Duncan Barkes’ assessment that NIMBYism is bringing Britain to a standstill is spot on!
My own generation is arguably the most selfish generation we have ever seen.
For the first time ever, the next generation can expect to be poorer than their parents – what kind of economic achievement is that?
As a nation, we have had it too easy for too long and my own generation, all too often, are living off the efforts of previous generations.
Economic complacency has set in. The Victorians gave us the railway infrastructure; the current generation will not tolerate new railway lines. My father’s generation gave us motorways; the current generation foam at the mouth whenever a new road is considered.
Previous generations gave us airports and international travel; the current generation want to fly from somebody else’s back yard!
Previous generations gave up some of their green fields so that we can have houses; the current generation procreate just like their parents but will not accept responsibility for housing their children. And so it goes on! Today’s NIMBYs remind me very much of the trades union movement in the 1970s. Both then and now, the problem was one of economic complacency. In the same way that the trades unions resisted economic progress in the 1970s so, too, do today’s NIMBYs. Trades unionism was the economic problem of the seventies; NIMBYism is the problem of today – a Luddite-style brake on economic growth.
It took a forward-looking leader called Margaret Thatcher to create a step change in the national economy and to create the modern economy that we all benefit from today.
So, who will break the negative cycle of NIMBYism in today’s economy?
Who will provide the leadership necessary to create an economy strong enough to secure the economic future of the next generation?
Our children will need homes and jobs as well as green fields.