Alan Dean

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Stansted North and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Learn more

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A line was crossed yesterday

by Alan Dean on 23 September, 2017

Yesterday evening the sun crossed the equator on its annual journey south and away from the northern hemisphere. Looked at from the sun, it was us in northern latitudes who are tilting away from our source of natural heat and light. Like much of life, what you see depends on where you stand.

Earlier in the day Mrs Theresa May gave a speech in Firenze, the birth place in the 14th century of the Renaissance.  In days gone by Florence was one of the wealthiest  cities on earth and a centre of European banking. Now it is a centre for tourism.

The May speech admitted that delay in Britain’s departure from the European Union is inevitable. There will not be an abrupt rupture of our relations with out 27 continental partners in March 2019. The hanging question is whether the return of the sun at that March’s spring equinox will mark the return of warm relations or the start of a great freeze across Europe. There are many who foresee London going the way of Florence and becoming little more than a tourist theme park, aided by a weak currency and bankers departing for Frankfurt and Paris.

There was total silence yesterday about where Mrs May & Co wish to take the UK by 2021. A transition to where? Maybe before the 2018 autumn equinox Mrs May, if she is still in office, will tell the British people the hidden truth about Brexit and about the long winter that may be ahead. In the meantime, the “peace” in the May Cabinet will be to agree and disagree on nothing because their goal is a never-ending fairy tale.

Closer to home, the first consultation on Uttlesford’s draft Local Plan has ended. Lots of comments have been received and there is work to be done to check them out. Whitehall has issued its own consultation on future housing numbers with a district-by-district table that suggests our target should be 2,200 higher, which would be 100 homes per annum up at 740.

Meanwhile, the all-party cooperation on producing a sound plan that has prevailed since 2015 has broken down. The Residents for Uttlesford Party, which has worked alongside Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors since the last plan went belly-up at the end of 2014, now seems to be contriving to distant itself from any responsibility. Its councillors voted for the draft plan in July but are now nit-picking in an apparent attempt to claim “nowt to do with me, mate”! Of course, if they come up with a viable alternative plan, the rest of us will surely consider its merits. However, I suspect this is a party running out of purpose. It was born in Saffron Walden to oppose a bad plan. It spread its influence by opposing planning proposals almost everywhere. It even plays party politics on the semi-judicial planning committee. It appears to struggle to take responsibility for anything that is controversial.

That’s what happens to opportunists and populists; eventually they run out of a raison d’êtreIndividually, the R4U councillors have a lot to offer the council and community, so I hope they find a positive role.

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