Wednesday, 1 October 2008

D J Taylor in the _Indy_: 'All roads lead to the A11'

A nice piece here by the Sage of Norwich on the A11 lobby and on Norwich 'Growth Area' housing:

 

 http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/d-j-taylor-all-roads-lead-to-the-a11-944647.html

 

INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY    28 SEPTEMBER 2008

D J Taylor: 'All roads lead to the A11'

The Bottom Line: Our commentator scours the world of news, entertainment and sport to answer the question: what was that all about? His conclusion – we're all being used

 * The pageant of vested interests, pundits and ginger-group spokesmen that habitually comes together to promote social or economic change is particularly noticeable at a local level, where the levers of power are more accessible and the policy forums more direct. Here in the Norfolk boondocks, the newspapers have been in a tremendous lather about the long-standing campaign to dual-carriage the A11, the principal conduit between East Anglia and the Home Counties. Politicians have signed up, a hundred businessmen had their names printed in the 'Eastern Daily Press', and the general implication was that anyone not keen on the inevitable "economic benefits" the scheme would bring was a sort of futile half-wit. Doubtless at some point – a very remote point, you imagine – and at vast public and environmental expense, the A11 will be dualled, but it will not be because anyone asked the local people if they wanted it done.

It is the same with the Norfolk Development Plan, the subtext of whose literature might be interpreted as: we are going to build a lot of houses, but we are obliged to pretend to consult with you first. The houses will be built, of course, for there is no box to tick for those who don't want them.

Just occasionally, the public strikes back. I remember watching the results of the general election of 2001 come through in the two Oldham constituencies and seeing the expression of horror on the face of Michael Meacher MP when it was revealed that 10,000 people had voted for the BNP candidates. It was a scandal, Meacher declared. The real scandal was that 10,000 people had so little confidence in the democratic system that they ended up voting for some fascist goblin.

But the expression of a genuinely popular opinion – whether from electors, football fans or American taxpayers – tends to scare those in authority stiff, to the point where you begin to question how the authority came to be there in the first place, and how it might be taken away.

7 Comments:

Blogger weggis said...

I wish to categorically deny that I am a a member of any "ginger-group".

1 October 2008 at 21:47  
Blogger Lynda said...

Thanks, Rupert, for alerting us to this excellent article by D J Taylor. I totally agree both with him and you about the whole situation. As another acquaintance would say we have to suffer "the old boys' network"!

Yesterday evening, at the Great Unleashing of Transition Norwich, I found some postcards to send off to protest against the government's proposal to stop our democratic right to protest against unwanted development. As these have to be by October 3 I signed mine immediately, stuck a First Class stamp on (fortunately, I had some in my purse) and posted it on my way home last night.

Our parents and grandparents fought in two world wars for a democracy; it would be good to keep it.

2 October 2008 at 11:50  
Blogger Greenbottle said...

Greens are essentially in step with common sense on energy and recycling; but generally out of step on integrated transport, ideologically with A11 and on NDR.

Congestion causes Norwich economy about £60m. All dualing is just one transport type that needs upgrading. Rail, buses, bikes also need upgrades. A11 central money pot can't be transferred to these other upgrades. First will have to invest in new green double deckers and National Express/Nrtwork Rail in new track/trains/maglevs.

Greens are largely against growth and wealth in Norwich/ Norfolk, trying to pickle preserve Norfolk in quaint localism and psueudo eco-marxist isolationalism. They are anti car, even anti green car, anti external investment to the region transport/trade by national companies.

Localism is only part of economic growth picture, not a whole Norfolk solution. This is where the Green model Rupert proposes is brutally exposed to the layperson and Norfolk public as naive and nonsense in its extreme green and marxist ideals. Greens have to get more politically and economically realistic on car /road transport before I put X for Rupert Read in the Euros and X for Adrian Ramsay in Norwich South.

When talking about transition and A11 dualing what Rupert argues for is unrealistic and has minority support. Other parties aren't grey, but wise democractically elected public reps scutinising dismissing wacky policy from rupert et al, as usual.

If Rupert can't see this, he lives too much in an UEA ivory tower and not the real world of jo public.

The answer is not to stiffle growth by being anti road, but to invest wisely in all transport links to reduce congestion and increase efficiency; this includes bikes, green cars, quality bus contracts and future maglevs in competition.

Lynda, if greens and Rupert lose at the Euros, this will be the "majority" democratic rejection of Rupert's A11 general wacky ideology and specifically A11disinvestment policy.

5 October 2008 at 02:03  
Blogger Lynda said...

Greenbottle, you are showing the ignorance of the "majority" you quote! Far from Greens being againt growth and investment we want growth and investment in LOCAL jobs. This would happen far more in increased jobs in transportation if public transport was vastly improved. This would free up the medieval streets in our city for those who are travelling around the city.

Improved cycle routes would vastly improve the flow of traffic. I was totally impressed with the flow of traffic in Oxford, near the colleges, when I visited that city a few years ago. The traffic was totally cycles and they were going at a much faster rate than motor traffic would hve gone through the same narrow streets.

Large roads built around the city would only aggravate our congestion problems - traffic would build up much faster along our city roads, increasing journey time - anyone wanting to do business would go elsewhere due to the problem in travelling into our city.

5 October 2008 at 09:51  
Blogger Greenbottle said...

Lynda,

Far from showing the ignorance of the majority, I've been through the views of the Green movement and back to reality, share their issues, but dismiss their wacky and unrealistic and deluded solutions along with the pious attitudes.

As some councillors have stated, if one owns, has shares, manages or is employed by a non local medium or large company; the Greens don't want you, your type or your growth. So much for dissuading inward investment! Bye bye NU, JI with global business, jobs, profits and investors.

Local jobs growth amounting and substiting to the thousands of globalised employees of Norwich Union, John Innes and every other globally liked businesses in Norwich with shareholders is unrealistic. Green energy jobs will need global steel mills to produce steel for wind turbines, to smelt recycled metal cans, glassworks to produce borosilicate solar tubes. No Norfolk company is capable of supplying Maglevs. Greens really do live in Medivael times of a fantasy theme park Norwich.

Where exactly is this local growth or investment going to come from? Who's investing thousands of jobs? You are referencing pennies where investment in Maglevs amounts to many pounds. You will not get it from Browns government, its borrowed up to the limit, and neither on the required scale from local businesses. You will only get this amount of capital from the international markets once they return to normal borrowing. The same in investing in hundreds of new green double deckers, First is the only company likely to capitalise this. You will not get myself or others stumping up millions of £ local capital investment for public transport via increased council taxes, subsiding Rupert's proposed bus/rail wacky renationalisation.

Businesses are going elsewhere simply because of the A11 bottleneck and as well as the non pendolino sub standard London-Norwich line. Basic economics. NDR would actually keep more cars out of central Norwich and from using the inner ring road/ Boundary Road. There would be little reason for them to use Alysham Road if they could get from the North to the A47 via Broadland Business Estate junction. Greens would also allow residents of Longstratton a much needed bipass all in the name of rigid anti road ideology, but no common sense on strategic or indeed local need.

The A11 dualing isn't in Norwich so will not interfer with any necessary bike routes or facilities. Noone is talking of building a motorway through central Norwich. Car congestion in Norwich's central area could easily follow Nottinghams car space business levy scheme to keep cars out, as opposed to the vastly more expensive and impractical congestion charge scheme Greens were previously hoisting on Norwich, which was rightly rejected as being wrong for a city the size of Norwich.

5 October 2008 at 20:26  
Blogger Rupert said...

It is true: our opinion on this matter IS the minority opinion at present.
But soon it will be common sense.
Remember: a generation ago, we were mocked and ridiculed for putting forward proposals for recycling -- but now, everyone accepts recycling. It has become common sense.
Greens are the leading edge...

6 October 2008 at 14:50  
Blogger Greenbottle said...

Rupert

I respect Greens trailblazing on recycling and sustainable energy.

Remember though its largely capital market vehicles that has allowed and facilited this, or Xerox, M&S etc that have watered the embrionic concepts finding local to nationalclosed loops markets for plastics, metals, food waste, resource materials, energy etc. Having markets for recycled products has made recycling common sense. If large private companies didn't build windfarms from international capital funs, no wind turnines, no green energy.

Like the Dragons series, for every one good idea, 9 bad ideas follow. So noone has a monopoly on cutting edge ideas.

Nationalisation shown be seen as a safety net/safeguard, not a regional or national economic project.

Thus on transport, Greens have slipped off the leading edge into the recycle bin!

To become a majority view Greens must link to neo eco-market mechanisms and solutions; not hitting cars, ships, aircraft ,per say, but helping these transport modes to clean up their fossil fuels, promote new technology, whilst market investments in car clubs, maglevs, tram systems, bike garages and new green fuel double deckers for Norwich.

For example, the rise in fossil fuel costs, fuel tax and ME/OPEC dependence has done more to change peoples attitudes and decisions than doing nobly the right thing for the planet/climate change. The advance of electric, H2 or hybrid cars have responded to the market/prices or strategic dependence on ME or Russian fuel.

People accept where the world is now, next year, rather than where a minority of visionaries would like it to go. By avoiding connection, not making sense, visionaries get ignored/sidelined.

7 October 2008 at 15:54  

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29.

A nice piece here by the Sage of Norwich on the A11 lobby and on Norwich 'Growth Area' housing:

 

 http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/d-j-taylor-all-roads-lead-to-the-a11-944647.html

 

INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY    28 SEPTEMBER 2008

D J Taylor: 'All roads lead to the A11'

The Bottom Line: Our commentator scours the world of news, entertainment and sport to answer the question: what was that all about? His conclusion – we're all being used

 * The pageant of vested interests, pundits and ginger-group spokesmen that habitually comes together to promote social or economic change is particularly noticeable at a local level, where the levers of power are more accessible and the policy forums more direct. Here in the Norfolk boondocks, the newspapers have been in a tremendous lather about the long-standing campaign to dual-carriage the A11, the principal conduit between East Anglia and the Home Counties. Politicians have signed up, a hundred businessmen had their names printed in the 'Eastern Daily Press', and the general implication was that anyone not keen on the inevitable "economic benefits" the scheme would bring was a sort of futile half-wit. Doubtless at some point – a very remote point, you imagine – and at vast public and environmental expense, the A11 will be dualled, but it will not be because anyone asked the local people if they wanted it done.

It is the same with the Norfolk Development Plan, the subtext of whose literature might be interpreted as: we are going to build a lot of houses, but we are obliged to pretend to consult with you first. The houses will be built, of course, for there is no box to tick for those who don't want them.

Just occasionally, the public strikes back. I remember watching the results of the general election of 2001 come through in the two Oldham constituencies and seeing the expression of horror on the face of Michael Meacher MP when it was revealed that 10,000 people had voted for the BNP candidates. It was a scandal, Meacher declared. The real scandal was that 10,000 people had so little confidence in the democratic system that they ended up voting for some fascist goblin.

But the expression of a genuinely popular opinion – whether from electors, football fans or American taxpayers – tends to scare those in authority stiff, to the point where you begin to question how the authority came to be there in the first place, and how it might be taken away.

30. 31. 32.