Monday, 9 April 2012
A little more proof that Cameron has lost the plot.
The headline grabber of course is the communications intercept plans. Labour wanted to watch us all the time with cameras on the street and argued for elecronic databases but now this lot really do want to know everything about us: Who we email, what we read, who our friends are, who we speak to, and lets not forget the rise of credit cards and ‘phone payments’ so they will also know where we are, where we are going, what we buy as well as exactly what we spend. I’m not going to even try and better the approbation already being heaped on this appalling and disgusting scheme by other bloggers and commentators. It’s worth noting that all the fuss about copyright and ACTA will be automatically and neatly taken care of when they start to track every internet lookup, something I haven't seen mentioned.
On a lesser level but potentially vastly more intrusive on a domestic level, we have this nonsense, having to prove your house is ‘up to code’ before you can make improvements or carry out repairs.
Over the years I have moved around and modernised a number of houses. People like Mark Wadsworth would probably accuse me of adding to the housing bubble to accumulate savings that are not real and that I should have been hit by LVT. But sod that! From my point of view the only way I could get a comfortable house in which I now enjoy living has been to work at it, move to a mess and upgrade it, then by moving on to a slightly better mess I could eventually move up. I have lost track of how many evenings, weekends and day-job holidays have been spent working on houses, but it’s a lot!
The biggest problem has never been the work, something I have never been afraid of, but has always been dealing with local planning officials, many of whom have an incredible level of officiousness and authoritarianism directed at enforcing the most bland and often completely inappropriate rules to ensure anything being done fits with their frequently short sighted and prejudiced ideas. They also, in my current area, make a point of delaying every single response or reply until the very last afternoon of the last working day permitted by the government guidelines, so even the simplest matter takes months to resolve and a fortune in costs and fees as paperwork goes round the system.
Ironically it was the Labour party, and the person of Hazel Blears of all people, who in 2008 rewrote and simplified the rules about permitted development to try and balance householder freedom with neighbour’s rights. It didn’t entirely work, and I still relish the comment from the appeals inspector who stated, straight faced, on being confronted with the actually statute that - It doesn’t mean that. In planning matters words have specific and particular meanings that may be quite different to everyday english, you can go to court if you disagree with me. But even so I have to give Ms Blears 8 out of 10 for trying to help householders gain a bit more home freedom.
Now the Conservatives want to not just wind the clock back but make it run backwards and make even minor improvements and repairs dependent on the existing house insulation. Every small house improvement will be dragged back into the council’s hands and require council inspectors, council approved contractors, permits and paperwork to examine every aspect of your house before deciding how much you should spend on 'green measures' before you can make a repair or simple improvement. This has to be the most imbecilic, authoritarian and intrusive idea in many a year.
Last year, in the middle of the coldest December in memory my boiler broke down. I was lucky to find a plumber who managed to replace it (with a new condensing one, all legit and approved) and modify the old plumbing to accommodate it within a week. Do these imbeciles really expect people in that situation to arse around and live in temperatures of -16C while getting the council inspectors in first?
It completely goes against any concept of household freedom. It’s one thing to have planning laws that (in theory at least) protect the rights of neighbours and the locality outside your property. It’s something else again to be forced to follow generic ‘code’ rules and grovel for permission to the council before making a repair on the inside.
And the inconvenience and intrusiveness is unbelievable. We will be expected to tolerate another army of council prodnoses and busybodies inspecting our houses and not just telling us how to arrange our lives but poking into our private spaces and demanding we change our homes. I have little doubt they will be trained to look for signs of previous planning errors, crime, child abuse, terrorism tendencies and suchlike while they are there, meanwhile we will be expected to pay for the privilege of being held subservient in our private homes.
It’s too late for me to promise I will never again vote Conservative, I made that promise some years ago, but I cannot believe how fast and how hard this government has become the most appallingly incompetent, authoritarian, interfering, illiberal bunch of turncoats I can remember.
(Pic found at http://conservatorieskentuk.co.uk/. Building a DIY conservatory was one of the best bit of DIY I ever did, it's the most used part of the house in daytimes from March to November when it heats naturally with a minimum of sunshine)
Posted by Woodsy42 at 15:40