the potential economic damage to the Ribble Valley economy already caused by cutting the limit to 50.  Perhaps  the same principle applies to the still 60 Longsight Road Dinkley junction cross roads where the cheap yet effective chevrons painted on the road  ( like those now used coming into many 30 zones ) in additions to the signs have almost eliminated the once regular accidents there are in urgent need of renewing ?
The Traffic police must be implicated even though in my experience I found that most of the Preston based traffic police were incredibly stupid as illustrated by a driver I had known since I was a 13 year old kid telling me how one of them had run out into the slow lane of the M6 and stopped his wagon to ask if the old centre reservation matrix signs were  working.  Likewise one day in the late 80s when I was working for Chris Miller ( 5 pm start for an overnight parcels service franchise he had got )  going up Halfpenny Brow on the way to work when it was windy and one of the small roadside trees had blow down obstructing the road where its single file down the hill closed the entire road and caused mayhem for the evening rush hour when with a simple hand saw within five minutes they could have cleared the road easy to allow traffic even if the council needed to go later and sort it properly.   Lancaster were not bad, one evening around the same time agency holiday cover working night shunt Heysham docks for Isle of Man specialists Edmondsons  an artic had shed its load of glass bottles turning off the slip road onto the A683 they improvised and kept the traffic moving. 
The police must know university inspired road safety theory is total bullshit with their obvious only aim being to sell expensive equipment and particularly electronics and if people wont buy it get the government to make a mandatory market, and perhaps they remain silent because like the former top South Wales traffic guy who was festering average speed cameras and toll roads they get the reward of a fat cat pay part time job with one of the big corporates when they have to retire after 30 years service.   And there was once talk of significantly overweight and therefore unfit for police general duties officers being retired early with possible reduced pensions but it all went silent perhaps because the Police Federation threatened to spill the beans on the truth ?
The police must have known all along that the main road safety problem in the UK is drivers with defective eyesight are a major problem even more so with the increasing number of elderly drivers on the road but its younger drivers as well who have to keep driving to keep their job.   I have written to LCC on this subject before and perhaps giving people the option of a speeding awareness course is a good thing because they give you a simple eye test at the start, but perhaps most of  those who opt to pay the fine and take the points do so because they know there is a risk that defective eyesight will be discovered.
By the time I got to Copster Green it was just dark enough to put the lights on and I noted that the Keep Left bollards were so dirty that they were difficult to see even though I was only doing 30 due to the car in front thinking the limit was 30 and not risking getting caught by the fixed speed camera.  On the way out my eyes are good enough to notice that there wasn’t a camera in it even if it was so overgrown by the hedge that its probably useless anyway, and the pedestrian islands are unsightly anyway due to grass growing in the accumulated dirt around the kerbs.  Just to be Ironic I suspect if LCC officers see this they will twist it and use it to cut the speed limit to 30 just like they probably did with my new development Billington junction observations they probably used as justification to reduce the height limit under the rail bridge at Langho, in order to give Lancashire United the excuse they needed to close the old Ribble bus depot at Clitheroe because they couldn’t base the 13ft8 old but still serviceable school contract double deckers anymore ( and perhaps LCC had to pay more for newer buses like with the local village services ) and sell the site for executive housing development.  When I was at said depot in 1991 one of the more competent drivers took a 14ft1 marked brand new double decker though dead slow towards Blackburn ?
I used to regularly attend Chatburn parish council as a member of the public and it came up that LCC proposed to extend the 30 limit back towards Clitheroe half a mile round Bellman Corner after the former chairman was moaning about speeding after an accident even though the limit had already been cut to 40 after alleged speeding accidents with a young inexperienced drivers.  Despite the fact that the parish council had successfully lobbied for the road to be fully resurfaced to avoid the danger of the mend to the road after United Utilities put in a new sewerage pipe to close the old Chatburn sewage works which may not have met the latest discharge into the river standards the ex chairman who lived in one of the terrace of houses there would persist after an accident almost immediately after.  Festered by former RVBC Lib-Dem borough councillor and much made about how the dry stone wall had been thrown into the field which I suspected anyway having covered the calculating speed from the distance a projectile maths at Accrington tech and realising that the equation was far too complicated to be accurate.   Later my suspicions were confirmed when a tree  growing immediately next to after heavy summer rain demolished the stone wall at the side of our house onto the railway and despite the fact that it was lime mortar a 15lb block of limestone was thrown 12ft and perhaps it would have gone further if it had not been stopped by hitting the house wall.
Despite the fact that I pointed out that the car had struck the wall some distance after the bend itself and the accident was probably due to the driver misjudging the corner thus got too close to the inside and lost it after grabbing a handful of lock in panic thus breaking Newton’s Laws of Motion in a desperate attempt to correct.   I did suggest putting in double white centre lines which would have had the additional safety benefit of stopping people parking outside the terrace on the bend and narrowing the road with the possibility of an accident by someone passing a cyclist coming round the inside and especially a bus.   However they would still persist and arranged for Martin Nugent to attend the next meeting he could to discuss the plans and he duly arrived only to appear to be annoyed by the fact I pointed out to him that the Bend warning signs and slow road surface markings towards Clitheroe were far too early, whilst the bend and slow sign coming into the inside of the bend from Clitheroe were too late.  Just to rub it in I also pointed out that the bed end they had left just as you start turning  into the bend coming from Clitheroe after the resurfacing was not helpful either, and after which he left ASAP with the promise to install speed recording speed strip to prove his case.  During the very short time the speed strips were there an perhaps not by coincidence at a time when traffic was lighter than usual ( possibly school holidays but I can’t remember exact ) the highest speed recorded was 70 towards Clitheroe without incident and as I also pointed out to Nugent at the meeting about the service buses coming round the inside of the bend from Clitheroe were doing it at 50 safely.  Even my now dead late 80s but still fit and active dad would go round the bend  in his car towards Clitheroe at 50 despite only having one eye and although I used to be able to do it safe faster go round at 50 both ways if not baulked by a possibly blind Leg-Iron mindful of the G-force aggravating my back pain problem.
I had noticed that the estate agents were having difficulty selling two houses in the terrace on the outside of the bend and in a direct email to Tim Ashton then Tory highways and transport cabinet member I outlined the possibility that LCC officers were colluding with the estate agents to get the speed limit cut to 30 to make the houses more attractive to prospective buyers as they could park overnight without sidelights.  I never received a reply but the limit is still 40 and all the parish council went quiet about it and in the same email I also suggested the same principle applied to the Grane Road weight limit key route Haslingden to the main industrial area at Blackburn saving fuel and time for hauliers with HGV’s delivering groupage one big main drop subsidising odds and ends to small business all over east Lancashire.  The same principle applies to the reduced height limit under the rail bridge at Langho where industry standard articulated quick unloading tautliner trailer are now technically banned from using the direct route into the Ribble Valley from Blackburn when the obvious solution using modern technology would be to rig up a laser beam to light a big flashing sign to warn any vehicle too high well before the crucial lights at Whilpshire ?
Tim Ashton did actually reply about Grane Road brandishing accident statistics before and after but is was clear they did not demonstrate any significant reduction in accidents taking into account the recession despite spending a fortune on new warning chevrons on the bends.   I later used the route one dark grey late winter’s night after attending a lecture by Ian Crane at a hotel on the old road near Birch services Heywood when coming home I was approached by two lads from Blackburn requesting a lift home as they had missed the last train connection.  I used to know the road well but it was 20 years ago so I went carefully only to find that the new signage they had installed was worse than useless causing me to over react too early coming into the bends but at least the lads gave me all the lose change they had left for my trouble.
I also nailed Tim Aston in person at a Public meeting at the Civic Hall Clitheroe to question the wisdom of his cherished 20 Zone policy but also mentioned the congestion problem coming into Lancaster from Morecambe on the main route and how one solution to improve the situation would be to allow HGV’s to use the bus lane.  I also pointed out that it would also significantly reduce pollution and sent him an email about it and other ideas LCC have known about for years and at one time I had a direct email contact to the secretary with the former Labour woman transport cabinet member.  Perhaps my correspondence stopped LCC from installing a new roundabout for the new junction into BAE on the A59 when the Tory Ribble Valley guy ( who was theoretically fighting the Billington development new junction I mentioned  ) had been festering a new roundabout for years.   However, perhaps its obvious that they were attempting to engineer an accident in order to justify cutting the speed limit by allowing the potentially dangerous original main entrance especially with right turning traffic to gain access to remain open.
I also used to regularly visit friends at the west end of Morecambe regularly but like with the swimming since I lost my ESA I couldn’t afford the petrol anymore even though I have a relatively modern fuel efficient 1000cc small car so I only go occasionally now.  I usually plan my journey to arrive around 3pm and outbound I use the Trough of Bowland route which I enjoy the challenge of driving it as well as the scenery.   Turn left at the Quernmore cross roads then through to Caton turn left them first right to Halton straight across the roundabout over the M6 and cross roads to emerge on the A6 Slyne turn left then immediate right through to emerge on the coast road at Hest bank then right down the promenade.  Even though some people could attempt to portray that its a long way round its still probably quicker and far less stressful than getting stuck in almost gridlocked traffic on the main route via Lancaster and in addition I occasionally drop in at the model railway shop on Pedder St on the way.   However, the last time I went I discovered that all the roads I use from the A6 at Slyne through to Hest Bank are now in a massive 20 Zone and I though I was stuffed because there was a police car in front of me but he pulled over and stopped letting me past and didn’t follow.  
I come back via using the old Heysham main road and past ASDA like most of the HGV traffic to avoid getting stopped for no good reason by the traffic lights on the official main route from Heysham after having a meal with my friends setting off when Coronation Street  Starts to avoid traffic to the M6 but its not fool proof if you clash with ferry traffic.   Perhaps the congestion is made worse by the lane markings on the roundabouts which are impossible for long artics to keep to and could precipitate a slow rollover incident especially the one onto the main road coming from ASDA which directs you onto an offside adverse camber.  At Clitheroe Civic Hall I did suggest to Tim Ashton and the environment guy that congestion and pollution could be reduced by allowing HGV’s to use the bus lane into Lancaster but again it would appear that the officers have twisted my observations to extend the bus lane even further back to Morecambe and probably make the congestion worse.
The damage to the Morecambe economy  over the past 20 years is obvious and especially in the once vibrant west end which perhaps to finish it off is now a massive 20 Zone also, and the rot probably set in when BR closed the original first class 3 long platform station where cheap summer special long trains from the big towns like Manchester and a freight diesel loco with no train heating could be used.  All they have now is a two car DMU on a single track long siding with a bus shelter miles away from anywhere and  original station site direct on the promenade developed as a tourist attraction.  Even the model railway shop only opens 3 days a week now as its enough to cater for the regulars who stay loyal because it got the most competitive prices for the latest new loco’s etc in the north west if not the entire country but it will probably close when the owner retires soon anyway as there is no way anybody could make any money if borrowing from the banks.
At least the new M6 direct Lancaster avoiding road has had the plans passed now but its probably disabled by sets of traffic lights and roundabouts where there should have been bridges and perhaps it would have been built 20 years ago but for the Green Party being strong on Lancaster council due to its university community.   Even the 1989 LCC switch to Transit’s from 13 tonners was theoretical green policy inspired like the cycle lanes and 20 Zones all by politicians appeasing the promoters of the now well proven fraud Co2 causes global warming theory.   It must now be obvious to any honest intelligent people that all along the Green NGO’s have been working to increase the profits and share prices of the Big Oil companies ( they claim to be working against to get public donations ) by the fact that DECC is now proposing to invest in diesel generators to back up wind farms now proven useless at providing enough reliable power to meet our energy needs.  Its recently been reported that Greenpeace lost 3 million gambling on Euro currency futures betting that it would significantly fall probably as a result of the EU blindly continuing to follow their climate change mitigation policy.  However the value of the Euro went up as major EU players like Germany have now woken up to the fact that anyone who implements  their green inspired policy is committing economic suicide probably due to the fact that German industry now has to use diesel generators if their operations need a constant secure energy supply.  Germany is now building at least ten new big coal ( Brown lignite most Co2 emitting fossil fuel of all ) fired power stations ASAP in an attempt to stop its industry closing down. It was no surprise to me that its now been reported that the current war in Iraq is being funded by wealthy private individual stock market celebrity mostly but not exclusively Gulf State Arabs obviously to force up oil prices, plus the same principle probably also applies to Syria.
It must be reasonable to believe that all the corruption is festered by the banks in a desperate attempt to sustain their profits and the share prices of the big FTSE listed corporates they need to keep continually rising to borrow against to gamble in future contracts and all the other derivatives introduced since the Big Bang and electronic computerised share trading.   It pretty easy as all they need is one mortgage holder in financial difficulties ( especially the ten bob fat property speculators as still festered by BBC1 morning programmes )  and needing to re-mortgage after a short term fixed rate deal expires.  Perhaps bank managers are suggesting to desperate people that if they can get something which benefits the corporates passed by the local council and a cut in the speed limit especially from 40 to 30 on main routes being the obvious favourite to increase the theoretical value of their home.  It may also be suggested to them to get the support of neighbours by passing it around that their house price could go up if they get a weight limit on their road for instance and soon lots of people are contacting their local politicians to support them or they will ensure they lose their seat and money for attending council meetings at the next election.
It would appear that everything was going to their plan in Chatburn the long standing Lib-Dem RVBC councillor standing for re-election on a plan to build a new roundabout at the junction of Ribble Lane with the main Clitheroe road and I believe that Martin Nugent had already completed the plans in the LCC drawing office and the project was ready to roll when as probably expected the Lib-Dem won.  I could see right away that the obvious target was to close the village Post Office which is the only remaining shop selling general groceries and newspapers and informed the prospective Tory candidate who ran an engineering business and could see my point unlike the former Calderstones mental health nurse Lib-Dem.  The Lib-Dem was claiming that the new roundabout would relieve the significant congestion at peak times especially due to the Bowland school buses using the route but I got a letter into the Clitheroe Advertiser & Times exploding the whole plan.  I pointed out that the congestion was caused by parked cars on Ribble Lane making the key part single file only for some distance and that the new roundabout would increase pollution and cost the people who use road extra in fuel to go to Clitheroe and the Tory opposing it won the election easy wiping out the former big Lib-Dem majority they probably thought secure based on he and his wife’s big status in the local church.  The new Tory RVBC man didn’t last long as when attending council meetings even the other Tories wouldn’t speak to him and he was busy with his work so often unable to attend parish council meetings so he resigned and at the by-election a born and bred Chatburn lad who works as a manager at the cement works took over. I suggested the simple solution to at least reduce the congestion was to operate a virtual one way system for Bowland buses, go via Sawley then return through Grindleton and up Ribble Lane thus avoiding turning right onto the A59 but the then parish council chair was not bright enough to get her head around the concept and it was never official policy.
I did actually stand for election to the Chatburn parish council but there were not enough candidates willing to stand so I got on by default anyway and it was a useful experience and got me introduced to Mike Otter and the opportunity to quiz him about the new alleged super green waste composting plant they had built at Farrington.  He told me that although the principle seemed to wok well the Environment Agency would not allow the resulting compost to be used on the land and I can imagine why as it was probably full of bits of plastic but he did offer me the opportunity of a site visit to see for myself although I never took him up on his offer.   I suspect that the whole project was yet another green fraud investment scam with the object of the exercise was for the Banks to cripple the LCC finances servicing the accompanying PFI contract, which like all the other PFI deals taken out by Labour for new hospitals and schools are a virtual welfare state for the stock market parasites. Whist I have forgotten most of the detail I read somewhere that there was a potentially bent deal on the transport contract associated with the new waste plant as well.
The biggest subject which came up when I was on the parish council was plans for an executive housing development using access to the Old Road which comes out onto the top of Ribble Lane across from the Post Office and the main objection was based on the junction sight lines and perhaps the developers thought they could get away with it as most of the parish councillors were festering a 20 Zone there. It soon became obvious that they were using the plans to have a go at the closing the Post office again when they proposed a plan to move the stop line at the bottom of the Old Road 18 inches out into the nearside of the road on Ribble Lane protected by a build out of the kerb immediately to the right.  The road is only just wide enough for two buses to safely pass in opposite directions with the existing layout. In addition the six wheel HGV van which is used to deliver grocery supplies from the wholesale supplier they took out a contract with to keep the prices at least reasonable parks nose down from the top to unload on the offside.   Now we are getting quite a bit of Waddington Fell quarry traffic in 44 tonne artics with high sleeper cabs which won’t fit under Waddington Road bridge using Ribble Lane but is that on the Banks closure list as well ?  The proposed 20 Zone there has never materialised perhaps because it would reduce property prices based on potential highly paid commuters buying houses in Grindleton but they did get both Downham roads perhaps in an attempt to stuff people going over the top to Nelson ?
Despite the fact that everyone knew about the potential danger the plans sailed through RVBC no problem perhaps due to the fact that our Chatburn councillor was gagged as he worked at the cement works so had a potential conflict of interest.   RVBC also knew that the report about the impact of work in the quarry the developers produced was proven pure fiction, and they also knew the owners of modern homes built much further away were experiencing cracks in the walls and dust problems.  Its a bit surprizing that Castle Cement didn’t make a bigger deal about it but perhaps they were muted with the threat of a crash in the share price of their holding corporate ?
The final hurdle was LCC and despite the fact he knew about the potential impact on the post office Martin Nugent simply rubber stamped the developers junction proposals and the plans were passed no problem, and perhaps he had been influenced by the banks as its possible ( the son of a former big Blackburn second hand car dealer)  land owner would have taken the bank down with him after borrowing up to the max to support any other business interests he had based on selling the land for development when its poor agricultural land anyway.  Perhaps the same principle also applies to other controversial development plans in the Ribble valley and especially around Clitheroe like Henthorn for instance where again perhaps Martin Nugent simply rubber stamped.  The Henthorn plans would have been OK if they had included building a new direct road from Primrose for commuter traffic to avoid the town centre altogether plus a new rail station which could have been used for shopping in Clitheroe. and its a long time ago but when Brockhall mental hospital closed and was developed for executive housing perhaps the council planners should have insisted on a new road direct across the fields to Petre roundabout using the space available ?
Even though the plans for the proposed development off Waddington Road were blocked by the inspector on transport grounds due to flooding in the dip under the low rail bridge they have been resubmitted with fewer bigger houses and an addition access via Kirkmoor Road.  Perhaps they could have had a case if Parson Lane into the town centre was two way like it was originally but if the market is busy the Zebra crossing across to Booths can cause gridlock, and perhaps RVBC will be forced to approve it as its said that Clitheroe Auction Mart is one of the landowners along with another big Clitheroe estate ?
Perhaps its time people woke up to reality and the longer the politicians attempt to delay the inevitable default the worse the damage to our true sustainable economy but its clear now that the economic plan they were all betting on is doomed to fail.   Perhaps some business was betting on an influx of short trip Chinese millionaire tourists flown in direct from the provinces via a new ( apparently short )  third runway at Heathrow for fat cat executives to use and make space on the existing runways.   Then use HS2 to Manchester for a coach trip around Lancashire tourist attractions and if over the weekend staying at the new Hotel ( which has wrecked any possibility of reopening what was perhaps the best road bus interchange in the country before they messed with it.) and go to worship in the Cathedral Sunday morning before setting off back home.  Its been reported that the Chinese property bubble and the basis of the wealth of their millionaires is on the point of imploding and perhaps Emirates cancelled their order for 70 new A350 Airbus jets after realising that the projected market they were ordered for will never materialise ?
Most of the stuff I discover is by pure accident and when my dad died last year I was talking to the local vicar about my observations about the stock market yet he told me that his modest investments have done really well, and perhaps key public figures get preferential treatment to ensure their investments do well.  I hadn’t seen the paperwork then but a stock market policy from a once respectable name my dad took out for me as a kid has lost 20% in value since 2000 despite the FTSE being theoretically back to the same level if not higher.  Council officers have always been paid well on the basis that it reduces the risk of corruption but people are often greedy enough to fall into the trap of unsustainable debt just like poor people take out pay day loans.   Perhaps its due to the pressure to keep up with the Joneses and have the latest flash car, house continually done up to look new as the illusion of an ideal lifestyle as  portrayed in the media promotes like going on mega expensive holidays to tropical islands every year.
Perhaps the only way to solve the potential problem of corruption in public life is to ban any form of credit for key officials and to ensure good people are prepared to do it pay them extra for full scrutiny of their financial affairs, and of their children and other close relatives  Perhaps for starters local councils should provide key officers with desent free housing like my now long dead uncle Parker who ran Accrington Crematorium in the 1970s when it had the cheapest prices in the entire UK.   Perhaps the UK’s main problem has been the fact that for far too long now the universities have been turning out virtual ideological clones of Professor Marcos as played by Alec Guinness  in the 1950s in the Ealing comedy The Ladykillers who apparently work on his theory that its OK to steal £60,000 in an armed robbery because its only a farthing on all the premiums of all the policies and it does no real harm. ( transfer that to reflect current relative prices )  Similarly politicians seem to be doing what Winston Churchill once said about appeasing the Nazi’s in that its like being nice to a crocodile in the hope that it will eat you last, and the root cause of our current predicament is probably the Corporate-Nazi Wall Street financiers from the very same family lines as those who funded Hitler and his big armaments programme in the 1930s  The origin of the Nazi party came from the German environmentalists known as Der Vandervogel  and perhaps the UK equivalent may be the key ideological force in the Ramblers and many of them are still key players in the now green leaning Labour Party ?

The Corporate Subversion of Local Government Pt2

Getting back to the original plot and in 1998 and after I had painlessly liberated myself from my now obviously mentally unstable ( especially after consuming alcohol ) probably due to her dad ( who later became one of the top NSPCC guys at Burnley ) regularly beating her up as a kid girlfriend who had made me a virtual prisoner due to her jealousy and stopped me visiting all my old friends I got involved as a campaigner against traffic calming.   I got back into contact with an old friend from Billington former long term Tory borough councillor until she was kicked off by the Poll Tax and replaced by a Lib-Dem.   She was leading a local campaign to stop a new Redrow executive housing development on land next to Whalley arches the land at the top once used as a tip with allotments at the bottom on the less boggy bit with a new junction onto the old A59 immediately next to the rail bridge over the road.   To make it look really serious she had got an extremely wealthy friend of hers who lived near Blackpool and owned a second house in the adjacent terrace to commission and pay for a report by an alleged top consultant and the main focus was on the potentially dangerous new junction although the tip being potentially toxic was also brought up. 
Their plan was that they would build out the pavement under the bridge and next to the end of the terrace to improve the sight lines as the road was wide enough at that point to allow just enough room for two buses to pass each other in opposite directions and cut the 40 speed limit to 30.   As a carrot to the locals it was proposed to build a new Zebra crossing next to the nearby kids play area and swings but it also included build outs at other junctions in the village as the main excuse for lowering the speed limit throughout.  I did my bit by writing to LCC in objection with my key point being that if they built out the pavement immediately next to the 14ft 9 iron span bridge there was the serious possibility that one of the 14ft 3 double deckers as then used the road to ferry the kids to and from nearby St Augustine’s Catholic secondary school there was a real possibility that in the event of one of the said buses having to swerve to avoid oncoming traffic and thereby hitting the kerb could cause it to bounce up and strike the bridge.
At that time there was a popular people’s revolt against traffic calming and particularly in Gt Harwood seat of the long time Labour group leader George Slynn led by a retired long service ex police pursuit driving trainer, who like me worked on the theory that to reduce accidents you need to create space to avoid them.   The Tories climbed on his bandwagon and he stood against Slynn and won easy at the elections, the main point was the two new close together mini roundabouts which the locals had christened Billy Smart’s Circus but also the massive humps on a potential town centre avoiding road which later stopped the new low floor buses using it if the main road was blocked for some reason.  He invited me to attend the Hyndburn council meeting where the proposed Quality Bus Partnerships were the main agenda as part of John Prescott’s plan to improve public transport in an attempt to make more people use it.  Stagecoach had promised to buy new low floor buses even though they cost 25% extra on the condition that the council would create new priority bus lanes and install new bus shelters everywhere on the main routes plus raise the kerbs at bus stops and the officers floated the idea of selling electronic adverts on the shelters but that fell through.   However, the Tories who had won overall control of Hyndburn at the said elections would not remove any existing traffic calming anywhere and perhaps the honest ex police driver resigned soon because his political activism was damaging the potential of the private driver training business he had set up based mainly on stopping sports celebrities and corporate executives killing themselves in their fast cars.
Despite the fact that it was obvious that the already high fares would have to significantly increase to cover the capital investment cost and extra interest payments Hyndburn council virtually rubber stamped the bus plans and they went through.  Back to the Biillington development and that was approved on a tight vote after one of the councillors who promised to vote against failed to turn up to the meeting but the official main Billington RVBC Lib-Dem councillor voted for the development.  The residents weren’t giving up though and had great faith in their area Tory LCC councillor blocking it there, and they were invited to attend the meeting at county hall in Preston I was also asked to attend but when he stood up to speak he just spewed out a load of pointless waffle.  With the benefit of hindsight perhaps its clear that the Tory party never had any serious intention of stopping the said development and the whole object of the exercise was to ensure their candidate got elected to RVBC at the next election.  One of the objections to the development which was dismissed by all the alleged civil engineering expert officers was the threat to the integrity of the railway embankment, which after the top house was built slipped due to them digging the foundations so close and it closed the line until they had tipped 1000’s of tons of rock to secure it plus they had to demolish the house.

The Corporate Subversion of Local Government Pt1

I suppose that my suspicions about the integrity of Lancashire County Council Environment Directorate policy were first raised in 1989 when LCC decided to replace its long standing fleet of Ford D-Series 13 ton gross short wheelbase drop side tippers with 3.5 ton gross twin wheel Transit van based tippers.  The old Ford’s did need replacing and they already had a few later model Cargo SWB 13 ton tippers already and the logical thing to do would have been to replace like for like, said SWB tippers would carry an 8 ton load and were really useful tools for the work the council did.  Jobs like collecting 8 tons of tarmac for hand lay jobs just enough for a gang to lay in a morning or afternoon as a repair to the side of a minor road before the whole road was resurfaced with cheap yet effective tar spray and blue metamorphic grit-stone chippings, which the 8 ton tipper collected from the strategic chipping dumps around the area at that time.  The same principle applied to footpaths, load of 20mm bit base course in the morning, back to the local quarry for 6mm dense bit for the surface in the afternoon, they also had a few Massey Ferguson 135 tractors pulling tipping trailers for short trip small jobs with a bucket on the front to load the chippings from the dumps onto the 8 tonners in the summer season and any muck shifting jobs throughout the year.
I expect that most people were glad to see the back of the tractors which were a menace travelling to their jobs in a morning and then back at late afternoon, and all the LCC drivers could see the Transit policy was lunacy when they had to tip off to be legal after loading the minimum 1.5 ton batch out of No1 and 3  under the tar plant at Horrocksford.  Perhaps nobody complained too much because they were still getting HGV driving rates of pay although they probably lost the unofficial perk of getting a few quid for any tar left over from someone who could make use of it instead of taking it to the tip.   The result was that all the old county 8 ton tipper work was given to the quarry and LCC had to pay the minimum haulage rate for 10 tons for most jobs which eventually led to private contractors getting most of the council work because they used at least 7.5 ton no HGV tippers which could carry 4 tons.   Another possible alleged unintended consequence was that it gave Ford the excuse they needed to close its Langley truck plant and sell the land close to Heathrow as part of its collaboration with IVECO and take all the Cargo tools to the US and build it there and sell it successfully for many years after. 
Something similar happened to LDV as I was informed when I went on a locally organised coach trip to the Motor Show around 1999 and got talking to the old guy on the LDV stand then still selling the old 1970s Leyland design Sherpa van.   They had made some minor improvements like using plastic for the bonnet instead of potentially rotting steel but it was clear that its main Achilles heel was it 1900 Peugeot diesel engine which had replaced the original BMC engine and made it well underpowered by then standards, the heavier twin wheel derivative had a Ford engine as used in its main competitor the Transit.  They had considered using a turbo version of the 1900 engine but their main problem was that several big Labour controlled local authorities had excluded them from tendering for fleet contracts because the Sherpa didn’t have all the very latest safety bullshit like air bags etc.  LDV were basically forced to invest in a completely new design which probably lost them the price competitiveness they once had and perhaps the significant small trader market they had didn’t like the new front wheel drive design anyway so as soon as the new model went into production they were basically trading insolvent.   They thought they were saved when a Russian oligarch stepped in and perhaps bought all their outstanding liabilities for £1 or something similar like in many cases, but the new design wasn’t selling and they closed down anyway.  Meanwhile the oligarch had taken all the old tools to build the Sherpa to Russia and with a few minor mostly cosmetic to make it look more modern alterations and a new state of the art small powerful Cummins engine to successfully sell it Russian markets.
Skip back in time to 1991 when I was working at Ribble Clitheroe depot which was under threat of closure in order for the site to be sold to build posh houses but perhaps survived after I started because of the simple things I did like checking the engine oil properly and topping up with the correct amount instead of the previous practice of putting a full gallon in whether it needed it or not.   It was the same with the cleaning and the guy in his fifties I worked with who showed me the ropes and gave me the stiff inch thick short brush as standard issue which was totally useless if you took any pride in your job however menial.   I soon started using one of the soft short handled brushes the part time day shift women alleged deep cleaners used and did a better job quicker and easier and I’m pretty certain I even swept buses theoretically already cleaned by him thinking they hadn’t been done yet.  It soon became obvious that the guy was angling for the depot to close in order to get his long service redundancy and he always did his level best to hinder the efficient operation of the depot as much as he could get away with under the protection of the union even though his son in law worked as a fitter in the garage.  The only decent guy there was the charge-hand fitter, another fitter ( the son in law ) they had was pretty gormless despite his paper qualifications and one night I saved the service next day when I electric welded a broken battery carrier on a National because he couldn’t weld.  There was another fitter as well who had been a gas fitter in the army and retrained who was totally incompetent and often made more work than he solved yet he still kept his job, probably because the official depot engineer was originally a maintenance fitter in a carpet factory at Chorley and had no idea about automotive engineering either.
As usual I digress but getting back to the government subversion angle around 1991 the then Tory government transport minister ( perhaps Ken Clarke ) allowed local councils to install traffic calming measures despite the fact that it broke all the original department of transport rules as based on experience.  However, it was Labour and Lib-Dem controlled local authorities who were the most enthusiastic to take up the new idea and none more so than Labour controlled Hyndburn as then led by a now long dead quasi-religious socialist old guy from Gt Harwood, likewise Blackburn and Burnley and there particularly in poor Asian dominated areas.   Very soon after Hyndburn Corporation Transport was in financial difficulties, and I was later informed that a brilliant coachbuilder in his 30s I knew well who worked at Ribble Blackburn depot had been offered the job as chief coachbuilder at Hyndburn and taken it only to quit two weeks later because he couldn’t cope with the workload.   Ribble had welcomed him back with open arms because he was so good at his job but they were already having problems with the long rear overhang on the National’s swiping keep left bollards even with their best drivers when people first stepped out into the road before bothering to look at junctions and they were forced to deviate from planed track.  Hyndburn Transport was particularly badly afflicted as all theri fleet was coach built and wore out quick style as the new humps etc made the body flex so much so all the rivets soon worked lose and they were soon in dire straights.  Despite being diametrically opposed to their theoretical socialist ideology the council were forced to sell out Hyndburn Transport for a pittance to Stagecoach complete with the big old original tram depot on a prime development site close to the town centre and especially the railway station.   Almost immediately Stagecoach closed down Hyndburn Transport and sold the depot which although in perfect condition and well suited to its original function was demolished and the land developed into a retail park, buses probably sold to Paul Sykes as scrap.
Blackburn Transport lasted considerably longer and they succumbed when the fleet needed replacement at the end of its natural life and perhaps difficulty getting spares even if they could have kept them longer, and eventually Stagecoach even got Burnley & Pendle although by then the Stagecoach group interests in Lancashire had been split into new various subsidiaries in a restructuring.   There was a big fuss in the local paper at Blackburn when one of the new private operators diverted one of the long standing services to avoid one particular key road with traffic calming after they could no longer cover the cost of the damage caused by the humps to the low floor alleged disabled access buses.   Apparently it left lots of older residents not that good at walking stranded and perhaps one subtle possible objective was to force them to move out from the home they owned outright into rented accommodation or even go into a private care home ?
Perhaps if it were not for the influx of Polish bus drivers services would have been disrupted by a driver shortage as drivers were being scapegoated for accidents with pedestrians in new town centre layouts caused by the fact that it was impossible for the long wheelbase long front and rear overhang buses to negotiate the road without significantly impinging on the pavement.   No problem for the Poles at they simply went home to avoid proceedings in what had by then become virtual Kangaroo courts as festered by media propaganda.

Is IDS a Mrs Wilberforce ?

Perhaps the 1950s classic Ealing Comedy The lady-Killers starring Alec Guinness, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers and that big cockney guy ” one round ” ( because I’m useless at remembering his real name or names in general for that matter ) is one of the most thought provoking  films I ever watched.   You probably need to watch the film in full to get the full picture but basically the plot centres on Professor Marcos ( Alec Guinness ) devising a cunning plan to use innocent god fearing former deceased ship’s captain elderly wife Mrs Wilberforce ( and forgive me again if I forget the actresses name ) as the key to his gang to stealing a shipment of used bank notes en route to Kings Cross station in London.   They get away with it on the pretext of being a string quintet when they meet in her house and are only found out after One Round foolishly gets the strap of his instrument case trapped in the door as they leave and he foolishly rips it out opening the case and leaving notes everywhere after already doing the right thing and ringing the door bell for her to open it. 
Then Professor Marcos attempts to portray to her that its OK to steal £60,000 in an armed robbery because its only a farthing on all the premiums of all the policies which as a decent upstanding citizen she doesn’t really buy.   Then the gang collectively attempt to portray that if she reports them to the police they will say that it was all her idea in the first place and that she was the brains behind another big robbery, but then as she still wont buy it they plot to kill her.   Only trouble is that nobody can bring themselves to do it and especially One Round and they start killing each other off and disposing of the bodies via dropping them into empty coal wagons of trains going into the entrance of a tunnel behind the house.  The gang are all gone by the morning and she then whilst still having all the money goes to report it to the local police but they don’t believe her due to her previous form on reporting crimes and say she can keep the money just to get rid of her.
Her part in the robbery is quite interesting as she hires a taxi to go and collect a trunk allegedly sent up from Cambridge by professor Marcos at Kings Cross, which the gang had already smuggled into the station and contained all the money, and although there were police everywhere they we only searching traffic going out.  She gave then a big fright when she went back to collect the umbrella she had forgot but on the way home she stopped the taxi to get the driver to challenge a barrow boy trying to stop the horse from a rag and bone cart eating his prime apples.  A big argument ensued and ended up with the taxi driver being struck and one of his headlights ripped off whilst the horse reared and destroyed the barrow and its cart and so the trunk ended up in the custody of the police who later delivered it to her house intact.   When they were plotting who was going to kill her one of the gang mentioned the incident with the barrow and perhaps she was not so sweet and innocent after all when she had put three people out of business by her concern for animal rights ?
Taking the above into consideration perhaps Ian Duncan Smith is the modern Tory equivalent of Mrs Wilberforce in that his main policy has always been the introduction of Universal Credit which could be used as the precursor of the Citizens Income we so desperately need to protect our basic human rights against the FTSE corporates and other multinationals.  It may also be the case that he was willing to go along with the flow on the other Freud inspired welfare reforms as set in motion by Labour under Gordon Brown and probably basically similar to what Tony Blair was planning in 1999 but unable to get the then party to support.
The pedigree of the current welfare reforms all got going when Brown took over from Blair as unelected prime minister and bottled out of a snap election he may have survived in order to ensure he got his fat cat ex prime ministers pension after serving a year and a day, but the Tories were riding high on a pledge to scrap inheritance tax on less than £1 Million.  Brown’s first chosen DWP minister James Purnell who with stock market celebrity then plain David Freud as official consultant then started spinning the most draconian welfare reforms they thought they could get away with as spun via Corporate-Nazi leaning  right wing press like the Sun, Daily Mail and perhaps particularly the Express.   Of course the Tories had to jump on the bandwagon and in any case they already had form on attempting to deny the then Incapacity Benefit to especially the chronically sick via Peter Lilley ( alleged accessory to the fact on Portillo child abuse allegations ) and as cheered on by his junior minister William Hague ( later minister responsible for the north wales child abuse scandal whitewash report ) in a BBC propaganda documentary about it at the time.  However, nothing much changed except that all future IB claims were made subject to income tax which made you need to fill out tax forms whist the then DWP ( with Asian immigrant doctors who couldn’t even speak fluent English ) benefits medical service tried to throw loads of chronically sick people off for the 11 weeks before you had to start a new claim.
Anyway to get back to the Labour story all their welfare reforms seemed to be going to plan with no real objection from the celebrity disability rights activists as the wheelchairs and other obvious physical disabilities ( the same people who were probably in the pocket of the stock market parasites after they got the access to public transport laws to benefit the big corporate bus operators and double bus fares for anyone without a free pass or car ) looked likely to be left unchanged.  The snag came after Purnell was forced to resign after he left the flat he rented in London in a condition which most people might expect if a drug addict had lived there, and perhaps as a consolation prize for perhaps deliberately allowing himself to be caught fiddling his campaign expenses for the deputy leadership contest and coming in last even if he was obviously by far the best candidate Peter Hain was appointed in charge of the DWP.   Perhaps due to his human rights anti apartheid pedigree there was probably no way that he was going to implement the full scope of the welfare reforms as planned by Freud and as a result Freud resigned in a hissy fit only to be given a life peerage after the Tories quickly snapped him up in order to make him their key welfare minister via the unelected House of Lords.  I can’t help speculating that Hain has decided to stand down as an MP in 2015 because he can’t stomach being accessory to the fact on human rights abuses and the probability that when elected on the back of the perhaps now obvious to many UKIP Trojan horse Ed Miliband will keep all the human rights infringing Freud inspired welfare reforms even if they have said Labour will end the Bedroom Tax.   Purnell was later rewarded for his part in spinning the Freud welfare reforms by being given a top fat cat job at the BBC perhaps by probable key Corporate-Nazi Chris Patten ???
By 2015 the Bedroom Tax will have irreversibly hit its now obvious main target to be frozen and starved to death in Green Holocaust the chronically sick ( due to once working hard ) in their 50s who’s kids have left home leaving them in massive debt, and now the wheelchairs have kicked up about the new PIP to replace DLA with long waits for assessment to ensure they also get into massive debt and are forced to pay a Private Tax in Bank charges.  Perhaps another aim of the Bedroom Tax was to attempt to segregate the single males from the breeding age females with kids in an attempt to stop poor people breeding even if it could never work in practice due to the lack of single bedroom accommodation.  Perhaps many people were initially turned off by my reference to eco-fascists at the start of my Green Holocaust article but perhaps Freud’s eco-fascist leaning ideology is proven by the fact that its reported that he goes swimming in his local lake every morning and even in the middle of winter when its freezing. He also like ( Channel 4 News anchor green policy promoter perhaps fake public champion of freedom and democracy Jon Snow ) makes a big deal about going to work on his bike in the morning even if he gets taken home by car if he’s working late and its dark.
Perhaps the current Green Holocaust could never have happened but for the party politics system where each party tries its level best to impress the greedy stock market parasite celebrities in order to get large party donations, and perhaps it could be the case that ATOS are deliberately forcing WCA appeals to increase their profits.  Perhaps ATOS have also manufactured the long waiting times to give Labour ( who gave them the WCA contract in the first place ) an advantage in the theoretically caring about their fellow unfortunate people vote in 2015 although I suspect most people care more about the eco-fascist leaning university inspired theoretical welfare of animals than any of their fellow men and women these days.   The same principle probably also applies to perhaps Labour Party activist PCS Union DWP staff are dishing out benefit sanctions on the slightest technical whim in order to portray the entire Tory Government as extremely cruel,  just like Labour controlled local councils make the biggest cuts in services and charge those on benefits the highest new council tax rates.  There is also the possibility that the corporate software contractors entrusted with the development of the Universal Credit have deliberately screwed up the computer system in order to prevent its introduction and help Miliband in the knowledge that it could be cheaply adapted to use to administer a future Citizens Income without the obvious complications of incorporating means testing ?
IDS has always come across to me as being incredibly stupid, perhaps due to his Army pedigree where it would appear that the only thing you need to be good at to survive is bullshitting, and even IDS himself attempted to portray that he knew what he was talking about ( and people could survive OK long term on £55 a week today ) after a time when he was so feckless as to be forced to claim state benefits.   Perhaps our obvious UK political corruption situation honest people currently find ourselves to be in could end if all prospective parliamentary candidates had to stake £5000 of their own proven personal cash savings, and have no outstanding loans except a proper British traditional repayment mortgage on their own lived in home, even if the left would squeal like stuck pigs and falsely claim that working class people would be unfairly discriminated against ?

The Car Fail Danger ABS Brake Malfunction !

It had been reported that the Department of Transport intends to re-write the UK Highway Code in order to allow the use of the Google driverless cars they are currently testing on private roads in the US onto the public roads here in the UK,  If you are reading this you are obviously online and must know full well just how inherently unreliable computer system are by personal experience of incidents like them freezing up on you from time to time or loosing what you have just written by windows experiencing a problem and reopening the page.  I expect that most long term computer users will have experienced a full crash of their computer at some time and although annoying its no real problem because when you re-boot everything is usually OK and works perfect.  I expect that the vast majority of people with experience of computers would never stake their life on one, and yet now everyone is forced to drive cars fitted with computerised electronic ABS due to alleged road safety legislation as usually lobbied for by various automotive industry sponsored road safety charities.  Perhaps said charities will not raise any opposition to computerised driverless cars because they only have a top speed of 25 Mph ?
I have experience of Fail Danger ABS malfunctions in my 1000cc petrol car, alleged to be fitted with one of the latest high tech systems when I bought her new in May 2006, and on which I have never fully trusted the brakes since an emergency stop on the way back from the first trip as part of running her in.   Whilst coming down the A682 from Long Preston one still light quiet evening at the point where the road is narrow to go through farm buildings and at the junction with the Wigglesworth road where I had to make a precautionary sharp application after a farmer unexpectedly popped out of a field gate and parked his quad bike and trailer on the road.  I made a heavy application of the foot brake and she failed to slow down as fast as I expected from my experience with non ABS cars I had always had previously but there was nothing coming the other way so no problem and I thought nothing about it putting it down to her being new.   The brakes seemed OK afterwards and seemed really efficient, however some time later whilst going down the bottom of Ribble Lane towards and after already slowing to negotiate the left hand corner ( as I had practiced hundreds of times without any risk of breaking Newton’s Laws of Motion as I studied at tech ) I had to make a further heavier application when the ABS kicked in as indicated through the brake pedal and whilst not accelerating due to the steep gradient my speed would not fall further.   I was probably very fortunate that there was just enough room for me to squeeze past the coach coming in to opposite direction and on further contemplation concluded that the obvious Fail Danger ABS malfunction was induced due to the heavily rippled due to people braking old tar spray and chipping road surface on the corner.   At the next opportunity I reported the state of the road surface to my Parish Council pointing out that it was potentially dangerous and it was resurfaced shortly afterwards and I never had any similar problems and no warning lights were apparent on the dash even though they were proven operating on turning the ignition on before starting.
She passed her first MOT no problem and I never thought anything more about it until after having all the brakes relined on my regular mileage service and it was not until well after at least one other passed MOT when I experienced another ABS Fail Danger incident on my then regular Saturday morning shopping trip to Morrison’s at Nelson with my elderly dad as passenger.   I like the challenge driving  the trip over the top of the Annals Cross end of Pendle Hill through Barley and Roughlee over the top again and down Pasture Lane into the top end of Barrowford, although later I found it was just as quick going through Newchurch and down the Padiham by-pass from Fence.   On one such morning going down Pasture Lane from the summit and having enough trust in my brakes to reach almost 60 Mph on the long straight with ample time to slow for the 30 Mph Max left hand bend with adverse camber at the start of the built up area.  No point going any faster after that with the right hand bend before the gradient then steepens again down to the right hand sharp bend at the bottom before the narrow bit going down onto the A682 Gisburn Road.  Approaching the narrow bit and having already braked to bring the speed down to around 20 Mph and having by then changed down into second gear I made at further brake application just at the instant the nearside front wheel struck an uneven manhole and I could feel the ABS kick in on the brake pedal under my foot.  Like at the bottom of Ribble lane incident I described earlier although she didn’t go any faster due to the gradient she was not slowing down either and again no warning lights on the dash and I was lucky nothing was coming up the hill in the opposite direction.   This time I ignored the official ABS training and quickly fully released the brake and made another new application and I was able to stop with no problems at the junction onto the main road and again no problems afterwards on the journey back home. 
Several Saturday morning regular shopping trips later she did it again and I again quickly released the brake and made a new application and everything was OK and I was minded towards the possibility that the Pasture Lane incidents were due to significantly heating brakes when slowing for the previous bend with the adverse camber.  However, in the original Ribble Lane incident I had just set off from stone cold and less than a mile from the start of my journey and perhaps the malfunctions were due to probably almost unavoidable short changes in the coefficient of friction of the road surface.   Back in the 1990s I wrote to Lancashire County Council outlining the potential dangers of the red paint they were then using on the road surface at the nearside as part of traffic calming and how it could confuse ABS systems by one wheel on any axle having a different coefficient of to the other based on my personal experience of ABS malfunctions in HGVs.   Not that long ago I emailed a letter to my CA&T local paper about the disgraceful state of the roads in Clitheroe especially since the 20 Mph Zone was introduced, and how it was beginning to resemble a third world county and perhaps LCC were punishing the residents for electing a Lib-Dem town council, and paying particular attention to the potholes at the bottom of Well Terrace prior to the Chatburn Road roundabout.   I also outlined the possibility that said potholes could induce a Fail Danger ABS malfunction even at low speed, but I can’t prove it because it would appear that I have accidentally deleted the original, and yet the next time I went down town a couple of days after I sent it all the potholes had been temporarily repaired but CA&T never published it.
Its now so long since I experienced an ABS malfunction on my own car that I have virtually forgotten exactly when, my dad has been dead for well over a year now and since Lidl opened I now get all my shopping from Clitheroe so apart from an occasional trip out to see relatives near Preston and give her a flat out blast up the motorway to clear out any cobwebs which may have accumulated in the engine the brakes never get hot these days anyway.
My main concern and the primary driver for me writing about this subject is the real possibility that the Police are currently convicting innocent drivers as such ABS malfunctions are almost certainly impossible to prove by analysis after the accident and the Police will probably always assume that the accident was caused by speeding, which in turn will then be used to justify cuts in the speed limits to appease those who worship the ” Speed Kills ” quasi-religion as inspired by the universities via the media.   Just as a rough off the top of my head estimate its probable that Clitheroe is now at least an extra five minutes from the M6 on the A 59 ( even if you don’t get stopped for no good reason by the new traffic lights at Samlesbury ) making it now as far away from Preston as Gisburn was in the 1980s due to all the reduced speed limits.  In the case of goods vehicles the new roundabouts probably add even more time and with it extra fuel consumption.  It can’t be good for the future sustainability of our local economy, if not our entire national economy and the true safety challenges the alleged road safety charities all totally ignore need to be urgently addressed.
Back in 1994 whilst still technically recovering from my back operation they sent me on a computer skills course at Accrington ( on which I passed Level 1 in record short time ) and instead of copying all the bullshit they gave you for practice I wrote an article entitled The Potential Dangers of ABS on HGV’s which I sent to the Commercial Motor and got it sent back date stamped by them but no comment. 

It was based on an incident I experienced whilst pulling a tri-axle tipper trailer fitted with one of the earliest ABS systems on my well practiced and perfected down the last minute detail Swinden to RMC Burnley run.   As I was approaching the Windsor Ave traffic lights on the level main A56 Colne Road through Reedley during the first stage of my usual deceleration to stop I realised that only the tractor unit brakes were contributing and as always having the drivers window open I could hear the ABS valve releasing air as it was designed to do when they locked in an emergency application.   I managed to stop in time OK but had to abort my usual brake release to change down gear before coming to rest, and I proceeded with caution to tip at RMC which was only a level couple minutes away, then straight back to the depot empty to get it checked out. The fitter checked it with his meter as trained and found noting wrong so I was obliged to proceed with the rest of my day’s work but I was glad to get back to my old favourite non ABS tri-axle the day after. And to conclude the said article I suggested that the incident was due to an intermittent minor electrical fault even as simple as a dirty connection somewhere on the tractor unit.  Another safety disadvantage of ABS on HGVs I outlined was that it made it impossible to undertake a slow speed easy brake efficiency test when setting out loaded like I and other properly trained drivers used to do coming down the incline from the weighbridge at Swinden every load, which also had the advantage of trimming the load and stopping any chance of it moving on corners, it would also blow any dodgy brake cylinder diaphragms before they failed somewhere inconvenient during the journey.

Some time after when I was in my local Tesco I met and got talking to a ( patently not that competent at the time I first encountered him near the end of my apprenticeship ) driver ( who had left for years but come back after I retired ) who told me all about how he had rammed a newly fitted with a factory reconditioned Cummings 320 engine C-Series ERF day cab unit square into a big tree on the bend at the bottom of the short hill coming down into Cracoe on the Swinden road.  He had survived without serious injury even though the tractor unit was a write- off, but then ERF used to advertise ( in the New Zealand truck magazines I saw whilst out there ) on the fact that no driver had ever been killed as a result of a failure of their SP cab structure.  He claimed that the accident had been caused by the failure of the trailer brakes, in fact the exact same trailer involved in my incident except this time empty going up early for the first load in the morning.   The Police report concluded that he had ” fallen asleep ” even though you have to have your wits about you to get so far and at that time falling asleep was considered a valid defence ( if you were in compliance with driving hours rules )  unlike now, so he never faced any charges over the accident.  If it was true that he had fallen asleep then ( with no seatbelts fitted ) its likely that he would have been thrown out through the windscreen and possibly killed by hitting the stone wall behind.  The story doesn’t end there though, and several years later the very same guy whilst driving the latest 44 ton technology ( with speed limiter ) for the same company ploughed into standing traffic on the end M62 just going into Liverpool killing some people.  Big court case which even made it onto the NW regional BBCTV and he was acquitted of a charge of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving after the Police claimed he had ” fallen asleep ” as a subsequent medical examination had concluded that he was suffering from Sleep Apnoea.   They gave him medication and he was allowed to go back to his job as a HGV driver even though the company would probably have been glad of any excuse to get rid of him in the face of current employment regulations.

He had always been a dodgy character and when I was an apprentice at the new garage one day he knocked the front nearside cab sidelight / indicator unit off his A-Series ERF tractor unit, and to hide the fact he had gone down to TGB the local ERF agent and bought a new one and attempted to fit it, but it was half hanging off when he came back into the yard that night.  Whilst I working for an agency in between jobs once at the end of the 1980s I did a weeks holiday cover driving a concrete mixer for Steetley’s at Preston who we had the stone haulage Ex works from Carnforth when I was an apprentice.  I was informed by the other mixer drivers that due to the fact that the batch weight numbers were not adding up after they had cleared all the alleged stock tipped in the yard it was obvious that a significant amount stone was missing.  They followed him one day and he was taking the full load down to Preston docks and tipping up to a third of the 21 ton load there before going back to the nearby Steetley plant and tipping the remainder into the hopper just inside the gate some distance away from the batching plant office so nobody had noticed.   He was charged with theft and convicted as a result and his company lost the good contract despite the fact that they had sacked him on the spot.  The last time I saw him was one day whilst shopping in our local Lidl and after he had been made redundant when the company decided that the little money they were making from tipper haulage was no longer worth the grief, and the owners son transport manager was on the verge of retirement anyway with no son to carry on.  Even though I remembered him as fairly thin even if he had a bit of a beer belly, he had gained a lot of weight to a point where he could be described as clinically obese if not verging on morbidly obese ( fat arms and legs like a Michelin man ), and I was still there to see him leave on-board  his latest brand new top of the range model four wheel electric motobility scooter.  He never said anything about it but it would appear that he has now become a professional disabled person even though disability benefits are now extremely difficult to claim for most ordinary genuinely sick and disabled people.   Perhaps he and others are being given preferential treatment in the state benefits system ( or in accident compensation from the courts ) on the understanding that they remain forever silent about the inconvenient truth and in his case to protect the financial interests of the motor industry and in particular the electronics sector ?

Current Chart Pop Music ?

I try to keep an eye on all the potential Corporate-Nazi propaganda I can, and learnt most of what I know now from reading between the lines, and I even keep up with the latest chart pop music they push at our teenagers.  The current top five ( and if not the number 1 video ) portrays what everybody is expected to think are greenies riding around in an ancient VW camper van with no seat belts.  Theoretically cool representation of the freedom we once had in the 1970s before Denis Healey took out the IMF loan whist attempting to portray just how wonderful our green future could be if we keep building wind farms and continue funding green NGO’s and all the other EU/US environment policy fraud.  All sold on the back of a really brilliant saxophone instrumental apart from the occasional almost incomprehensible lyrics which probably makes some buy it just so they can work out what they are actually singing.  Eminem was probably the most successful artist for getting people to buy his stuff to work out the lyrics and could stay at the top of the chart until everybody realised his message was always bullshit, but its not as potent a pop sales tool now since YouTube where you can find almost all the current songs with lyrics subtitled, and which is probably why in Korean Gangnam Style did so well for so long by taking the piss out of the global executive class.
All the current top four feature videos of the tropics and attempt to lead people to fantasise about going on holidays only high income people could really afford if air travel was not subsidised by people like Kenyan farmers who ( despite many of there fellow poor countrymen starving ) grow runner beans to sell fresh in UK supermarkets at any time of the year.  Its the same with New Zealand butternuts, which admittedly make really tasty thick soup despite the fact that they are a major ball-ache to prepare, and like the fresh runner beans they cost a fortune in the UK, and whilst butternuts are perhaps valid as an occasional treat in UK season grown runner beans like peas are first rate, dirt cheap and hassle free frozen.  Perhaps some Ten Bob Fat Cats buy expensive flown in stuff to impress their dinner guests and all the ” five a day ” propaganda probably also increase the potential of what is so obviously a false market.  In any case if the UK built local medium scale ( take all your household rubbish plus combustible stuff like the scrap tyres which are fly tipped everywhere ) waste incinerators to get the heat from the original fraction of oil the from the cheap plastic packaging which ensures we get food in good uncontaminated condition.  If said incinerators were built in rural areas near enough to the towns to make small refuse collection vehicles economic apart from generating potentially cheap electricity they could also use the waste heat for large scale greenhouses and grow most of the exotic stuff now popular and flown in at home and reduce our ever increasing balance of trade deficit.
At least Number 5 ( it was Number 1 for one week ) is a decent old fashioned love song by Rita Ora who was allegedly born in Bosnia but speaks perfect posh English and  yet even she has to cram in a succession of changes into the latest stupid designer clothes heavy makeup and expensive hair styles including obvious extensions.  I rate her as one of the best female vocalists of all time and that’s probably the reason for her success and originally she attempted to portray herself as an American as integrated into the Afro music culture and its probably PC to be an immigrant even if you are white.  I can’t help speculating that big global female stars like Lady Gaga have shaven their heads to make it more convenient for them to use wigs, and perhaps the exception which proves the rule being Shakira but even she changes her hair colour. 
I must admit that I do enjoy some of the video special effects CGI fantasy compilations perhaps especially the now falling down the chart Dark Horse from US based Katy Kerry which takes an ancient Egyptian theme and originally ended with a shot of the last man who tried to impress her as a virtual Cleopatra was magically turned into a small dog sporting his head.  The TV soon clipped both the both beginning and the end and perhaps its subtle message to young women was that you could get on in modern life if you could get all the rich guys desperately wanting to shag you but not actually letting them get that far.
There are some good male mostly Afro American  vocalists about as well. probably fronted in an attempt to boost Obama’s popularity with the young and trendy, but the most recent Afro star Farrell probably only got going due to appearing in a video with white Robin Thicke which like the message in the song I thought was a total load of crap.  It was a massive sales success probably due to the fact that the video they were selling featured fit women with bare tits and skimpy tight underwear which left nothing to the imagination, whereas the UK music TV version showed nothing and featured see through plastic over-clothes which made the women even less attractive.  I particularly dislike BBC favourite Will I Am who despite usually having a catchy tune and his first rate vocals only ever sings about how wonderful it is to blow all your hard earned money to get incredibly drunk in nightclubs.   He’s also a big Co2 scam propagandists favourite although his credibility was deflated somewhat when he once flew in by helicopter into a corporate sponsored UK environmental event, although it would appear that Lady Gaga was having none of it.  She once attended a big event in a dress actually made from meat, and in probably her best ever video Bad Romance she wore a Polar Bear skin complete with head and teeth but now it would appear that she has paid the penalty for daring to be an eco-fascist quasi-religion blasphemer.  All her most recent stuff has been a flop probably due to the fact that they always make her look unattractive now and most people turn off even if she has one of the best voices in the business and her latest songs could actually grow on people over time.  
To conclude I have mention my opinion that Kelly Rowland has now proven to be the best vocalist to emerge from Destiny’s Child although they push what I feel third rate now Beyoncé as their ideal.  Kelly Rowland did a combination with Sean Paul last year entitled How Deep Is Your Love a brilliant love song with a good tune and positive message and yet although they did show it on music TV in the UK a few times for some reason it never got into the UK charts and perhaps it was never officially released here in the UK because there was no fancy makeup or clothing ?