Watching breezy new planning Minister Nick Bowles on Newsnight last night, from his clever, smug responses, you might think all was rosy in the British garden, and a world in revolt, even turmoil, is just filled with a bunch of useless wingers, who do not have the delightful privilege of wanting to build a conservatory in their home, or invest in a garden extension. Phoenix have now dubbed it the “Conserve-a-Tory effect”. But will the Tories actually wake up to what every major economist is saying, that you cannot simply cut your way out of recession and Britain is failing in fact and vision? Try reading a few nobel prize winners on the harm it will do and is doing.

The lesson of the 1929 Depression in America was Keynesian, investment backed, and showing the need for inspired leadership and vision too. The problem with those highly idealistic programmes of National Renewal, engaging massive work programmes, that also helped cut the trails through the Grand Canyon and National Parks, is that tiny Britain has not the space. Hence the renewed fear of development threat in the Green Belt. But why not make some new National Parks, or engage the young on inspiring and healthy programmes cleaning lakes, clearing the countryside and repairing dry stone walls, for a decent wage? You could even give them Olympic Style badges, before the Danny Boyle effect wears off and we wake up to a British winter!

The issue is money and business, so it can’t be seen to be a something-for-nothing programme, a band-aid for work, but more especially not being ‘business building’, or investment friendly. Hence Newsnight discussions about the massive pools of UK wealth, totalling 900 Billion, held in reserve in UK pension funds, where returns have to be ensured and how they might be ‘released’ into the economy. Well, there is always the business of the tourist industry, not to mention the business of coming up with world-beating ideas and agencies themselves, that are also exportable in a time of European recession. Whatever the answer, perhaps the Liberals might think of standing up now and breaking the alliance, to redefine policy with a visionary voice, and so bring people like Vince Cable really into play, to invigorate a new culture of honesty in the City and business, ho-ho, with some sense of National vision, or hold purely profit motive Capitalism, which piles money to the top of Pension funds and elsewhere, somehow in check.


ps Thank God for that! – “Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.” — Jules Renard

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