I currently live in a small coastal village by the name of Seabrook in Kent. It is sandwiched between Sandgate and Hythe, and if one is driving from the latter or the former to the other and happens to blink, they will never have known the village existed. This, in itself, gives you an idea of how geographically microscopic the village is.
Small as it maybe, it is also home to one of the many struggles in England where we are witness to council and housing developers vs the public, or some of the public, to be more precise.
The majority of the public I have spoken to in the area have been largely against the planned construction of new houses that will inevitably block out the view for those who will soon be living behind it while overlooking and shadowing anyone in front on the beach.
From Seabrook to Hythe stretches a beautiful promenade with a dead piece of wasteland running parallel. It is here that the council, and their contractors want to build the new housing development, alter the shape of the road and change the face of the current landscape, including the unsettling of the wildlife. This is just one of the myriads of reasons against the building of new homes along with the ubiquitous problem that the houses will be outpriced for anyone on a modicum income, in essence they will be sold mainly to the exodus of Londoners as they sell up and move down south.
Like many other areas across the country there has been objection and outcry by the locals, petitions and protest, the collection of signatures and benefit gigs to help save ‘Princes Parade’, but unfortunately it has been rendered ineffectual after Folkestone and Hythe District Council gave planning permission in August 2020.
As I stand here on the promenade watching the swelling brutal channel, the white horses rolling in and exploding on the beach, I ask myself, why is it that the public can be so utterly powerless at times?
It’s sad to admit, but I knew the council would win and the housing development would go forth as has happened so many times before. There are many precedents. The convoluted structure of impervious power and its distance from the public, the many closed doors (metaphoric or literal) that the machinations of government, council and big business are hidden behind make it almost impossible for the public to be heard or part of the discussion, let alone anything near effectual.
The fight to protect Princes Parade and its failures can be viewed as a microcosm of the overall political problem in England, the United Kingdom and globally. Our leaders speak for us with patriotic tones and drop bombs on countries most of us have never been to, murdering innocent people using lies we have been fed consistently by spin doctors and disseminated through society by a servile media while systematically removing rights and benefits to those who voted them into power. We watch our leaders tell us how we should behave and then they go ahead and break those very rules. The examples are numerous, feel free to add yours here ______________________________.
And if we all answered truthfully, I think in unison we would declare “We don’t agree”.
But unfortunately, that is not enough.
The incessant news feed of negativity is so great, the fight so omnipresent, the time to research and understand so limited and miniscule. Is there any reason why the public at times shouldn’t be so impotent? Those in power, like power, and they want to retain the power. It shouldn’t be hard to understand why at times when questioning authority, it can be so hard to be heard, or make a dent in the Brobdingnagian façade.
If we take the British government as an example, there are too numerous instances to list where we as a populace should be outraged and if democracy and a political system that truly served the people existed, we would have new MPs on a weekly basis.
The question to ask is, how can such a small minority have such a hold, power and strength over a gargantuan majority?
Is this down to education? Is it apathy? Is it a result of the ‘ME’ culture or is it simply humanity in action?
But this article is by no means meant to be a deliverance of depression, a message of melancholy or a sonnet of sorrow. It is also not a call to arms.
It’s a thought, an enquiry into why we are so powerless. And I think by initially admitting we are powerless is the first step. For if we can understand why, only then we can start to make a change to the balance of power.