Thursday, 6 September 2012

Overpopulation, Suburban Blight and Authoritarianism.

Increased population means overcrowding and even if planning is used to disperse the population elsewhere the potential for turning England ( especially the SE ) into a vast overlit wasteland is going to be a fact, as the evidence of the new Con-Lib testifies in its absurd populist ploy to build yet more houses.

The BBC reported today,

'Just a few months ago the government rewrote the entire planning framework for England, after fierce initial resistance from countryside campaigners.

Now ministers want further changes to planning in England in an attempt to boost house-building and revive the economy.

The announcements come as the economy continues to languish, with the recession now having lasted more than nine months. The construction sector has performed particularly badly.

Mr Cameron said: "This government means business in delivering plans to help people build new homes and kick-start the economy"

Rather as in Capek's R.U.R where the robots have killed off and replaced humans, the robots can only think of measures to keep the economy growing by the promise to "build more houses". The consequences for what England will look like are appalling no less.

New Labour, which intentionally increased the population by relaxing controls on immigration, contributed towards this rising problem.There were hideous new plans afoot back then in 2004 to build a new super city along the M62 in the north of England from Liverpool to Hull.

'Mr Alsop's vision includes innovative solutions to urban sprawl such as extending Liverpool into the sea by erecting buildings on stilts up to a mile from the coast. He also proposes transforming the South Yorkshire town of Barnsley by modelling it on a Tuscan hill village, complete with its own walls. 
Other ideas, such as Stack - a vertical "village" where 5,000 people can live, work, worship and play - offers a twist on the skyscraper solution to population increase. Mr Prescott has said he sees a northern super city as a potential rival to London's economic power and size'.

Those concerned that population control will mean more authoritarianism and "planning", have ignored the fact that overpopulation and the demand that makes on the environment and, indeed, resources, leads ineluctably to authoritarianism anyway.

The construction of more boxy housing estates, such as the "megacity" that has been advocated between Birmingham and Coventry, will mean more road building ( something Cameron favours, and more infrastructure of huge supermarkets and logistics depots and warehouses with chain link fencing.

The Daily Telegraph reported,

Up to 100,000 homes would be built on green belt in the Midlands near the controversial High Speed 2 rail route as part of a dramatic expansion of housing.

    The plan, disclosed by Andrew McNaughton, the chief engineer of HS2, would exploit the new and highly controversial National Planning Policy Framework, which aims to simplify Britain’s planning laws, increase economic growth and provide homes for Britain’s booming population.

    If it goes ahead, the development would effectively obliterate the open countryside east of Birmingham to create Britain’s longest continuous conurbation, stretching 40 miles from Coventry to the far side of Wolverhampton.

    The planning framework will be published on Tuesday by ministers who want a new age of “pro-growth” planning. It was described by one Whitehall source last night as “the most radical business deregulation there has ever been”.

    Meanwhile, new official figures analysed by The Sunday Telegraph show that two million homes are expected to be built by 2020 to meet demand fuelled by a massive population rise. 

The neoliberal economic model has failed Britain completely. The emphasis has to be on sane planning and not this absurd fetish of making a "bonfire of controls". The "homeowning democracy" is a something that needs to go as well. More five storey flats need to be built as in Central Europe.

Successive governments have been responsible for importing the American style high octane consumerism to Britain, the "Great Car Economy" and waves of house building. It is simply not sustainable in England without a real deterioration in the quality of life.

In any democratic society, retaining the power of a sovereign state to decide on immigration and to stabilise numbers is essential precisely if it is not later to slide into authoritarian control. How to do that is the question. Not Utopian fantasies about infinite growth and Progress.

For an increasing population will make more demands on the global environment too. A society based on excessive consumerism and car use requires more petrol and that means greater involvement in struggles for resources which could mean more wars such as Iraq, militarism and authoritarian rule.

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