If you haven’t already discovered this for yourselves there will be a number of road works inhibiting our travel this summer.

You can obtain ‘live’ information on the status of these disruptions by accessing a very confusing Cheshire East website.

I attempted to do just that but gave up after it indicated a three-day delay due to a German comedian performing somewhere between Congleton and Crewe and a brass band at Rode Hall.

No mention at all of the closure of the Silk Road Bypass currently creating chaos in and around Macclesfield.

Maybe it’s me and that information is on the website somewhere, all I can say is I’m pretty savvy on the internet and if I couldn’t find it there must be thousands of others who never will.

My point is… considering the enormous cost to businesses of having our roads jammed up for weeks on end, isn’t it time our council was more proactive in managing/ monitoring the work?

If it impacted on their cash flow I’m sure they would appoint a new director with an impressive title to deal with it.

In my opinion contractors should not be clocking off at 5pm when there is sufficient daylight to allow work to be carried out until 9pm every night.

Keeping our roads open is not a part-time occupation (well it is but it shouldn’t be).

The closure of the aforementioned Silk Road has reduced traffic flow in and around town to a painful crawl, yet there were no contractors there at the weekend.

What sort of operation is that?

It doesn’t take a complex computer programme to know that the effect on businesses can be calamitous.

Do we allow contractors to operate as and when they choose to do so?

How are we ever going to be the ‘Engine of the North’ with that kind of management?

Stephenson’s Rocket moved quicker than that.

Where’s the dynamic thinking?

(I’d settle for any kind of thinking.) Cheshire East Council has a brand new council led by all those Labour, Independent and Liberal Democrat councillors who thought their chance would never come.

Well now it has.

This is their turn to pursue the right priorities and show us how a council should perform.

My message to the new Cheshire East Council is convince residents of your ability and you could be running the council for a very long time.

Screw it up and you may never get another chance.

Every dog has its day…this is yours.



My niece applied for her first job this week.

She’s only 16 years old but was given an aptitude test to see what she knew about the kind of customers she would meet in her new part-time position.

She was offered the job together with some ongoing staff training.

It started me thinking… No one would argue with the logic of companies ensuring that employees have a basic understanding of their customers.

You probably couldn’t get a job on minimum wage without some kind of aptitude test and training but…you could become a Member of Parliament.

Find yourself a nice safe seat wearing the appropriate rosette and you could be as ignorant as the day is long.

When you consider an MP can influence how people live, what they can earn, the kind of health care they can expect, the quality of their children’s education etc without having any appropriate experience or understanding of the very people their decisions affect it’s utterly ridiculous.

So in the interest of positive solutions instead of simply offering criticism I suggest we change the system and insist every newly elected MP spends a mandatory eight weeks living in social housing and working for minimum wage at a job chosen at random from a list submitted by the general public.

Furthermore I suggest ongoing training of that nature should be undergone for two weeks each year.

We have more than enough Members of Parliament who understand the needs of lawyers, bankers, consultants etc, what we don’t have is enough Members of Parliament who know what it’s like to work full-time and still not be able to pay your household bills.

To walk or cycle to work in the dead of night because buses don’t run on your shift or be forced to use a food bank.

Hey, I’m not joking.

MPs are very good at taking ‘tough decisions’ until those decisions affect them.

Let them experience life at the other end of the social scale as part of their ongoing education. 


By Guardian columnist Vic Barlow

You can email Vic at vicbarlow@icloud.com