Saturday, December 24, 2011

Clark and the Feudal Spirit

I've been trying to decide whether Bertie Wooster's Aunt Dahlia, who was famously direct in her language, would have called the Rt Hon Greg Clark an inveterate scoundrel, a lying toad or a congenital idiot.

He was interviewed on Sky News last week.  When talking about the government's proposed National Planning Policy Framework on TV on 21st December, he said
"The purpose of the planning reforms is to have decisions taken by local people who know their area best. That is the reason that we are making these changes.  We want to see local decisions taken locally.  That's what we want to introduce."
Now this is not entirely true.  Indeed, what Greg Clark said is pretty much the exact opposite of the truth.

Let's try phrasing it accurately.
The purpose of the planning reforms is to dilute or remove decision taking capability from local people who know their area best.  That is the reason we are making these changes.  We want to see local people bypassed so that developers can build large numbers of houses across the green fields of England and hence, we desperately hope, give a boost to the economy.
Of course, we have to look at it from Greg's point of view.  He's an up-and-coming MP, hopes to have a glowing career in politics and so he is carefully toeing the government line.

It's interesting to watch him saying these sentences on TV.  As he speaks his eyes flicker and one may imagine he's thinking "I really hope I can get away with this brazen economy with the truth." His body language is so uncomfortable that I found myself thinking "The decent person inside Greg Clark is very, very uncomfortable with what his political persona is saying."  He looks in this interview a little like a rabbit in the headlights.  You can quite imagine that he's wishing he'd never taken up politics and that it may well be that he's only doing the interview because some party whip explained to him that in any political career you have to take a few tough interviews for the good of the government if you want to get anywhere.

Greg needs your help.  If he's to defend himself against these Party Schemers who have backed him into a corner, he needs some ammunition.  The best ammunition you could give him is a bunch of letters from voters across the land who are concerned that their hamlets are about to become villages, their villages to become towns and the green fields in the countryside will disappear under a mass of builders' concrete.

Then, when cornered by some party hack, he'll be able to pull out a few thousand letters and say "I'm not willing to sign up for unemployment benefit after the next election: are you?" and the political conniver will creep quietly out of his office.

So please do write to him.  He can be reached at the Rt Hon G Clark, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

I realise now I was wrong in the first paragraph.  Armed with  a few thousand letters opposing the government's ill-thought-through national planning framework, and letting his true self come to the fore, Greg will become a Man among Men.  Aunt Dahlia would no doubt rise to the occasion and, with a voice that could be heard in the next county, exclaim "My hero!"

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