A recent post on the Twitter website referred to the Nimbys of Twickenham. Do you know these people? Are they a well established local family? Could one go through the Nimbys of Twickenham to secure a letter of introduction to the “Disgusteds of Tunbridge Wells” whose patronage is renowned across the Home Counties? It’s very likely there’s a connection.

For those not up to speed with acronyms, “nimby” stands for “not in my back yard”. It is generally used as a pejorative term for people who try to block developments close to them. The tweet in question was referring to opposition to the hotel which will be built adjoining Regal House. A link on the post led to Richmond Council’s planning website page with its endless documents about the development. There’s an awful lot there, far too much to read without being paid for it, and so please look elsewhere for a proper, balanced critique. That’s not what we’re about here…

The point is that if you can’t be a nimby about a big hotel going up then when can you? After all, it’s a strange kind of person who stays in a hotel just yards from their front door. In fact, a big, bland, chain hotel has to be one of the least useful things to residents in its immediate vicinity unless you work there, happen to be an events organiser… or are a certain type of self-employed person meeting a certain type of client there. Time to move on? Yes, you’re probably right.

TMA – Too Many Acronyms
Twickenham residents should have no fear of being nimbys. Who doesn’t want to preserve and promote their own best interests? It’s normal behaviour for the vast majority of the population and although the nimbys shouldn’t always get their own way an outbreak of nimbyism should be the springboard for sensible debate. Perhaps nimby should be a compliment rather than an insult. But let’s be honest, it’s no use trading insults in a world chock full of management speak and acronyms. The more you do it, the more these words emerge until we end up with euphemism creep and extreme acronym fatigue, aka EAF.

But all this acronym business is not a new thing. They have been around for hundreds of years, long before we could SWALK, let alone LOL. The Romans were big fans. There’s not much history on how they referred to the nimby Britons who opposed the construction of roads like Watling Street although “crucified” could be one possible word. And can it be true that the term “serf” was coined by 13th century baron, Robert of Evesham, to refer to the workers on his lands? It stood for “Slaves with Extended Rights and Freedom” and is an inspired piece of medieval PR. It went on to become widely used across the country until the serfs were overtaken by the young, entrepreneurial, opportunistic (or “yeoman”) farmers, the rural predecessors of the urban yuppies of the 1980s. In fact the ass was very much the Porsche 911 of the late Middle Ages.

Right to be rude
Thankfully there aren’t many serfs left in modern Britain, individual rights and freedom of speech have come a long way in the last five hundred years. And with that in mind, perhaps those favouring hotels-by-numbers and a world in which big is always best should be filed under a category, “Massive Organisations Rule Our Neighbourhoods”. It’s just a thought.