3:13 AM Thursday 19th December 2013 Nunhead Heights

I am going to stick to writing this in 30 minutes. If it is rubbish, I can blame it on the time and on Richard Herring, who writes something readable in 30 minutes. Read his blog here. 

The Green Belt is absolutely the best thing about Britain.

The Green Belt and tea. Tea, not coffee. The Green Belt, tea and football relegation and promotion. That and rock hard penises. That is from my comedy act. The ‘rock hard…’ I use another word on stage. It doesn’t read as funny now as when I say it in darkened club. Forgive me.

Those, and that the family courts don’t make a father pay too much money for the children he isn’t allowed to see. I mean his own children. If you don’t believe me, read of the man who had 82 court judgments against the mother of his children and she broke every single one. Read about it here. [This bit isn’t a ‘best thing’ about Britain, I’m just shoehorning it in.]

But back to the Green Belt.

The Green Belt is land that has been reserved outside 13 cities of Britain – or what Americans would call cities – to curb development. In Britain, you can’t call a place a city, no matter how dense and populated it is, unless it has a Cathedral and been anointed by the Queen as a “City”. Check my facts before you quote me.

Around these 13 places there has been a perimeter of land set aside in the 1930s, I believe, that prevents councils [city government] from allowing development and urban sprawl. How great is that?

The Green Belt is why can one be in ugly suburban London – in Caterham or Coulsdon, say – and then wham, suddenly one is in the beautiful Surrey or Kent countryside, in a sandbox on a hill in beautiful Godstone Farm, being headbutted by a cow.

In New York City, my old home town, the urbanised, suburbanised and growing exurbanised zone grows and grows, making county and after county ugly with little pink houses for you and me, to quote Indianan John Cougar.

It takes two hours of hard driving out of Manhattan to get into the country. I can think of only one place in the States that has a Green Belt – which is Portland, Oregon, considered by many the most livable city in the country. [I haven’t checked this because I am on a time deadline. ]

There are plans to build on fields and in woods outside of British cities.

Any plan to loosen regulations on building on the green fields makes me sad. And they shouldn’t build on ‘brown fields’ either  just because there was once a factory or an airport there. Those fields are probably very green now, too.

So I  say to my adopted country: Stop It!

Don’t build on the Green Belt or on any open land. And stop drinking coffee, while you’re at it. It doesn’t suit you.  And keep relegation and promotion in football. And keep having rock hard… Sorry.

[Future posts on who benefits from urban sprawl.]

Reserve seats for my show 7th January 2014. Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous in London. Free admission comedy – you get what you pay for, or maybe more. 

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