Dear Reader - Congestion war has only just begun + honesty in politics

One of the anti-relief road banners posted by campaign groups near Nidd Gorge in Harrogate.
One of the anti-relief road banners posted by campaign groups near Nidd Gorge in Harrogate.

A personal column by the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers

So the war is over or, perhaps, it has only just begun?


After 12 weeks of debate about where we go next over Harrogate and Knaresborough’s traffic congestion problems, the public consultation launched by North Yorkshire County Council has finally ended.

Guide - what happens next on Harrogate traffic congestion


What could have been a wide-ranging debate seemed to boil down most of the time to just a single question.
Are you in favour of a relief road between Bilton via the Nidd Gorge area to Forest Lane and beyond to Harrogate’s southern bypass?


That the debate should have such a narrow focus was a constant source of irritation to North Yorkshire County Council who pointed out from the start that the online survey actually included a massive range of questions and ideas and options, many of which happen to be environmentally-friendly. But, in a way, it shouldn’t have surprised them.


Most of Harrogate and Knaresborough’s main political players have been making their opposition to a ‘Nidd Gorge relief road’ road crystal clear many times over for nearly two full years now.


So just what was in the county council’s mind when it devised the consultation the way it did?


And, for that matter, what was the county councils’ motivation on placing road signs on roads which are usually full of queuing motorists asking the question “Is Harrogate congested?”
Not that the signs placed by opponents of a relief/supporters of sustainable measures were always a lot smarter or clearer in their message.


Be as that may, hopefully, the talking will stop soon and action will begin.


Ultimately, such tittle-tattle must surely be dwarfed by the only question facing all of us in this district which really matters?
Are we going to embrace a greener future with fewer cars or carry on down a new variation of the same congested, climate-damaging road we’ve all been contributing towards for so long?

I bumped into my local Lib Dem* councillor last week when he was delivering political leaflets to homes in my street.


I stopped for a chat, mainly because not stopping for a chat feels like bad manners.


This doesn’t mean, however, that I judge politics or politicians by personality or charm.
Not any more.


There’s been many a bad idea pushed by a likable figure or person of charisma.


Maybe it’s a sign of age but I prefer to be won over by what’s being said rather than who’s saying it or how it’s being said.
The one exception I would make to that rule is when it comes to honesty.


It’s always hard to evaluate the merits of what is being said when the person saying it rarely or never tells the truth.


Oh, for good old straightforward talking.
The flaw in that thought is, of course, obvious.


How could a completely honest politician survive in the dog-eat-dog world of politics today?
*
for the sake of balance, please replace with the political party of your choice here.

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