One thing that exposes the hypocrisy and deceitfulness of all the weasel words spouted by politicians about community is the conspiracy between all levels of government, supermarkets, internet shopping ventures and property developers to squeeze out of existence the independent traders that used to fill our high streets.
The effect of this is to rip the living heart out of communities that have evolved over hundreds of years.
The most noticeable aspect of the conspiracy is the cost and difficulty of parking a car anywhere in town that is in safe walking distance of where you need to be.
On top of that, the draconian penalties imposed on people who stay on a meter two seconds over their paid for time and the practice if contracting out parking patrols to private firms whose untrained operatives are paid bonuses for exceeding revenue targets and we have a driver hostile town centre environment.
Many more people might be happy to leave their cars at home and use public transport had public transport not been all but abolished by Thatcher’s privastising pirates. But that is how the scam works, promise people freedom of choice them remove all choices except compliance with the interests of big money.
Free parking on municipal car parks is a thing of the past and had the property bubble not burst municipal car parks would have been a thing of the past very soon too as authorities raced to sell off all available land to property developers.
Challenge the Town Hall though and a bureaucrat will say that when car parks are sold for redevelopment, alternative spaces are provided elsewhere. This is a fine example of that age old political too the lie that is not untrue. While new parking spaces are indeed being provided these are usually close to a big shed development on the outskirts of town, well away from the traditional town centre. The units available are far too big and expensive for local independents and so are occupied by national and multi-national retail chains. This type of shopping facility had no character, we could be anywhere in our nation and not notice a difference. A Briton in America or an American in Britain would only notice that some of the names are different.
The needs of the shoppers are secondary to the needs of the money men.
Thus when redevelopment in a town is considered, the planning applications of big corporate chains are fast tracked while those of independent stores are bound up in red tape and steered into the labyrinth of local planning regulations.
Town councils have a duty to provide certain things, both as public services and business enterprises. For a town to function as a community, retail areas, public spaces, leisure facilities from sports centres to theatres and pubs are needed as well as those necessary services like waste disposal, street lighting, hospitals and schools.
Neither Town Hall or central government has a duty to pander to the interests of big business, especially when we consider the lengths to which big business will go to avoid national and local taxes.
Local and National administrations are immersed equally deeply in the brown smelly stuff that flows abundantly from all activities where big money is involved. Even the media are complicit. How often do we hear or read that the opening of a new outlet by Wal-Mart, Tesco or one of the other Big Unfriendly Giants of the retail world will create hundred of new jobs in a town. They never seem to mention how many jobs will be lost as small businesses are forced into liquidation or have to downsize.
There is no proof of any conspiracy between business and government as supporters of the rabid right will be keen to tell me. That is the whole point of a conspiracy of course, there is never any proof. The way these factions manage to act so unerringly in each others interests could be down to the most amazing chain of coincidences.
On the other hand people who are planning to help each other to gain dominance in a particular field are hardly likely to issue press releases.
So next time there is a rumpus about parking facilities in your town you must make a choice. Either collaborate with the conspiracy or fight. Refuse to pay your fine.
They cant put us all in prison.
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