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Posts Tagged ‘Communities’

Using Planning Reform to make it even easier to build houses is the obvious solution for a political class that always takes the easy option without view of the consequences first

Politicians are no longer big enough to tackle or even attempt to address issues that they cannot be sure they can control. It is a fool’s game.

Government has been blighted by very normal, overly ambitious people styling themselves as public leaders, whose greatest skill is sniffing out and repelling any meaningful response to the issues and actions that carry the greatest risk to themselves.

The irony should not be lost on many, that if governments were to apply themselves fully and without compromise to addressing the issues of their time and without fear of any electoral risk to them by doing so, they would have done all they need to get re-elected with a decent majority at the end of their 5-year-term.

Regrettably – and to the continued cost of the British Public, this is not how our politicians roll.

Our politicians take the easy and politically lazy route to managing public policy. They deal with issues in isolation, giving little or no consideration to the impact upon other areas of public policy. They focus on the consequences of their actions only for themselves when they should be prioritising the consequences for us all.

The suggestion that using Planning Reform to make it easier to build houses will solve the housing crisis is nothing more than the siren call of greed. A call to action that will line the pockets of the same financiers, builders and political chums as always, whilst people whose lives are being increasingly destroyed by the exponential growth of personal and private debt also see countless other factors that give quality to their lives smashed unnecessarily upon these hidden rocks.

No human being can be in two places at once. Therefore, no human being needs two places in which to live.

Just as is the case in every other part of life, there is ‘enough for everyone’s need, but never enough for everyone’s greed’.

Money, created by a monetary and financial system that is only fair and equitable to those who have no need for any more of it, should not enable anyone to obtain more than they need to facilitate anything more than the requirements of day-to-day function or living. Certainly not when doing so comes at the cost of preventing others with less from having the same.

With a growing population, there will always be a relative need for the country to build new homes. But increasing home building exponentially, just so the whims of some can be met and the profiteering and greed of others can be fed is no solution to a problem that can be solved politically with better, more appropriate and fairer use of resources that already exist.

You never see house prices fall in the area where a new development is built. But you do see problems with flooding. You see the negative impact on infrastructure like roads, schools and GPs Surgeries.

Excessive building leads to a fall in the quality of life for countless numbers of people, many of them everyday, low-wage people who grew up locally. Real people who are being pushed out by deliberately engineered inflation meaning that the new houses the government and media tells us are being built to help them will continue to be the prized lifetime asset they will never be able to afford.

Whilst the term ‘Reset’ or ‘Great Reset’ has been adopted by both the World Economic Forum and by those who love to hate them, there is indeed no better term that can be used to describe what needs to happen to the UKs and the International Monetary and Financial systems so that life and the ability of everyone to live it becomes something that we all can financially afford.

The disproportionate value of homes, relative to what they are genuinely worth could quickly be addressed to a significant degree by a revaluation and rebalancing of the way money is used and manipulated and how the economy works.

But money itself has to be viewed as nothing more than the unit of exchange that it is, rather than the god-like ‘thing’ that greed and selfishness has allowed it to become.

There are already a range of devices that the Government could use to address second and multiple home ownership. This would immediately improve housing stock availability and remove the need for housebuilding to increase or to continue in the forms that are destroying local communities and the environments around them – when there already exists a much more appropriate choice.

Yet our politicians will not use taxation or bans on multiple home ownership, because it would mean wading through a political minefield that they consider too risky to their chances of re-election. They are therefore deemed to be actions that they must do everything to avoid.

By making public policy decisions in this way, our politicians are failing to do the right thing for the people they represent. Meanwhile they are continually creating more and more troublesome consequences for everyone, which they will then once again do everything to avoid.

This lack of leadership in government and the rejection of responsibility by this political class means that the basics of life for many are simply too expensive to afford.

Restoring Democracy Pt 3: Communities & locality first

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

Localism became a fashionable term during the Coalition years under David Cameron. Yet the Localism that we thought it was and the localism that it actually was are two very different things.

Like many of the miss-sold and misrepresented ideas about what serves the Public interest, such concepts are sold with sound bites cleverly constructed to give the impression that they will takes steps, if not leaps towards some form of natural justice. But they don’t.
For example, the creation of the Office of Police and Crime Commissioners and Metropolitan Mayoralties was presented to us as giving power back to local areas.
Yes, they give the appearance of having more money coming to benefit the areas. But this take on giving power back to us is a dubious representation at best. Worse still, instead of bringing power back in the direction of the People, it has instead focused it away from the lower levels of Government decision making – or rather those which are closer to us, and instead transferred it into the hands of one, rather than a number of Politicians.
Many People do not realise that there four different tiers of Government in this Country. (Five If you were to Count the European Parliament too)
They are from the lowest to the ‘top’, Parish & Town Councils, Borough & District Councils, County Councils (Unitary Authorities can include all of the responsibilities of the above) and Parliament or Central Government itself.
Like Westminster, Party Politics plays a significant role throughout these tiers of Government and we have the very same problems with Politicians at a local level as we do in London.
Far too many Local Politicians are motivated by self-interest, pursuing their own interests and furthering their own or particular causes.
In some ways, the injustice at work at local level can have an even more meaningful impact upon our lives. Because the decisions taken by bodies such as Planning and Licensing Committees can and do make changes to the environment that we experience every day around us.
When these local decisions are not taken in our best interests – as is all too often the case – the cost for all of us can be particularly high.
Federalism and the model of putting decision making in the hands of local people that the EU presents is even worse, rather than better. It gives the lie to this injustice even further.
Together, the real workings and methodology of Central and EU Government is to implement a set of rules that are so tight, the so-called decision making and democracy that tales place at a local level, is in fact no more than a tick-box exercise for the Officers and Politicians involved.
Removing the rot in Politics and getting good people into Political Roles where they will really fight our corner, will make an immediate difference to how decisions are made locally. It would make life much better for everyone involved.
But the real difference that could and should be made by good central Government – once we have removed the influence of the EU once and for all, is to genuinely give back decision making, influence and responsibility to us and put back as much of it as is possible, into the hands of Politicians and Representatives  at the most local level to hold.
There will always be policies and responsibilities that need to be accounted for at a higher and more appropriate level.
But that doesn’t mean that the Politicians at the top should be the only ones with real or meaningful control.
The reality is that today, the buck stops in London and in Brussels for far too many decisions. Laws are simply interpreted at local level – a process that leads to much misunderstanding and frustration for local People and locally minded Politicians that really don’t have the responsibility and influence on issues that are most pertinent to them – no matter what they are being told.
Getting decision making back to the point where it is as close to the People as possible is an essential part of giving us back a genuine feeling of community, re-enfranchisement and that we can have real and meaningful influence on the world around us.
A Good Government could begin giving us genuine localism by:
  •   Overseeing a clean, secure and permanent Exit from the EU .
  • Abolish the roles of so-called Metro-Mayors and transfer their powers back to more local control .
  • Abolish the roles of Police & Crime Commissioners, re-establishing the local Committee structure whilst taking measures to ensure that political influence is kept at the minimum and that Committee Members are drawn from outside privileged and insider networks.
  • Reverse all processes of centralisation within the Tiers of Government and/or restructure to ensure that decision making and influence is structured and administered in such a way that the emphasis is always upon the quality of service and experience of end-users – always ensuring that it is as accessible as possible, rather than simply being about money, the decision makers and the officers involved.
  •  Return final point of decision making to the level most near to the end user and only use frameworks as a guide unless there are very specific rules such as the minimum drinking age involved.
  • De-centralise powers that have been given to unelected and unaccountable bodies such as the Highways and Environment Agencies. Create more localised umbrella organisations where it is absolutely necessary to facilitate joined-up thinking, but above all ensure that no decision can be taken arbitrarily by any bureaucrat without local representation having genuine influence in the process and if necessary having a veto over changes to or that will affect local infrastructure or property.
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