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Planning Minister: "Planning can't work."

Here is an Ipsos MORI seminar from December 7th 2010. The newspapers this morning have got hold of these comments, seven minutes 13 seconds in, by Nick Boles MP, now the Planning Minister:

“I mean, bluntly, there comes a question in life – do you believe planning works? That clever people sitting in a room can plan how people’s communities should develop? Or do you believe it can’t work?

“I believe it can’t work, David Cameron believes it can’t, Nick Clegg believes it can’t. Chaotic therefore in our vocabulary is a good thing.

“Chaotic is what our cities are when we see how people live, where restaurants spring up, where they close, where people move to.

“Would you like to live in a world where you could predict any of that? I certainly wouldn’t.”

"So I want there to be chaotic in the sense I want lots of organisations doing different things, in different areas."

So there will be lots of childish teasing about a Planning Minister who doesn't believe in planning. In fact if you listen further, you will hear the context of regional Quangos producing housing targets which maybe could be replaced by localism and incentives. The discussion was also more broadly in the context of reforms such as free schools and police commissioners, meaning that different approaches would be tried in different areas, rather than drab, standardised central planning.

I think Mr Boles has a refreshing approach but perhaps rather than the term "chaos" he should substitute Hayek's phrase "spontaneous order."


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