CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Editor’s comment March 2016

PUBLISHED: 10:58 18 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:30 18 February 2016

Mike Lowe, Editor of Cotswold Life

Mike Lowe, Editor of Cotswold Life


Cotswold Life editor Mike Lowe discusses the blame culture taking place on UK roads, the importance of an effective transport system, and the appalling weather we've experienced this winter.

You might think that the trials and tribulations of the motorway network had little do with those of us ensconced in quiet Cotswold villages. However, an effective and affordable transport system is essential to the financial well-being of the economy – both local and national. And we need to get out there to earn our living.

Unfortunately, this lifeline is in crisis for a number of reasons. Rural bus services have completely disappeared in many places. Those that remain are under threat from further budget cuts. Our mainline railway service to London is often useless. In fact, if a day goes by without signalling problems causing delays somewhere on the system, I swear I’ll wear Brunel’s top hat for a week while smoking a stogie.

And then there’s our increasingly dysfunctional motorway network, where daily closures cause havoc for millions of drivers (forced into their cars, of course, by the problems detailed above).

A couple of weeks ago I had cause to drive up to Chester and back. After a seven-hour trip, I emerged more or less unscathed, despite a queue near Sandbach caused by a minor crash, during which two blokes got out of their cars and started fighting in the middle lane in some kind of road-rage incident. Not so the poor souls the following day, some of whom spent NINE hours stuck on the M5 because of a broken-down crane in the roadworks.

Never a day passes without a closure of one of our main arteries. The M6 and the M5 suffer regularly; the M4 less so. The principle cause of this seems to be the Blame Culture that has infested our society.

Once upon a time there were things called ‘accidents’, defined in the dictionary as “something bad that happens that is not expected or intended”. Nowadays no such thing exists. Someone always has to be to blame. It seems that any significant crash now involves dozens of police with their tape measures and tripods, cameras and sticks of chalk, desperately trying to prove that someone is culpable for every collision. (Obviously I exempt fatal incidents from this whinge.)

The eventual culprit will be fined a few hundred quid while millions of pounds in business time will be lost by the masses in the huge queues that have piled up behind. It just doesn’t make sense.

We dearly need to adopt a more pragmatic view to keeping the traffic flowing. If not, the nation is literally going to grind to a halt. And where then will the money come from to keep our Cotswold economy buoyant?


It is difficult at the moment to write about anything but the weather. The constant deluges of January and February have been biblical, with fields and roads awash as well as the ever-present threat of flooding for many.

The wind and rain hasn’t been much fun for the dogs either, with the whippet blowing around on the end of his lead like a small, grey furry kite, while it has to be said that a damp lurcher does exude a rather ‘interesting’ odour.

But the downpours are just one problem. What we have missed so far this year is some proper winter weather: a snap so cold that it kills off everything that needs to be killed off in the garden – flora and fauna – and prepares the way for the new life of spring.

The window of opportunity for Jack Frost is now narrow, but it would be nice to look out of the window one morning to see a beautiful landscape of ice and snow, rather than next door’s wheelie-bin floating past.

Follow Mike on Twitter @cotslifeeditor


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

The Warwickshire town of Alcester is considered one of the best understood Roman settlements in the country. Tracy Spiers digs below the surface to discover its hidden jewels

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

One hundred years ago this month the guns fell silent, marking the end of what was to become known as The Great War. Stephen Roberts remembers the impact the war had on Cotswold lives from 1914-1918

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Being a region so steeped in history, there are plenty of locations in the Cotswolds with spooky stories from over the years. From bloody executions, eerie apparitions and headless horsemen, we pick 23 of the most haunted locations throughout the Cotswolds to visit if you dare

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

New bat cams installed at Woodchester Mansion help study protected breeds while also becoming an added attraction for visitors. Jo Barber looks at the work of one of the UK’s foremost bat experts and the mansion’s valued volunteers

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

From an all-boy, all boarding prep school for just 30 pupils, to the quietly trailblazing yet still traditional school it is today – here is a snapshot of Beaudesert over its 110-year history

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Of all the castles in the region, none have seen as much war, romance and royalty as Sudeley over its dramatic 1,000-year history. And with such a colourful and eventful past, it is easy to see why some people believe there could be spirits from bygone eras which still wander the halls and corridors to this day

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Following a record year for ‘visitor giving’ donations via local businesses, applications are invited to fund conservation projects

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

What started as a business ploy by one Cotswold firm has developed into an inspirational garden

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

If a bit of English eccentricity is your thing, spend an enjoyable afternoon exploring the delightful follies of Faringdon

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

Visitors to the village of Bourton-on-the-Water can now escape the well-trodden tourist trail at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s beautiful Greystones nature reserve and its newly opened visitor centre

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search