• Democracy – and worse
    “Democracy is the worst form of government,” said Winston Churchill. “Except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.” Watching the march of dictatorship around the world, one can only echo Churchill’s words. He certainly knew a thing or two about democracy – and the alternatives – but he also understood the necessities of getting elected. […]
  • The tail wags the dog
    Apparently out of the blue, a company called PhotoVolt Development Partners (PVDP) has proposed a 1,400 hectare “Botley West Solar Farm” in Oxfordshire, covering three separate sites. This ambitious proposal, which claims to be able to generate enough electricity to power 330,000 homes (roughly the number in Oxfordshire, existing and planned) raises some interesting issues. At a time of climate […]
  • A huge failure of the imagination
    It’s been said many times before, but there is something bizarrely perverse about persisting in the construction of new major roads in a country like ours with limited space and fiercely competing demands on land use. Over 50 years ago, the American writer Wendell Berry summed up the impact of road-building, when he described the differences between a path and […]
  • HS2 needs to be paused for an independent review
    As the Government’s Autmn Statement comes nearer, HS2 fans and opponents are watching closely to see what the Government does. Will it let the truncated but still eye-wateringly expensive remains continue as now? Will further surgery remove bits, or even the whole lot north of Birimingham? Will it scrap the lot, leaving a swathe of destruction and part-completed civil engineering […]
  • Red lines, green lines
    I was interested to hear this morning’s reports that the Wildlife Trusts, RSPB and National Trust are saying they could urge their millions of members “to take to the streets in demonstrations” over the Government’s attack on nature. It strongly takes me back to 2011-12, at a time England was threatened with having its planning guidance scrapped and replaced with […]