Monday, September 27, 2004

Ashley Gossip
In the summer 2004 newsletter the local Lib Dems announced that they are putting their weight behind the campaign by St.Werburghs Neighbourhood Association to get rid of the mass of billboard that makes the area look less like housing and more like a mall. No word on support for the spate of direct action that has seen then being toppled by angry residents tired of waiting for politicians to sort things out. These anti-advert vigilantes enjoy considerable support in the local area. I also cant help but wonder how the local support for such activities that are effectively a curb on capitalism will square with the new free-market, pro-privatisation, go-go capitalism Lib Dems we have been seeing emerge as the party moves closer to power. A friend commented that the Lib Dems have always been less controlled from the top of the part to its regional wings; how ever as they move into the position of being player in the grand chessboard, I expect that will begin to change.

Speaking of the Ashley councillor, she really needs to get to a meeting of St.Pauls Unlimited, as there are rumblings of disquiet over the huge list of apologies for not attending meetings that have categorised the councillors involvement with the group for the last year.

Finally a quick note on Venue, who after the Bristle media special, also decided to run a media special. Hmmm. It briefly talks about their owners, Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) and how they own most of the media in Bristol – however concludes that in general the media here offers good choice, relying on Bristle and the Bristolian to illustrate this point: This is a cart before horse argument, as these publications exist because of the media monopoly that the DMGT has over the area. Plus comparing Bristle, That Be Bristle and a few others to a media-behemoth like the DMGT and then concluding choice is to totally miss the point of scale and power – but I guess if you are writing from the belly of the beat, you need to watch for its hunger.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Liberal Democrat vs. Neo-Labour

A few people seemed to be under the impression that serious and positive political change can be gained by voting for the Liberal Democrats – to them I ask what is the difference between them and Neo-Labour? They both get sponsorship from McDonalds (Lib/Lab), they both embrace the free market; indeed the same business-head seem to have infected both parties; "A senior adviser to the Liberal Democrats who quit his role as chairman of its working group on employment claims the party has been "hijacked by a coterie of laissez-faire economists"...."

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Pro Hunt Ideology is Vapid and Shallow

I lay in bed chucking for a while listening to Radio 4 as the woman from the Countryside Action Network bleated about how all the violence at the pro-animal curtly demo on Wednesday 15th. She moaned about the rights of the minority and that the violence was all the police's fault. While it is possible that individual members of the pro-hunt lobby have been active on issues like police violence and minority rights for many years, I suspect the vast majority of them, coming from the political right, have, at best sat idly by while the police beat on people from ethnic minorities, or at the worst have supported the establishment as it waged war on those who didn't fit the rule Britannia mould.

What goes around comes around.

All this hypocrisy is obviously part of why the Pro Hunt Ideology is vapid and shallow, but to me there is a bigger reason why this is so. Five protesters, so enraged that the felt the had to use direct action, broke into the House of Commons to confront the lawmakers directly. This was about liberty and livelihood and these people were from a downtrodden rural way of life: so I guess they must have been there to confront the lawmakers about the appalling suicide rate of farmers? No. So, then they must have been there to take a stand against the crushing jackboot of the supermarkets? No. So they were there to strike a blow for the destruction of the traditional British countryside by industrial agriculture? No.

They were there to protest about the right to destroy nature on a whim, to kill for fun. This is a shallow ideology. It is also only a stones throw from an attempted justification of the unending exploitation of the natural world to its and our extinction. It is the remains of a feudal psyche of yesteryear, a belief in a 'natural' hierarchy with white men at the top. A belief that the suffering of others, lower down the hierarchy, counts less that the gratification of those at the top. In summary it is a selfish, short-term, destructive and unsustainable ideology that must be opposed: so a big-up to the Bath and Bristol hunt sabbers who have been using direct action for years to end this abhorrent practice and who, when the law comes into effect, deserve a lie-in on the weekend. However, I suspect that they, as people committed to the natural world and our harmony with it, will take up the struggle elsewhere.

Could the same be said for the pro-hunt lot when the next scandal of police brutality happens? Because chances are it will happen in the inner-city to an black or Muslim teenager and they will sit on their arse and do nothing. Maybe their new campaign slogan should be: Liberty and livelihood for me and the rest of you can just fuck off.

(And they call this a 'sport'?????!!!!)