Wednesday, 19 April 2017

All the fields are brown


Oh hell, I just got an election notice for the combined West of England authority (don't ask) Mayoral contest, and now we have a General Election set for a few weeks time. I hate democracy - it has got us into so much trouble recently.

I don't blame Theresa May, I would have done the same thing to consolidate my grasp on power, but she is taking a bit of a risk. I think it has backfired on a few career politicians in the past, and there must be quite a few Conservative MPs who are thinking about what they are going to do with the rest of their lives after they are thrown out. Heads will roll, because the only people (right now) she has to worry about are her own back-benchers, but if there is another protest vote like all the others have been, then Corbyn could be in with a chance. Everyone wrote off Trump - remember?

The biggest issue with our Mayoral election seems to hinge on housing and the Green Belt. About 10 years ago, the 7 mile tract of beautiful riverside land between Bath and Bristol suddenly had a massive, 50 inch sewage system laid in it - for no obvious reason...

Shortly after this, central government admitted that there was a drastic shortage of affordable housing and gave builders encouragement to build more homes by paying lip-service to the problem. All the developers yelped for joy and began throwing up extremely expensive boxes  on as many sites as local planners were forced to give up, and everyone carried on making millions of quid from property, just like the old days.

The only new-builds within the city of Bath are either student accommodation (there is a lot of money in students) or £2 million mansions which have somehow slipped through the planning process and now compete with Sham Castle on the city's historic skyline for imposition. In the closest shopping street to me, about 25% of the shops are empty, because they cannot afford to run their crappy gift-shops and pay the business rates and rents to the council at the same time as feeding their families.

The government is now allowing house-building on greenfield sites, even though there are so many brownfield ones due to the industries which used to occupy them going out of business because of past government policies.

Our local, free, glossy magazines (Bath Life, The Bath Magazine) are dominated by estate agents. Before you get to the 10 pages of property ads you have to tour the endless parties thrown by estate agents and what used to be called the Chamber of Commerce, in the 'society' pages, and recent issues have focussed on the first phase of the 'Riverside Development' - the first mile of the 7 which will eventually merge Bristol with Bath at the expense of the unspoilt and peaceful countryside.

Interspersed amongst the main bulk of the business interests (which include a great many adverts for family accountants who specialise in going through divorce in the least financially painful way possible), there is a little feature on an unsuccessful artist, just to throw in a bit of local colour to attract buyers from London. You see? We DO have some extraordinary ordinary people living here! Such fun!

People have always taken a quick profit to feather their nests before moving out of the towns which they helped to destroy and retiring to the unspoilt countryside, but things are really getting out of hand now.

I think I may vote Green in the Mayoral election. I may even vote Green in the General Election. After all, it hasn't done Germany any harm, has it....?


11 comments:

  1. Oh God this is so depressing and so familiar. In my semi-rural Surrey commuter village we are battling Berkeley homes desire to build a super-size Academy school (citing special education needs aka a centre for autism- fortunately Surrey is awash with special schools for autistic children) on Greenbelt and pay for it by building 295 new homes. Boring brown brick houses on large plots built between the 1930s and 1990s are regularly demolished to build be-whited mansions with unseemly amounts of plate glass which leach light into our dark skies while the owners remain behind their electric gates and never venture anywhere except by car. Sorry for the downbeat comment; I haven't commented here before but I often find your posts resonate with me.

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    1. That house on the skyline here is covered in plate glass. The excuse for 'special needs' is one they probably think the most difficult to reasonably object to. What kind of unreasonable planners would refuse permission to such a worthy development?! Do they want to be seen as NIMBY child-haters?!

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  2. I wouldn't bother voting Green. In Brighton we have their one and only MP. OK, she might occasionally try to save Lithuanian kittens, otherwise she's not only useless but has buggered up the whole of Brighton's parking system. She's caused chaos.

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    1. My friend is the chief engineer on the huge boat which is putting up all those wind turbines just out to sea! They asked for them, now they are complaining that they are ruining the view!

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  3. I have only one thing to say and I am saying it Tom - I hate politics.

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    1. I have to agree with you there Weave, but I wish that politics were avoidable. It seems they aren't.

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  4. What will the thrown out MPs do? Here in the US politicians can always make big money by giving speeches. I wouldn't be interested in going to one, but I believe that there is BIG money in it.

    I have always thought that voting Green is not a mistake. It's good to have them as part of the government.

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    1. The greens do have their uses, but recently a local council refused a licence to a fracking company here in England. Central government overruled them and just gave the company the licence in any case. Too much money involved for them to be stopped, and central government wants the money.

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  5. Good evening Tom. This evening I have been trying to get somewhat caught up with blogs that I have neglected for far too long.
    I admit to spending some prior blog hours on contacting elected officials and going to meeting held by said politicians and participating in more rallies and marches. I just want to be counted as someone who really, really does not like most of what's going on.

    I am pleased tor report that I've been able to avoid any more falls or emergency room visits. Oh, I am also doing some drawing and painting. And getting out in the sunshine, and visiting with NYC friends.

    Wondering what will happen in France tomorrow. Wondering if Ms May can actually avoid any pre-election debates.

    If you no longer wish to wear that handsome fair isle vee neck, perhaps you know someone who would want to have its benefits?

    Now on to another of your posts.

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    1. Even 40 year-old friends think it makes them look like a twat and any younger ones are just not interested. I should have given it away in 1958. I'm glad you have stopped falling over.

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    2. Oh yes, and France: Nobody has any idea what is going to happen, even now.

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