Posts Tagged 'Government'

One Less Tree Each Day From Our Window

 

When I was about eight, my Primary School had the wonderful idea that every child would plant a young sapling around the edge of the playground and playing fields.  It was beautiful.  Each child felt a parental bond to their own tree, and would visit it and felt some small sense of looking after it.  Very quickly, the older boys found amusement in kicking the saplings, which were still fragile, scraping off the bark, snapping the branches off, anything they could find to be destructive.  In response, myself and my friend formed Tree Watch.  With the permission and support of one teacher, every playtime and lunch hour, we would patrol the field, protecting and guarding the trees, repairing any broken branches with splints in the hope they would heal, and ensuring no damage was done during the time that everybody was outside.  We made posters and invented slogans, trying to make the other pupils feel the same passion for protecting the trees that we did.  Of-course, some people laughed, but on the whole it was very successful and the trees are still there today, seventeen years later.

Over the past couple of weeks, the golf-course which backs on to my house has felled two-hundred healthy trees from around the edge of the course.  The reason?  They were blocking light on the greens, which interfered with the golfer’s shots.  The trees, which were all fairly young and not thickly populated, are now almost all gone, leaving ugly, scarred land; bare and covered in sawdust.

Towards the end of last year, the environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, revealed the Government’s intention to dispose of half of the 748,000 hectares of woodland run by the Forestry Commission by 2020.  The plan to sell off our forests was planned to generate £100m, and the Government planned a complete overhaul of the Forestry Commission in its review of quangos.

However, this week David Cameron has admitted that he doesn’t like the plan after all.  Ed Milliband asked the Prime Minister, in the Commons, whether he was happy with the plan to sell off the forests.  To laughter, the prime minister replied: ‘The short answer to that is, no.’  He then indicated that the Government would make a U-Turn and back away from the plan.

No doubt referring to the national outrage and remonstration to the idea of losing the nation’s forests, Cameron said;

‘We’ve had a range of interesting responses to this consultation. What is important is that we should be making sure that, whatever happens, we increase access to our forests, we increase biodiversity and we don’t make the mistake that was made under the last government where they sold forests with no access rights at all.’

Perhaps what the Prime Minister is trying to say, using the phrase ‘increase access to our forests’, is that if they’re sold, what will happen to all the people who enjoy Sunday afternoons walking or bike-riding through the forests, or taking their children to play hide-and-seek through the trees?  The forests are our national nature reserves, in the way that Africa has its national parks and Serengeti, America has Yellowstone, Yosemite, and The Rockies.  Our forests are our nature, our natural beauty, all we have.

 

Milliband, valiantly expressing the feeling of the Briton on the street, railed during prime minister’s questions; ‘Even he must appreciate the irony. The guy who made the tree the symbol of the Conservative party flogging them off round this country. He says they are consulting on this policy. They are actually consulting on how to flog off the forests, not whether to sell off the forests. Is the prime minister now saying that he might drop the policy completely?’

After a few feeble attempts at a response from Cameron, which basically amounted to trying to wriggle out of answering on a discourse technicality, Milliband continued;

‘Everybody knows you have to drop this ludicrous policy. Let me give him the chance to do it. Nobody voted for this policy; 500,000 people have signed a petition against the policy. Why doesn’t he, when he gets up at the dispatch box, not say he is postponing the sale but say he is cancelling it?’

The response was a typically Tory attempt at sneering humour; ‘Once again, he read the question before he listened to the answer. I think the bandwagon has just hit a bit of a tree’, totally lacking any sensitivity to the nation’s deep-set emotional involvement in the issue.

 

If our trees continue to be ripped down, a few at a time, from roadsides, golf-courses and parks, and building of new houses and office-blocks continues at the rapid rate it is, what will Britain look like?  What will happen to Arcadia?  Where will be the green, the orange and gold of Autumn, the birds and squirrels to irritate us, the tree-houses in back gardens for a whole generation of children who won’t know how to scrump apples or climb trees?

If we aren’t that bothered by two trees here, four trees there, a few new houses, a bit less grass, here and there, slowly creeping down every street, in every town, how long will it be before it’s all gone? Not long! Do humans honestly believe we can carry on and never reach the end?  Can we continue flattening Brazilian rainforests and English copses, and never come to the end of them?

If we look out of our window each day and see one less tree and one more building, how many days are left before all we can see is grey?

 

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Mp’s: Empty Trough Syndrome

Empty Trough Syndrome

Vikki Littlemore

 

The metaphor most commonly thrust upon greedy MP’s is ‘snouts in the trough’, no doubt because the people of Britain feel that snaffling money for purely selfish and greedy purposes is inevitably porcine.  It transpires that while the working people of Britain are unable to sleep, entangled in sums and figures, trying to determine whether or not this month’s mortgage will go unpaid yet again and whether or not the children will eat this week, the suited classes in charge of us are happily siphoning our money out of the communal pot to spend on extravagant luxuries which many of us are unable to afford for our first home, let alone second.

Our politicians have been draining this country of huge amounts of money like vampires devouring the blood of a rapidly fading victim.  While we are told by our leaders that our own spending and consumer greed (ie.  The extortionate credit cards we are forced to survive on) and our own carelessness has landed us in the middle of a ‘credit crunch’, they themselves are zooming around in fine cars, voraciously hording sparkly trinkets like magpies, and sticking it all on the country’s bill, hundreds of thousands of pounds of it.  Out of our failing national purse has come the money for every extravagance and trivial comfort and indulgence imaginable, while they point their quivering, saturated finger in our direction.  The most notorious examples of expenditure, gaining exposure with the press, have been top of the range sound systems, bags of manure for the garden and the pipes for tennis courts, being just a mere few.  The politicians furnish their second homes not sensibly but luxuriantly, only the best will do.  Why is it necessary to have the most expensive, snazzy cd player, costing hundreds of pounds, for one’s part-time, secondary residence, when most of the country have one for £11.99 from Asda for their only home? 

Of-course, the most infamous and scandalous revelation of all was Jacqui Smith’s claim for her husband’s adult films.  Difficult though it is to believe, one of the people charged with running our country actually demanded that we foot the bill for her husband’s porn.  Of-course, it was never thought that the public would find out about the £20.00 bill, it was always intended to remain a grubby little secret, as are most of these guilty expenditures.  We did however find out, and did anything happen?  Of-course not.

In fairness, opportunism is inherent human nature, part of survival.  As human beings we are compelled to survive, to grasp any opportunity given to us and to clamour for any foothold on the cliff that will keep us out of the ravine.  How many of us, given a blank cheque and the opportunity to spend whatever we wanted, thinking that nobody would find out, would refuse?  Many of us would, granted.  As well as opportunism however, morality is also an inherent human quality and this wasn’t survival, it was excessive indulgence.  In the midst of a national crisis and on the brink of recession, with people losing their jobs, unable to pay their bills, the people at the top of the ladder, in charge of the whole mess, should have had the morality and backbone to ‘just say no’.  As tempting as it would be to have a blank cheque placed in your hand, the prospect would surely only be appetising if the consequences weren’t detrimental to the country and its people.  Apparently not.  Where most of us would undoubtedly be tempted to fill our basket full of diamonds but would think better of it, it appears that politicians weighed up the consequences, gave a shrug, and stuffed their greedy faces full of caviar. 

You can’t dress it up any other way, it was greedy and immoral.  They plundered the country, taking everything for themselves and leaving the hard-working, ordinary classes with an empty purse and empty fridge.  While I’m not suggesting that their behaviour has caused or even been a major contribution  to the credit crunch, the fact that they have been watching us flounder, unable to pay our bills, losing our jobs, while they filled their pockets with gold and trotted off to Harrods, is outrageous and abhorrent.  It’s the principle and their attitude which are repugnant.  They are compared to pigs round a trough because they have behaved like greedy, selfish, gluttonous animals.  There was no compassion or even interest shown by people who watched us sinking lower and lower, while they filled their various homes with expensive items that we could only dream of.  Their attitude is a slap in the face to all those of us who have struggled, gone without food and daily essentials, the bare minimum necessities, while they wallowed in Champaign.  They preached to us on the news, lecturing us on the dire situation and our own greed, standing in suits paid for with our money.  They went home to second residences, furnished not with basic or even comfortable modesty but with top notch furniture and cutting edge entertainment systems, paid for with the money drained from our purses.  Our homes were repossessed because we couldn’t afford to keep one home, while they played musical chairs between their various houses.  Did they care?  No.  If they had, they wouldn’t have done it.

Is it their fault?  Yes.  I accept that the opportunity was handed to them on a plate and it’s hard to refuse something given so appealingly, but their morality should have stopped them.  They were given the opportunity to exploit the people at their mercy, but no-one twisted their arm, they chose to do it.  This wasn’t just immoral, it was criminal.  They watched us starve while they gorged, and now the trough is empty, we have nothing left.  Poor them.


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Sylvia Plath said; "Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences". My aim in life is to find things and people to love, so that I can write about them. Putting words together is the only thing I can see myself doing. This blog is an outlet, and I hope you enjoy reading it. Please feel free to comment on posts, or contact me by the special e-mail I've set up (vikki.littlemore@live.co.uk) with your thoughts.


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The New Remorse, Oscar Wilde.

The sin was mine; I did not understand.
So now is music prisoned in her cave,
Save where some ebbing desultory wave
Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
And in the withered hollow of this land
Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave,
That hardly can the leaden willow crave
One silver blossom from keen Winter's hand.

But who is this who cometh by the shore?
(Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this
Who cometh in dyed garments from the South?
It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss
The yet unravished roses of thy mouth,
And I shall weep and worship, as before.

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Music I Love (In no particular order, except that The Smiths are first)

The Smiths,
The Libertines,
The Courteeners,
Nina Simone,
Oasis,
Pete Doherty,
Gossip,
The Kills,
Amy Winehouse,
Arctic Monkeys,
Rod Stewart,
The Doors,
The Rolling Stones,
Etta James,
Babyshambles,
T. Rex,
The Jam,
Morrissey,
Guillemots,
The Kinks,
Jack White,
The Deadweather,
David Bowie,
The Winchesters,
The Cure,
Kaiser Chiefs,
The Kooks,
The Twang,
Kings Of Leon,
Pulp,
Blur,
The Housemartins,
The Ramones,
James,
Robots in Disguise,
The Klaxons,
Kate Nash,
The Raconteurs,
Regina Spektor,
Aretha Franklin,
Stereophonics,
The Contours,
Dirty Pretty Things,
The White Stripes,
New York Dolls,
Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
The Clash,
Style Council,
Velvet Underground,
The Horrors,
The Cribs,
Reverend and The Makers,
The Subways,
The Wombats,
Foals,
Elle S'appelle,
The Troggs,
The Beatles,
Echo and the Bunnymen,
Florence and the Machine.

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

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Will it ever be alright for Blighty to have a Queen Camilla?

One less tree from our window each day


Vikki's bookshelf: read

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
1984
Twilight
Of Mice and Men
Pride and Prejudice
The Hobbit
The Da Vinci Code
Lolita
Tipping the Velvet
Wuthering Heights
The Picture of Dorian Grey and Other Works by Oscar Wilde
Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Irish Peacock & Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde
The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman
Moab Is My Washpot
The Bell Jar
The Other Boleyn Girl
On the Road
Brideshead Revisited
Revolutionary Road



Vikki Littlemore's favorite books »

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