I am outraged by the ignorant and cynical way in which the Government has purported to respond to the Hands Off Herts e-petition on the Downing Street website.
What we have received is an anonymous stream of Downing Street drivel. In Gordon Brown’s Brave New World, it seems that the people of St Albans are viewed as ‘epsilon semi-morons’.
1528 individuals signed the petition before it closed at the end of August. In terms of public support it was easily in the top two percent of all the petitions on the Prime Minister’s site. The promise was that all serious petitions with more than 200 signatures would get a response from the Prime Minister, one of his ministers or an official.
What all the signatories to the Hands of Herts petition have received instead is an anonymous stream of Downing Street drivel. In Gordon Brown’s Brave New World, it seems that the people of St Albans are viewed as ‘epsilon semi-morons’.
There is no mention at all of St Albans or Hertfordshire – the subjects of the petition. There are real issues around addressing housing need in Hertfordshire but you would not know it from this response. It just drones on about Green Belt policy.
There is a breath-taking dishonesty in the suggestion that it is local authorities driving the agenda. It was Ruth Kelly's own inspectors who over-ruled the proposed housing totals developed by the East of England Regional Assembly. Then Ruth Kelly over-ruled her own inspectors and demanded yet more housing units by 2021. That is what has put our Green Belt in hazard. Now the new Secretary of State has announced the winding up of the Regional Assembly as if to underline the way the Government has continued to ride rough-shod over the wishes of local councillors and people.
The Downing Street suggestion that the threat to the Hertfordshire is ‘nothing to do with me, guv’ simply insults our intelligence.
The Prime Minister should give a straight answer to the questions put in the petition and not wash his hands of the whole process.
The next stage will be to take the Hands Off Herts campaign to Downing Street. He must be left under no illusion that people in St Albans and Hertfordshire care passionately about the integrity of their city and county.