Tag Archives: Oxfordshire

New garden city will be practically next-door to Cameron

141202chippingnortonbicester

Nothing corrupt about this, then, is there?

Apparently the Coalition government has confirmed that Bicester, in Oxfordshire, will be the site of the second new Garden City. It is six miles from David Cameron’s home village of Chipping Norton, but conveniently (for those wanting to avoid accusations of corruption) in the next-door constituency of Banbury, held by fellow Tory Tony Baldry.

It is already the home of Chic (that’s not a description – it’s the name of the company) outlet shopping centre Bicester Village, home of many big brands – and for “big”, please feel free to read “expensive”.

Now, up to 13,000 new houses are to be built on the edge of the town, as part of the National Infrastructure Plan. They are part of a £2 billion investment to build 55,000 houses per year until 2020. Do you think they’ll be expensive too?

According to the BBC News article, “Garden cities are large-scale developments in which, according to the government, certain features can be ‘hardwired into designs from the beginning’. The government has said it does not want to ‘impose any definition of what garden cities are’, but features can include ‘quality design, gardens, accessible green space near homes, access to employment, and local amenities’.”

A feature already announced is a new railway station “to serve the expanded population”.

How many locally-born working people will have a chance to live in this new conurbation? How many residents will be migrants from elsewhere (you can bet immigration will be no object if they’ve got wads of cash)? Whatever happened to austerity?

When he announced the plan for new garden cities in April, Nick Clegg said it was a “call-to-arms for visionaries in local areas in need of housing to put forward radical and ambitious proposals” for “beautifully-designed new cities” providing “affordable homes to live in”. But this part of the Cotswolds is already spectacularly well-off and nobody there will welcome a development that will adversely affect house prices.

What we’re looking at here is an expensive dormitory town for the people who have benefited from David Cameron’s premiership – high-cost homes in a luxury environment, served by designer-label shops and with an easy commuter rail link to London and all points beyond.

The whole project is sure to create a large amount of prosperity for Oxfordshire in the immediate future – handy for Conservative MPs whose government stinks and who want to ensure their continued political survival after a forthcoming general election! Meanwhile, other parts of the UK – that need the investment – will go without.

It isn’t for ordinary people, that’s for sure – you can bet the residents’ bins will be emptied by workers who have to travel in from sink estates in other towns – paying for the journey out of their own pockets.

Garden city? With Cameron’s fellow parasites installed, it’ll be a blot on the landscape.

Postscript: It seems Sam Cameron – the prime minister’s wife – has holdings in the company that will be responsible for this development. He reckons he “forgot” to mention it on the register of members’ interests! As one commenter put it: “I’m sure it’s all above board. I mean, he’s an MP, a Tory, a Cabinet Minister and the leader of the country. All positions beyond suspicion or reproach”, while another added: “Yes and we all came up the Clyde on a bike!”

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Flooding: Why is the taxpayer picking up the tab? There’s an EU fund!

The Conservative response: David Cameron swans around the Somerset Levels in his wellies while local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger (second from left) tries to get a word in edgeways.

The Conservative response: David Cameron swans around the Somerset Levels in his wellies while local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger (second from left) tries to get a word in edgeways.

It seems that David ‘Money Is No Object’ Cameron is unnecessarily forcing British taxpayers to fork out for flood relief while European officials scratch their heads and wonder why he isn’t taking advantage of a huge EU fund that is available to us.

We should all know why the comedy Prime Minister is avoiding Europe – he doesn’t want to lose face.

Eurosceptics in the Conservative Party across the UK criticise our membership because we pay so much in and take so little out (in their perception); this argument would be defeated if Cameron actually used the fund in the manner for which it was created and he would then lose support from members of his Parliamentary party.

Also, at a time when the UK’s future in Europe is being questioned, it would be “politically sensitive” (as Reuters describes it) for Cameron to go there and ask for a handout.

But governments are judged on the way they deal with crises (as the Political Rant blog put it) – and this one has put Cameron, figuratively as well as literally, between the rock and the river.

According to Reuters: “Asked whether Britain would ask for EU money, Cameron’s official spokesman told reporters on Wednesday the government was looking at every source of possible funding, playing down the idea that there was anything political behind it.

“Under EU rules, a country has 10 weeks from the first damage caused by a natural disaster to request aid.

“A person close to Cameron said there were technical grounds to do with spending thresholds that determined when to apply for a grant. Britain had no desire to get into a war of words with Brussels on the matter, he said.”

The news agency added that the government had deployed the armed forces to evacuate residents and shore up river defences, while under fire from critics for what ministers have acknowledged was a slow initial response.

Political Rant is less diplomatic (as you might expect): “Ken Clarke said it was just a normal winter and people complaining about flood defences were just a ‘lynch mob’. Eric Pickles criticised the Environment Agency while the Environment Agency criticised government cuts and Owen Paterson criticised Eric Pickles.

“David Cameron has undertaken several jaunts in his nice clean wellies, first to Kent just after Christmas where he was harangued by people left waist-deep in water without power for a week, then Somerset which he only visited after Prince Charles had been the day before, making it look rather silly the Prime Minister hadn’t bothered, and … to Cornwall where, a friend tells me, Railtrack diverted engineers who were supposed to be fixing the washed-out rail line at Dawlish to shake hands with the PM at a rail depot.

“The same PM has talked sadly about how a power cut interrupted his viewing of The Sound of Music on New Year’s Day while staying silent about two SSE engineers who said they were diverted from reinstating the power for 11,000 people to locate his trip switch.

“When the floods recede, we are more than likely to find a few people who died.”

Yes, and they’ll be in rural areas because the increased funds Cameron has announced amount only to a slightly smaller cut than he had originally intended, and the funding formula for flood defences demands £8 of economic benefit for every £1 spent – meaning a concentration on densely-populated urban areas.

Add to that the fact that Cameron only bothered to act when Conservative-voting areas were affected – the Somerset Levels, Windsor, Reading, Oxdfordshire, Surrey, Kent – and couldn’t care less when the waters were hitting places like Scunthorpe (as revealed on the BBC’s Question Time yesterday) and Cameron has put himself in a serious political mire.

He has made it clear that his is a government that only looks after its own supporters.

Everyone else can drown.

We won’t forget that.

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