Lording it.

6 Aug

The House of Lords cost the taxpayer £158million in 2018-19. That was up from only £100million the year before. (source: House of Lords Annual Report 2018/19 – http://www.paliament.uk)The expense has been galloping way ahead of inflation. Now our political masters have invited yet another crop of unelected celebs, bankrollers and ‘wealth creators’ to join the 800+ club. Many in the club are, doubtless, tireless and intelligent do-gooders. Many are not. Our constitution is in a poor state and we, as taxpayers, have been duped into thinking that this chamber provides a proper 21st century scrutiny on the doings of the elected chamber.

Our government is about to lay before its chambers a bill to allow unfettered planning permissions to facilitate our desperate need for housing. Without dwelling on the high handed idiocy of this, playing into the hands of fast-buck winner-takes all property developers and get-even-richer landowners, the counterfeit argument hinges on the notion of ‘affordable housing’. Hundreds, nay thousands of houses have sprung up in my neck of the woods. At the first planning stage ‘affordable’ meant two incomes and saved for a deposit for a decade. By the end of the process the house price has moved into the very different world far out of reach of the majority in need. Local plans are a consultative farce – time and effort spent on producing even-handed strategies for the future which are not worth the ring-bound folders that local council produced before they shredded the contents, lest anyone refers back to the days when integrity and indeed democratic process, counted.

The dreadful events in Lebanon may be a very sad pointer to what can happen when political and business expedience prevails over honesty and truth. The fumblings of our own government over Coronavirus are a camouflage for a more ruthless, less accountable centralisation. Boris doesn’t give much of a shit about the people. We are not his people. His people see democracy as weakness. It stands in the way of getting things done. Those things are to do with wealth creation; don’t get in our way, we’re driving our juggernaut through. Cummings’ Law.

And, of course, it is our fault. We get the government, the leader, we deserve. Look around and ask yourself whom do you admire…or trust? Don’t get me started on the honours list, either. We edge towards the sort of corruption which we smirk about in other places. Our judiciary need to watch out. Enemies of the people? Who?

The lack of context and nuance and intelligence in recent debate over all manner of things has led to fear. Fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of saying anything lest outrageous offence is taken. We edge towards silence. The anodyne replace the trenchant. We stop holding those with powerful voices accountable. Think of child abuse by priests, think of Sir Jimmy Savile. Think of China, of Trump, Price Andrew…of..of of anyone you like who has, as an individual or large entity, denied others decent human freedoms. Money and power and privilege. Now think again about Boris. He’ll be a Lord some day.

3 Responses to “Lording it.”

  1. laurenpom August 6, 2020 at 6:49 pm #

    Thank you Paul.Its an unfortunate world at large currently politically, economically, morally, …Thank goodness for the friends and family with the values of love and community still intact.Love to you and Belinda,lauren

  2. rocket1101 August 6, 2020 at 7:55 pm #

    Obviously heart-felt and well-thought-through, Paul. I haven’t been able to form a considered view of the planning changes…but my initial thoughts certainly chime with yours as they do about the other things you’ve written. Democracy in its widest sense under threat!

    • simplysorro August 6, 2020 at 8:41 pm #

      Thanks Clive. I have had some local experience of legitimate ( not nimby )planning objections being gradually
      ignored over time as repeated appeal eventually win the day. Councils, denuded of money, have to cash in assets to property developers. Social housing has shrunk to such a small proportion of the overall build. It is true to say that the planning process should be speeded up where possible. HS2 will go ahead despite the highly questionable validity of a north/ south speed imperative. East/ west perhaps. What is driving HS2 is something other than necessity.

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