I watched a very interesting documentary on Public Service America last night entitled The Last Days in Vietnam.
In January 1973 the Paris Peace Accords were signed. The Peace Accords called for a "ceasefire" in place with each side holding positions as they were at 8 am on January 28, 1973.
In order to push the agreement through President Richard Nixon assured the South Vietnamese that America would not tolerate any incursions into the South by Northern forces. All would be peace and tranquillity.
At noon on April 30 1975 North Vietnam troops celebrated the capture and 'unconditional surrender' of Saigon without any resistance from the USA whatsoever. The South Vietnamese had been sold a dummy.
On June 5 of that same year Prime Minister Harold Wilson gave the British people their chance to vote on membership of the Common Market. This was the free movement of goods across Europe creating jobs and greater opportunity for UK suppliers.
Only an idiot would have rejected the deal. In the event it proved the thin end of a rapidly expanding wedge that would ultimately divert power and control from London to Brussels without any further reference to the British people. As the song says: 'We never expected that.'
And that is precisely the tactic politicians use to foist unpalatable policies on unsuspecting voters. It's the spoon full of sugar routine. It's a sprat to catch a mackerel. It's leading the horse by the nose.
By the time the blinkers come off we are too far down the road to turn back. Do you really think Britain would have voted YES in that 1975 referendum had voters known they were surrendering control of their own borders?
So when I learn that Cheshire East is creating a premium 'fast-track' service for significant, major planning applications –I wonder where it's leading us.
The official line is: This new process does not necessarily mean that these applications will be permitted, as they will continue to be determined on their individual merits, in accordance with Council policy.
Sounds innocent enough but then... "This new initiative will develop a new revenue stream for the Council and what exactly will that mean to us in five years time?
In order to rush through unpopular developments wealthy builders will pay to have their plans fast-tracked through the planning process. So it's easy to see how this policy will benefit council and developers but precisely what will it do for residents?
According to Cheshire East... it will bring significant jobs, housing and infrastructure investment to the Borough.
And there it is the 'job' word rolled out whenever developers and council face local resistance. Who will keep count of these extra 'jobs' once the development gets the green light? No one. It 's the sprat to catch the mackerel.
We are now supposed to be so joyous at the vague suggestion of jobs that we overlook the fact that Big Business will simply 'buy' priority over communities.
It's a dangerous precedent that has no redeeming features. If CEC want to 'fast-track' anything why not fast-track access to mental health facilities or respite care? I'm guessing those would be of far greater benefit to residents.
Please post your comments on this topic as the whole idea of large companies paying a cash-strapped council to fast-track their contentious plans is not something I expect from a council whose mandate is to represent us, the residents. (Amazing how such an important policy only appeared AFTER the election.)
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of alderleyedge.com.