Michael Gove is a one-man economic disaster
And fracking should have restarted nine months ago when it became clear that Vladimir Putin had turned energy into a weapon of war.
Gove is turning into a one-man economic disaster, and the sooner he leaves government the better. Every time a bad political decision is made, Gove seems to have his fingerprints everywhere.
There are so many that it is often difficult to follow. Last week he ordered a public inquiry into Marks & Spencer’s plans to redevelop its flagship Oxford Street store to include offices and a gym – a process that will take years and risks killing the project.
According to the chain, it was a wild move that “seems to prefer a proliferation of stores selling counterfeit products to a regeneration of the nation’s favorite high street.”
This is not the first time that Gove has done its best to kill all forms of economic activity in the capital.
Last year he rejected Foster & Partners’ ambitious plans for a tulip-shaped tower in the city, which as well as creating many jobs would have created one of Europe’s top tourist destinations.
Earlier in the month he unveiled plans for a series of rental market reforms that include preventing no-fault evictions as if properties don’t really belong to their owners, as well as a series of new responsibilities, each costing a few hundred pounds to meet.
And even with threats of blackouts through the winter, and with Vladimir Putin funding his war machine through record gas prices, he blocked an Ineos request from Sir Jim Ratcliffe to explore a fracking project. in Yorkshire (apparently a three meter noise-reducing fence might have reduced the ‘openness’ of the area — heck, it’s lucky we’re not in the middle of an energy crisis or what whether it be).
As if that weren’t enough, there are reports that it will crack down on second home ownership and Airbnb rentals. Oh, and he’s going to introduce a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit on highways to cut carbon emissions, and move the Stock Exchange to Stockport to help leveling off.
Alright, I did those last two. But neither would be a big surprise anymore.
In reality, Gove seems to not understand how a dynamic and growing economy really works. Or how a pro-business, pro-business government can boost production. One of the main reasons why London has become Europe’s leading commercial city is its desire to enable the creation of new types of workspaces.
Not every new skyscraper will appeal to everyone, but they are an icon of dynamism sculpted in steel, glass and concrete.
Gove seems determined to turn the capital into a museum, much like Paris, regardless of the consequences for business and investment.
Likewise, Oxford Street is quickly turning into a parade of tacky gift shops and confectioneries, more suited to the Third World than a growing modern city. It’s an embarrassment to the UK’s premier shopping street.
Again, M&S’s proposal of offices and a gym replacing clothing aisles may not be to everyone’s taste. But it’s a bold and ambitious plan, with a vision of how the street could evolve for a very different future.