Traffic really isn't that bad

OVER the years many people have complained about how difficult it is to drive into Ipswich, and how “the council” is anti-motorist.Usually the complainants aren't sure which council they're talking about - it's just “the council” that's guilty of every sin under the sun.

OVER the years many people have complained about how difficult it is to drive into Ipswich, and how “the council” is anti-motorist.

Usually the complainants aren't sure which council they're talking about - it's just “the council” that's guilty of every sin under the sun.

This fact has probably left many people scratching their heads this week, at the news that Ipswich is actually one of the most motorist-friendly towns in the country, bettered only by the motoring havens of Dundee, Aberdeen, and Telford in Shropshire.

This impartial survey of towns and cities across the country bears out what I've suspected for some time - that while those of us who drive into Ipswich every day think traffic is bad, other places have it much worse.

Frankly the solution to the problem is simple - everyone else should get out of their cars so we can drive straight to work with no hold-ups on the way!

Seriously, though, the survey does indicate that while we might moan about the traffic level in fact things a better here for motorists than they are in many other places.

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Fuel is cheaper, there are more car parks, and congestion is not as bad.

As someone who has tried driving into Norwich, Nottingham, Coventry, and Oxford over the last few months, I have to say that the trip into Ipswich is a complete doddle.

Of course we can't be complacent and the town's road system has to be kept under review.

But realistically the kind of major urban road schemes we saw in the 1960s and 1970s are unlikely to happen again.

There may be talk about new crossings over the Orwell and new roads between the port and the A14 - but everyone knows that the cost and the environmental damage they would cause makes them a total non-starter.

So maybe we should all just be grateful that things are still moving in our town . . . and think about how we can cause less congestion!

SINCE he moved to the house next door three weeks ago, life has been good for Gordon Brown.

He has managed to give the impression of making a new start despite the fact that almost all his cabinet were ministers under Tony Blair.

And through a series of speeches and newspaper articles, his ministers have managed to give the impression that Britain is distancing itself from America.

Now Mr Brown seems to be reaping the rewards of this success by posting impressive opinion poll ratings - showing Labour significantly ahead of the Tories.

After two years in government, that really should not be happening. David Cameron must be tearing his hair out at the prospect of leading his party to a fourth heavy defeat.

But while things may be looking rosy for Labour again, don't put your money on Gordon Brown rushing to the Palace to call an early general election.

He has already announced changes he plans to make in the next Queen's Speech and doesn't look like a man who has any doubt about where he will be in a few months time.

It really is difficult to imagine that, with a majority of nearly 70 in the House of Commons, Mr Brown will have any wish to call a general election just half way through the government's programme.

So I cannot conceive that there will be any general election this year or early in 2008.

If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on us going to the polls on June 11 2009.

We certainly will have an election that day - it's the date of the next euro-elections and I can't help feeling the government will take advantage of that to call a general election.

That would have all kinds of benefits - there would only be one election so Labour would not have to spend its campaigning budget several times.

And by getting the vote out in a general election, Labour would also be able to ensure more people voted for its candidates in the Euro-election as well.

By then Mr Brown would have had two years in office and people would have time to judge how he has done and there will also be a new president in Washington, hopefully one that the British people will feel more kindly towards than the current incumbent.

One thing that has earned the new prime minister “Brownie points” is his apparent disregard for spin doctors who would surely have advised him to steer well clear of tennis racquets during his visit to a school last week.

Of course, it ended up with him looking daft in pictures which were beamed around the world but I suspect they didn't lose him any potential votes.

He may have looked daft - but at least he wasn't too self-conscious to do anything natural!

LOOK at this picture of the big balloon launch by the Learning and Skills Council.

This may look very attractive, but isn't it time that balloon launches like this were confined to the dustbin of history?

The balloons might look attractive when they're floating through the sky, but the fact is they end up as unattractive litter somewhere.

When they do eventually come down they can be eaten by animals, causing pain or death. Rubber is a major cause of death for many marine creatures in particular, but can also injure birds and other small animals. The time has come for charities and publicity-seeking organisations to find other ways of raising awareness of an issue - not something that can damage the environment.

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