I hate this sign, not merely because it makes you think that someone has been mutilating cats (or offering to mutilate cats), but because it is the avatar of the UK’s gradual descent to the status of a developing nation rather than an advanced economy.
Why are roads being repaired, all over the place, with cats’ eyes removed? Because it’s cheaper, obviously, but also because it requires less finesse and skill to lay tarmac without worrying about the cats. A quick bodge job, bish bash bosh, and you’ve resurfaced the road – but what have you lost in the process?
I always loved cats’ eyes, not for any jingoistic reason, but because they’re simply an ingenious invention, a brilliant solution for aiding nighttime navigation without requiring a power infrastructure – or indeed stupidly bright headlights. And they lasted years, didn’t they, if you looked after them? Modular, easily repairable, and they showed the way.
In the dark heart of Europe, where they don’t have cats’ eyes, the roads at night can be hard to see. You’re reliant on the luminous paint of the white lines, but they wear off, don’t they? And they become almost invisible when it rains heavily.
‘Cats Eyes Removed’ is a reminder of the shit country that Britain has become, the end of civilisation, the destruction of society by neoliberal ideology, and the fact that nobody in the sign-making department has any idea how to use an apostrophe.