Published: 30th Aug 2011

When the planning minister, Greg Clark, accused the National Trust of nihilistic selfishness over its objections to the National Planning Policy Framework’s ‘presumption for development’ I thought he was being a tad dramatic. I mean, it’s the National Trust, twilight home for sensibly-shod venerable biddies who bestow home-made jam on stately home tea shops and old-fashioned common sense (so they’d have us believe) on Conservative party candidate selection panels. I don’t really give a toss for the National Trust, but I’d always vaguely assumed they had solid moral standing and were generally ‘a good thing’. What’s played on my mind since this pointless spat is the phrase ‘nihilistic selfishness’. Nihilism being the absence of values or a moral code, those forces that stop us doing unto others what we would not be best chuffed with done to ourselves, nihilistic selfishness would be the absence of a recognition of the suffering … (To read the full article, subscribe below)