Tonight I attended SECâ€™s fantasy town planning session in the town hall.
The meeting was very well attended with most of the 400 seats filled. The Green representative Sarah Edwards failed to turn up. One of the high points was Labourâ€™s Bassam Mahfouz suggesting that a new transport interchange might be funded by a local congestion charge. At Â£40-50 million that would hurt.
The meeting was chaired by the BBCâ€™s Stephen Sackur. He has learnt his trade in the BBC school of objectivity.
He referred to the Conservative team as â€œyou lotâ€. He called the Glenkerrin Arcadia scheme an â€œinsane ideaâ€ (compare this with the language of the planning inspector: â€œThe evidence to the Inquiry demonstrated that the appeal proposal would deliver a number of substantial benefits, which would fulfil some important objectives of development plan policy.â€) When one guy at the back talked in favour of tall buildings Sackur ridiculed him. He talked about property developers making â€œfrankly millions for themselvesâ€. He asked: â€œWhy is Ealingâ€™s shopping rubbish?â€ He asked: â€œWhy is the cinema project completely buggered?â€. Whatever Sackur is, objective he is not.
The whole session failed to provide much illumination. Sackur didnâ€™t even try to run a useful meeting.