Can it really be five years ago that I was calling Rushmoor's policy of "building out" roads at junctions a "total absurdity?"

Walking past The Queen Hotel at the junction of Aldershot High Street and Grosvenor Road the other day, I was struck by the incredible difficulty lorry and bus drivers have in turning the corner.

They solve it by running over the edge of Rushmoor's flower beds, leaving deep grooves.

When they were building out this verge to outsize proportions, I was one of many people who tried to tell them they were making a mistake. Roger Kimber, the ex-taxi driver and veteran Aldershot councillor, was another.

The caption to my picture, in November, 1996, read: "Total absurdity! This is Rushmoor highway planners' idea of how to make Aldershot more popular - huge, dangerous pavements blocking the High Street, Grosvenor Road junction."

Has anyone grown older and wiser in Rushmoor's highways department over the years? Does any bureaucrat ever admit to being wrong about anything? And would any of these people last five minutes in a real job in the real world? Say, trying to drive an articulated lorry round the obstructions they love to create?

Similar monstrosities are being proposed to impede traffic flow through Fleet town centre, unless enough local people wake up and start letting their councillors feel the heat.

There is a £2 million plus bonus to be spent on improving Fleet roads, courtesy of the Elvetham Heath developers.

Here's a revolutionary idea which, as it would actually improve traffic flow and make driving more pleasant, will certainly never be considered by the transport chiefs at your local town hall or in The Kremlin at Winchester.

Cut out the hairpin bends round nothing on the two dreadful, lethal roads between Fleet and Aldershot. People are killed on these bends, which are covered in black ice in bad weather. They should be straightened and the road should be widened.

A good, simple idea, full of logic and commonsense. They'll never do it, unless all you fellow drivers out there start calling your local councillors to DEMAND action. After all, councillors increasingly like to be paid for their work, and are even after "pension rights." Perhaps they can start earning their cash by deploying some rationality and replacing the ridiculous cart-tracks that pass as roads locally.

If our town and county hall panjandrums keep fooling around and wasting our money, I will continue to campaign for their culling, as there are far too many of them, all insulated from the harsh realities of life the rest of us have to cope with.

The new Mayor of New York has set the pattern by cutting staff by 20 per cent. There's scope for much more than that at Hampshire County Council and in all local town halls, where long tete a tetes over tea and biscuits are the order of most days.

THE failures of both policing and education are in the news daily. I have just received another - very long - letter from our reader Mr.W. Leah with more criticisms of the constabulary.

I feel sorry for the average ordinary PC, faced with increasing political interference, like Mr. Blunkett planning to impose more red tape by making police record millions of minor incidents when they stop people. Guess what; they will solve this burden by stopping fewer potential muggers!

As for education, my eldest daughter, until recently teaching English at a Hampshire secondary school, faced a daily red tape nightmare. More on this shortly...

* Before you reach for your dictionaries, "panjandrum", according to the Concise Oxford, is the mock title of an exalted personage, a pompous official or pretender.