The above quotation from the Gummer-Goldsmith Quality of Life report (read it here) was shown to viewers of Newsnight.
I think it’s true that material possessions don’t bring happiness. Sometimes the Conservative Party has been caricatured as too interested in money and insufficiently interested in the nation’s culture, the strength of its families and the beauty of the countryside. The best thing about the party’s policy review process is that it has communicated breadth of political interest. We haven’t just had a focus on competitiveness and security. We’ve also shown to be interested in social justice, international poverty, the public services and, today, the environment. What I don’t like in the tone of the Gummer-Goldsmith report is an apparent embrace of the belief at the heart of the green movement that growth, material acquisition and sometimes even humanity itself are enemies of the planet.
"The alternative to expansion is not, as some occasionally seem to suppose, an England of quiet market towns linked only by steam trains puffing slowly and peacefully through green meadows. The alternative is slums, dangerous roads, old factories, cramped schools, stunted lives.”
Let’s have a debate about ‘the good life’ but Conservative politicians – particularly those frontbenchers with their 115 paid outside interests – shouldn’t be lecturing low income families that there’s too much materalism in Britain.