A Business Boom? (A.K.A. The Tories and the '90s)
In the 1990s, we in the UK had a Conservative government, the prime minister being John Major. Whatever your politics, this was an amazing time for theme parks and roller coasters (in fact, all the theme parks sprung up in the '80s, also a Conservative government).
As soon as the '90s began, we had the amazing Vampire at Chessington World of Adventures (which was a really good park then) and the Ultimate at Lightwater Valley. Now, whatever you think of the Ultimate, I find it astounding that an independent English theme park was able to build the longest roller coaster in the world.
A few years later Blackpool Pleasure Beach built the World's tallest and fastest coaster, the Pepsi Max Big One. Again, whatever you think of the ride, think how amazing it is that they did it! Drayton Manor felt big and able enough to install Shockwave, which is an almost B&M status roller coaster. Best of all, Alton Towers threw out all the stops and built Nemesis, a coaster that is extravagant in every single way.
Andy Hine and the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain produced White Knuckle, probably the best coaster video ever released. It's certainly the best I've seen, and expertly captures the vibe and enthusiasm of the era.
Before the Tories were chucked out, we even got two woodies!!
Then Tony Blair swept to power. Things continued as usual for a while (Valhalla and Air spring to mind), but since then I've noticed a massive and definite decline in the quality of UK coasters. In particular, there has been an undeniable decrease in ambition. Small and medium parks don't do anything, and the big parks are, frankly, awful.
Even coaster enthusiasm itself, devoid of leading figures such as Andy Hine, seems to have withered to almost nothing. There are Thorpe Park fans, and there are Alton Towers fans, but that's about it.
Why am I having this rant? Well, for one thing, it's cathartic! The main reason though is that I've just been shopping and I've seen two large buildings being constructed at the retail park.
Does this justify me getting over-excited? No, in all honesty, so why am I? First of all, this retail park has been there for decades without expansion. And secondly, we've been in deep recession for a couple of years, and we're not exactly in great shape again yet. Enough time to drop plans, that's for sure.
So why are businesses pressing ahead?
Rightly or wrongly, businesses feel pessimistic under Labour governments and optimistic under Tory governments. Of course, since May, the UK has had a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government, but the Tories are by far the larger part of it.
What does this mean for us? Lower your lap bar folks, because maybe, just maybe, the ride's about to start again.
If it happens again, I say the conservative should just stay in offic ALL THE TIME...Oh wait, that's Communism, or a Dictatoship...Hmmmm...