Sunday, October 26, 2014

Lone Voice

South Somerset District Council has just agreed an £8m discount package to a housing developer, so that a local housing site can be rendered 'viable'. The alternative is that it gets mothballed (that's the claim anyway: Barratts tried that one a couple of years ago on the other side of town then declared record profits the week after the agreement was signed). So that's less social housing, poorer maintenance for community play and open space, less money for community facilities, bus routes, etc. More houses, shabbier environment.

I'm pretty disappointed and annoyed by this, especially as the viability maths was badly skewed (I'll explain if you like but it would take a while).

But I'm just as disappointed and annoyed by this. Scroll to page 4. Only one local resident wrote in to complain. One. There's been plenty of sound and fury on Facebook, of course. And a local politician who's hoping to unseat David Laws as MP next year has been in the papers opposing it. But I note that nobody from his party actually wrote in.

This is potentially a new community of 1500-1700 people. There is a massive social housing shortage in the area. And nobody cares enough to formally speak up. (Note: putting :-( at on a Facebook comment doesn't qualify as 'caring'. That wont fix the swings, provide a bus route, or house a family.)

Someone I meet up with for prayer has a saying 'you've gotta love 'em'. Even on the days when Yeovil makes me sad and angry, I've gotta love em. Drat, it would be so much easier not to, but I don't think Jesus gives us any wiggle room on that.

1 comment:

  1. Well the CofE has plenty of land and money - what is it doing? Do you need your Des Res vicarage - several 'normal' houses can usually be sited on where the average vicarage stands - I note BA21 3UL is a fairly well-to-do post code, not unusual for the dog-collared class!
    Moaning about civil government is a frequent malady of the religiously inclined - while at the same time showing some wonderful faith-based scheme or organisation that beats civil government's efforts anytime. Often conveniently forgetting or not knowing the vast bulk of faith-based initiatives (esp. things like housing associations) are bank rolled by the tax payer and staffed by mainly non-believers - too few Christians like to get their hands dirty for low wages and in low status jobs - you find the Christians in the boardroom, as trustees and senior managers - sometimes with the odd vicar chucking in his two-penneth' worth and telling him/herself that they're doing their bit – telling the rest of society what to do – with other people’s money.
    Our Christian friends are very good at saying what other people should be doing - what the local council or the government should be doing. Odd that the vast majority of CofE churches remain the haunt of the middle-classes - with a only a small number of communicants from social housing. Which perhaps suggests a little more rolling up their sleeves and putting their money and their action where their mouths are, might persuade wider society that earnest Christians really mean what they say.
    Still, look on the bright side: liberal secular democracy has improved the lives of the poor and marginalised far more than centuries of Christianity - indeed an identifying trait of a religious society, is greater gap between rich and poor, greater social inequality and less voice for the marginalised and oppressed (Victorian Britain and Bible Belt America today demonstrate this very well). Yes, I know Christians like to point the finger at Christian reformers (how they love to bask in the reflected glory of the work of others – another common Christian trait) but in the main these were non-conformists (mainly Quakers and Unitarians) and let’s remember, the society they were ‘reforming’ was Christian in the first place, and had been for over a millennium and Protestant for three centuries – so why did it need reform? Indeed we don’t see any real mainstream efforts at social reform on the part of Christians until AFTER the French Revolution. You ignore the poor at your peril, was a motivating factor (i.e. self-interest) in social reform – moreover its roots where in Enlightenment, not Christian thinking.
    So here again, we see a Christian perform that modern day miracle so many Christian excel in – of turning anything into whine...