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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Friday, 17 May 2013

The country, the city and social mobility

"'Country' and 'city' are very powerful words, and this is not surprising when we remember how much they seem to stand for in the experience of human communities.". So begins Raymond Williams' The Country and the City. The increasingly ludicrous Michael Gove must have intuited something like this in linking aspirations towards social mobility with his ambition to despoil the countryside reported in today's Torygraph. And all so unnecessary. 

Continental Europeans figured out long ago - as did the Scots, Liverpudlians and Londoners - that the art of urban living involves housing people in apartments. Not hideous and alienating 24 storey tower blocks but humane and spacious 4 or 5 storey buildings (with cellars) and balconies. Why do the English insist on using their urban space so inefficiently? Why do we treat it as a given that everyone prefers their own  tiny two storey box made of ticky-tacky with a postage stamp back garden? 

Incidentally, I predict that Gove is heading for the same fate as most Tory "intellectuals" - Redwood, Joseph etc - the Royal Order of the Mad Monk.

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