Sunday, 7 August 2011

A green and pleasant land?

The Sunday Telegraph editorial today contains an article on the furore about the Coalition's attempts to change the planning laws; and as with most things that this abomination of a government attempts, it would seem that the one thing missing in this, as with all their policies, is 'planning'. In the editorial it states:
"No, the source of opposition is much more profound than any political ideology: it is the desire of local people to have a say over what happens to their communities and their surroundings. The Coalition promised to build planning policy around that aspiration. If that is indeed what it has done, ministers have nothing to fear: opposition to their reforms will melt away. But if its proposals turn out to be merely a variation on the old model of central control, then opposition will become very potent indeed."
 Oh dear! "But if its proposals turn out to be merely a variation on the old model of central control....". Just where has the writer of this rubbish been since May 2010? He need only look at the Localism Bill to see that central control is a factor where supposed devolution of power is concerned. Not only that, but he/she seems totally unaware of what content is included in that edition of his/her own newspaper.

Not available, it would appear on-line - but in the print edition - is a 'two-page spread' article by Andrew Gilligan, one headlined: "Developers get the green light after Tory 'about turn'" in which Gilligan writes quite extensively on the subject; mentioning the fact that Grant Shapps, when Shadow Housing Minister, visited the villages of Elsenham and Henham in North Essex to back opposition to the last government's plans to build 5,000 houses thus joining-up' the two villages. Shapps told villagers that the Conservative Party would not let that happen and that villagers could rest in peace, something the villagers felt reassured about after 12th May 2010. Gilligan writes:
"Ministers insist that the changes are all about localism. And indeed, local areas will be able to get together to draw up "neighbourhood plans". At first sight, that might seem hopeful for places like Elsenham. But the small print, again, makes clear that neighbourhoods will not be allowed to draw up plans that conflict with national policy. They will, in other words, only be able to ask for more development, not less."
The object of this post is not to enter the argument about NIMBYISM, nor the fact that one aspect of the need for more housing may well be due to the present immigration policy of this country - nor that our countryside is alive with rabbits which, it is understood, hold the number one spot where breeding rates are concerned; and that countryside locals are naturally against other races entering their locale and attempting, to knock the rabbits off their number one spot.

The object of this post is to expose, yet again, the political obfuscation practised by this government where transparency and honesty is concerned. They are 'selling' the idea that power is being devolved to the people when, in fact, the opposite is the case - witness the 'small print'. As with the promise in the Localism Bill on the subject of referendums, 'control' still rests with our elected representatives. Do note the words: "neighbourhoods will not be allowed" - is not "allowing" something that dictators practise? 

It seems to me that Cameron chose to stand for public office in the wrong country - he should have tried North Korea, where he would, no doubt, have been welcomed with open arms!

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