Bumblebees need holes in walls to find a habitat. I learnt that whilst in the Lake District yesterday at the Peter Rabbit garden outside the Beatrix Potter Attraction, Windermere. It seems, for me right now, to describe perfectly what the Coalition’s economics is doing to us.
The people who do the things they are doing to us work in the urban landscape that is the metropolis of London. When they escape to their country retreats, it is out of privilege they escape: for them, the countryside is just as much a good to be bought and sold as a future on the futures market. When they plan to detonate, dismantle and destroy the complex ecosystem that is English society, they do not care to worry about those of us who are like bumblebees: those of us who need, in amongst the impervious concrete constructs, habitat-generating holes in Lakeland stone-style walls.
The shock and awe of Osborneconomics is an urban construct: the constructors and developers who remake the faces of our cities every twenty years do not care about complexities, preservation or the conservation of the existing.
Yesterday, visiting Windermere and Bowness showed me – reminded me – that change needs to be managed not imposed; but managed in the sense of appreciating and dealing with its impact on real environments and not in the sense of that managerialist approach which involves brainwashing workforces, voters and affected populations into meek and materialist submission.
Managing in order to add real value, sustainability and persistence of vision to existing communities.
Not managing in order to keep people in the dark, out of the loop and under control.
Windermere and Bowness as tourist attractions and ecosystems of local survival need careful attention, gentle change and an appreciative approach to understanding their manifest needs. The vast majority of people who live and work there do not do so out of the privilege of stratospheric politicians but rather through a hard-won desire and aspiration to make their way in the world.
But if Windermere and Bowness need and deserve this way of doing, why can the rest of us not have the right to the same?
The latter is clearly not what Osborneconomics is about. Osborneconomics is about making as much money as possible – and to hell with us bumblebees.