Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A Safe Jerusalem

Burton has been watching events unfolding in New York with increasing concern. Not for the poor souls struggling in the cold and wet, but for us.

It is folly, says Burton, to build a large city where its underground can be flooded. There must be a better way. Not for the New Yorkers, but for the Beaker Folk. We must find, says Burton, a safe place. Somewhere that is a long way from the sea, a safe distance from nuclear power installations and not too close to airports. A place that is seismically inactive, and a long way from volcanos.

Furthermore, says Burton, the safe place will have large towns nearby - for supply - but not actually be in a large town - in case rioting breaks out. There should be a supply of water - but it must not be on a river flood plain. Indeed, the soil should ideally be a free-draining, light sandstone. Transport links must be good - but we should not be right next to a motorway junction or a railway station, lest we suffer in some crash.

In this haven of health and safety, says Burton, we shall build a new Jerusalem!

I've pointed out to Burton that he's just pretty well described Husborne Crawley. Which is as safe as they come, as long as you rule out the marginal risk of rampaging lions and wolves from the Safari Park, should the End of Civilisation break out. Should we build a new Jerusalem here? I asked him. Because if so it's a bit dull.

And isn't that the problem? The big cities of the world are built in dangerous places. This isn't because their inhabitants are inveterate thrill-seekers. Rather it's because next to the sea is where to put a city if you want to move goods in and out. People live at the feet of volcanos because the soil's good.

Maybe it comes down to being made in the image of One whose great creative activity created a universe of brightness and brilliance, and yet of great dangers. The carbon of our bodies was forged in the heart of now-long-dead stars, and the seeds of life themselves are fed into our world throught the cataclysms of volcanic and seismic action. All human activity has risk attached, and the greater the activity, generally, the greater risk. You can't go putting yellow tape around entire villages to keep the danger out.

I would have pointed this out to Burton. But he has gone out. I'm told he's putting yellow tape around the village. When he comes back I'm gonna force him to light a tea light for the people of the eastern seaboard and Haiti.


  1. I'd like to see the planning application for "Jerusalem" in Bedfordshire.. :)

    1. You're quite right, Steve. We'd be better off over the border in Milton Keynes. They like exciting new developments.

  2. Ah You are in Birmingham


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