02/05/2010 Leave a comment
On my way back from canvassing yesterday with Matthew Hancock our candidate, I popped into Waitrose and scanned the headlines on the papers stand as I usually do, to see what line the various papers are taking and the latest polls, sad I know by there. The headline on the EDP caught my attention Lib Dem Leader Clegg accused of ‘shallow promise’ and I thought well what’s the subject! And there it was ‘A11 Dualling Election Row’ and so I brought a copy and headed home for a read.
If you live in West Suffolk and anywhere around Lakenheath, Brandon, Mildenhall, then this is a subject very dear to your heart, putting to one side the overwhelming arguments about the gateway to Norfolk, the £600 million of economic benefit and the misery for those heading up the A11 on business or holiday, this is where we live and our lives are actually effected by the failure to dual this road.The traffic jams, the traffic accidents and the fact that if I want to visit a resident in Icklingham or travel on to Bury from where I live, every day we literally take our lives in our hands getting across the A11. I drive through central London, have negotiated the Arc De Triumph in Paris but no where do I make a actually decision to turn off the Radio, open the window a bit, pause and really concentrate getting over the A11 at its crazy junction with the B1112.
Reading the article further I see the liberals are up there usual tricks apparently last week Nick Clegg said his party was “absolutely committed” to getting the final single carriage-way section of the road dualled then later their transport spokesman Norman Baker had to admit the he “had been unable to find any commitment by him (Nick Clegg) to daul the A11, apparently in an exchange of letter Mr. Baker said “the lib dem policy was to switch 90pc of the government budget for major roads to a new rail expansion fund, so bids for roads such as the A11 would have to come from the pot of money remaining if they met robust environmental criteria”.Well frankly stuff environmental criteria we need this road and we need it now, if you live around hear our lives are put in danger and made a misery of, as we try to get about.
I along with Richard Spring our MP who during his 18 years as our MP worked so hard to try to get this dualling done, lobbied a number of groups very hard, not to tip the balance and require a Public Inquiry. I was even interviewed on Look East on the day the calling of a Public Enquiry was announced standing in front of the 5 ways roundabout at Barton Mills, saying that what was wanted was not a Public Inquiry just for the Highways Agency to listen to people’s real concerns and take those they could into account as they built the road.
Now it’s not often that I find myself agreeing with poor old Charles Clarke, who seems to be surrounded by the liberals and the greens which is hardly a pleasant thought, I think he summed up the liberals in general when he said “They will say anything, however untrue, to seek votes”, now I know he was speaking in relation to the A11 issue but when you are right you are right; hopefully the incredible hard working Antony Little can win the seat for the Conservatives, he certainly should for how hard he works both as a passionate campaigner for South Norwich and as a Teacher and Councillor.
As always it’s left to the Tories to be honest about these things, as Matthew Hancock our excellent candidate has said, as was repeated by Richard Bacon last week and both of whom are mirroring comments made by David Cameron that whilst the Conservatives recognise the importance to see the A11 dualled, we cannot give a cast iron guarantee. Obviously disappointing but honest, and surely that’s what we want.
So we wait to see the outcome of the election, the decision of the Inspector and if the money is there to built it.My real concern from the start of the process was that however worthy the objections and very sensible the alternatives put forward were, the delay caused by a Public Inquiry and the resulting increased uncertainty of funding would result in the road not being started and yet again pushed back to the sometime never category; my argument was always along the lines of warts and all, it was better to get the road started and then try to solve the issues than not have the road built at all; I hope I am completely wrong and my concerns are unfounded.
P.S. Is it just me but boy did I find the comments by Lord Adonis very worrying, now maybe that’s just me but I DON’T TRUST THEM. Firstly he makes a pledge to dual the nine mile stretch if Labour forms the next Government and then says “of course providing an inspector carrying out a Public Inquiry concludes it should go ahead”; but why was the decision of the Public Inquiry held until after the election?
Infamy, Infamy, they’ve all got in for me; note to self must not be so suspicion but then after 13 years of Labour’s broken promises can I blame myself!