Operation Brock is the most unfunny joke

This is a Guest Post

Few people will need reminding of the infamous ‘Just Stop Oil’ Dartford Crossing protest of 17th October 2022. It caused two days of havoc at a crucial part of the road network and resulted in the jailing of the two protestors – one for three years, the other for two years and seven months.

In his summary, Judge Shane Collery KC said the pair: “plainly believed you knew better” and “to hell with everyone else“. 

Now, we in Kent, and indeed those transiting through Kent to the ports, have experienced far worse than the two days of misery at the Dartford Crossing. I am of course referring to Operation Brock (though the Dover Tap and those residents of Aycliffe, in particular may have a more miserable case of government sanctioned congestion to detail).

National Highways, in their Disclosure Log, reveal that Operation Brock was in place for 121 days (between 28/12/2020 – 28/04/2021). There have been many more times since that Brock has been implemented. As the guest writer of this article, I am struggling to understand why the Kent MPs, KCC and Councillors in all districts affected have not been making a bigger noise on this. The very idea of using a motorway as a car park defies the very definition of its purpose. A simple internet search for the definition for any MPs or councillors would provide something along the lines of “a multi-carriageway road designed for fast traffic, with relatively few places for joining or leaving”. So, if two protestors have been found guilty of the charge “causing a public nuisance” and jailed for over 2 years for wilfully prohibiting the use of the King’s highways, why is the UK government permitted to do the same? 

Who has benefited from Brock? Has your life been improved by Brock? Do you want to see more of Brock? Crucially, who answers for Brock? The disparity between the Just Stop Oil protestors – who, irrespective of your viewpoint, had a rationale for their modus operandi – and the UK government is huge. Where the protestors were charged, tried, became convicted criminals and are serving time for their deeds, the UK government has got away with their actions and has not been held to account by the apathetic, detached-from-reality politicians representing us. To my mind, Brock is the most unfunny joke. Nobody is really answerable for it, or challenged on it; it makes a mockery of democracy. It has caused misery to many in our district and county. It has failed. It continues to fail – anyone travelling between junction 8 and 9 on the M20 will have witnessed, as I have far too many times, a derisory amount of lorries within a 14 mile stretch of motorway. Is Brock really doing what is supposed to do?

Brock replaced Stack as a means to alleviate the probable chaos at the ports in the run up to Brexit’s article 50 coming to an end. We were told it was about “taking back control” – perhaps this reveals how little control we have WHEN it is placed in the hands of those apathetic, detached from reality politicians representing us.

A final thought, if two days of misery at the Dartford Crossing is punishable by over two years of jail time, how much time should those responsible for the misery of Brock be serving? After all, a motorway is not a car park – I cannot think of anywhere else in the world where a motorway would be used as such. Can you?

The Shepway Vox Team

Dissent is NOT a Crime

About shepwayvox (1802 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

3 Comments on Operation Brock is the most unfunny joke

  1. The M20 is by far the best place to hold freight for the port, and the moveable barrier is effective.

    The alternative? Many small truck stops would need to be built, mainly on greenfield sites and at great expense.

    Brock and TAP are good solutions to a complex problem: Not perfect by any means, but sensible given the context.

  2. BB, if that is the case, why aren’t the French authorities doing similar with the A16, Calais-side?

  3. I am unhappy with this arrangement. It feels like a temporary stopgap that has become a permanent fixture.
    For daily commuters on this road, it is very difficult to understand the point when the closed carriageway is empty of traffic.

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