The snow chaos in the past couple of weeks provided the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead the perfect opportunity to show off its status as one of the "vanguard" communities for the "Big Society".
Across the borough, people struggled through roads and pavements that were not cleared or ploughed. After having had a trial run at this in January 2010, unfortunately our council was once again caught off-guard with unseasonal winter weather... in winter. Cue the army of volunteers to clear our streets with their shovels, marshalled by our local Councillors in a triumph for David Cameron's Big Society... er no. In fact nothing. People walking their dogs were amused and slightly dismayed to see that the Queen had two snow ploughs going up and down the Long Walk in Windsor, whilst cars slid around the snow covered main road it crosses.
A few days later, the temperatures dropped and the pavements froze over. With no pavements cleared of snow (even in the town centres) and reduced to ice skating rinks, pedestrians were forced to walk on the road. It was noticed that in places where people had taken the initiative and cleared the snow in the first place, the pavements had dried out and not iced over, leading residents to wonder what our council has been doing over the past 12 months since the last snow and exactly what are they paying their council tax for.
Even if our local Conservative Councillors had taken the initiative and actually used their Big Society concept a bit more, it generally takes more than spades to clear the snow. Local people can't afford their own snow ploughs - excepting of course, the Queen.
This blog was also sent as a letter to the local Windsor papers.