August 31st, 2011

Sir Simon’s Special Interest Silence

Sir Simon Jenkins rallies against special interest groups in his Guardian column this morning.

“The coalition government, which started in a spirit of reformist radicalism, is proving one whose inexperience and shaky majority leaves it vulnerable to lobbyists.”

Jenkins argues that the maths and the make up of the government renders it weak. He lists a range of special interest groups from green technology to the anti-abortion lobby, raging that the government is “putty”. However he saves most of his venom for one area in particular – planning. Jenkins isn’t very happy about changes to the development policy that will affect rural areas:

“This coup was achieved by a deft alliance of private housebuilders, big retailers and the “affordable rural housing” lobby. They argued that, even though they were sitting on the largest land banks ever, rural land shortage was a constraint on growth. Environment ministers reeling from defeat over the fate of the Forestry Commission caved in, but were then baffled at the fury of green organisations outraged to see the end of 50 years of countryside guardianship. The lobby could not believe its luck”

Sir Simon’s love of the countryside is well documented in his many books, but could there be another reason why he is so angry about these changes? A professional reason perhaps? He clearly has some expertise in the area, probably due to the fact he is the chairman of a prominent special interest group – the National Trust. Given the frontline role the organisation played in lobbying the government over the forest sell off, you would think a man of Sir Simon’s integrity would have declared an interest…


121 Comments

  1. 1
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    Guardian in hypocrsy shocker.

    Like

    • 11
      Whoopee! Fairies and unicorns will keep us warm says:

      No need to worry, thousands of 400ft+ high industrial turbines covering the landscape will distract your eye from the houses.

      Like

      • 26
        Anonymous says:

        We cannot build more and more house and put more and more people on dole. Stop immigration and then stop dole for people who can work.

        Before Billy says British workers are useless, Billy tell us “are you British”?

        Like

        • 32
          AC1 says:

          Despite what AlBBC have hinted, only 6% of Britain is residential. Lots more space for houses.

          Like

          • Anonymous says:

            What about the rest of the building like offices, factories, roads, shops, etc? We also need farms, parks, forest, etc as well?

            There are lots of empty houses send work shy to these houses and don’t let immigrants.

            Like

          • AC1 says:

            That’s in the 6%
            94% farmland or non used land. Look at a map.

            Like

          • Anonymous says:

            AC1, can you please give the link. Does it show how much of it is usable? Also does it compare with other countries?

            Like

          • Anonymous says:

            AC1, are you British?

            Like

          • Sir William Waad says:

            Half or more of Britain is moorland and is unsuitable for housing, agriculture or almost anything else. (This is mainly due to bad planning policies and climate change during the Iron Age, really). Building lots more houses on greenfield sites will gobble up a disproportionate amount of land that is useful for producing food or is just nice to look at and reasonably accessible.

            Like

          • AC1 says:

            Yes, I am British. Look at a Map. Look for the green stuff.

            http://markwadsworth.blogspot.com/2011/08/im-not-sure-if-thats-how-he-meant-it.html

            Like

          • Newmark says:

            Actually, 11% of the UK is built up (roads, houses, etc.). Allowing that to increase to just 12% would solve a lot of the housing problems.

            Like

          • Anonymous says:

            Newmark says: August 31, 2011 at 1:20 pm

            Its not just houses it will be whole lot of infrastructure needed there is no money for it. We need this government to stop people coming into this country, stop renewing visa and send back people living illegally.

            Like

        • 80
          Anonymous says:

          AC1, its only a blog also its talking about building only 75,000 new homes. We need 260,000 new homes a year to deal with growing population and immigrants.

          Like

    • 15
      It's all Balls says:

      The Labour years seem to have convinced everyone that big is better including population.

      Their whole economic basis was that immigration=booming economy=more taxation. But this is just a pyramid selling scheme.

      1 immigrant moves to the UK. Then brings his wife. Then they bring their parents and produce a gaggle of sprogs. Within just a few years that 1 immgrant has resulted in a score or more of extra people who need schools, doctors, hospitals, care, benefits, housing and so on.

      The Ballsonian economy is a load of Balls

      Like

      • 28
        Anonymous says:

        Its just not Labour it the Conservatives and LD as well. We have a Tory lead government for almost 18 months, they haven’t controlled immigration, its even worse than under Labour.

        Like

      • 33
        AC1 says:

        That’s why it’s best not to subsidise these things.

        Get rid of the NHS and get rid of taxpayer funding for schools (parents pay instead).

        Then immigration will return to being useful.

        Like

        • 67
          The efffects of immigration needs proper consideration says:

          Immigration dampens the multiplier effect , as immigrants remit their wages, redcuing the effects of a flow of cash in a local economy. Its one of the reasons why immigrant areas often look run down even though the immigrants themselves may well have jobs.

          Like

          • Anonymous says:

            Most British people doesn’t support more immigration into this country. But non British wants more and more people let into this country but not into their own country.

            Like

    • 84
      Boutros Boutros-Car Key says:

      He’s actually bang on for once – the only people who benefit from lax rural planning policies are the firms that build shite ‘starter’ housing.

      For a start let’s look at all the empty buildings we already have like the endless empty offices all over the country which could be easily converted.

      I would trust the National Trust over Bovis any day…

      Like

    • 110
      Airey Belvoir says:

      Guido, give mini-Guido a smack around the head. Surely it should be ‘rails against’ not ‘rallies’.

      Like

    • 117
      Anonymous says:

      Northumberland (Duke of) is opposed to wind farms.

      Like

  2. 2
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    And when will someone lobby on behalf of hard pressed tax-payers!

    Like

  3. 3
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    Guido

    I know its third comment , but article by Dan Hannan.

    DanHannanMEP profile

    DanHannanMEP The EU lectures the rest of the world on, er, democratic reform: http://t.co/zKhd8um 5 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite

    Like

  4. 4
    Spartacus says:

    BBC were pushing this ‘no planning permission’ line last night.

    They need to keep it the same but abolish the backhanders you have to give to councillors. Then it would work as intended.

    Like

    • 8
      AC1 says:

      The BBC have loads of employees renting out homes and making a bundle by hiding the costs of this policy on the country.

      BBC, we just don’t loot TV-Owners.

      Like

    • 27
      Greychatter says:

      Can you get a freedom of information request in to planning departments of:
      “Who receives the Brown Envelopes.”?

      Like

    • 31
      Terrible But True says:

      From government/NGO/Quango/charity ‘independent’ commissions to TV studio guest ‘experts’ who happen to suit the producers’ agendas, the level of conflict of interest not only being passively ignored but actively hushed up to suit is making this country’s politico-media pretence of being anything but a fully rigged banana republic is rather hard to sustain.

      Only thanks to the internet can one pop from the ‘official’ story our so-called investigative professional media dutifully reprint PR from, to actually find the minster in favour of wind turbines happens to have a relative with a full subsidy harvest ready to reap, or the ‘ordinary housewife’ speaking for the country on Newsnight also appears to be married to a Graun editor actively pushing the story she claims the public is interes

      Too many standards, and not enough time to nail all these hypocrites for the self-serving corrupted low-lives they all are.

      Like

  5. 5
    Andy Gray says:

    ‘Affect rural areas’, not ‘effect, please.

    Like

  6. 7
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    I eat food

    Like

  7. 9
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    scrub that I love p e a s

    Like

  8. 10
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    Guido are you landing anywhere near Guilford this year? I want to lick the runway clean for you.

    Like

    • 17
      TatSyrup says:

      Tatifilarious!

      Like

    • 19
      Jeremy Clarkson says:

      Not the only thing you want to lick is it Billy?

      His huge succulent arse would be a real treat for you
      Acres of quivering pasty flesh just waiting for your moist eager tongue

      Billy Boothroid the worlds most obsessive blog poster

      Like

  9. 12
    swimtwobirds says:

    guido, you’re a bit of a sean hannity waiting for UK Fox News to come into existence. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing mind you, but, well, you could be waiting ten years yet.

    Like

  10. 14
    Perse O'Nally says:

    What a total rubbish post. You can do better than that.

    Like

  11. 16
    Sophie says:

    Sorry Guido,

    Defending the Lib Dem & Conservative policy of building homes for immigrants in the English countryside and destroying Green Belt land will find little support from the English.

    Cameron – that Heathite scumbag will lose the next election because of this as the last vestiges of tribal rural Tory voters realise that this man does not support them at all.

    Blue Labour out.

    Like

    • 18
      Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

      So why are the British youth unemployable?

      Like

      • 23
        Jeremy Clarkson says:

        Must cint spull Billy, so spend thur days in a booth wanking like a Macaque with the DTs
        Billy, do you wear a hat in the booth?

        Like

      • 39
        Sophie says:

        Labour & Conservative & Lib Dem policy:

        * Dumb down education for the British creating huge swathes of unemployable locals

        * Turn the newly created British underclass to welfare junkies

        * Flood the country with “essential workers” to support the new underclass with the newcomer taxes.

        * Business is happy – it has its inexhaustable supply of cheap compliant labour

        * The cabal of Lib / Lab / Con Party – immigrants favour internationalism & as they grow in number will use their votes on the whole to vote for more EU.

        Someone should be shot for what they have done to Great Britain.

        Blue / Red / Yellow Labour out.

        Like

        • 41
          nell says:

          Bigot!

          Like

        • 52
          AC1 says:

          OH you forget the LIBLABCON 1st commandment

          Keep houses unaffordable.

          Like

          • Make the liblabcon history says:

            Yes, an example of how narrow vested interests have been allowed to fcuk up Britain.

            On the one had we have the employer vested interests trying to drive wages down to rock bottom.

            And on the other, we have the property vested interests trying to drive house prices and rents through the roof.

            Imagine if we had affordable housing in this country, the effect it would have on reducing demand on wages (that should please employers for once). Imagine all the work from home type small businesses that could be started up by budding entrepreneurs which are at the moment totally unviable economically thanks to crippling mortgages or rents to pay each month.

            But no. Vested interests have bought the political class, and we the little people must suffer the consequences.

            Like

        • 63
          Make the liblabcon history says:

          To the Tories Britain is just a glorified business, an economy, and nothing more.

          To Labour, Britain is one great big social experiment in multiculturalism and diversity, and sod the consequences.

          Neither regards Britain as a real country with real indigenous people in it. Both are actively pursuing policies of ethnic replacement, for cheap labour and votes.

          Between the greed of the right and the malice of the left, Britain doesn’t stand much of a chance, unless we stop voting for these anti-nation state parties.

          Like

    • 20
      Jeremy Clarkson says:

      Sophie your politics are great, but could we see a photo of your baps if you are indeed a female

      Like

    • 36
      AC1 says:

      OH No There’s only 94% of the country left to build on.

      That there’s no space left to build on is of course a LIBLABCON/BBC lie. They like low housing affordability.

      Like

      • 65
        LIBLABCON/BBC says:

        There’s set-aside — the land farmers get paid for not farming. It can’t be used for building as it disrupts the climate.

        Like

  12. 21
    Observer says:

    I don’t think that the Government will be forgiven if it allows urban sprawl in the countryside and removes the targets for building on brownfield sites. The first thing should be to tackle the hundreds of thousands of empty homes, many of them in public ownership. Also, along some main roads in London, buildings are allowed to go derelict because it suits some people to use these buildings as nothing more than advertising hoardings.

    Like

  13. 22
    Gordon Brown says:

    I’m a national treasure.

    Like

  14. 25
    Gonk says:

    So what if he doesn’t declare an interest.
    He’s fucking right.
    It’s inevitable that some further urbanisation
    will occur in the UK. However, the indefinite
    continuation of past trends will have massive
    implications for sustainability. Even at a reduced rate
    of transfer of rural land to urban use of 10,000 ha a year,
    by 2050 the urban area of land in England will have doubled.
    Only really stupid people continue to use up a finite resource.
    And now they propose to let rip. God help us.

    Like

    • 69
      Maximus says:

      I presume the Rev. Malthus thought God was on his side.

      Like

    • 77
      AC1 says:

      Even if you’re rather dubious linear trend analysis is right doubling would mean only another 6% of the Land in the country used for residential.

      So take you God, your dodgy line breaks, and your faulty maths and shove em up your arse.

      Like

      • 114
        Gonk says:

        The figures are taken from a Royal Commission
        report on sustainable use of soil published
        in 1996. They are if anything underestimates.
        The main thrust of my rant is that Britain is an
        overcrowded island and the Government should
        husband our precious countryside. As for the rest, whatever.

        Like

  15. 30
    Penfold says:

    Typical Grauniadista, rank hypocrisy, but then again the left have always been highly selective with the truth and facts to suit their purpose.
    Plus ca change.

    Like

  16. 35
    SouthEastVoter says:

    Where are all the thousands of homeless people that will live in all the new houses that are needed? Are they in the country yet?

    Like

    • 43
      AC1 says:

      Trying to keep your over-priced pile of bricks over-priced is generational theft and the excuses against are growing even more flimsy.

      Who’s going to build these houses if there’s no demand? So there’s a massive pent up demand for more land to be de-bureacratised (i.e. be given planning “permission” for houses).

      Like

    • 72
      A Hoard of Homeless People says:

      Don’t worry, Wir Kompt!! Wir kommen . . oops, . . . We’re coming!

      Like

    • 78
      AC1 says:

      You are claiming Housing Businesses are building houses where there’s no demand…

      You could make millions shorting their shares if you’re right.

      Stick your money on the table.

      Or maybe you’re just a frightened NIMBY trying to pull up the ladder?

      Like

  17. 37

    Dear Ed Miliband.
    As you know, I had a few hairy moments at conference. There was a coup. Twice. And then the Murdoch papers stabbed me. But I survived, even though I gave a performance that could have been bettered by a Dyson.

    Let me give you some tips.

    First, make sure your position is dire. I mean off the scale, total meltdown in the popularity stakes. That way the lobby fodder will be so shit scared of having to face yet another leadership election they will behave.

    Secondly, get the unions onside. Promise them whatever they want. £18 minimum wage. 12 hour working week. Knighthoods for all…I know this is your special area so I’m sure you have it in hand. Unions can really help keep the munter/punters in line.

    Thirdly, and most importantly, get your ‘wife’ to go out there first. She checks the coast is clear, and warms up the potential hecklers. If she can cry a bit, so much the better. She makes a few endearing comments, reveals some minor foibles, like you sleep in separate beds or something, and makes you seem almost human.
    And the next day the papers will all be asking, “why did she wear a carpet sample as a dress?” and “”Did he just shake her hand? That’s a bit odd for a married couple isn’t it?”
    No mention of “Miliband’s blank piece of paper enters its second year without progress.”

    This advice was invaluable to me, and ensured I could carry on being PM, even when no one else thought I should. Not even the cabinet.

    Yours,
    Gordon Brown MP
    {Semi retired}

    Like

    • 47
      Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

      LOL Bill :-)

      Like

      • 55

        Dear Uncle Gordon,
        Thanks, that’s great advice.

        My position is not as dire as I would like. Cameron keeps making me look good, worse luck. Still…early days…

        I do have the unions in my pocket…Well, I’m in their pocket. Trouser pocket actually. With a hole in the lining. And Derek Simpson is going commando..but its all in hand.
        The union structural remodernisation fund is agreed. Its basically a £40 million bung.
        I learned well from you, oh master!

        And Justine is going to do a bit.
        Here’s a sample.

        “When Ed proposed to me it was the happiest strategy rebranding meeting of my life. WILL YOU,IN THE INTERESTS OF MIDDLE ENGLAND VOTERS AND A FEW LINES IN THE EXPRESS ON A SLOW NEWS DAY, MARRY ME*?”

        (* subject to terms and conditions as outlined in the ‘New Labour marriage is incompatible with equality and social values of a progressive/Marxist ideology’ Harman and Dromey. £45.00 Amazon. No reviews yet. You can be first and earn £5)

        and

        “Ed can be infuriating. He still has a Gameboy Advance where he seeks to beat his all time Tetris highscore. He’s very neat, almost clinically so. But that’s what the country needs. Someone who checks that the loo paper hangs over , not under, the roll. And he’s very manly. He can get spiders out of the bath with just rubber gloves, Darth Vader helmet and a poopa scooper.
        My hero, my husband. If he was acceptable to me, he will be acceptable to you!”

        Obviously we’re still working on it. Got to get something in about “He’s as sexy as a level 8 Paladin with Thundersword protective pants!” or similar.

        Anyway, thanks again uncle Gord.
        Hope you can make the conference this year.
        Danny Alexander has arranged a chair for you on the stage! Right at the end behind the curtain, but still..on the stage, right?

        Thanks again, and
        Live long and prosper.

        Ed Miliband,
        Shadow Prime Minister

        Like

  18. 38
    Bareback Billy says:

    I declare an interest in my bottom.

    Like

  19. 42
    Dave needs to get a grip on this. says:

    For once I have to agree with a Guardianista.

    Once a bit of green belt land goes it will never return to green belt. What dave should do is relax brown site planning, not trash the countryside.

    Like

  20. 44
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    p ea s
    pe as
    pe a s
    release me let me go

    Like

  21. 49
    Perse O'Nally says:

    I’ve got an idea…why don’t we just concrete over the whole of the country?

    Problem solved at a stroke. And then we’ll have some window lickers complaining that there’s nowhere to go.

    Like

  22. 51
    concrete dump says:

    I am an utter c’unt.

    Like

  23. 56
    A snot-nosed, lying, cheating, thieving, two-faced paranoid, scheming duplicitous bastard and crook says:

    Ah wouldn’ae allow special int’rests in ma gummunt!

    An’ nuthn’s ma fult ye uns’tan!

    An’ tha’ wasn’ae any debt!

    Like

  24. 60
    Border Terrier says:

    Wise up guys.

    The real reason Sir Simon and his sidekick at the NT are opposed to Planning reform is that they see it as a threat to their cherished aim of keeping chavs out of the countryside. Read what that posh Alice Thomson says in today’s Times.

    It is all of a piece.

    Like

  25. 64
    Sir William Waad says:

    Windmills are a far greater threat to the countryside than Tesco is. A windmill that is visible for ten miles despoils 314 square miles of countryside.

    Like

  26. 68
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    NewStatesman profile

    NewStatesman In full: Shaun Woodward’s memo to Miliband on Cameron’s shift to the right http://t.co/CdTxMnr 29 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite

    To the right?

    taxes up
    spending up
    Money to EU up.

    Does not sound very right to me.

    Like

  27. 87
    Up sh1t creek says:

    Planning controls would not need reforming if you deported the 5 milliion immigrants Labour let in in the first place “To rub the right’s nose in diversity”.

    Time to get all the previous Labour cabinet on charges of economic sabotage.

    Like

    • 100
      We're full says:

      The truth is we don’t need 70 million people in Britain.

      But we are unfortunately a post-industrial nation with a 19th centaury industrial nation mindset.

      With globalization and automation, it’s abundantly clear post-industrial societies do not need vast armies of workers. Yet here we are lumbered with a record number of people in the country. Now, unless Britain wants to start going down the road of over manning and non-job creation, there will never be enough jobs to go round with our current and still expanding population.

      At some point the population level will have to fall, to reflect the new reality of a post-industrial Britain.

      Like

  28. 88

    “Sir Simon Jenkins rallies against special interest groups.”

    Isn’t “rails against” the verbal phrase you were looking for?

    Like

  29. 90
  30. 92
    Jimmy says:

    Yesterday the Children’s Society, today the NT. Who’s being attacked next? Oxfam? The Salvation Army?

    Like

    • 97

      Probably the next attack will be on Sirte.

      Like

    • 104
      Sophie says:

      You used to be funny. For shame.

      Only out of power for a mere year & you are a real misery already.

      Dont worry Jimmy, Red Ed will win by default at the next GE because of the woeful performance by Red Dave & his collapsing grass roots support.

      Postal votes & boundarys fixed in Labours favour mean that you are only 2 years at best away from fucking up the country good & proper next time.

      Like

    • 108
      Allegedly Posh Jock says:

      Oxfam would be good, bunch of leftie terrorist supporting, socialist motivated, dictator loving freespending fuckwads that they are. I know I should get off the fence but who really supports these charity dependent pseudo politicians. (and yeah I know it is a rant but these fuckers really wind me up).

      Like

  31. 95
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    some times i steal other peoples nicknames and switch on the spellcheck.

    Like

  32. 103
    Billy Bowden is the greatest umpire ever ! says:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2031924/Celebrity-Big-Brother-2011-Sally-Bercow-regrets.html

    Now this does bring joy to my heart.

    Like

  33. 106
    £160,000 lmao says:

    When they go ballroom dancing, do his ears get chafed?

    Like

  34. 107
    B&P says:

    We’re full up so fuck off!

    Like

  35. 109
    Up not sideways says:

    Vast acreages of suburbia are taken up with 2 storey houses, some with feeble loft conversions. One solution is to legalise proper 3 storey houses in all urban areas, 4 stories above shops.

    Like

  36. 113
    Foreign Aid is Evil says:

    Bring back the old Guido. A lot of recent stories on this blog have a manufactured air, where the substance doesn’t bear out the headline. It’s starting to read more like the dead tree press.

    The old Guido was full of hatred for and righteous anger at the corrupt political class but was also capable of telling the difference between a genuine scandal and something that just looked bad.

    Maybe Jenkins should have declared an interest. Maybe not. It’s no big deal either way. Similarly, Coulson still being paid by NI after he started working for Cameron turned out to be a lot less interesting than it first appeared. If this blog is going to stay the most popular, neo-Guido is going to have to do better than that.

    I’m considering asking for a full refund.

    Like

  37. 118
    Rob says:

    How the fuck is this a story?

    Like

  38. 119
    Hugh Janus says:

    Is this the same Sir Simon Jenkins who chairs the National Trust, with their shambolic administration? If so I doubt whether he knows what day of the week it is. A little less time writing for the laughable Grauniad and a bit more time at the NT seems to be necessary. Better still move over and get someone in who knows what they are doing.

    Like

  39. 121
    Lord Flashman says:

    Guido can you actually see England from your part of Ireland?

    Like


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VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


Gyles Brandreth writes in his memoirs:

“Sunday, May 10, 1998

Early start: appearing on Breakfast With Frost, to be broadcast from 11 Downing Street. The Chancellor [Gordon Brown] is grouchily amiable, but so earnest — and still biting his fingernails to the quick.

After the show, he took us upstairs to his flat. He lives above No 10, while Blair and family are in the No 11 duplex, which is bigger and more like a proper house.

I was intrigued that, when he took us into his bedroom, the Chancellor rather ostentatiously opened the built-in wardrobes, as if he wanted us to see the women’s frocks that were hanging in there.

They looked quite large, but I don’t think they belong to Gordon. I assume they belong to his girlfriend [Sarah Macaulay, who he later married].

I presume he was keen for us to know that he has one — and that she’s not a ‘beard’. I don’t think he does anything without calculation.”



The British media are Hunts says:

Now the SNP know how UKIP voters feel all the time.


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