It sounds like something out of a J. G. Ballard novel: Crash meets The Drowned World. In fact it’s out of China, where AP reports that a traffic jam has now been in place for ten days, with some drivers having been stuck in it for five. There seems to be no immediate prospect of it ending.
If we had a five day traffic jam on the M25 it would be spread all over the media and some hapless Minister would be invited to fall swordward. But in the UK this new Great Wall of China has been reported, where at all, as a bit of a laugh.
Some blame the discovery of coalfields in Inner Mongolia. I bet you never thought that might delay the delivery of your autumn wardrobe. Some say it’s roadworks. As with all disaster theory it is doubtless a combination of both factors – and more.
What struck me though, beyond its scarily prophetic and Ballardian note, was how wonderfully Asian is the reaction of those involved. Locals have been quick to exploit the opportunity – not to prey on the hapless stranded, but to weave in and out on cycles selling them sustenance (the price of rice has boiled over). And the stuck truckers have been quietly playing cards and chess.
Now imagine that monster jam on the M25 and think what would happen. Not pretty a pretty prospect is it?
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