Blaise Tapp: It’s been a bumpy ride, mainly due to 30 years of potholes!
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The 16-year-old me who opted for a vocational media qualification rather than spend two years grappling with A-Levels while listening to The Levellers in the common room had dreams of travelling the world, while writing about the Beautiful Game.
However, it was a matter of months into my first gig as a trainee reporter that I realised that covering ‘real news’ might actually be more appealing than working weekends and being abused for knowing nothing about football for the next four decades.
Wringing as many stories out of a news patch as is humanly possible soon gave me an insight into what really matters to readers. I learned that erratic bin collection services, alleyways covered in dog poo, out of town developers building executive homes on the local playing fields and the proposed pedestrianisation of shopping areas were issues guaranteed to generate the most letters to the editor, which back in the nineties was the surest sign that a story really mattered to a community.
However, there’s always been one subject more than any other which is likely to get readers hot under their Marks and Spencer collars and that’s the pot hole.
I heard some examples described by hyperbolic locals as being like the Grand Canyon or akin to the aftermath of a meteor strike and I’ve lost count of the number of photographs I arranged of angry people pointing at holes in the road surface.
The RAC says that a record half of the people that it spoke to for its annual survey this year said that potholes were their biggest concern, with a third saying that they have had to swerve for a pothole in the past 12 months.
We’re resigned to having a transport system that the rest of the developed world sniggers about and that includes our lumpy roads.
While campaigning politicians will spend the next 12 months focusing on levelling up, cost-of-living and the geo-political situation in different parts of the globe, many people will be worrying about whether they are going to bend their alloys or being catapulted over their handlebars by hitting a dreaded pothole. Mundane matters indeed.