Housing Minister Caroline Flint, seeking to justify the so-called eco-towns which the government proposes to dump on rural Conservative areas, tells the Times that Milton Keynes has more bio-diversity than the fields which preceded it.
I remember the fields which used to be there, the lanes which wound around them and the villages which interspersed them. A very attractive place it was too, with more than enough bio-diversity, and real cows, not the concrete ones which gave Milton Keynes its only claim to fame.
Now we have another real cow keen to build more Milton Keyneses, this one with concrete between her ears. Caroline Flint is obviously keen to give a green veneer to Gordon Brown’s vast new housing estates.
Flint gives the impression of being able to focus on only one point at a time, and is famously unable to see more than one side of an argument, the one printed in big letters on her brief. I am sure that her new housing estates will be bio-diverse in the strictly mathematical sense that the playgrounds, back gardens and roundabouts of her Ceausescu towns will offer a variety of ecological sub-species not present in the fields and woods on which they will be laid. The same is true, however, of nuclear power stations, industrial estates and, as someone pointed out in the Times, at London Zoo.
Flint’s last big project was the smoking ban. She would say, no doubt, that it has led to a greater diversity in people’s leisure time. That is true. People who used to enjoy going the pub for a drink and a smoke now buy their drink at the supermarket and stay at home, puffing over the kids. We see greater diversity in the streets – every pub now has crowds outside, filling the air with the smoke and noise which used to be inside pubs which non-smokers could choose not to enter. We see more diversity in the dole queue as well, with four pubs closing per day.
Dim bimbo Caroline Flint didn’t think about all this, or, if she did, she took no notice. Her remit was to ban smoking in public places, and the consequences and knock-on effects were not her concern. She is single-minded – but that is because she cannot keep more than one thought in her head at a time.
The smoking ban just spoilt a lot of people’s pleasure and ruined a few thousand businesses. Think what you can do when you bring the same narrow ignorance to building ten new mega housing estates.