June 20, 2006

Shrink the state for better planning law

Jonathan Glancey is getting rather hot under the collar about planning law. He does not like the fact that the Commonwealth Institute is likely to get knocked down, to be replaced by luxury flats.
The Grade II* Commonwealth Institute is now likely to be delisted by some controversial act of parliament. It can then be demolished, legally, and its beautiful landscaped site, where Holland Park meets Kensington High Street, flogged off for hideous new luxury homes.
Luxury, cannot have that, everybody must queue equally long for their single state issue loaf of bread. He gets so worked up about the fact that it may be rich people that get to live in these flats that the real issue here gets completely ignored.

The real issue here is that a local planning desision is being decided centrally in Westminster. That is the reason that:
one of the richest London boroughs can't protect itself from such pathetic redevelopment games
The problem is not captialism, as he wants us to believe, but that decision that should have be taken locally in the borough is being taken centrally in parliament. That is why the borough is powerless to stop the developers, because their power has been taken from them by central government. The problem here is exactly the same as when Cocktail Sausage Man was bulldozing the north so that developers could put up coinlocker sized affordable housing.

Where the power to control these desisions lieing with the borough then the people of the borough would have a far greater importance in the decision making process. A single voter is of far greater importance at a local level where each individual makes up such a larger percentage of the total vote, and the money that large organisations can funnel into campaigne funds to bribe politicians is no longer such a powerful weapon. Politicians do not need the massive amounts of money for mass advertising to reach a mass audience when operating at a scale where they can go around to each potential voter and personally try and persuade them.

As Perry de Havilland wrote on Samizdata about the way that big government opens itself up to corruption:
Large corporations can coerce people because they can manipulate excessively mighty state power. The problem is the amount and scope of coersive power that the state has been allowed to accumulate. Make the state's power to do things less and you make large corporations less able to coerce people as an inevitable consequence.
Not that you could ever really expect a Guardianista to find anything wrong with Big Government.


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