Tag: Forest of Dean
I went for a lovely walk in the Forest with my daughter today. We had just finished filling our containers with about 3 lbs of blackberries when my daughter spotted, with her keen hunter’s ear, three Stags, really quite close by. The biggest stood it’s ground and watched us as I slowly got my phone out, switched it on, found the camera app, turned that on and waited for it to warm up and then zoomed in and finally took this picture. Then it decided it had had enough and ran off with the others. It was very dark compared to the one of the others, which was a normal fawn/red deer colour. Very exciting to be so close.
The Forestry Commission was ordered to remove all the protest signs from the Forest. This meeting was intended to be a symbolic removal of signs as a protest, but it turned into a celebration. I walked all the way back to Coleford and removed all the yellow ribbons and one sign that I came across on my way. Very satisfying! Enjoy the video
Hooray! The Government seem to have seen sense and appear to have completely pulled out of the Forestry sell-off scheme. I’m sure there are a load of upset bankers who are wondering what they are now going to do with all their quanitativley-eased bonuses, but I’m not really bothered about them.
Good – that’s one bit of nonsense over and done with. Now we can put all our energy into the nonsense that is library closures. When will this Government realise that it’s Big Society is quite happy with the way things are run already. The Big Society says: No to change for changes sake.
Well! It seems Mark Harper’s website is down again, although he said he would put relevant imformation on there for us, when he met us, his constituents, at the Main Place, in Coleford last night.
We have been waiting for our MP to come and tell us why he wishes to sell off Forestry and put the future of the Forest of Dean in peril. We’ve been waiting about three months! He’s refused to visit the Forest or speak to his constituents in that time, other than to call us liars and left-wing rabble-rousers! This is the man who we trusted to have the best interests of the Forest of Dean at the forefront of his duties as an MP. As the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, he seems to have a conflict of interest and as such, appears to be taking his career far more seriously than his constituents.
He called a public consultation meeting last night, at 24 hours notice! Anyone with a little public relations awareness would immediately recognise the tactic – hold a meeting in a small venue and keep two thirds of the audience outside, in the dark and rain. Kettle the rest inside, in a hot, steamy, airless room (there was air conditioning available) make sure the PA doesn’t work, so no one can hear you, intimidate them with a huge police presence and then accuse your audience of being unreasonable. Brilliant! The man is a genius at organisation.
I gather this morning, Mark Harper claimed the crowd was violent. If it was, I didn’t see it. He had to make a run for it at the end, followed by a baying crowd. He may well have been scared, but he ad every right to be. He brought it all on himself.
The crowd outside taped their poles together so they could make their placards visible in the first story windows.
Councillor Thornton shocked the audience with his crass introduction – actually suggesting we get hearing aids if we wanted to hear what Mark Harper had to say. After being asked several times who he was – he finally introduced himself about half an hour in to the proceedings.
Almost in audibly, MR Harper laid out his wares and said that he had always said the Forest is not for sale. That he had always spoken the truth. So he did. He forgot to mention that the Forest will be up for lease. The thin end of the wedge. His style is dry to point of sending you to sleep. He repeated himself again and again as if a mantra can become reality with enough repetition.
All the way through the “consultation” he never once let us know what was wrong with the Forestry Commission or the status quo. In fact, in the Consultation document. Maintaining the status quo is not an option to support. My main concern is just how Mr Harper define the Forest of Dean. I’m pretty sure his definition will not be same as his constituents. I shall look forward to perusing the map.
After last night, I think Mark Harper needs to be looking for a new Constituency. But then, I assume a safe seat has been lined up already, as a prize for the job he is doing.
Meanwhile, the Forest of Dean seems to be without representation in Parliament.
My friend Andrew Taylor, the crime fiction author, and I marched together in support of the Hands Of Our Forest campaign. Our friend Chris Moriss, author and photographic Chronicler of the Forest took our picture in front of the soon to be burned Houses of Parliament sculpture made by Phil Bews and painted by Tom Cousins.
This Government, in all its wisdom, blithley ignoring all the promises it made in the general election, wishes to sell off forestry to make a quick buck and sell our heritage down the road. Our MP, Mark Harpur, who promised to fight for the Forest of Dean in the election, did not come to the Speech House Rally nor send a representative. He now appears to be at the forefront of the sell off and is upset at the protesters who he claims are only politically motivated.
I’d estimate over two thousand people swarmed onto the Speech House fields to hear speeches form such luminaries as Baroness Jan Royall, who is fighting our corner in the Lords, Jonathan Porrit, Bishop Christopher Hill and a range of Forest representatives.
It was wonderful to see so many new and familiar faces from all walks of life come together in this great cause.
This ancient woodland must not fall into the hands of spivs or foreign multinationals, who will not care one jot about the history or natural diversity that is one of the Jewels of England.
This land is our land already and not yours to sell!
I’m sure that Mark Harper, the MP for the Forest of Dean Constituency must be struggling with his conscience at the moment, as he appears to be working against everything he promised those who sent him to Westminster. As he wrestles with the choice of personal advancement or service to his constituents, I’d like to offer here a prayer that may help calm his mind. His constituents may wish to repeat this prayer aloud themselves to help Mark influence the Coalition and Parliament towards a sensible decision for the future of the Forest of Dean free, from private interests.
At this time of deep peril for the constituency that has chosen you to to be their representative in Parliament, may your God guide you down the paths of truth and righteousness and help you in your work to protect the realm and commonwealth and in particular the great and ancient Forest of Dean that is both the beating heart of your constituency and the crowning Jewel of England.
I’ve only recently begun to understand banking, or rather the concept of Fractional Reserve Banking.
If I put say, ten pounds into a bank, I assume that I have assets of ten pounds. But this is not the case. The Bank now has assets of ten pounds. On the strength of my ten pounds the bank is now able to lend, not just my money, but invisible money that it invents that is backed by my money. It can lend maybe a hundred pounds on the strength of having my ten pounds in their vault. They can then collect interest on a hundred pounds and pay me, if I’m lucky, interest on my ten pounds as thanks.
Get it? If I tried to do that I’d be arrested for fraud.
This proves that money is not real and is only a concept. When Fractional Reserve Banking is working and everyone believes it is for real, it is fantastic. This is how roads and hospitals get built.
When it goes wrong and bankers get too creative and start selling stuff that has absolutely no fractional reserve wealth, like subprime mortgages, then everything goes wrong.
That’s when we, through our Government, knowing that we can’t allow the banks to fail, get stuck with the bill to bail them out. Then we have to find the money that should have been in the banks vaults all along as their reserve, but somehow wasn’t.
Are you with me still? Banking is all smoke and mirrors. It is designed to confuse you. As long as everything seems to be okay and the guys who are on hefty commissions tell you that it’s a great deal, it all seems fine.
So now the Government has to find cash to pay the bankers for the mess they got into. “A ha!” they say. “Let’s sell off a bit of land! The Forest of Dean doesn’t do much. We can get rid of that!”
So who do you think will buy the Forest of Dean? Why, the Bankers of course! They are the only ones with any money – because we’ve just given them every last penny we had to make sure they don’t crash!
So, for the privilege of saving the bankers skins we now have to give up our birthright, so the banks can rape the Forest of Dean of its assets, history and culture and make even more money, in the process using the forest as a fractional reserve to lend against.
At the moment I’m writing a series about ancient Olympia. When I visited the site of the ancient Olympic Games eighteen months ago, I became aware of just how proud the Greeks are of their heritage and culture. We package ours up into visitor centres and ask you not to touch or go too close to the objects. We sell our history. The Greeks live with it.
But what really amazed me was how the ancient town of Olympia based it’s whole economy on sport. Sport was the raison d’être of the town and surrounding area. Every four years, everyone would agree to stop wars and go home for four months, to allow athletes to travel to Olympia in peace!
You can choose to base your economy on whatever you like. Sea shells worked just fine before gold, which worked just fine before subprime mortgages. You can also choose to decide that something as precious as the Forest of Dean is not a basic asset to be sold. It is part of our heritage, a haven for wildlife and biodiversity.
Government is not there to support the banking system. It ultimately has a higher role, to serve and protect the country and it’s people. By selling the country off to the banks, piece by piece without a fight, I would suggest that Government is close to treason.
If the Government needs cash for their banker friends, I suggest they sell off the the banks, as we already own them by having already bought them out. If banks are such a good thing, I’m sure they can dream up some more imaginary money to buy back what they’ve already bedazzled out of us.
Meantime, hands off the Forest of Dean!
In the stories, The Ministry of Monsters allow the monsters of the world to live in The Forest in peace and harmony, safe from hatred and discrimination.
Sadly, the real Government is planning to let the real monsters into the real Forest of Dean. Legislation is due to sell off the nations forest’s and woodlands, currently safeguarded by the Forestry Commission. Developers will be thrilled at the idea of cutting down trees for building land, never mind the open cast mining that will inevitably follow, as the last scraps of Forest coal are hauled away.
The Forest has a history of quarrying and mining, indeed it’s the spoil of these industries that make The Forest the extraordinary shape it is today. But modern mining methods, that would be used to get the last little bits out of the ground, would destroy large areas. The holes would be filled in and houses would be built on them.
Once the Forest is covered in concrete, nature will never be allowed to reclaim and soften the damage, as it has done the over the last fifty years.
And what of our MP in all of this? Mark Harper, the man we voted to represent us in Parliament – the man we rely on to be our shining white knight – the man who is the voice of The Forest Parliament – What of him?
I don’t know. His website is unavailable, the Forest Conservative Association website is unavailable and he is unavailable – not wanting to face large public meetings of his own constituents until the white paper has been presented.
Why? Because he is working on the white paper! I can only hope that he is working from within and that the white paper will exempt the Forest of Dean form being sold off (again – we went through all this not long ago and were assured the Forest was safe for ever.)
Mark Harper is an accountant. The easy stereotype would be to paint him as a bean-counter that only sees the Forest in terms of profit and loss, but I hope he is made of better stuff than that. Wikipedia says he has two labradors – presumably he not averse to walking them in The Forest. Let us hope and pray that Mark Harper is a sensitive man who wants the best for his constituents – at the moment, he’s doing a really bad job of showing it.
This is a video I made in September which gives a brief flavour of the Forest. Come and visit – see it for yourself before it is too late. It’s a strange and magical place. One of the true Crown Jewels of old England.
Here’s a little video I made while on a walk in the forest the other day. Mushrooms and toadstools are sprouting up all over the place. As soon as one type fades away another pops up. Very exciting!
I had a lovely walk in the Forest today. This video explains a bit about Scowles – a notable, man made feature of the Forest