4 October 2017

Dear Editor,


I write in response to many letters in your pages complaining about inappropriate new housing andindustrial development leading to destruction of our environment (e.g. clean air, hedges, wild andbeautiful land). Since many people in this area vote Conservative, I’d like to point out the direct connection to Conservative government policy. ‘Neoliberal’ ideology (espoused ‘in spades’ by the Conservative party, and to a lesser extent by other main parties) gives free rein to ‘the market’. This assumption that we need unrestrained ‘growth’ leads directly to the destruction cited above as well as to traffic congestion with its concomitant filthy air and crazy ‘relief’ road ideas, to selling off national assets such as the NHS, to an unhealthy promotion of ‘defence’ (note Fallon’s comments recently at the London arms fair - that increasing conflict is good for business!), to fracking and all
kinds of other madness.

It also leads to the ‘austerity’ agenda – which emasculates local government and reduces services such as childcare, support for those with disabilities and mental health problems, transport, libraries, fire service, etc. - whilst kowtowing to the interests of the corporations and the super-rich. You might think I am anti-business, but on the contrary I am very much for ‘good’ business which can be an agent of change, pulling our economy in the right direction. Look at renewable energy for example which is increasingly outperforming fossil-fuelled energy.

A vote is not just for an individual, but for an ideology, and in response to Paul Ashfield’s plea (HA 7.9.17) for ‘someone who can stand up for our town against these unreasonable (government and development) demands before we are swept into the maelstrom. Can our MP be involved?’ I would say our MP and his party are causing the maelstrom.

Best wishes

Shan Oakes