In Part 3 of his essay the author urges an end to utopian thinking: ‘Should we condone people like my father who yearn for Utopia and who believe we should give planned perfection one more try? No, these people are endlessly sailing their boats towards a non-existent goal and are making themselves and the rest of us unhappy.’
‘In this he follows those other utopian traditions of the French revolutionary great terror, the purges of Stalin and Mao. His walled island state now resembles North Korea. If he were to enforce his ideal of the human blank slate, then he would have arrived at Pol Pot’s ‘Year Zero’.’ Part 2 of the author’s essay on utopia(s)
‘This shared commitment is so different in character from the imposition of any neo-liberal ‘structural adjustment programme’ of the past imposed by the international financial institutions, or any diktat of the powerful emerging from the Security Council or from any single power.’
It is time that decommissioning policy be hastily re-examined in the UK. The government needs to commission a full evidence-based report into the environmental, social and economic benefits, comparing them to other options such as building more green energy stations and even spending the money on things like health or education.
‘Rights without any means of enforcement are truly useless. As part of the UK, Scotland is bound by the UN’s Aarhus Convention which requires that people must be able to challenge situations where their environmental rights are denied or environmental laws are broken. Article 9(4) says that these challenges must be “not prohibitively expensive”. But access to environmental justice is prohibitively expensive in Scotland’.
Top down policy won’t transform those wasted spaces. Meaningful regeneration grows upwards from community grassroots but it needs help from above. Fay Young introduces two articles by Susan Mansfield describing how empowered communities can transform local environments and quality of life.
‘The wilderness of Scotland is as artificial as any cityscape.’ ‘The Laird and the pauper live much closer in a city, but the injustice remains. It is simply easier to hide injustice in an area where the remains of life can be portrayed as a romantic feature, rather than a blemish.’ Reflections on the social injustice that destroys communities of Highland and inner city life.
Inverleith House gallery is to close. Was art sacrificed in a sharper focus on commerce and community at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh?