Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Planning A Bad Brown Day?

With a mixture of smug arrogance and self-destruction, Brown and his New Labour clique are set to face down the country again, this time over planning. 

A watered-down plan for another huge, expensive quango to push through their pet projects is on the cards, as MPs finally have a chance to vote today on whether they want to replace accountable public inquiries, with an unelected Planning Commission. 

The Planning Bill has been delayed twice and could easily have been put on the back-burner. Instead it has been rewritten with concessions to try to push it through.

Brown faces a parliamentary revolt, with this new Planning Commission coming under fire from MPs, outraged at yet another hugely expensive, unaccountable and unelected bureaucratic quango.

This would cover massive building projects ranging from nuclear power stations, wind farms and incinerators, airports, new towns, roads and reservoirs. In fact anything that's unpopular. Stuffed with New Labour cronies on fat salaries, it's just a smoke-screen to fast-track the developments and by-pass the planning process.

Unlike their muddled thinking on the EU Treaty, the Lib Dems, this time, are set against. And, unlike 42 Days Detention, Brown can't bribe Northern Ireland's DUP. This time he cannot rely on pork-barrel politics.

The back bench revolt from his own party was stronger than ever and even the Cabinet was split on the issue. But maybe the concessions will save Brown's skin, again.

But if the vote still goes pear-shaped, Brown has only himself to blame. It only takes around 35 or so True Labour MPs to make a difference. 

It all should have been plain sailing for Brown until September's Labour Party conference. It's almost as if his advisers and New Labour cronies want a defeat - to force his hand.

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