Monday, March 12, 2007


Back in December 2005 (the 9th to be precise) I sent this email to David Cameron

Dear Mr Cameron

I am writing to you following today's news reports on your plan to tackle 'quality of life' issues under a group chaired by Mr Gummer. I think it sounds like a good idea, but I have one reservation. Many of us in Britain increasingly feel disenfranchised from politics, and the policies that are expounded. Of course involving everyone in such a process is impossible, but it will only improve things if we all feel that we are in someway being listened too, and things actually

The information coming out on Mr Gummer's group talks about Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace being involved in the study, which I suppose is natural, but groups like these, and others, have vested interests and often seem detached from the real world. All too often they seem to be trumpeting ideas and issues that have some altruistic agenda that perhaps comes from those who help fund such groups and are themselves part of the political establishment

In short why not get individuals involved in these studies. Real people, who know about real things, in the real world. People who may not know all the answers, but equally don't have a compromise axe to grind. I'm not suggesting 'people's panels', or whatever that loony idea that Labour had a few years ago was called, just arguing that it would help in getting a more balanced view across.

Quality of life is not about the big picture, it's about the small things - the things that make our lives worthwhile, and meaningful. Unless people can see the benefits for them, and see that this is about matters that make their lives better, then this idea will stumble. The main reason why so little has worked on environmental issues is that those who are pushing them at governmental level fail to engage people in the process (and I hate this trend towards using the word engage, but cannot think of a better one). Many people do not buy into the ideas and philosophies of groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. For millions of people in this country they just seem like part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Anyway, just my small contribution to the debate. The Conservatives will continue to have my vote, even if here in Scotland it has become increasingly difficult to vote for such a disorganised bunch who seem bereft of policies.

Twenty days later I had this reply

Dear Mr Havers,

Thank you for your email to David Cameron - he's asked me to thank you
and to say that he appreciated what you had to say enormously.
He's really most grateful to you - he fully takes on board the points
put across to him in correspondence and it's very helpful of you to have
taken the trouble to write.

I've ensured that your email has been brought to the attention of the
Quality of Life Policy Group.

Thanks again for your email.

Yours sincerely,
David Beal
Office of the Leader of the Opposition

Three days after that I got this from John Gummer MP

Dear Mr Havers

David Cameron's office forwarded your email to me. Thank you for your ideas, they are helpful. I will feed them into the programme that we are building for the Commission for the Quality of Life and I hope to be back in touch after New Year.

Despite several reminders to Mr Gummer, what's happened since....nothing.

In the meantime we get all these displays of daft gesture politics, culminating in the latest twaddle from the Conservatives about taxing air travel. They are like a bunch of sixth formers scurrying around trying to come up with ideas and proving they've not the slightest idea of how the real world works. David Cameron even talks about 'green air miles' in their statement...if I were Air Miles I'd sue.

Now of course I'm saying that I know better. Well, I actually think I've probably got a better idea of how the real world works than most of the people that were talked about as being on the Conservative Quality of Life group (Zac Goldsmith, deputy chairman of the Quality of Life Policy Group for one)

Now go to the Conservative web site and click on the link to their quality of life policy group website.....

It doesn't exist!

A bit of searching around produced a site called

It even has a blog from Deputy Chairman Zac and Chairman John Gummer

John's blog has five entries

Zac's has just one.

Worth keeping an eye on.....

Although I'm tempted to bet that nothing much will happen.

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