Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
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....?