Reading Betjeman’s The Plantster’s Vision, I was struck by how little our ideology has changed from the Second World War. We are now faced with catastrophes not faced before, and as a result of our greed of the last two centuries, and still we are set on some ghastly new world where nature doesn’t get a look-in.
Cut down that timber! Bells, too many and strong,
Pouring their music through the branches bare,
From moon-white church towers down the windy air
Have pealed the centuries out with Evensong.
Remove those cottages, a huddled throng!
Too many babies have been born in there,
Too many coffins, bumping down the stair,
Carried the old their garden paths along.
I have a Vision of the Future, chum,
The workers’ flats in fields of soya beans
Tower up like silver pencils, score on score:
And Surging Millions hear the Challenge come
From microphones in communal canteens
“No Right! No Wrong! All’s perfect, evermore!”