Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Mrs Mertonisation of planning debate

Caroline Aherne as Mrs Merton: "Let's have a heated debate"
The Ginger Chipmunk, one Hazel Blears, graced the GMTV sofa this morning. She was talking about her bill to speed up large planning decisions.

There was no pretence. It is quite clear from her remarks that the government will be making a presumption that large projects will go ahead. She talked about cutting down the time for investigating complaints so that it takes less time for the process "to be gone through". "Let's have a proper debate" she said, à la Mrs Merton. But the whole weight of implication of her remarks is that the projects will go through.

That is what is fundamentally wrong about whole conception behind the government's bill. It really does leave us in Douglas Adams "Beware the leopard" territory.

Well done to Ben Shephard for at least challenging Blears, although his interviewing skills are hardly forensic. No questions about her laptop I notice. All Dame Fiona Phillips could come up with was a childish, jokey question about siestas.

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