Hmm

William Wordsworth, the 19th century romantic poet, would be “having a series of fits” about the scale of development for the countryside being allowed by “philistine” Whitehall officials, the former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion has said.

That’s the author of the following lines:

Wisdom and Spirit of the universe!
Thou Soul, that art the Eternity of thought!
And giv’st to forms and images a breath
And everlasting motion! not in vain,
By day or star-light, thus from my first dawn
Of childhood didst thou intertwine for me
The passions that build up our human soul;
Not with the mean and vulgar works of Man;
But with high objects, with enduring things,
With life and nature; purifying thus
The elements of feeling and of thought,
And sanctifying by such discipline
Both pain and fear,—until we recognise
A grandeur in the beatings of the heart.
He’d be angry that people get a place to live in, would he?
Diddums.

46 comments on “Hmm

  1. He’d be angry that people get a place to live in, would he?
    Diddums.

    This is not the 50s. No one in Britain lacks a place to live in. I am not sure what this man is complaining about, but it is hard to believe any sane British person not beaten down by the idiots of political correctness would not weep over the slow suicide of Britain. The destruction of the countryside so that middle class White people can flee the sh!tholes that immigrants have created in Britain’s major cities is hardly the biggest problem though.

    But perhaps he meant wind turbines?

  2. Romanticism, including the ludicrous deification of dirt with useless plants growing on it, has a lot to answer for.

  3. Ian B – “Romanticism, including the ludicrous deification of dirt with useless plants growing on it, has a lot to answer for.”

    Ummm, OK I’l bite. Like what for instance? Plants are rarely useless. Some dirt is aesthetically pleasing. Most healthy cultures and societies are grounded in some sort of relationship with the actual physical world. And the people who have a lot to answer for this century are the people who took a scientific attitude to most things and sneered at something as simple as love of place. The Communists for instance.

    As political ideologies goes, Romanticism must be the most harmless. Instead of producing the Gulag, it produced national parks.

  4. SMFS: “…but it is hard to believe any sane British person not beaten down by the idiots of political correctness would not weep over the slow suicide of Britain. “

    Well said. That’s before we get into the idiocy of paving over the green belt to accommodate more people.

  5. IanB, the countryside may not be to your taste, but the growing number of people in the urban areas (and the TYPE of people) certainly isn’t to mine.

  6. And the result of national parks, green belts etc is Britons living in the most cramped, squalid conditions of any “advanced” economy. More generally, Romanticism is the foundation of Greenism, which may be the most significant current challenge to the continuation and advancement of Western civilisation there is.

  7. Millions of unwanted and unasked for migrants might have something to do with the crowded and “squalid” conditions found in the UK. Don’t know if this Motion bloke is part of the BluLabour branch of the ruling class scum (–he might just be an old-fashioned Tory) but if he is a supporter of unlimited immigration he has a bloody cheek complaining about the results.

  8. Wordsworth would probably have shat his fancy pantaloons at aeroplanes, Gangnam Style, and women and poor people being allowed to vote.

    I’m no statistician but I reckon we have eleventy billion more people living on this crowded island than in 1850, so let’s get building.

    If Sir Andrew doesn’t like that, maybe he should have complained when Labour started importing millions of immigrants nobody asked for, so as to rub Britain’s nose in “diversity”.

    Re: the superficially attractive idea of building on brownfield instead of greenfield so the plebs and their new Barratts homes don’t spoil Sir Andrew’s pastoral views. Well, here’s one economist unconvinced by the brownfield panacea. Granted he is from the LSE but still makes a cogent case:

    http://spatial-economics.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/to-kill-nightingale-and-not-build-houses.html?m=1

    I’d imagine there are also a metric fuckton of environmental regs re: building homes on old industrial estates, which would push up costs considerably.

    The introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework in 2012 was bitterly fought by campaigners and readers of The Daily Telegraph through its Hands Off Our Land campaign because it biased planning rules in favour of builders

    Ah yes, the Torygraph’s blimpish “Gerroff Our Land” campaign. Except it never was your bloody land to begin with, you curtain-twitching NIMBY cunts. You were in fact objecting to other people’s property rights, just like every jumped up binoculars-fondling prodnose twerp with too much time on his hands who goes around trying to ascertain if the neighbours’ new shed is a couple of centimetres too tall so he can complain to the council.

    And they haven’t biased planning in favour of builders, they’ve made the planning process very slightly less biased against owners. So fuck off.

  9. Whatever the merits of immigration, the fact remains that the primary reason we can’t build sufficient housing, and why property prices are beyond all reason, is down to Stalinist land controls justified by the Romantic loonies skipping around in the daffodils.

  10. Ian B – “And the result of national parks, green belts etc is Britons living in the most cramped, squalid conditions of any “advanced” economy. More generally, Romanticism is the foundation of Greenism, which may be the most significant current challenge to the continuation and advancement of Western civilisation there is.”

    Seriously? Those national parks play no role in the living conditions of most British people. The Green Belt might but it is a minor influence. Try to get planning permission for anything. London is a vast city by European standards. This is because British people like their own gardens. And planning permission for almost anything else is next to impossible to get.

    The Romantics undoubtedly played a role in the creation of the Greens. But what has turned them from a sensible sort of group J. R. R. Tolkein might have joined and one that George Monbiot likes is the collapse of Communism. The problem with Greens is that they are not green. They are watermelons.

    Ian B – “Whatever the merits of immigration, the fact remains that the primary reason we can’t build sufficient housing, and why property prices are beyond all reason, is down to Stalinist land controls justified by the Romantic loonies skipping around in the daffodils.”

    I agree with you about the land controls being the major cause. Although to call them Stalinist seems odd. The Romantic loonies are but one small group influencing those laws. The genuine environmentalists would love to see higher density housing for instance. But of course planning laws forbid that.

    The Green Belt is one issue, but it is hardly the main one. The only people in Britain who have substandard housing are immigrants. Who ain’t going to be moving out to the suburbs any time soon. And who live in people’s sheds because the laws forbid the sort of high density housing they like and could afford.

  11. George Monbiot isn’t a communist, and neither is the average Green. They’re Romantics, and they cleave to leftist policies as a consequence. Tolkien’s notionally conservative, poisonous nonsense about the (literally) little people living in a fantasy bucolic idyll is of entirely the same character.

    What was the quote, “Oh God, not more fucking elves”?

  12. ” Those national parks play no role in the living conditions of most British people.”

    Speaking as someone who grew up in a national park, and now lives in different one, they were a stupid if not wicked idea, and you wouldn’t believe the inconvenience and costs they can impose on people who would otherwise be enjoying their property rights.

    They are also unelected, unacountable, their staff and management and unsackable, and quite often don’t even operate within the law (it’s easier for them to make the law up, and some you won’t have the money to sue). Apart from that they are a great idea…

  13. I find it enormously reassuring, as soon as my eye detects the distinctive sentence structure indicates poetry, it instinctively glides over it to the next bit of prose.

    There may, occasionally, have been things written in the format worth reading. But life’s too short.

  14. I defy anyone to say modern poetry is Pseuds Corner filling Guardianista shite when we have gems like this from the current Poet Laureate:

    *******
    A summer of rain, then a gap in the clouds
    and The Queen jumped from the sky
    to the cheering crowds.

                   We speak Shakespeare here,
    a hundred tongues, one-voiced; the moon bronze or silver,
    sun gold, from Cardiff to Edinburgh
                   by way of London Town,
    on the Giant’s Causeway;
    we say we want to be who we truly are,
    now, we roar it. Welcome to us.

    We’ve had our pockets picked,
                   the soft, white hands of bankers,
    bold as brass, filching our gold, our silver;
    we want it back.

    We are Mo Farah lifting the 10,000 metres gold.
    We want new running-tracks in his name.
    For Jessica Ennis, the same; for the Brownlee brothers,
    Rutherford, Ohuruogu, Whitlock, Tweddle,
    for every medal earned,
    we want school playing-fields returned.

    Enough of the soundbite abstract nouns,
    austerity, policy, legacy, of tightening metaphorical belts;
    we got on our real bikes,
    for we are Bradley Wiggins,
                   side-burned, Mod, god;
    we are Sir Chris Hoy,
    Laura Trott, Victoria Pendleton, Kenny, Hindes,
    Clancy, Burke, Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas,
                   Olympian names.

    We want more cycle lanes.

                   Or we saddled our steed,
    or we paddled our own canoe,
    or we rowed in an eight or a four or a two;
    our names, Glover and Stanning; Baillie and Stott;
    Adlington, Ainslie, Wilson, Murray,
                   Valegro (Dujardin’s horse).

    We saw what we did. We are Nicola Adams and Jade Jones,
    bring on the fighting kids.

                   We sense new weather.
    We are on our marks. We are all in this together.
    **********

    Fucking genius, Carol. Have another pie.

  15. Speaking as someone who lives in the green belt and goes for rambling country walks every other day, I wonder who notices how many people enjoy the countryside?

    Excluding dog walkers, we don’t meet anyone just out walking, even at weekends.

    Occasionally, we’ll meet a walking club. Those at the front have the horizon fixed with a steely eye, those in the middle are deep in conversation and those at the back look in need of medical attention.

    No, not many people seem to want to enjoy the countryside, but plenty want to complain when .001% of it is built on.

  16. I live frighteningly near the edge of town and a while ago, I decided unwisely to walk to ASDA, which I don’t normally visit. I’d only been walking for a short while when I realised with some horror I’d blundered into the countryside, there were back gardens with horses in and all sorts. I had a cold, so I hadn’t noticed the rural stench. You’d think there’d be some kind of warning signs or something.

  17. @john miller
    Used to get something similar in the London park where i walked the dogs.
    Periodically the anti-dog crowd would rear up & demand restrictions or outright bans.
    Except barring some warm summer Sunday afternoons, the legitimate park goers were the dog walkers & a very few strollers – who presumably were the ones bitching about dogs. Absent the dog walkers it would have been all cottagers, drunks, druggies, muggers & Kurds trying to capture the lake’s waterfowl for the pot. Certainly wouldn’t have been anywhere safe to stroll in.

  18. It’s easy to forget that great poets have it within them at times to write the most unutterable tripe.

  19. john miller,

    “Speaking as someone who lives in the green belt and goes for rambling country walks every other day, I wonder who notices how many people enjoy the countryside?”

    I’ve driven out into the countryside to Forestry Commission places on a sunny Sunday afternoon and there’s been another couple of cars in the car park, and that’s about it. I’ve walked along footpaths with parking at one end on a sunny Sunday and seen no-one.

    I don’t believe we need any more national parks or protected woodlands than we currently have and you could probably lose a large chunk of them.

  20. I suspect what people want of the countryside is well laid paths. Toilet facilities. A convenient restaurant. Secure parking. Safeguarding supervision.
    In effect, Hampstead Heath.
    And they don’t go there very much.

  21. Took my then four y.o. For a walk round the woods at Sandringham last summer. I have a pretty good sense of direction, but I’m also mostly a townie, and i forgot about the possibility the paths on which we started out might just vanish which, in due course, they did. The little one was very good about it, given it took me about 45 mins longer to get us back to ground zero than id planned, but it was a salutary reminder.

  22. One thing nobody has mentioned is the fucking ludicrous system of listed buildings we have in the UK. Conserving palaces and castles and the occasional thatched cottage okay, but a mate of mine lives in a Grade 2 or 3 listed building which prevents him modifying it (as if the design and function of buildings 100 years ago was optimum). Which would be fine if it was a distinctive and prominent house with some history, but it’s a non-descript farmhouse at the bottom of a hill in Devon overshadowed by a large barn.

    I don’t know the history of the listed building system, but like so much else in government affairs there seems to have been an awful lot of missin creep.

  23. And I believe it was Andrew Motion who wrote this shite:

    “They read good books, and quote, but never learn
    a language other than the scream of rocket-burn.
    Our straighter talk is drowned but ironclad:
    elections, money, empire, oil and Dad.”

    So who gives a fuck what he thinks? Talentless clot.

  24. This notion of the countryside being under threat is bollocks, isn’t it? Probably not been more fecund since the Jurassic.

    Round here they are talking about extending the hunting season due to the population explosion of deer and boar, and the crop damage. The reintroduction of the ibex has been such a success you practically have to kick them off the path as you walk up to a hut. However, they have been found to be a reservoir for brucellosis so need to be culled. Naturally, frogs being frogs, this is to be done not by amateur hunters but by teams of government employees.

  25. JuliaM, mike power – I especially like how she rhymes “earned” and “returned”.

    That’s why she earns the big poetry bucks.

  26. @Tim N
    FFS don’t get me started on listed buildings Particularly in British cities. Nor IanB I’d imagine. Having worked with a few of them, they don’t even rate as nondescript. Piles of jerrybuilt crap held together by Polyfiller & mortgage agreements is nondescript. The only reason they’re listed is for the estate agent’s particulars.

  27. Nothing is more pleasurable to one in the building trades than trying to get a solid fixing in a wall that should have been demolished 100 years ago.

  28. Shelley claimed in “In Defence of Poetry” that poets were the “unacknowlegrd legislators of the World.” Not having actually read that, I don’t know what he meant. But poets as planning officers seems a bit far. Let them earn honest livings as bankers, like TS Elliot.

  29. Succeeding, Mr B, succeeding.

    I had managed to put a coat rack on a C19 lath, horesehair & plaster internal wall. Then somebody hung a damp crab-air greatcoat on it. Most of the wall came down.

  30. @SE
    There’s a product the frogs use instead of woodchip, Racked up at the bricolage decorating section as fibre de verre (translated, it’s obvious what it is). Rolls old alongside tubs of its own ahesive. Used on old lathe & plaster, covers a multitude of sins & could probably resist mild anti-tank weaponry. God knows how you get it off.
    It certainly hadn’t penetrated the UK market, last time I looked, but if you or mates are on the cheap booze/fags run, try Bricomart in Calais
    My old partner in crime now swears by it.

    See? We do DIY tips as well.

  31. I spent my childhood running wild with ma dawg in woods all over the Mendip & Quantock Hills. Wordsworth’s poetry on formative experience (esp The Prelude & Tintern Abbey) captured – exactly – what it felt like. His words still mean as much to me as they ever did.

    Tie-in with Darwin for greatest Brit, IMO.

  32. And for ianB, Drill hole & fill the wall void full of building foam. Try & get your plugs in before it fully sets.

  33. We really don’t have a lack of space for building in this country. I’ve just drive for half an hour and passed maybe 30 houses and I could have kept going form another 30 mins with a similar result. Take a look at a satellite picture at night, we could build a million houses and they wouldn’t be noticed.

    Then there’s all those northern estates that need bulldozing, they are brown field sites.

    What we have is that is that a large part of the chattering and middle classes and their offspring want to live in a nice house, far from the madding crowds*, but within easy commuting distance of London.

    *See what I did there, I live in Dorset not far from Dorchester 🙂

  34. This thread suggests to me that libertarianism is possibly quite strongly correlated with autism…

  35. Paving over England is a natural evolution. It is about tax.
    First the feminists who went from sex objects to tax objects then came immigrants for more breeding for more tax objects.
    If you want many eggs you crowd the chickens. If you want tax you crowd the people in. Plenty more room yet for plenty more people.
    If you wont breed the government knows what to do. .

  36. Steve said:
    “Ah yes, the Torygraph’s blimpish “Gerroff Our Land” campaign. Except it never was your bloody land to begin with, you curtain-twitching NIMBY cunts. You were in fact objecting to other people’s property rights, just like every jumped up binoculars-fondling prodnose twerp with too much time on his hands who goes around trying to ascertain if the neighbours’ new shed is a couple of centimetres too tall so he can complain to the council.”

    Best thing I have read for months.

  37. Is there no-one on here who can see that landscapes and listed buildings have an economic value? As indeed our host has argued in the past? Property rights are not absolute, as John Locke establshed in the 17thC, though the state’s rights should be minimal.

  38. @Theo
    Bang right .The more libertarian on here ,the more autistic. None of them is capable of noticing that all the romantic values of views over sea,rivers and forests are capitalised into house prices very exactly.

  39. So far as I can tell, “autistic” is the latest codeword for “not a thieving leftie cunt”.

  40. Ian B @ 2110:
    A bizarre and irrational association on your part. Why can’t a broadly libertarian economics recognise the economic value of landscapes and listed buildings?

  41. Well, “the value of a nice view” is a can of worms, but listed buildings are a creation of the State, designed to override their market value, which is generally trivial, which is why without listing they’d be knocked down and redeveloped.

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