Politics, it is often said, is a battle between ideas and the conditions for living. Political idealists believe that they can secure power by articulating an ideology of one sort or another, or a sense of general optimism that tomorrow will be a better day. Political pragmatists, however, are more inclined to assume that voters will only give credit and political power to the representatives who are seen to keep the buses running, the hospitals queues down and the pavements free from obstruction.
Following this second adage there is certainly clear grounds for political opportunists to fight a pragmatic campaign in Leicester’s West End about the state of the pavements around here. In the time I’ve been living back in Leicester, just over a year, I’ve resolved to try to shop locally, supporting local businesses and traders. But even my patience is severely tested in the torrential rain we had this weekend. The pavements along Narborough Road are impassable in places, and are sever trip hazards in others.
There is also the plethora of signs and pavement displays that one has to negotiate, along with the usual wide variety of street furniture and cars parked erratically. The challenge of walking along Narborough Road doesn’t seem to get any easier. I wonder what any forthcoming local election campaign would make of this?