Culture Show’s lefty moments
This week’s Culture Show on BBC2 was as entertaining as ever, but Tom Dyckhoff shouldn’t have been allowed his Tory-bashing moments in the piece on planning. (And a word on the Tea Party.)
Lord knows, urban planning’s a controversial matter, at least amongst, as Dyckhoff said, those who care about it at all, which is anyone who gets suddenly tangled up in its web. It was quite wrong (I mean trivial and lazy) to characterise the Tory 80s planning regime as being a right-wing, libertarian genuflection to brute capitalism. Apart from anything else, Michael Heseltine – an important Tory minister – was as interventionist a dreamer as many a socialist. He may have failed to revitalise the poor bits of big old cities, but so has almost all policy.
Whilst I’m at it, there was wonderful piece a few weeks back which characterised the Tea Party as bonkers, right-wing extremism as against Jon Stewart and his Return to Sanity movement’s obviously neutral, kindly, intelligent centrist liberalism. I say this was lazy because it was the BBC passing on the framing of the debate which the American liberal elite does indeed prefer. The important thing about the Tea Party is that it is a response of a large part of the American mainstream to being patronised by just that sort of voice.