i Editor's Letter: Parallel universe


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The Independent Online


Do you ever have the feeling that you live in a parallel universe to your fellow citizens? That the things that so many people get het up about leave you puzzled, but not as much as what they don't get worked up about – subjects that seem so glaringly important to me, but others seem to accept?

That said, I'm very aware that it is easy for us here in London to come across as overly metrocentric and immune to the concerns of people not only in other regions, but the countryside itself.

At the head of my 'what-are-we-all-so-worked-up-about ?' list, I would place: the Royal Family; the entire honours system; the advance of most new technologies; the daily machinations of reality-TV shows; literary and other artistic feuds; and nearly every diet fad. At the top of my 'why-aren't-we-madder-as-hell' list? The terrible British education system, with its irrelevant and destructive league tables; our venal banks and power suppliers; the poor quality of 'fresh produce' in our supermarkets; the inexorable decline of customer service and the cynical lies we are fed as corporations pretend to care about us; and the outrageous cost and dire standard of transport.

I could go on. And I do. As I wrote recently, I envy journalists who see things in black-and-white terms, with an answer for everything. Take today's i splash. I think it is an incredibly important subject. The balance between preserving what makes our country so beautiful and providing enough room for us all to live in and for our businesses to grow lies at the heart of what kind of nation we wish to be. I don't think it a simple subject at all. However, I am entirely convinced there is so much more brownfield development we can undertake before hacking into our Green Belts.

Many of you will disagree, but at least it is a more worthwhile argument to be having than whether a 27-year-old man should have kept his trousers on in his hotel room.