15-minute cities: politicians and conspiracy theories are a dangerous mix

Arguing with a conspiracy theorist is surely the very definition of a waste of time.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

If someone believes the royals are actually lizards, and we all had microchips implanted as part of our COVID vaccinations, nothing you can say will shine any light on any opposite views.

Quite how the concept of 15-minute cities became the latest target for the weird and rather unhinged alt-right mob, however, remains a mystery, but when senior politicians start echoing their views, it becomes alarming.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mark Harper, Transport Secretary, should know better than to even come close to donning a tinfoil hat. Address the Tory faithful at their annual conference - a gathering which simply sums up the wretched inadequacies of the Tories - he said he was calling time on “the misuse” of 15-minute cities.

Photo by BRIDGET BENNETT/AFP via Getty ImagesPhoto by BRIDGET BENNETT/AFP via Getty Images
Photo by BRIDGET BENNETT/AFP via Getty Images

"What is sinister and what we shouldn't tolerate is the idea that local councils can decide how often you go to the shops, and ration who uses the roads and when, and they police it all with CCTV," he pontificated.

It was a classic, straight out of the ‘never let the facts get in the way of good rant’ school of bluster which always plays well with the faithful in the hall and leaves everyone else wondering how these dimwits ever aspired to such high office.

Now, I’m pretty sure David Ross, leader of Fife Council, isn’t scribbling down notes on where and when I should go to the Co-Op, or how often I should jump in the car and head along the Esplanade and up Rosslyn Street.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The very notion is just nonsense, but the Minister gave it credence simply by putting it in the public domain and, in doing so, added some legitimacy to claims that are utterly bonkers and ought to be laughed off the face of the earth, preferably the pointy bit at the end since it’s obviously flat.

There are many major changes to society which should rightly be held up to scrutiny and challenged as robustly as possible, but repeating the mantra of the conspiracy theorist isn’t the way to go about it.

I genuinely don’t get the wild claims surrounding 15-minutes cities. The idea that you should be able to access - by foot or bike - everything you need within that timeframe is surely a positive one? Aha! exclaim the tinfoil hatters as they point to a dystopian future of people being segregated into their own communities and monitored by big brother. Sinister, I think, was the word the Minister used.

Strange thing is, change ‘15 minute city’ to ‘village’ and that’s about as contentious as it should be; an urban planning idea that makes life local. Reducing traffic isn’t a bad thing provided the local transport network is robust enough - maybe the Transport Minister could help out there - but that also feeds into this Government’s new kiddie-on nonsense of the ‘war on motorists’

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rishi Sunak, Prime Minsiter, is removing the shackles of 20mph zones - dreadful things that make people safe - and calling a halt to penalising drivers going about their daily lives.

Such meaures, he said “don't reflect the values of Britain" - well, not as much as bombing down the bus lanes and basically acting as if we do own the roads. Suggestions he may also put cyclists under curfew are, of course, completely made up by me. Well, for now …

With Sunak and that other fella in charge, nothing surprises me anymore.

> Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Fife Free Press.