Fresh from the cabinet carnage that saw the back of one of the many Browns that swarm around Downing Street, tonight those with an interest in the great transport debate will note the demise of another familiar name, that of Tom Harris MP (the now sacked Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Transport).
I looked at his blog and he appears to be able to project a lifestyle such as most of us can only dream of, though presented in a self disparaging sort of way, "rubbing shoulders" with the mischievously coquettish Sarah Alexander at a "Soho club", which must represent something of the zenith of any politicians career. My first thought was therefore - "Way to go Ivan!".
However, the reason for this blog entry is just that we activists get to know the names of the top nobs at DfT and Tom Harris MP was one of these, and he represents a trend amongst Labour warlords that I find really irritating. At the same time that they refuse - in the face of all common sense - to knock silly road schemes on the head, they list their hobbies as "fell walking". It seems a really common hobby amongst the Labour elite, they are if you like "closet nature lovers". I seem to remember that the fondly departed like Robin Cook and John Smith had similar interests, and may even have died - quite enviably perhaps - out on the hills.
Quite probably having spent the larger part of their career in office arranging for the degradation of the spots they are secretly hankering to enjoy a walk on. As if the open moorland could just be taken for granted. Believe me in these parts, the celebrated Dark Peak, it can't - nowhere is sacred to the Highways Agency!
So how is it that when in office they are quite happy to leave the demanding work of defending beauty spots, and safeguarding some of the finest hillwalking in the countryside to local campaigners like us and will not lift a hand to help? I find this truly exasperating. I would say to all those MPs who have those secret hankerings to roam the open countryside; to taste its invigorating air and take in the magical and breathtaking views on offer; its suggestion of something more than the simply factual - stop taking the countryside for granted! It is under threat, as never before, from inappropriate renewable energy projects that are just intended as Trojan Horses into the green belt and from ridiculous housing quotas, and from awful road proposals. So why not stand up to be counted?
By the time you choose to retire there may be nothing left, so give a bit more thought when campaigners write and ask you to help them, and their campaign to consider the natural environment. Its your environment too after all!