Our friends over at the deeply Orwellian Conservative controlled Leicestershire County Council have decided to take it upon themselves to waste an unfortunate amount of time, paper and money on the single most ridiculous questionnaire in the history of the World ever. (Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but it’s still a questionnaire of disturbingly shit proportions).
The cover letter reads “YOUR HELP IS REQUESTED TO IMPROVE TRAVEL IN LEICESTERSHIRE“. My instant reaction was, ahhh good! This will give me the chance to air my annoyance at the road “improvements” taking place at the bottom of my road, signposted to take place for eight weeks, but actually taking place for most of my life.
The letter cotinues:
“This information will be used to help reduce travel problems, by reducing traffic delays, improving bus services, making roads safer, reducing the impact of traffic on residents and improving walking and cycling.”
Sounds wonderful. Perhaps they’ll start understanding that the bus stop they placed, about 5 metres from the bus stop that was already there, meaning that our bus comes to halt, twice in the space of fifteen seconds, is quite possibly the most ridiculous idea any Councillor has ever conceived. Perhaps they’ll understand that the bus lane that remains empty for most of the day, could be used to ease the enormous amount of traffic in the adjacent lanes during the week.
It’s a much needed survey, and so my mind lit up with joy the moment I read the letter. Perhaps they’ll note that the train station, which holds only ten car parking spaces, the same as it did in 1950, which forces people to park in spots labelled “for private use only“, leading to a mass of fines, is simply lazy and primitive. But I thought, perhaps this survey will allow me to address these issues? The cover letter, afterall, does state “By taking part in this survey you will be playing a vital role in helping to influence transport planning“… A vital role! My answers to this survey are THAT important, I must conclude that the survey i’m about to open is full of questions that will provide councillors with immense insight into my issues with transport in Leicestershire. The drunk chavs on the bus, the two bus stops metres apart from each other, the cycle lanes, the empty bus lanes, it’ll ask me for a detailed opinion on all of those, surely?
And then I opened the survey.
Allow me to relay some of the questions to you, and i’d appreciate if someone could decipher how any of this is intended to improve bus service, reduce traffic, and help cyclists. It came in the package of a “Personal Travel Diary”:
Okay, you might be able to conclude that they will collaborate all information gained, and if some roads are used more than others, the buses might be more wisely distributed. However, why they need to know my “activity” and the time I arrived, is beyond me. But still, it might, if very slightly, and vaguely be used to a productive end. Although, I wont hold my breath.
The cover letter states that they have specifically asked a sample of Leicestershire residents to answer the survey, to help them to understand the travel concerns of residents and the “problems they experience“, well as of yet, they haven’t once asked for about any problems i’ve experienced. Perhaps pages 10-13 will cover that?
I have to wonder, how does knowing how many rooms my house has, help to provide a more efficient bus service? Will the cycle lanes be improved now that my faceless Tory councillors know i’m not likely to move within the next twelve months? If I stopped people in the street and said……. “It’s completely anonymous because I don’t want to know your full name, but how much do you earn? Where do you work? Are you going to move house any time soon? How many rooms do you have?” ……..I’m likely to be told to fuck off at best, and shot, at worst. Why is any of what they asked, their business whatsoever? There are more questions requesting my private information, than there are dedicated to travel issues. And not once does it ask me for any problems i’ve experienced. They merely gave me a three page travel diary to fill out, which, as far as I can tell, is so deeply irrelevant and useless, it may as well be called “Personal life, with a bit of travel on the side for no particular useful reason Questionnaire”.
The disclaimer, quite reassuringly (and when I say reassuringly, I mean, not at all reassuringly) states: “Your responses will be treated in confidence. This question is asked only so we can group together responses from households with similar levels of income”. Why is that important? Are we playing the Class game again? The rich pile and the pool pile? And who is going to “treat it in confidence“, it’s not like a doctor, who actually knows his patient. None of us know these people, we’ve never seen these people, and they’re telling us we can be sure our private information is safe with them?
The cover letter ends rather comically, with “We’d like to reassure you that the information that you provide will be completely anonymous...”….. well yes, in the sense that you don’t know my name, but you know now my wages, my age, if I hold a driving licence, whether i’m disabled, my gender, my employment status, when I moved in, how many rooms my house has, where I travelled to and from every day, and the activities I undertook – such as school journeys and where I work, so “completely anonymous” is not an entirely truthful assessment.
I’m tempted to email the Conservative Council a survey of my own, entitled “Wildlife Protection Questionnaire”
My questions would start with…”I don’t want to know your name but...”:
After answering those naturally irrelevant questions, i’d get to the important Animal protection questions.
The Conservativeblogs page of our head Councillor, David Parsons, in between blaming Labour for everything that is wrong with the World, states that because of Labour, “we are one of the lowest funded local authorities in the country”. In the next paragraph, he claims one of his biggest achievements is “Delivered over £28 million in efficiency savings without affecting performance” ….. It begs the question, how underfunded are you, if you’re able to save £28,000,000? It’s almost as laughable as the Tory MP for Rutland, Alan Duncan claiming Rutland Council is underfunded. Rutland, poor? Really? They’re a funny bunch, so this survey isn’t all that surprising.
I think they’d appreciate my efforts to conserve and protect the Wildlife in the City of Leicestershire. Perhaps I should run for Council, I would fit right in!