Latest Issue

Land and freedom

Alfred Sherman attacks John Gummer's white paper on land use and his attempt to turn London into Barcelona

It is a dismal prospect. The impulse for liberation which powered Margaret Thatcher’s challenge to postwar Butskellite conservatism has degenerated into the petty authoritarian presumption epitomised by John Gummer’s decision to restrict further the release of green land for housing development, while abusing his planning powers to make the British townscape look more like Paris or Barcelona.

His white paper calls for a further diminution of new development, as though it were self-evident that building on rural land is eo ipso wrong, and that to keep land unbuilt eo ipso desirable. Only man is vile. The high court recently ruled…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect