Alan Dean

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

2018: a year of optimism or confusion?

by Alan Dean on 4 January, 2018

Let’s start this post with optimism – I will use my blog more often. Not quite a new year resolution; more a good intention.

I started 2017 with the following:  Optimism comes from the belief that people will follow leaders who speak the truth and take the population with them, rather than seduce them with false promises that lead everyone into wildernesses where they will be done to by others.

I was thinking locally about the then over-optimistic predictions of an end date to Uttlesford’s Local Plan. A year on it is far from finished, but the council is being more realistic about the work that’s needed and has recognised that it will be months into 2018 before a draft plan emerges for formal examination and confirmation. Developers have been challenged to deliver new settlements to the highest standards, or go look elsewhere that in Uttlesford. Optimism must win over scepticism!

More locally in Stansted I am less optimistic about whether there will ever be improvements to parking and business confidence in the Cambridge Road area. Interested parties and authorities seem incapable of working together to achieve win-win solutions. Changing the old Co-op shop to a pizza establishment seems to be waylaid by dreams for better car parking, but without the will to ensure the dreams become real.

At the end of the festive season it is debateable whether one’s national and international glass is half full or half empty. Prince Harry’s editorship of Radio 4’s Today programme in the run-up to Christmas contained much optimism about efforts to address climate change and to create a better world in enjoyable interviews with his father and Barack Obama. Yet within a few days we had Obama’s successor boasting like a teenager about the size of his nuclear button. Meanwhile, Her Majesty’s Government remains largely clueless about where it is leading us all from March 2019 – or whenever the Brexit talking stops.

It feel I can repeat what I wrote 12 months ago without amendment: The sooner this country finds leaders who will spell out that the world is equalising and cannot be stopped; that the national cake slice per person is likely to get progressively closer in size to those of people in poorer countries; and that we need to learn again how to share out our own national cake with all the people who live on these islands, the earlier right wing populists will be exposed for what they are – fraudsters.

And if you aren’t already following McMafia on BBC 1, I recommend it, because it exposes much about the way big money still determines the way the world operates and why many, many people feel aggrieved – and then vote to make themselves poorer after they’ve been conned into blaming the wrong bogeymen.


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