By Paul Homewood.
The Tory Red Wall MP, Nick Fletcher, has been stirring the wasps’ nest with his recent speech on 15-minute cities, which are increasingly being floated by local councils:
It is instructive to see how the liberal media immediately and dutifully rallied to the defence of the socialist planners, and in similar terms as well. For instance, yahoo news called it a bizarre conspiracy theory:
And ITV also referred to “right wing conspiracy theorists. (Strangely they did not use the term “left wing” to label the proponents of 15-minute cities):
Both yahoo and ITV, along with pretty much most of the media, it would seem, defended the concept as being eminently sensible and all for our own good. Who would object to having all these local services on our doorsteps?
But none of them have asked the question of how they would be enforced. It is one thing providing shops and amenities at a local level, but what if people still prefer to go into town or to the shopping mall?
We have already seen how ULEZ zones are being used to restrict car travel, not to mention Oxford’s installation of traffic gates. And one thing is certain; once EVs fill the roads, they too will be subject to the same congestion and ULEZ charges that they are currently exempt from. As many proponents of 15-minute cities are now beginning to admit publicly, the real objective is to get us out of our cars and onto public transport, bicycles and our feet.
Nick Fletcher is right to raise this issue. As is so often the case, there appears to be little or no democratic mandate for any of these local council policies.
In any event, the whole concept is absurd. Most local suburbs already have shops, schools, doctors etc within a mile or so. But the market is simply not big enough to support the bigger shops and supermarkets that people still need, not to mention restaurants, cinemas and so on.
It is also suggested that workplaces should also be zoned in 15-minute cities. So they are going to relocate a factory from an out of town site and plonk it in the middle of a housing estate? And then tell everybody to get a job there?
This would be a return to the 1950s and 60s, before mass car ownership took off. In those days, kids leaving school either went to work in the local factory or caught the bus to work in the town. Often they stayed with the same employer all their life. This was precisely what happened in the small steel town where I live.
Car ownership gave us all the opportunity to find jobs elsewhere, expand our skills, meet new people and develop new careers.
Moreover it enabled companies to relocate away from town centres to out of town industrial and trading estates. This hugely improved the environment in towns as well as business efficiency.
According to ITV:
The idea is that everything a person needs should be within a 15-minute walk or cycle from any point in the city.
This includes work, shopping, education, healthcare, leisure and any other amenities a person may need in their regular life.
The idea has been promoted by leading academics and urban planners in recent years who promote a world where walking would once again become our most common mode of transport.
But again I ask, what “needs” will be fulfilled which are not already provided for? Most of that list already exists in most neighbourhoods.
The whole thing is really just an attempt to take us out of our cars, lock us into our own little neighbourhoods and take away our freedom to go where we want, when we want.
Conspiracy theory? No, we have already been there with COVID lockdowns, something which environmentalists loved. Don’t bet that climate lockdowns won’t follow.
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February 28, 2023 at 08:41AM