I’ve known Renita for a while now. Originally from America, Renita now lives in Wigtown, which the book town in Scotland, with the most stunning views across the estuary. When I’ve performed at the festival, the children have all been whipped up to a frenzy by Renita, who welcomes them in and “settles them down” [...]
Tag: Mark Harper MP
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.
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.