Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Killer Arguments Against Development... not

From Cranmer

Not content with tearing the Conservative Party asunder and dividing the whole nation over same-sex marriage, it appears that the Tory metropolitan elite are intent on stablishing the poverty of their cultural hinterland by concreting over England's green and pleasant land. And once it's gone, it's gone forever - as the party used to intone in the days when it used to care.
I've never quite understood why Homeys use this argument*, because it's obviously nonsense. You only have to watch Time Team to see that even if man doesn't intervene, nature takes over. If man intervenes, digs up a car park, scatters some grass seed, plants a few trees, nature rather rapidly turns developed land into greenery.
For this is not an elite which inspires to wholesome jealousy, or raises the oppressed or lifts the downtrodden out of empathy or compassion, but one which induces bitterness in its contempt for the ordinary and everyday concerns of us all. What do they think local Conservative associations have been doing for the past century if not defending the rural way of life? What do they think Conservative councillors have been doing the length and breadth of the country if not guarding the greenbelt from Labour's aggressive urbanisation of cow land and woodland? 
Unfortunately, wrong. The greenbelts were, as much as anything, an invention of Herbert Morrison and the Labour party. And they weren't designed to protect rural England (much of which is really now just dormitories for towns) but to "to provide a reserve supply of public open spaces and of recreational areas and to establish a green belt or girdle of open space"
There is nothing unreasonable, mad or backward about preferring fields of bluebells and hawthorn hedges to bricks, glass, steel and concrete. Our happiness is calibrated on a different scale to that preferred by the elite: ours is English and imperial - consonant with culture and harmonised with nature. Theirs is modern and metric - alien, harsh and extrinsic.
I presume Cranmer will be knocking down his house and planting a field of bluebells in its place then.

* Don't they always say "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"? Wouldn't it also be fair to say "People who have a house to live in shouldn't complain about other people wanting to have a house to live in"?


Mark Wadsworth said...

If some back to the earth nutcase who is actually prepared to live in a tree or in a small tent in the woods, which he takes up every morning to allow the plants to grow back and pitches every evening in a new site complains about houses being built, well fair play. That might be mad but at least it's consistent.

But most NIMBYs live in houses. And drive to work over metalled roads etc etc. It is the sheer unbridled utter fucking hypocrisy which winds me up.

The Stigler said...

I had this argument with someone who was complaining about new houses changing the character of the place. "So, when your late 19th century house was built next to the early 19th century ones, what do you think happened then?"

If these people actually cared about the environment, they'd seek to lower rents. Home owners might then decide to have really beautiful houses built rather than clone Barratt homes.

Mark Wadsworth said...

TSL If these people actually cared about anything except themselves.

The other rule is, all houses as old as or older than the house owned by the NIMBY in question are "part of the fabric of the village" and everything thereafter is "urban sprawl".