|Factory Chimneys Outnumber Church Spires on the Skyline at |
Preston Lancashire. (Image source)
It's difficult to be green when you're packed in at more than 1000 per square mile. Spread out, that's one person every 50 meters. At that density, you're going to be mostly red-brick- and blacktop-colored.
Still, if folks would spread out as much as they can, there would be advantages. They could stop annoying one another with stupid cell phone calls: "It's me, I'll be home in three minutes." Instead, you could word-of-mouth it: "Heh Ma, don't stay up, I'm going out with the lads tonight. Pass it on." You could even have person-to-person small parcel delivery: "Mrs. Edith Robertson, 23b Hedgerow Drive, Wigan. No, not that way, idiot, to your left, Wigan's up North!"
But just think about it. There's yer fifty by fifty meter patch where you've got yer car, yer share of the public roadways, yer house, yer holiday cottage in Wales, yer share of the local pub, shops, workplaces, government offices, railways, power plants, power lines, schools, hospitals, the lot. There is very little room left over for anything green. Yet they're still packing 'em in: every four years another million, enough to populate Birmingham, England' second city, with some tens of thousands left over.
Years ago my late friend Postman Patel drove me to a spot on the moors outside the City of Oldham where you could see 79 factory (cotton mill) chimneys -- that's when the view was not obscured by smog. Today, the mills mostly burn oil instead of coal and so have no visible emissions -- the few that have not been converted to multi-family residences -- so visibility is better than it used to be. That means that there's now hardly a viewpoint in the English countryside where you cannot see lines of traffic snaking this way and that across the landscape. No doubt if anyone discovers a traffic-free zone they'll have to build roads and parking lots all over it so people can come and see it.
But the lack of green is not just a matter of numbers. It's largely due to the criminal activity of the construction industry and its enablers all the way from the petty corruptionist on your village council to the Minister of Housing or whoever's influence is required when the latest plan to convert another few hundred acres of productive farm land to a plantation of red brick boxes is impeded by some not totally corrupt local planning committee.
|Instant urban blight. (Image source)|
British cities are, for the most part, so bloody hideously awful that everyone wants a country castle, mansion, villa, cottage, converted piggery, whatever, and if that's beyond their means, then a semi-det brick box on a 150 square meter plot on one of those meaningless crescents, winding avenues, or closes that engulf square miles of once beautiful countryside around once beautiful market towns and cathedral cities.
The flight to the suburbs and beyond generates traffic, traffic deaths, smog, noise, and an ever expanding zone of traffic-jammed motorways, bypasses, overpasses and underpasses that converts once habitable urban space into a vision of hell beyond the imagination of Hieronymous Bosch: which is the truly beautiful thing about urban development -- it's autocatalytic. It creates its own demand. By defiling the place where people want to be, i.e., the city, it forces them to move to ever more remote and tedious greenfield suburbs, which are the last places on earth where any creature could hope for emotional fulfillment.
|Coping with the banality of English life. (Image source)|
The sheer banality of English life drives much else that rots the moral fibre and mental capacity of the nation. The ugliness of the landscape, the tedium of the daily commute, the daily pollution of one's immortal soul with cheesy Page-three-pics of tits and bums, war propaganda, gossip and triviality from the multiple orifices of the Murdoch press and its rivals and imitators, the infuriatingly condescending mendacity of the BBC, combine to create an irresistible impulse to escape. However hideous the journey, however crowded or degraded the destination, millions upon millions of Britain's sick, her tired, her huddled masses take regular flight to Mediterranean resorts, notwithstanding the odious the behaviour of their compatriots.
All of which helps explain why three in four Britons would like to leave Britain for good. It is, presumably, the ethnic Brits and their numerous progeny who, having only just arrived, make up the 25% yet to appreciate the desirability of leaving. (What is it, any how, that causes hundreds and hundreds of thousands to abandon the exquisite beauty of a Caribbean Island for life in Wolverhampton, Glasgow or the London borough of Brixton?)
Can England Be Once More a Green and Pleasant Land?