Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The real heroes of planning

Govan - from The Planner, photographed by the great Andrew Lee
You know, for the past few months I've tried to ignore the RTPI and it's awful publications. I have fought against the fat planners from London and the unspeakably self regarding RTPI Scotland but I appreciate too that this is probably quite boring for my fans who really just want to hear about the adventures of an expert planner - like me!

However I received my own personal copy of the The Planner last week - 'The business monthly for planning professionals' - and I must admit that it gave me the dry boke. In particular, there is an article about the renaissance of Govan, apparently 'thanks to an RTPI Award-Winning Project'. I'm quoting this because it sums up the shameless dishonesty of the goons in London - and how quickly they have rushed to claim this project as one of their own after many fine people in 'the town' of Govan and Glasgow (who are not RTPI Members) have worked tirelessly to make it happen.

This sort of thing is nothing new of course. I remember back in my days with Scottish Enterprise, many of our esteemed thought leaders were adept at claiming responsibility for work that local councils had done. Goodness knows how the councils managed it - after all they spent half the morning eating bacon rolls and most of the afternoons on 'site visits'. The rest of the time they were in the toilet reading the Daily Record.
Scottish Planner cover
Anyway, this seems to be an accepted part of RTPI practice now. Just look at the latest issue of SP - the Scottish Planner sponsored of course by Barton Willmore and headed up by their stooge Stephen Tucker. The picture on the cover is of a loving couple about to commit suicide from a cliff-top above Edinburgh. I assume they are planners who have read an article from a previous SP in which RTPI Scotland staff murder the English language, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. The latest SP asks the question, 'What is Scotland's Best Plaice?' and follows through with a mind-numbing parade of who's who in Scottish Planning and their predictably dull self-promoting twaddle, desperate to associate themselves with projects that others have been responsible for or which would have happened anyway.

The contrast with my heroes of the New Scottish Enlightenment is vivid! With the Honarary Dr Donald Trump, the Honarary Dr Wee Stuartie Milne or with Sir John Halliday of Halliday Fraser Munro and his large pencil you know exactly what has been done and who is responsible. No special pleading, no lies or exaggeration. Bang! - you have a wonderful project!
The great Sir Ewan Jamieson Of Clydeport 
When I read this week that another great man, Sir Ewan Jamieson of Clydeport, had single-handedly been granted planning consent for student accommodation on the banks of the Kelvin (otherwise known as Glasgow Harbour and a project that you heard about first on my lovely wee blog) I was filled with admiration. But of course the question is 'Who approved this development in Glasgow City Council?' and why is he or she not mentioned in the Scottish Planner? Why hasn't this planner won an award? An RTPI Award? That's the crux of it!

We are asked to swallow a pack of fairy stories from faceless goons in London and Edinburgh lining their own canoes with half truths and puffing themselves up like gannets on the seafront in their Marks and Spencer suits. Meanwhile a generation of real planners - those who have approved projects by Trump, Stewart Milne Homes and Clydeport are left in anonymity. It doesn't seem fair to me.

Apologies for the rant. Best wishes from Auchterness and remember, you are always welcome to drop in for a wee chat, a cup of tea and a biscuit. Rich Abernethy this week! Cheeriebye for now!

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