“Cameron will have to do better if he’s to win votes of 30m car drivers”

With an election imminent that could oust David Cameron, it’s no surprise to Mike Rutherford that the PM is trying to befriend motorists

Opinion election

David Cameron’s Conservatives have had ample opportunity – a full decade – to plan, design and build the improved road network Britain desperately needs.

Cameron was opposition leader from 2005-10 (when he should have done the planning). And he’s been PM from 2010-15 (when he could have implemented his plans). But he didn’t and hasn’t.

If the roads I use and journeys I make are anything to go by, the network has got worse, not better. Journey times are slower, not faster. Toll fees cost more, not less. 

England's busiest A-roads could become 'mini-motorways'

Drivers have paid his Treasury Department around £260billion in road user taxes during the five years he’s been running Britain, yet the network remains woefully poor, congested and potholed. 

But ’ello, what’s this? With an imminent General Election that could oust Cameron’s Conservatives, he – surprise, surprise – is now trying to befriend motorists with almost daily ‘promises’ of newer, smoother, faster, safer, better-lit highways.

Here’s a snapshot of how Government is trying to win the hearts, minds and votes of motorists before polling day: On 24 March, it announced hundreds of millions for local road improvements. On 23 March it pledged £56m, to enhance one road in Cornwall. The previous working day the propaganda machine fired on all cylinders, prompting one leading newspaper headline to scream: “New mini-motorways planned across UK.” 

Budget 2015: fuel duty freeze and £100m for driverless cars

Not true. Such “new” roads aren’t new. They’re at best old and at worst, very old because they’re existing A-roads that will be renamed. Besides, the idea is an ancient one because we already have countless A-cum M-roads which are officially called A(M) roads. 

And it works the other way around, too. Ex-Transport Secretary John Prescott stripped highways such as the A102(M) of its motorway status by downgrading it to the A102. Now, almost two decades later, Cameron intends to waste yet more cash making it the new (but old!) A102M-M (mini-motorway). 

It’s a nonsense because these routes aren’t new and won’t grow longer or wider. And it’s an insult to the intelligence of the motorist to suggest these routes are anything other than old. Cameron will have to do better if he’s to win the votes of 30m eligible car drivers and 10m passengers.

Is it too-little, too-late for David Cameron's efforts to improve the UK's road network? Have your say in the comments below...

Most Popular

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'
Opinion cheap cars
Opinion

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'

Our appetite for small, cheap cars is as strong as ever - although Mike Rutherford warns they may no longer be profitable
12 Sep 2021
Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES
Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES
Genesis G80

Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES

The Genesis G80 looks to make an impact in the executive saloon class as we pitch it against the Mercedes E-Class and Lexus ES
18 Sep 2021
What is Skoda vRS? History and best cars driven
Skoda vRS range
Skoda

What is Skoda vRS? History and best cars driven

To mark 20 years of Skoda’s vRS badge, we rounded up some of the performance cars from the past two decades that have worn the subtle green badge
17 Sep 2021