Friday, June 27, 2008

Bad week for democracy.

No, I'm not talking about Zimbabwe, where a murderous dictator has made a farce of the election process. In fact, no physical violence has been involved. But democracy has suffered a grievous blow nonetheless. What I'm commenting on is happening right here, under our noses, in Britain.

Our Government has decided that it is no longer going to bother trying to persuade the British people to accept nuclear power stations, or huge new wind farms, or a barrage across the River Severn. Gordon Brown has has come up with a much better ruse. You could call it his own version of a 'Third Way'. He's decided to speed things up by forcing through an Act of Parliament to remove powers to decide all of these controversial things from the democratic process altogether. In future, these decisions will be taken by a 'Commission' of Government appointed 'experts' instead, working within overall Government policy.

All of this will cause anguish to anyone who loves the beauty of our landscapes. The Government's intention is to make wind turbines "as familiar as pylons". As if that makes it any more acceptable. There will be much gnashing of teeth at the Annual General Meeting of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales in Newtown tomorrow. It seems that I am the only name up for the position of President again this year, the 80th year of the organisation's existence. I received my copy of Cymru Wledig/Rural Wales in the post this morning and I quote my own words from my personal contribution on page one.

"Much has changed over the last 80 years, but the need for CPRW has not. The consequences of an expanding population, ever growing demands for energy, greater awareness of climate change, and an increasing threat to rural services make the need for a rural 'Watchdog' as relevant as ever".


simhedges said...

It is not that the Government is riding roughshod over the will of the British people - it's that they wish to stop local people preventing nationally strategic development that would reduce climate change, from being built. It's a difficult area, but I for one am fed up of Wind Farm after Wind Farm being refused permission (don't we have only ONE wind farm in Somerset? Why?) by local councils. And on the matter of Wind Farms - my heart lifts when I see one. The are attractive and useful things and we need more of them. I don't want to plaster them all over Snowdownia or Pembroke or the Brecon Beacons or the Gower - but I am happy to see some in those places. And why are there none at the Cardiff Bay development?

Glyn Davies said...

simhedges - rather Sir Humphrey response. The general idea of democracy is that the Government tries to persuade people of what it believes to be the right course. The current Governmnet's approach is to force through legislation, bullying and bribing any of its own MPs who disagree, to remove the power to influence from the people. Its democracy sim, but not as we knew it.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Using that well known turn of phrase “To be honest”; it’s pretty obvious that Robert Mugabe is a figurehead for the real dictatorship running Zimbabwe, the military generals. It is they who want to keep Robert Mugabe in power, ‘which is to say’: even if Robert Mugabe did step aside there would not be a free Zimbabwe. The citizens of Zimbabwe would be forced to support a new military figurehead. For the most part the media is not picking up on this reality, that it’s a military dictatorship with Robert Mugabe taking the flak of the world’s political leaders. At a time of their choosing, the military generals will pick another figurehead to take the flak; the votes for the new figurehead will come via yet another scam election.

Glyn Davies said...

Christopher - you may well be right, but I sense that the end of Mugabe would be the end of the reign of terror as well - but then, I'm depending on the media for information.