I could moan for England if I wanted. I have been accused on several occasions of being a Victor Meldrew. And, I suppose it's true, although I do feel I've calmed down considerably over the years. Yeah, I still shout at the telly, whinge while walking around the supermarket and complain bitterly about whatever is worth complaining bitterly about this week. But one thing I have stayed consistently loathsome about are drivers - other drivers...
How the fuck do these people get licences? I failed my first driving test, passed my second and think of myself as a pretty good driver - a friend of mine said she felt I was the safest, yet most aggressive, driver she'd ever driven with, which is a complement and she now drives so like me, I feel safe with her. The thing is, there are people who mesh with their vehicles and there are people who couldn't find their own arses if they had a map and a torch - and there's white van drivers.
I don't know if the first month of 2009 is anything to go by, but I've witnessed more demonstrations of idiotic, selfish and downright dangerous driving in the first month of this year than I think I see in any given year! They're either arseholes in boy racer mobiles or rabbits caught in their own personal headlights. The arseholes in boy racers, I can just about live with, provided they don't do anything too stupid with my close by; it's the rabbits that scare the living shit out of me. In the last month I have seen: a driver stop on a roundabout because he missed he turning and literally turned around rather than just going round the roundabout again; a woman pulling out into flowing traffic, in a rickety old Peugeot 106, directly in front of a Subaru Imprezza, causing a near mass pile up at rush hour; at least one example of ignorance a day; I watch people drive down my street doing upwards of 50mph and there's a 90 degree turn at the bottom of the road; and, remarkably, a man reversing up a slip road into oncoming traffic!
In fact, there is so much bad driving around at the moment, I'm surprised there isn't more accidents.
Apparently, they've made the driving test considerably more difficult, yet more and more complete and utter hopeless wankers get behind the wheel of a deadly machine and poot about oblivious the the comings and goings of every other road user. If this country hadn't allowed Thatcher to destroy the transport infrastructure of this country, we might have been able to discourage lots of incompetents from ever getting behind the wheel of a car; but now, because it costs upwards of 3 or 4 times more to use public transport, people would rather drive, which means there's more of these imbeciles than ever before and their numbers are growing.
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I listened to a fascinating discussion on the Matthew Bannister radio show today; it was posing the question - has the recession been created by the media, or more specifically, has the media exacerbated the problem by focusing more on the doom and gloom and not giving us good news. The upshot was that many people felt the press, while still morally reprehensible, couldn't be blamed, as such, but by its continuous negative coverage, it has bestowed a feeling of hopelessness on those paying attention.
Wasn't it Martyn Lewis who quit his job as a BBC newsreader because he felt there wasn't enough good news being promoted. The problem is, people don't give a shit about others' good fortune, not any more, any how, what they want to see are people worse off than themselves.
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I was visiting a young person last week, who lived right opposite a privately owned community centre - privately owned? I asked how that worked, and the young person's mother said the centre had been bought by a private company and it was used for private functions and paying customers.
This is in a place in Northants which has so little to offer, yet local people have approached the owners about making the building available for a youth club or for activities for the local children, to help promote a centre that sits empty and unused for up to 10 months a year. The owners asked for a higher hourly rental rate, purely on the basis that it would be used by local young people.
Remarkably, the building has remained unscathed - no broken windows or graffiti. The crime rate in this particular village is almost non-existent and the local council have even offered to supply youth workers to work in tandem with the parents and still the owners refuse to budge. Is it any wonder why young people get frustrated and say they have nothing to do? Not all of them can afford games stations, iPods or all the latest technology, and some of them actually want to do things that young people do - play sports, have a youth club, do activities.
With the world the way it is at the moment, you'd think that greed would become less of a factor in the lives of everyone.