One should see this in context.
1. This government refused to support CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) and it was subsumed into the charitable “Design Council”. Design Council CABE, is intended to operate as a “self-sustaining” business ie no support from the government.
2. NOW the government is worried about all the developer-led atrocities of design and building and needs to be seen to be sort-of doing something (preferably something on the cheap).
3. The person Swire refers to effusively – Sir Roger Scruton – is described thus in Wikipedia:
“Sir Roger Vernon Scruton FBA FRSL is an English philosopher and writer who specialises in aesthetics and political philosophy, particularly in the furtherance of traditionalist conservative views.”
4. Swire is positioning himself for a general election – expect more of this sort of thing!
Question from Swire:
“I warmly congratulate my right hon. Friend on the establishment of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission and the inspired choice of Sir Roger Scruton as the chairman, but, first, does my right hon. Friend not agree that this will only have any teeth if we can get the volume house builders to buy into it? Secondly, I think that the commission should be extended to look at the quality and the variable advice often given by local planning officers and at a full accreditation scheme for those planning officers on an annual basis to refresh them.”
Response from James BrokenshireJames Brokenshire The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government:
“I certainly want the new commission to drive quality in the built environment, which is at the heart of what my right hon. Friend said. If we do that, we can speed up this process and get greater support and consent from the public in building the homes that our country needs. I therefore think that the house builders should very much embrace this.”