Monday, July 25, 2011

Ecocidal Maniacs Rule!

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
Noam Chomsky

From time to time, as resources allow, our Party intervenes in planning matters across our region, seeking to challenge the ‘growth agenda’ that is so rapidly destroying what makes it so special.

We are more astonished at the ignorance of planners than at the arrogance of developers but both sides are in league to ruin Wessex today, while simultaneously making it more difficult for us to adapt to the post-oil world of tomorrow. Planning has become a never-ending pantomime in which planners argue that the growth figures are high enough and developers try to convince some Government growth junkie that they aren’t. Who speaks the truth, that even the lower figures are insane and need to be slashed to nothing?

Our most recent intervention has been in the preparation of the ‘South Wiltshire Core Strategy’, which proposes the building of nearly 10,000 new homes, largely to accommodate London overspill, including damaging greenfield extensions to Salisbury and Amesbury. Under past legislation, objectors were guaranteed the right to present their case before a Government Inspector. Now, under legislation pushed through by Labour, Inspectors are free to decide what evidence they wish to hear. Or not hear. We asked to expose in detail the false reasoning behind this massive level of growth. And were ignored. The Inspector will hear evidence on how consistent the growth figures are with the aim of promoting growth: the regime’s ears are closed to anything sensible. As we wrote today to the officer organising the hearings:

“We are profoundly disappointed to read that the Inspector will disregard any further evidence critical of the County Council’s policy of collaboration with the London regime in imposing unsustainable development on the area. The need to move away from ecocidal policies of economic growth and population expansion is now desperate.

The London regime and its servants must surely understand that obstructing the presentation of the truth is not a rational basis for policy-making. Over the long-term, it threatens the very survival of the communities of Wiltshire and of Wessex generally. We can only conclude that that is the intention.”

Monday, July 18, 2011

Still Hating Thatcher?

Our stall at the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival is becoming a well-recognised feature. Yesterday, we found a place in the marquee beneath the Portsmouth RMT banner (left, with Nick Xylas), which caused a little confusion until eventually its owners came to take it out for the traditional parade through the village.

The RMT’s Wessex Region banner bears a splendid gold wyvern. Sadly, we weren’t able to catch a glimpse of it on this occasion, although we were assured that it was around somewhere.

The only rail-related items on the stall were some membership forms for the New Somerset & Dorset Railway that we were hosting as a favour, and which were also among the most popular material. New S&D have certainly struck a chord with folk in rural Dorset now inching towards the points-change that will take them from ‘Re-opening – 0% probability’ to ‘Re-opening – 100% probability’. In how many years?

Some of our visitors were far-sighted enough to recognise that Wessex Regionalism will make the same transition, being poised today for the kind of take-off that Celtic nationalism achieved in the 60s. The importance of repeat attendance became clear from conversations with those who’d seen us at Tolpuddle before but this time were willing to take a leaflet, buy a car sticker and ponder whether we haven’t been right all along. It can be a wearisome day refuting ignorance and cynicism but that’s the kind of breakthrough that makes it all worthwhile.

Most of the stalls in the marquee had a ‘green’ rather than ‘red’ emphasis this year – a sign of times to come – with land rights prominently represented. Of course, there’s still one or two sad old bolshies to shuffle along and tell us that a One World Dictatorship is the answer and that devolution is divisive. It isn’t. We work with, not against, those in other areas who also want to take back power to make our own decisions, in our own communities, and not have them over-ruled by folk who think they know better because they live in the right London suburb and can pull the right strings.

If there was any theme, it had to be Maggie. Folk singers in the marquee wailed on about the miners’ strike and at least two different versions of a T-shirt circulated with the words ‘I Still Hate Thatcher’. After 21 years, 13 of them under New Labour, the insincerity is insensitive. How many of the wearers voted for Blair or Brown, and will vote with equal enthusiasm for any other red-rosette-wearing, warmongering control-freak who claims the corpse of radicalism from the morgue of British politics?

Thatcher won because she had a vision, one based on a denial of the common good, but she also won because Labour’s deluded insurrectionists drove millions of voters in her direction. That Labour has adopted Thatcherism as its creed is a kind of karma. Why? Because Labour helped to create it by its inability to articulate an alternative both attractive and achievable. Today there is only one party in Wessex still true to its radical roots. One whose voice will be heard increasingly loudly as the generations whom Thatcher and her Labour co-workers dispossessed take back our inheritance.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Culture Killers

Patronising smiles are the usual response when we point out that Wessex remains under the Norman yoke. Not so funny is the press release issued by Eric Pickles’ Department for Communities and Local Government today to mark the flying of the Somerset flag outside their London headquarters.

The historic Somerset does not in fact have a flag but the red dragon logo of Somerset County Council has been employed on this occasion to represent Somerset as a whole, including those parts outside the county council’s authority. This dragon is a local variant of ‘the Dragon of Wessex’, first adopted by the council as its emblem in 1906. The colour was changed from gold-on-red to red-on-gold when a coat-of-arms was granted in 1911, presumably so that Somerset would be distinguished from Wessex as a whole. The council’s motto too has a Saxon origin. Sumorsæte Ealle is a phrase from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, meaning ‘all those of Somerset’. It appears in the account of events in 878 that led up to King Alfred’s decisive victory over the Danes.

Imagine the surprise upon reading in Pickles’ press release that “The county of Somerset was a Norman creation.” The use of ‘county’ in place of ‘shire’ may indeed be attributed to the conquerors but to read the press release is to take away the impression that a couple of minor Norman barons are more worthy of acknowledgement than Wessex kings like Ine and Alfred who made a positive difference to Somerset. Any true Cuckoopenner will be reaching for their chequebook and joining the Wessex Regionalist Party this instant.

Our history ignored. Our dialect mocked. Our environment trashed. Our institutions destroyed. Our right to self-government denied. And the best the national debate on devolution can now offer is a Norman-style English Parliament to impose one-size-fits-all solutions and continue a centuries-old onslaught on regional identity. After 945 years, what really has changed?