A great day was had yesterday at the Speech House, which is the ancient parliament of the Forest of Dean and the site of the the annual Guy Fawkes bonfire celebrations. This time we were not celebrating the saving of parliament but burning it in efigy instead!
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!