According to the Barclay Brother Beano, Cast Iron Dave is set to announce that residents’ rights to mount legal challenges to controversial development projects will be severely restricted.
Having been briefed on what is coming, the Torygraph’s James Kirkup goes on to explain:
‘Mr Cameron will argue that the rules are being abused to frustrate economically vital developments and will say a “massive growth industry” of seeking judicial reviews of planning decisions has been fuelled by solicitors and campaign groups.
‘Many applicants are guilty of “time-wasting” and bringing “hopeless cases” simply to waste developers’ time, the Prime Minister will say. He will outline a number of changes the Government wants to make, including shortening the three-month time limit on applying for a review.
‘Charges for an application will rise “so people think twice about time-wasting.” The number of possible appeals against decisions will also be cut from four to two.’
The Boiling Frog hasn’t wasted any time showing up Cameron’s forthcoming comments for what they are… yet another flip flop from a Prime Minister without a single principled bone in his body. There is another more serious issue here concerning the widening gulf between the pledges politicians make to the people in order to try to win an election, and the reality once they have taken office. Consider these quotes and compare them with what Kirkup says Cameron plans to say:
We have a coherent programme to fix our broken politics and drag our democracy into the post-bureaucratic age. It involves a massive, sweeping, radical redistribution of power – from the political elite to the man and woman in the street.
[...] Conservatives start with an instinctive desire to give people more power and control over their lives.
- David Cameron, ‘Giving power back to the people’ speech on 25 June 2009
You can see the nature of the change we want in the phrase itself…
…literally going from a bureaucratic world, where the old methods like regulation, laws and diktats allow elites in Westminster to control other people’s lives…
…to a post-bureaucratic world, where instead of government telling people what to do or forcing them to do it…
…people themselves have far more power and control over their lives…
…and where we achieve change by trying to influence people by going with the grain of human nature.
So it’s about giving power to people.
And it’s about showing an understanding of people, in how we make policy and design government and public services.
- David Cameron, ‘From central power to people power’ speech on 22 February 2010
Cameron can do this and is doing this because of the complete absence of accountability to the electorate. None of the talk of people power ever results in the political class handing back any of the power they have snatched.
The more that power is centralised the less democratic the country becomes. While Cameron talks a good game on people power, the core of his being is authoritarian and paternalist, always striving to marginalise the views of the very people he and his ilk are supposed to listen to and represent. This has to stop. Real change is required and the developing grassroots Harrogate Agenda campaign is working to achieve it.