05.07.08, I’m Apalled

I believe today, the press, en masse, are often allowed to act like a school of sharks in a feeding frenzy with no respect or decorum, even at a PM’s briefing. What I found unbelievable and which spoke volumes was that when asked why he did not pass through the Lobby, he actually answered instead of telling his interlocutor to do something earthy. On another tack, it doesn’t take even a normal person to realise all the implications of the vast amount of changes government is proposing in the near future. First of all it is going to cost a fortune because change is expensive in time and materials, and the recipients of the services that are being changed, will suffer in the meantime, if not in the long term as well. It is clearly just an effort to gain brownie points in the face of such wide disillusion, and the shortage of time before the next election. I would have thought that at a time when the majority of us are actually losing hundreds if not thousands of our savings, as well as being stripped of it by increased taxes and rising costs, the government would draw in its horns, and move slowly, rather than starting massively expensive ventures into unknown fields, where the outcome is not totally predictable. There is more than one area where this is apostate, housing and the carbon foot-print are just two. What I find most aggravating is that no one seems to take into account past history, when they are making decisions in the short term, when the effects will be felt long-term.

Recently I was thinking about my life immediately after the war, our carbon footprint then was minuscule to what we have today. By today’s standards we were poor, considering every purchase carefully. We had no car, few had central heating, we generally heated only one room at a time, public transport was mainly driven by electricity, and most of the shops that we needed were within walking distance, which in turn was good for health. Very little of our food was imported, and holidays, if they were taken at all, were spent within reasonable travelling distance in Britain. Are unripe strawberries out of season, worth bringing all the way from California? This aspect never occurred to us in the old days, when we waited for the season to change and then enjoyed a renewed experience, and didn’t feel deprived.

Now we are talking about whole swathes of our countryside that have been vandalised by vast housing estates with, maybe only occasionally a small group of shops, which are certainly not in walking distance for most of us. This was induced by the arrival of the vast shopping centres, and one could conject that some were at the instigation of the supermarkets. Now it is clear that even green field sites are being used in preference to brown ones. Essentially government policy obviously means nothing.

People like myself have been writing for years about the efficiency of small groups of shops within a conurbation covering the major needs of the local inhabitants. This, not eco-housing of unspecified standards and quality, is what is required. Another vast housing estate, even if it does theoretically appear on paper to have a smaller carbon footprint, will, socially and with respect to travel, be another open prison. You only have to listen to the people who live in flats where the shops that are part of the area have had to close down. They claim that they have lost more than the convenience of the shops, they have lost that social element so necessary to their lives. Today, without the extended family, with two incomes, and the mummy run, there is little time to be sociable, and lives are far more insular. There are fewer church halls, scouts and girl guide groups, and less socialising among the young in a safe environment. Both these last statements and the psychological effects of them are well known, but the government only talks about reversing the trend.

Categorized as General

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