Belfast Telegraph

MP's message for 'people of Earth'

A minister has addressed MPs with the message: "People of Earth, your attention please."

Local government minister Brandon Lewis quoted the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy while responding to a question about planning adverts in newspapers.

Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop questioned whether the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) planned to deregulate the publication of planning applications in local papers - potentially paving the way for the notices to disappear.

Mr Lewis said while newspapers had to expect less state-funded advertising as material moves online, planning adverts would still need to be published in print by law.

And to underline the value of the practice, Mr Lewis cited an early passage from the celebrated sci-fi novel.

It said: "People of Earth, your attention please... This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council.

"As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for the development of the outlying regions of the galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system and, regrettably, your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes."

It continues: "There's no point acting surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years, so you've plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it's far too late to start making a fuss about it now."

Published in 1979, the Douglas Adams comedy sci-fi follows Arthur Dent as he learns to survive in the universe following the destruction of his world wearing his dressing gown and carrying his copy of the Guide.


From Belfast Telegraph