A representative of the Choctaw nation – one of the Five Tribes of Oklahoma central to the court ruling, who have welcomed the ruling
The US Supreme Court has ruled about half of Oklahoma belongs to Native Americans, in a landmark case that also quashed a child rape conviction.
The justices decided 5-4 that an eastern chunk of the state, including its second-biggest city, Tulsa, should be recognised as part of a reservation.
Jimcy McGirt, who was convicted in 1997 of raping a girl, brought the case. He cited the historical claim of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation to the land where the assault occurred.
How did other tribal leaders react?
In a joint statement, the Five Tribes of Oklahoma – Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole and Muscogee Nation – welcomed the ruling.
They pledged to work with federal and state authorities to agree shared jurisdiction over the land.
“The Nations and the state are committed to implementing a framework of shared jurisdiction that will preserve sovereign interests and rights to self-government while affirming jurisdictional understandings, procedures, laws and regulations that support public safety, our economy and private property rights,” the statement said.
What does the ruling mean?
Thursday’s decision in McGirt v Oklahoma is seen as one of the most far-reaching cases for Native Americans before the highest US court in decades.
The ruling means some tribe members found guilty in state courts for offences committed on the land at issue can now challenge their convictions.
Only federal prosecutors will have the power to criminally prosecute Native Americans accused of crimes in the area.
Tribe members who live within the boundaries may also be exempt from state taxes, according to Reuters news agency.
Some 1.8 million people – of whom about 15% are Native American – live on the land, which spans three million acres.
What did the justices say?
Justice Neil Gorsuch, a conservative appointed by US President Donald Trump, sided with the court’s four liberals and also wrote the opinion.
He referred to the Trail of Tears, the forcible 19th Century relocation of Native Americans, including the Creek Nation, to Oklahoma.
The US government said at the time that the new land would belong to the tribes in perpetuity.
Justice Gorsuch wrote: “Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law.
“Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word.”
What about the rape case?
The ruling overturned McGirt’s prison sentence. He could still, however, be tried in federal court.
McGirt, now 71, was convicted in 1997 in Wagoner County of raping a four-year-old girl.
He did not dispute his guilt before the Supreme Court, but argued that only federal authorities should have been entitled to prosecute him.
McGirt is a member of the Seminole Nation.
His lawyer, Ian Heath Gershengorn, told CNBC: “The Supreme Court reaffirmed today that when the United States makes promises, the courts will keep those promises.”
How might Oklahoma’s criminal justice system be affected?
In a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said the decision would destabilise the state’s courts.
He wrote: “The State’s ability to prosecute serious crimes will be hobbled and decades of past convictions could well be thrown out.
“The decision today creates significant uncertainty for the State’s continuing authority over any area that touches Indian affairs, ranging from zoning and taxation to family and environmental law.”
An analysis by The Atlantic magazine of Oklahoma Department of Corrections records found that 1,887 Native Americans were in prison as of the end of last year for offences committed within the boundaries of the tribal territory.
But fewer than one in 10 of those cases would qualify for a new federal trial, according to the research.
Jonodev Chaudhuri, a former chief justice of the Muscogee Nation’s Supreme Court, dismissed talk of legal mayhem.
He told the Tulsa World newspaper: “All the sky-is-falling narratives were dubious at best.
“This would only apply to a small subset of Native Americans committing crimes within the boundaries.”
It started thirty six years after the bloodthirsty Knights Templar warrior-bankers were disgraced and dissolved, a new order of 26 ‘knights’ were initiated in 1348 that have dominated the British crown ever since. The Order of the Garter consists of two conjoined cells, each of thirteen knights that advise and ‘protect’ the monarch and heir apparent.
Because of their obsessive secrecy and lack of transparency over the centuries those appointed to these knights have become the very antithesis of Medieval chivalry, a lethal mixture of yes-men, and devious chancers who would sell their own mother to get a seat, and a cut of the rent, at the top table.
Nothing could illustrate more clearly the British monarchy’s distain for their poor subjects than Henry VIII’s asset seizure and eviction in the 1530s of around ten thousand monks from Britain’s monasteries.
Since the days of Alfred the Great these holy orders had been providing a backbone of education and healthcare to the nation, but to Henry they represented a kind of Vatican fifth column, daring to question the wisdom of his break from Rome to form his independent Church of England.
In 1638, with special pleadings from Archbishop Laud, Charles I addressed the privatisation of land, enclosure, by fining rich merchants and parliamentarians who had evicted villagers from collectively managed open fields. Only ‘freemen’ owning land worth over 40 shillings a year could vote so the merchants had effectively been voting themselves growing land the poor needed to feed themselves.
Charles I, perhaps bravely, perhaps foolishly, tried to buck the trend of the creeping privatisation of land, but the merchants secretly organised against him, launched the English Civil War and he lost his head in 1649. The merchant classes were now firmly in power and ready to bring their new-fangled capitalism to the world.
From: Prince Charles strikes another blow for the British republic
Beginning his working life in the aviation industry and trained by the BBC, Tony Gosling is a British land rights activist, historian & investigative radio journalist.
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales feeds a polar bear called Hudson as he visits Winnipeg Zoo on May 21, 2014 in Winnipeg, Canada.
There is an air of unreality to Prince Charles’ spin-squad attempting this week to prove that the future British Head of State’s comparison of Putin to Hitler, while surrounded by journalists on a royal tour, was said in a ‘private conversation’.
It is not just that his views show how out of touch he and his PR team are with the nation and the real world, but Charles’ flippant remarks draw unwelcome attention to his own and his family’s close connections to Nazis, and related war-mongering.
His father Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was educated for a time in Nazi Germany and his four sisters married black-uniformed SS officers (three of them, Sophie, Cecile and Margarita, joining the Nazi party). Philip admitted to then having ‘inhibitions about the Jews’ to an American academic and feeling ‘jealousy of their success.’ Charles’ great uncle, the abdicated ex-King Edward VIII, was such a swastika-waver that MI6 had to banish him to Bermuda for the duration of World War Two, thwarting his and his Nazi wife Mrs Simpson’s attempts to join Hitler by crossing into occupied Europe.
Charles himself has come quite close to publicly endorsing Hitler’s slippery chief Architect and Armaments Minister Albert Speer by hiring Speer’s greatest devotee, Léon Krier, as his own chief architect for his Duchy of Cornwall’s extensive building projects. Writer and broadcaster Jonathan Meades in his 1994 documentary, ‘Jerry Building’ nails Krier as the ‘Speer-carrier’ and ‘Keeper of the Toxic Flame’, pointing out that every one of Speer’s creations, which include the Nuremberg rally stadium, is inseparable from the inhuman experimentation and forced concentration camp labor used to construct them.
Charles’ great grandfather George V was one of the three ‘great’ architects of World War One, the so-called ‘Cousins’ War’, four years of mindless slaughter that began exactly a century ago. With two more Saxe-Coburg Gotha cousins, George’s hapless subjects slugged it out in trench warfare with Germany’s Wilhelm II and Russia’s Nicholas II’s unfortunates leaving, by 1918, a total of some ten million dead for no discernible purpose.
When in 1917 ill-mannered soldiers began pointing out that German Gotha bombers from another branch of the King’s family business were killing them, George V blithely announced that his surname was changing from ‘Saxe-Coburg Gotha’ to the more English-sounding ‘Windsor’.
Even masterpieces like Richard Attenborough’s 1969 feature film ‘Oh! What A Lovely War’, the BBC’s controversial 1986 drama ‘The Monocled Mutineer’ and the poetry of Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy, Worcester army padre known affectionately as ‘Woodbine Willie’, do not quite reflect the futility of the war and the bitterness it stirred up amongst ordinary people.
Today, despite standing against the Nazis in World War Two, Her Majesty’s government and armed forces, who all swear allegiance to the Queen, are backing most of the dictators and despots around the world. From President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka with the blood of 40,000 innocent Tamil civilians on his hands, to King Abdullah’s brutal Saudi regime which still practices public beheadings. Charles’ tongue always speaks for the world leaders Amnesty International tells us are the bad guys, but he is looking to make money with them, whether through real estate or arms.
The meddling ‘black spider’ prince
Whether Charles’ meddling in politics today is for good or ill in Britain we can only guess because he spends hundreds of thousands of pounds, even more than he spends on PR, on confidentiality lawyers to stop the British public finding out. Not only has he been shown to be secretly vetoing legislation passed by parliament which he doesn’t like but sending regular hand-written ‘black spider’ directives to Secretaries of State.
Charles’ lawyers have fought a four year battle against Guardian journalist Rob Evans to keep these communications secret, arguing that as a private citizen he is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act. So far he has succeeded in keeping these directives, which professor of constitutional law at Manchester University Rodney Brazier modestly described as a ‘constitutional innovation’, secret.
How the nation is to deal with Charles’ secret stretching of what is expressly a non-political office, in a way that his mother Queen Elizabeth rarely appears to have done, hangs in the air like a constitutional bad smell. If his mother’s rare missive to the Labour Home Secretary demanding the arrest of radical Muslim cleric Abu-Hamza are anything to go by Charles’ letters would be revealing indeed.
Don’t mention Diana
Visitors to Charles’ country estate, Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, are disappointed to find all traces of Princess Diana are notable by their absence, even from the gift shop where she would no doubt turn a handsome profit. Despite William and Harry doing much of their growing up here their mother’s name, image and memory has been entirely expunged.
This is a pity since Diana and the boys spent many of their happiest times in and around the market town of Tetbury, nestling as it does in the heart of the Cotswolds countryside. On Sunday mornings in the late 1980s and early 1990s Diana could be spotted with young Princes William and Harry slipping into the back rows of St Mary the Virgin and St Mary Magdalen Church after the service had begun to avoid attention, looking for all the world like just any other young mum with her boys. After church they’d cycle back down country lanes back to Highgrove, a couple of miles south of the town.
Locals say the threesome made a sport of evading royal protection squad police officers who were supposed to be following them at all times but whom the princess saw as ‘claustrophobic’, putting up a barrier between them and passers-by. Diana insisted on bringing the boys up ‘to see themselves as the same as everyone else.’ Teaching them to talk in a down-to-earth, relaxed way with the public.
But after the adultery with Camilla and subsequent divorce, Diana was now a ‘problem’ for Charles and the Queen. According to Australian investigative journalist John Morgan they set up what they called the ‘Way Ahead Group’ (WAG) to manage the three fold ‘Diana problem’.
Firstly her anti-land mines campaign was threatening arms company profits both in France and Britain, then she was using the British press to successfully assert herself as a national figure and finally WAG meetings became more urgent because Diana was about to announce her engagement to Dodi Al Fayed, meaning William and Harry might be about to get a Muslim stepfather.
In Morgan’s 2012 book ‘Paris-London Connection, The Assassination of Princess Diana’, John Morgan says evidence revealed in the two police enquiries and inquest suggested the Queen and Prince Charles tipped the wink to Britain’s Foreign Intelligence Service MI6, that if Diana were to have an ‘accident’ nobody at the palace would mind.
Keith Allen’s 2011 documentary ‘Unlawful Killing’ which examines the decade late Diana inquest, proves beyond doubt that her death was no accident. But the film has not been shown on TV and been suppressed online and in the cinemas by the deep-pocketed royal lawyers. It may never now be shown in Britain.
Charles is descended from the other Vlad, from Transylvania
Charles is of course responsible for none of his royal predecessors’ turbulent history but like anyone else he can and should choose his own way. The path of secrecy and the PR wall he has attempted to construct around himself simply will not wash in today’s connected world, serving only to alienate him from most of his 65 million subjects.
However the Putin Nazi lie has gained unhappy momentum because Britain’s three party leaders have shown contempt both for the constitution and public by backing the prince against the facts and the national interest.
What they have shown by weighing in to support Charles’ slur against Russia is that Britain’s ruling elite, including the arms manufacturers, can be dictators deciding in private meetings amongst themselves what foreign policy to pursue. Even in election week our so-called top politicians don’t have the backbone to stand up to the establishment, however brazen the lies.
Outside his charmed circle, Charles’ ungracious remarks will persuade very few here in Britain. They demonstrate both a perverse underplaying of the 25 million Soviet dead of World War Two and a further move toward nuclear war today in Europe. The party leaders have also refused to recognize Charles’ own government and armed forces’ backing for the post-coup Ukrainian government, key ‘Right Sector’ elements of which proudly sport pictures of Nazis such as war criminal Stepan Bandera on their Kiev walls.
Charles does not understand, as his mother appears to have done, that he cannot have it both ways as Head of State and as a politician. Charles’ devil-may-care remarks have invited disdain for him at home and for Britain abroad. Ironically, for the man who is proud of his Transylvanian ‘Dracula’ ancestry, being descended from the fifteenth century despot Vlad the Impaler, they represent one more nail in the coffin of the British monarchy.
Once you have seen the machair you never forget it. It is Gaelic for the stunningly beautiful grassland found in the Hebrides and parts of the Highlands: fertile, a mass of wildflowers, fringed by remote sandy beaches. The first time I saw it, as a teenager on Harris, I wondered why my ancestors had chosen instead to live on the other side, on barren and rocky land, a hard place to grow anything. Within a matter of seconds, the answer dawned. They had lived on the machair but were forcibly moved in the 19th century, like many other casualties of the Highland Clearances.
The Clearances, the mass depopulation of the Highlands and Islands, still resonate today. They provide the backdrop whenever the Scottish parliament grapples with land reform or there is another community buy-out. This summer, the journalist and historian Max Hastings, writing in the Times, joined the discussion in a piece about his annual trip to the Highlands for shooting and fishing. Patronisingly, he wrote that the curse of Scotland is ‘its sense of victimhood, lovingly nurtured over the past century’ and cited the Clearances as a prime example. He falls into the ranks of those who claim the scale and suffering has been exaggerated.
Scotland has until recently been ill served by historians. At school in the 1950s and 60s, we were taught more about the Tudors than our own history. A textbook at the time, a history of Scotland starting in 1702, ran to 335 pages, of which only one covered the Clearances. The writer John Prebble, English-born and brought up in Canada, broke this embarrassing near-silence with The Highland Clearances, published in 1963 and still the most popular Scottish history book ever written. Writing from a Marxist point of view, he portrayed the Clearances as the unnecessarily brutal expulsion of the population by greedy landowners and clan chiefs to make way for a more profitable source of income – sheep. Academics dismissed it as a blend of fact and fiction.
Revisionism was inevitable. It came in the shape of, among others, Michael Fry, a mischievous conservative and author of Wild Scots: Four Hundred Years of Highland History, published in 2005. Fry, whose admirers include Hastings, portrayed the Clearances as a myth that falls apart once probed.
Thankfully into the debate comes Tom Devine, Scotland’s best modern historian. Although viewed as tainted by some Scots for coming out in support of independence during the 2014 referendum, he makes history accessible, backed up with formidable original research and statistical evidence. In this book, he chronicles land ownership, the clan system and shifting attitudes towards Highlanders, from heroic soldiers to lazy aborigines. He is populist enough to find space for the romantic Jacobite TV fantasy Outlander, but this is a serious book, which includes a large section on dispossession in the Borders – intended to put what happened in the Highlands and Islands into perspective.
Clan chiefs in the Highlands were happy enough to have large populations at various points, especially during the Napoleonic wars. Devine demolishes the idea that Highlanders were by nature more martial than people in other parts of the UK. It was simple economics: the clan chiefs behaved as military entrepreneurs, providing recruits at a price. When the war ended and demand for soldiers fell, they looked for alternative sources of income. Sheep farming was one, and that meant clearing the land. Devine is fair minded, acknowledging landlords and chiefs who tried to devise ways to keep people, but they were in a small minority. ‘Coercion was employed widely and systematically,’ he concludes.
The harshest of the expulsions came in the 1840s and 50s with the collapse, as in Ireland, of the staple crop, the potato crop. Families were evicted when they were at their most vulnerable. Devine finds space for the voices of those sent into exile, often ignored in the past because their accounts, mainly told through song and poetry, were in Gaelic. Coming from the Lowlands, Canada, the US and Australia, they record homesickness but also a rage and desire for revenge, against both landlords and sheep.
My own family were moved from the machair on the island of Berneray in the Sound of Harris in 1850, according to local historian Peter Kerr, author of The Story of Emigration from Berneray, Harris. Forced out with them were other relatives: the family of one of Scotland’s best-loved poets, and my cousin, Norman MacCaig.
MacCaig wrote extensively about his love of the Highlands and believed the land should be masterless. That does not equate to victimhood. I do not feel any sense of victimhood either, having seen the consequences when people around the world cling to historical injustices. I just want to know about Scotland’s past, and am grateful to Devine for producing a balanced, detailed and extremely readable account of one of the saddest episodes in that history. He also makes it harder for conservatives who persist in the claim it was all a myth.
The Scottish Clearances: a History of the Dispossessed 1600 to 1900, by TM Devine, is published by Allen Lane. To order a copy for £22 (RRP £25) go to www.guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99.
How UK Ravers Raged Against the Ban The 1994 Criminal Justice Act is responsible for the club culture we know today.
As far as bizarrely vindictive legislation goes, Section 63 of the 1994 Criminal Justice Act is up there with any other needlessly discriminatory British law. Giving police the power to shut down events featuring music that’s “characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats”, the clause was aimed unequivocally at one particular glass-eyed, cheek-chewing threat to the nation’s youth: the UK’s illegal rave scene. https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/vd8gbj/anti-rave-act-protests-20th-anniversary-204
Riot police fail to disperse unlicensed street parties anwhere in London – Harrow Road/Riverton Close, in Maida Hill, Newham, Kingston, West Kilburn, Clapham Common and Brixton
In another night of tension between police and Londoners, officers were called to a number of illegal raves across the capital
By Sam Truelove Senior reporter 10:23, 27 JUN 2020 https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/riot-police-pelted-bottles-missiles-18498729
Hundreds of people attended a handful of unlicensed music events across London in another night where police were attacked by revellers.
Riot police were reportedly pelted with bottles and other missiles as they attempted to disperse crowds in West London, while around 300 youths were seen drinking and listening to music in Kingston.
One man was arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm after police were called to a block party in Newham.
Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, says “consequences will follow” for those who attack officers and damage property as she promised to continue to shut down illegal parties in the capital.
Below are all the unlicensed music events that we are aware of which happened on Friday night (June 26).
Harrow Road/Riverton Close, in Maida Vale
Hundreds of people attended a block party in Harrow Road, West London (Image: Charlie Jones)
Police were first called to Harrow Road, in the area between Maida Hill and West Kilburn, to reports of an unlicensed music event at 3pm.
Reports on social media suggested hundreds of youths and young adults were at the event, with videos showing the group in a stand off with officers in riot equipment near a block of flats.
One video appears to show riot police being pelted with bottles and other missiles as they attempted to disperse the crowds.
MyLondon journalist Charlie Jones was reporting live from the party and said: “Violence started earlier tonight as police tried to break up a party just off the Harrow Road in West London.”
He added at 11.40pm: “Harrow Road party has moved a few streets down. Officers haves blocked most entrances. MC is saying three minutes left, suggests the police have given an end time.
“We’ve been on the last song for about 20 minutes now at Harrow Road party. Police still in position blocking main entrance/ exit with a hard line – no one let through.”
At some point during the evening, the party seemed to move to Riverton Close with the large group continuing to play music and congregate until the early hours.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said no arrests were made: “Police are responding to an unlicensed music event on Harrow Road, W9. Officers were called to the location around 3pm following concerns from residents.
“Officers engaged with the attendees, who refused to leave the location.
“Following engagement within the local community we are hopeful that crowds are dispersing. No arrests.
“A section 60 has been authorised in the vicinity until 6pms on Saturday, June 27. Officers will remain in the area in order to provide reassurance.”
One man was arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm after a gun was allegedly found at a block party in Newham.
Police were called to Hoskins Close at 4.49pm to reports of a large gathering of people who were setting up a sound system.
When officers arrived, a suspected firearm was discovered.
The crowds were dispersed and the man was taken into custody.
A spokesperson for the Met said: “A man has been arrested and a firearm has been seized following reports of a large gathering in Newham.
“Police were called to Hoskins Close, E16 at 4.49pm to a report of a large gathering of people who were setting up a sound system.
“Officers attended and dispersed the crowd, they remained on scene and a suspected firearm was discovered, it was immediately seized.
“Following enquiries in the area, a suspect was identified and was arrested for possession of a firearm. Officers remain in the area.”
Around 300 people attended an unlicensed music event in Kingston Riverside and Kingston town centre on Friday night.
More than 50 police officers were called to the area at 11pm to disperse the group.
It was the second time in 24 hours police were called to Kingston Riverside, with more than 200 people seen “drinking alcohol and playing loud music” on Thursday night (June 25).
A spokesperson for the Met said on Saturday morning: “At approx 11pm last night, over 50 officers from Emergency Response Team A, other South West BCU teams and Met Task Force enforced the dispersal order for Kingston town centre. Approx 250-300 people were removed from Kingston Riverside and the town centre.
“A dispersal order, issued under Section 35 of the Police and Crime Act 2014 remains in place until 12.29am [on] Sunday, June 29. This gives police the power to direct people to leave the area and not return within 48 hours. Anyone breaching this direction can be arrested.”
Hundreds of people were spotted on Parry Road in West Kilburn on Friday evening listening to music.
Videos posted on social media show revellers listening to the loud music at around 12am.
It’s understood the group moved from Parry Road to near Lynford Community Hall at some point during the evening.
A spokesperson for the Met said: “In response to the on going incident on Parry Road, W10 we have our eyes in the sky monitoring.”
Reports on social media suggest around 500 people were spotted on Clapham Common late on Friday night.
Again, loud music was being played through a sound system.
One person said on Twitter: “Clapham Common has 500 yuppies partying with a sound system. I don’t care except that 1 mile down the road is Brixton, where riot police turn up to shut down much smaller parties.”
Another tweeted at 12.40am: “People are still in Clapham Common park at this time. Bloody foxes.”
Police respond to the unlicensed music event in Blenheim Gardens, Brixton (Image: @MPSWestminster)
It’s understood there was an unlicensed music event on Blenheim Gardens, Brixton. on Friday night.
Police were called at around 12am and remained at the scene throughout the night.
A spokesperson for the Met said: “Public Order Trained Officers are on scene at Blenheim Gardens, W11 along with @NPASSouthEast dealing with an incident. We apologise for any inconvenience caused but we are worked to bring the event to a safe conclusion.”
What have police said?
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner says “consequences will follow” for those who attack officers and damage property as she promised to shut down illegal parties in London over the weekend.
Cressida Dick writes in The Sun that it has been a “very difficult week” in the capital, with officers coming under attack as they tried to break up crowds.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has promised to shut down illegal parties in London (Image: John Stillwell/PA Wire)
The commissioner said: “The officers I met this week were poised to deal with whatever they faced. Hundreds ready in full kit, should there be a violent or aggressive crowd to deal with.
“My message to those involved in thuggery and criminal damage is consequences will follow.”
The top officer earlier said the force had a “duty” to stop unlawful music events during the Covid-19 pandemic and vowed: “We will be prepared this weekend.”
She suggested the number of police injuries is now “heading up to 140-odd officers” in the past three weeks, including those hurt during protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the US.
The commissioner said: “We have seen some large numbers of people completely flouting the health regulations, seeming not to care at all about their own or their families’ health and wanting to have large parties.
“It is hot. Some people have drunk far too much. Some people are just angry and aggressive and some people are plain violent.
“We will be prepared this weekend. We have officers all over London working hard again to try to keep the peace and to protect our public from violence and disorder.”
Remote production, mass transportation and molopoly, environmental degradation
The economics of Empire.
450 to 1066 – Anglo-Saxon Charters grant land to ‘lay people’ (commoners), set-up the administrative areas that correspond closely to our modern parish boundaries. The earliest surviving charter of King Hlothhere of Kent was drawn up in AD 670.
1066-7 Norman invasion displaces Anglo-Saxon commons/ land ownership model. William the Bastard declares that all land, animals and people in the country belong to him personally. This was as alien to the Isle’s customs as the colonial land-grabs were to the First Nations of America. Still today, the monarch’s land monopoly remains, in theory and practise, a legal reality. Land is parcelled up and given as payment to Williams forces. We go from a country in which >90% of people owned land, to a country of landless serfs, themselves owned by foreign lords.
1066-70 The ‘Greenmen’ resist the Norman invasion. Wearing camouflage, they run guerilla warfare campaigns against the invaders who called them the ‘silvatici’ (the men of the woods).
1069–70 the ‘Harrying of the North’, William burnt down every building between York and Durham, and killed by starvation or sword over one hundred thousand people. Many of the largest land owners in this country still today proudly trace their family tree back to ancestors who were involved in this bloodbath.
1135 – 1154 Civil war during the reign of Stephen saw the strength of the regional lords/ barons rise relative to the Crown as they established political and judicial arenas other than those defined by the Crown- creating a degree of regionalisation. England’s population more than doubled during 12th and 13th centuries stressing the economically inefficient land monopolies.
1215 Barons forced King John to limit his own power by signing Magna Carta which restated certain ancient, customary rights. Some of which were pre-Norman, and likely echoed back to our ancient oral traditions, existing long before the Roman invasion.
1217 Charter of the Forest re-established rights for Freemen to access and make use of the Royal Forests without persecution.
1235 – Statute of Merton encouraged landowners to convert arable land into pasture, as demand for British wool increased. Displacing traditional peasant agriculturalists and farmers. Commons Act 1236 allowed lords to enclose common land. Wool was the backbone and driving force of the medieval English economy between the late thirteenth century and late fifteenth century the trade (a primary driver of enclosure) was called “the jewel in the realm” or ‘half the wealth of the kingdom’. Statutes of Westminster 1275/ 85/ 90- restrict subtenure/ sale of parcels of land (a threat to state land monopoly) other than to the direct heirs of the landlord. It was prompted by certain lords who were dissatisfied with increasing amount of subtenures. These restrictions gave rise to ‘livery and maintenance’ or ‘bastard feudalism’, i.e. the retention and control by the nobility of land, money, soldiers and servants via salaries, land sales and rent. In-effect, this was the start of modern wage-slavery, and still works today, to ensure the regions remain economically dependent on the core, via state subsidised and enforced land monopoly to restrict regional economic and thus political power.
Rising European merchant class capitalised on mass production of wool being facilitated by displacing agrarian communities.
British wool became very sought after in Europe. Increasing demand for British wool, led to more mass displacement of peasants–generating an landless ‘class’ of urban dependents.
Great Famine 1315 and the Black Death 1348 killed >1/3 of the population, forcing the landed classes to value the productive members of their society (the peasants) who grew all the food.
1337-1453, Hundred Year War vs France, financed by merchant capital to gain control of the Flemish wool industry and weavers.
1340-1380 purchasing power of rural labourers increased 40%.
1351/ 49 The Labourers Acts were the nobilities reaction to the rising bargaining power of peasants, they fixed wages to ‘preplague levels’, restricted free movement and price-fixed foods.
1377 John of Gaunt imposed a new tax, the Poll (head) Tax.
1381 Peasants Revolt : Kentish rebels joined by many townsfolk, entered London. They destroy gaols, burned down Savoy Palace (Gaunts home), plundered Lambeth Palace, burnt books and buildings in the Temple, killed anyone associated with the royal government. The following day, Richard met the rebels at Mile End and acceded their demands, including the abolition of serfdom & poll tax (the only promise not reneged soon after)
1400-1409 Owain Glynd r last native Prince of Wales (Tywysog Cymru) viewed as a de facto King, led the ‘Welsh Revolt’ rapidly gaining control of large areas of Wales. Eventually his forces were overrun by the English, but despite the large rewards offered, Glynd r was never betrayed. His death was recorded by his kinsman in the year 1415, it is said he joined the ranks of King Arthur, and awaits the call to return and liberate his people.
1450 – Jack Cade led an army of Kentish peasants (described by ‘Shakespeare’ as “the filth and scum of Kent”) the rebels persuaded first army dispatched to pack up & go home, skilfully evaded a second of 15,000 men led by Henry VI, defeated third army in battle, killing two of the king’s generals in the process.
1450–1451 John and William Merfold’s Uprising centred around Sussex, mostly comprised of artisans pillaging and killing local gentry and clergy. “[The rebels wished] as lollards and heretics, to hold everything in common.” – the King’s Indictment, 1451
1489 Depopulation Act ‘agaynst pullying doun of Tounes’, Kings introduce anti-enclosure acts, due to widespread clearances, and the depopulation of entire villages. There were to be 11 similar Acts & eight commissions of enquiry over next 150 years. Henry VIII legislates against early cloth factories & enclosures, a primary source of wealth for the emerging ‘middle class’ of land owners, but lacked the strength to fully implement his changes.
1515 Henry VIII orders all pasture be converted back to arable in an attempt to reign in fortunes being made by the merchants.
1536 to 1541 – Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII privatising church lands (then 1/5th of the land), generating even more landless people, wholly dependent on urban wage-slavery.
1549 Kett’s anti-enclosure rebels 16,000 strong, took Norwich. Kett was 57 years old and one of the areas wealthier farmers. Erection of Cottages Act 1588 “against erecting and maintaining of Cottages” by people with less than four acres of freehold land. Prevent people building homes, farming remaining common land There is a surprising amount of continuity, in ‘open field systems’ from the fourth millennium BC up until the Norman invasion. Communal land management originated centuries, perhaps millennia before the Anglo-Saxon era. In Anglo-Saxon land law or ‘folkland’, as it was called, land was held in allodial title by the group, individual ownership did occur but it was limited to ensure the needs of the group were met.
1607 the agrarian changes (depopulation, enclosure) in the Midlands had produced mass armed revolts of the peasantry.
1607 to 1636, Government pursued an active anti-enclosure policy. Charles I, the ‘Commoners’ King’ was ‘re-commoning’ lands enclosed by lords and merchants, just before Civil War.
1620 Sir Edward Coke ‘greatest of English judges’, and a keen opponent of enclosure, declared depopulation against the laws of the realm ‘the encloser who kept a shepherd and dog in place of a flourishing village community was hateful to God and man.’ Ethnically cleansing ‘peasants’ is a clear violation of our ancient Common Law of Tort which is ‘cause no injury, harm or loss’
1626–1632 The Western Rising was a series of riots in the Dean and other Forests against disafforestation of royal forests
“In 1633-4 we find a proposal that all inclosures made since James I. should be thrown back into arable on pain of forfeiture” Enclosers still prosecuted in the Star Chamber as late as 1639.
1638 in the Forest of Dean “The deer were to be disposed of, as demoralizing the inhabitants and injuring the young wood; the commissioners recommended ejecting the cottagers who had established themselves in the Forest, as often before, in defiance of authority, and who numbered upwards of 2,000, occupying 589 cottages, besides 1,798 small enclosures containing 1,385 acres. As to defraying the cost of executing the above works, the commissioners recommended the sale of about 440 acres of detached Crown land adjoining the Forest” Charles I gave a short break in enclosures, he’s then beheaded. Post civil war enclosures accelerated by a largely landowning Parliament, blighting our entire population to this present day.
1642-1651 English Civil War, old feudal v.s. merchant powers.
1649 Gerrard Winstanley with a peasant army, called the ‘True Levellers’ (later diggers) declaim the Earth a Common Treasury. The Diggers print radical protestant literature, aimed at reforming the social order with an agrarian lifestyle based on the creation of small egalitarian, self-sufficient rural communities, an ecological interrelationship between humans and nature, “true freedom lies where a man receives his nourishment and preservation, and that is in the use of the Earth.”
1659, Forest riots ‘probably excited by the efforts which the Government had recently made for the re-afforesting of 18,000 acres; to effect which 400 cabins of poor people, living upon the waste, and destroying the wood and timber, were thrown down.’ English nationalist discourse in the mid-17th century spoke of throwing off the ‘Norman yoke’ – i.e. feudalism, land monopoly.
1671 Game Act made it illegal to hunt wild animals, considered a common right since time immemorial. Also illegal for farmers to protect crops from rabbits, other animals. Starvation or crime. Around now modern banking arrived in England from Holland leading to a century of boom and bust bubbles, expensive wars in which banking families made huge profits funding both sides.
1680 in the FOD “there were remaining about 30 cabins, in several parts of the Forest, inhabited by about 100 poor people, (The Crown) had taken care to demolish the said cabins, and the enclosures about them.” These were not the Forest “free miners”, although “they had been born in it, and never lived elsewhere,” but as “cabiners,” who had to work seven years in the pits before they could become “free.” Freedom=Slavery. Glorious Revolution of 1688 leading to the Bill of Rights 1689.
1700-1850 Parliamentary Enclosures, no longer held back by sections of the Church, nor the power of Monarchs- enclosures increase exponentially in speed and size, urban slums grow too.
The economics of Empire.
Wool prices fall due to ‘foreign labour’ & importation of cotton. Lands enclosed for sheep must find a new purpose, early forms of mechanization allow landholders to still exclude peasants, at the expense of productivity, so land-monopolies are sustained. Burden of tax transferred from land (merchants/ manufacturers) to goods consumed. The remaining commons are enclosed, the final nail in the coffin of self-sufficient rural economy. Starvation.
By 1700 half all arable lands enclosed, by 1815 nearly all farm land was enclosed, hunting, grazing, gleaning rights all but lost.
From 1750 to 1820 desperate poachers were ‘hanged en-mass’
1790-1830 a third of rural population migrates to urban slums. Where they are put to work in factories, workhouses called by Blake the “Satanic Mills” of modernity, i.e. ‘Industrial Revolution’.
1788 Mr. Miles Hartland, assistant-deputy-surveyor stated to the Dean Forest Commissioners, “cottages and encroachments in the Forest have nearly doubled within the last forty years.”
1811 – 1816 Concerned that machines would replace their highskill labour, the Luddites smash machinery, threaten industrialist. Luddites were not anti technology, they were pro-workers rights. Early 1800’s Industrialist Robert Owen talks of a ‘moral rebirth’ and sets about improving the living conditions of his workers.
1800-1850 Highland Clearances led to the displacement of up to 500,000 Highland peasants and crofters, tens of thousands of which died in the early-mid the 19th century, to be replaced by sheep. A member of the British Aristocracy noted ‘It is time to make way for the grand-improvement of mutton over man.’
1808 Dean Forest Timber Act 1814-1816 11,000 acres enclosed
1831, Warren James with 100 Foresters, demolished enclosures at Park Hill, between Parkend and Bream. 50 unarmed Crown Officers were powerless to intervene. Soon a party of 50 soldiers arrived from Monmouth, but by now the number of Foresters had grown to around 2000 and the soldiers returned to barracks. squadron of heavily armed soldiers arrived from Doncaster and the day after, another 180 infantrymen from Plymouth James was sentenced to death, later transportation to Tasmania.
1845 – 1852 Irish Potato ‘Famine’, as British troops seized foods, to be exported at gun-point leaving the Irish population to starve.
1845 and 1849: 616 major landlords owned 95% of the British Isles and rented marginal lands to land-workers (peasants).
1849 Forest of Dean ‘a general feeling prevailed against the deer, on the ground of their demoralising influence as an inducement to poaching, and all were ordered to be destroyed, there being perhaps 150 bucks, 300 does. “if once men begin to poach, we can never reckon upon their working afterwards.” Mr. Nicholson’s statement before Lord Duncan’s Committee
1872 the British Government published ‘The Return of the Owners of Land’, only the second audit of land to have taken place in British history, the other being the Domesday book. After 2 years of gathering all the information the returns found that 1 million people owned freeholds, about 5% of the population. 10 Dukes owned over 100,000 acres each with the Duke of Sutherland owning 1,350,000 acres, 1/50th of the entire country. Return of Owners of Land, confirmed that 0.6 per cent of the population owned 98.5% of the land. Half of Britain was owned by 0.06% of the population. Findings still well hidden till this day.
Late 1800 industrialists build villages for workers, in anticipation of higher productivity. Strict, religious ‘rules’ concerning drinking, dancing, singing or fraternising with opposite sex were common.
Late 1800s – early 1900s land reforms start making headway, allotment acts, numerous attempts to introduce a land value tax- to return tax burden to large land owners. Landowners fear land may soon become a liability, so they sell >1/2million acres in a short space of time- though mostly to other large landowners.
1899 Commons Act permits district councils, national park authorities to manage commons for ‘exercise and recreation’.
1900-1946 ¼ of a billion Europeans die from war, famine or as a result of war. Enables land-grabbing on an unprecedented scale.
1920-47 Plotlands were the first chance for workers to own land and build dwellings on it – they lead to the invention of Planning Laws to prevent poor people building houses in the countryside.
1925 Law of Property Act s.193 gave the right of the public to “air and exercise” on Metropolitan commons, but not rural commons.
1925 Land registry begins, to-date about 50% of land registered.
1930’s ‘Green Revolution’, a euphemism for the petrochemical based agriculture of the (post-)war period, has succeeded only in finding and expanding new ‘markets’ for the petrochemical corporations who became incredibly wealthy and politically influential by selling fuel & chemical weapons during the wars. In fact, many of the insecticides and herbicides sprayed on our foods today are modified or sometimes even just ‘rebranded’ chemicals originally designed as weapons of war. Of course, the exact same chemical corporations also manufacture and sell pharmaceutical drugs, which make additional revenue ‘treating’ the ‘diseases of civilisation’ which so often result from exposure to these chemical. As the head of I.G. Farben infamously said… “we intend to make the human-body, our market place.” Currently more than 70 per cent of UK land is owned by fewer than two per cent of the population. Much of which is directly traceable to Guillaume (William) the Bastard/ Conqueror whose 22nd great-granddaughter sits upon the ‘English’ throne still today. Meanwhile, Britain’s 16.8 million homeowners account for barely 4 per cent of the land, about the same as that owned by the Forestry Commission. Today, Britain has the second most unequal distribution of land ownership on Earth, after Brazil.
1962 start of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), largest political bribery structure ever conceived by man.
1981, The Foresters won an exemption from Forestry Act’s land sales. Then MP Paul Marland quickly changed his mind about supporting the sale saying… “Today’s Forester is of the same independent mind and rugged character as were his forefathers. It is our duty to preserve his ancient rights and traditions”. Take note!
1986 Inheritance taxes finish off remaining Anglo-Norman landed gentry, well, those not already in-bed with ‘globalist’ financiers.
1996, 500 ‘The Land is Ours’ activists occupied 13 acres of derelict land on the banks of the River Thames in Wandsworth.
In 1999, the British activist group ‘The Land is Ours’ celebrated the Digger movement’s 350th anniversary with a march and reoccupation of Saint George’s Hill, site of the first Digger colony. CROW Act 2000 recognised ‘freedom to roam’ on common land.
2008, first low-impact development granted planning permission to Tony Wrench & ‘that round-house’, after attempted eviction failed.
2009, nearly a hundred activists converged on a piece of derelict land at Kew Bridge in south west London to create an ‘eco-village’.
2010 HOOF successfully fought nationwide forest sell-off from public bodies bill, leading to the government backing down and setting up the Independent Panel of Forestry, which concluded that, “
2012 Wilderness Centre reopened in Spring, Yorkley Court’s ‘disorderly settlement’ begins in the Autumn of that year.
2012 “Runnymede Eco-Village started by ‘the Diggers 2012’ who are modelled after Gerald Winstanley’ Diggers of 1649. Successes of Low-impact development planning policy in Wales, under the ‘One Planet Development’ scheme -the flagship project is Lammas eco-village in Pembrokeshire. Oxford University produces a DNA map of Britian which reveals that “most people in Great Britian still live in the tribal teritories which existed over 1000 years ago.” Geneticist Professor Sir Walter Bodmer of Oxford University said: “What it shows is the extraordinary stability of the British population. Britain hasn’t changed much since 600AD.
The law locks up the man or woman,
Who steals the goose off the common,
But leaves the greater villain loose,
Who steals the common from the goose.
~ Unknown Poet.
“I have persecuted the natives of England beyond all reason. Whether gentle or simple I have cruelly oppressed them; many I unjustly disinherited; innumerable multitudes perished through me by famine or the sword……I fell on the English of the northern shires like a ravenous lion. I commanded their houses and corn, with all their implements and chattels, to be burnt without distinction, and great herds of cattle and beasts of burden to be butchered whenever they are found. In this way I took revenge on multitudes of both sexes by subjecting them to the calamity of a cruel famine, and so became a barbarous murderer of many thousands, both young and old, of that fine race of people. Having gained the throne of that kingdom by so many crimes I dare not leave it to anyone but God.” William the Bastard’s death bed confession according to Ordericus Vitalis c AD 1130
“Now this sweet vision of my boyish hours. Free as Spring clouds and wild as summer flowers is faded all – a hope that blossomed free. And haft been once no more shall ever be. Inclosure came and trampled on the grave Of labour’s rights and left the poor a slave.” ~ John Clare (1793 – 1864)
“The power of enclosing land and owning property was brought into the creation by your ancestors by the sword; which first did murder their fellow creatures, men, and after plunder or steal away their land, and left this land successively to you, their children. And therefore, though you did not kill or thieve, yet you hold that cursed thing in your hand by the power of the sword; and so you justify the wicked deeds of your fathers, and that sin of your fathers shall be visited upon the head of you and your children to the third and fourth generation, and longer too, till your bloody and thieving power be rooted out of the land.” A Declaration from the Poor Oppressed People of England:
EP Moore and writer-producer Gibbs told Deadline they discovered today that their film, which has racked more than 8.3 million views in a month-plus, was taken down from YouTube after a copyright claim was lodged against the documentary over four seconds of footage it contains.
‘This attempt to take down our film and prevent the public from seeing it is a blatant act of censorship by political critics of Planet of the Humans,’ Gibbs said in a statement provided exclusively to Deadline (read it below). ‘It is a misuse of copyright law to shut down a film that has opened a serious conversation about how parts of the environmental movement have gotten into bed with Wall Street and so-called ‘green capitalists.’ There is absolutely no copyright violation in my film.’
The four-second clip subject to the copyright right claim comes 37 minutes into the documentary, in a sequence titled ‘How Solar Panels & Wind Turbines Are Made.’ The footage shows a mining operation for rare earth metals, which are used in wind turbine manufacture. Gibbs says he incorporated the footage under ‘fair use,’ an exception to copyright law that allows news reporters, producers and documentary filmmakers limited access to copyrighted material to illustrate points.
British environmental photographer Toby Smith tweeted over the weekend that he shot the footage in question for an unrelated documentary project. In a since-deleted post to his verified Twitter account, Smith dismissed Planet of the Humans as ‘bull-shit’ and suggested it was filled with ‘endless’ copyright infringements in addition to his own material. He told a British publication it was he who filed the copyright infringement claim with YouTube.
YouTube automatically notifies content creators of any copyright infringement accusation lodged against them and provides a dispute adjudication process. A representative for Moore and Gibbs confirmed the filmmakers formally contacted YouTube to deny the infringement claim, citing fair use.
‘We are working with YouTube to resolve this issue,’ Gibbs wrote in his statement, ‘and have the film back up as soon as possible.’
In the meantime, Moore and Gibbs have made their documentary available for free on the Vimeo streaming platform.
Moore posted Planet of the Humans to YouTube on the eve of Earth Day last month. The film argues that purported ‘green solutions’ to fossil fuels offer a false promise of saving the planet from environmental collapse caused by global warming, over-consumption and resource depletion. Gibbs insists the environmental movement must address population growth and mass consumption if it is to have any real impact on what he sees as an apocalyptic scenario. The film also raises questions about possible financial conflicts of interest among leading environmentalists who back green energy, including former Vice President Al Gore and Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org.
The documentary, especially coming from the unassailably left-wing Moore and Gibbs and not righ-twing climate-change deniers, was bound to provoke a strong reaction. Among the environmental champions leading the charge against Planet of the Humans has been Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated director of Gasland. Fox led an earlier campaign on Twitter to get the docu ‘retracted by its creators and distributors,’ calling the film ‘shockingly misleading and absurd.’
The effort by Fox triggered its own backlash, with the writers organization PEN America labeling it attempted censorship. In his statement to Deadline, Gibbs once against decried any attempt to keep the film from reaching the public.
Here is Gibbs’ full statement to Deadline:
This attempt to take down our film and prevent the public from seeing it is a blatant act of censorship by political critics of Planet of the Humans. It is a misuse of copyright law to shutdown a film that has opened a serious conversation about how parts of the environmental movement have gotten into bed with Wall Street and so-called ‘green capitalists.’ There is absolutely no copyright violation in my film. This is just another attempt by the film’s opponents to subvert the right to free speech.
Opponents of Planet of the Humans, who do not like its critique of the failures of the environmental movement, have worked for weeks to have the film taken down and to block us from appearing on TV and on livestream. Their efforts to subvert free speech have failed, with nearly eight and a half million people already viewing the film on YouTube. These Trumpian tactics are shameful, and their aim to stifle free speech and prevent people from grappling with the uncomfortable truths exposed in this film is deeply disturbing.
PEN America, which was founded in 1922 and fights for the free speech of artists in the U.S. and around the world, came out strongly and denounced the initial attempt to censor this film, and we hope all champions of free expression condemn this act of censorship. We are working with YouTube to resolve this issue and have the film back up as soon as possible.’
White-tailed eagles disappeared from English skies in 1780, but held on in Scotland until 1916. Now these birds, which spend hours perched on a lookout before soaring to high altitudes, have made a comeback of late.
Also known as the fish eagle, they are the UK’s largest bird of prey with a wingspan of up to 2.5 metres. They became extinct here early in the 20th century due to illegal killing.
But thanks to Forestry England and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, who are leading a project to reintroduce them, releasing a group on the Isle of Wight last year, they may become a more frequent sighting in the skies near you. They are currently GPS tracking four young birds making their first big trips. During winter, they were sedentary, but with better weather they have flown from their nests to Somerset, Kent and Norfolk. Two brave birds, G318 and G393, have flown up as far north as Yorkshire to roost. Campaigners are appealing to people for sightings and photos. The birds have black-ridged tails, a hooked yellow beak and golden eyes with yellow legs and talons.
Evidence from the Netherlands, where there is a small but growing population of white-tailed eagles, shows that the species will readily nest in densely populated areas, close to people.
As a generalist predator, an animal that thrives in a wide variety of environments and scavenges on dead animals, white-tailed eagles favour fish in spring/summer, with water birds in autumn/winter, but also take rabbits and hares.
RSPB has been inundated with reports of unlawful killings of birds of prey
Targeted bird in the last six weeks include buzzards, red kites and goshawks
Charity says criminals are using the lockdown to shoot the protected birds
Intentional killing or injury of animals covered by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 comes with an unlimited fine or up to six months in jail
Raptor Persecution in the Forest of Bowland – a video interview with Terry Pickford
https://raptorpolitics.org.uk/2019/09/22/raptor-peresecution-in-the-forest-of-bowland-a-video-interview-with-terry-pickford/ Terry Pickford a founder member of the North West Raptor Group (1967), provides his views in the attached video of the ongoing raptor persecution taking place throughout Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland. Terry points out that the persecution of raptors in his opinion is currently much worse now than it was 40 years ago. Many followers will be astounded to learn that since 2006 Peregrine nesting pairs in the Forest of Bowland have been reduced from 18 to a single breeding pair, with many breeding territories completely destroyed making their future use impossible. No one will be surprised to learn both the Peregrine and Hen Harrier are now being forcibly restricted from settling to breed on all of Bowland’s privately owned shooting estates, being contained to one estate owned by United Utilities Plc.
Welcome to VFS Videos, this is a short video of Graham Clark interviewing Terry Pickford a founder member of the North West Raptor Protection Group discussing Raptor Persecution In the Forest of Bowland, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the North West of England, United Kingdom. Terry talks about the plight of Peregrine Falcons, Hen Harriers, Goshawks, Short Eared Owls and other birds of prey in the Forest of Bowland. The interview was conducted just below the summit of Burnslack Fell. Click Link below to go to the North West Raptor Protection Group website:- https://raptorpolitics.org.uk/ Click the following link to subscribe to the VFS Videos Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/vfsvideos We can also be found on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/vfsvideos/ We also have a Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/grahamcvfs Thank you for watching this video. If you enjoyed this video please like the video and subscribe to our channel. More videos coming up.
Ash is one of the last trees to come into leaf in late April/early May and these articles were published as ash buds were opening. Only here in Gloucestershire many of them are not.
Round Cheltenham, Stow-on-the-Wold and Evesham roughly three-quarters of even the most mature ash trees, estimated age around 200 years old. have new growth on less than half their branches. In the ash woods, and in much Gloucestershire woodland ash predominates, you can see only sky which would normally be entirely blocked out by new green leaves. Many of the ash trees have no growth whatever, looking no different to their winter adornment. entirely grey and bare.
So is 2020 the year it became clear that rather than having been beaten by science, ash dieback could be every bit as bad as the dutch elm disease that wiped out Britain’s elm trees in the early 1970s, apart from a few thousand on the south downs and one the queen was looking after in Edinburgh.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), of which she is a member, has been prominent in Kerala’s governments since 1957, the year after her birth. (It was part of the Communist Party of India until 1964, when it broke away.) Born into a family of activists and freedom fighters – her grandmother campaigned against untouchability – she watched the so-called “Kerala model” be assembled from the ground up; when we speak, this is what she wants to talk about.
The foundations of the model are land reform – enacted via legislation that capped how much land a family could own and increased land ownership among tenant farmers – a decentralised public health system and investment in public education. Every village has a primary health centre and there are hospitals at each level of its administration, as well as 10 medical colleges.
This is true of other states, too, says MP Cariappa, a public health expert based in Pune, Maharashtra state, but nowhere else are people so invested in their primary health system. Kerala enjoys the highest life expectancy and the lowest infant mortality of any state in India; it is also the most literate state. “With widespread access to education, there is a definite understanding of health being important to the wellbeing of people,” says Cariappa.
Shailaja says: “I heard about those struggles – the agricultural movement and the freedom fight – from my grandma. She was a very good storyteller.” Although emergency measures such as the lockdown are the preserve of the national government, each Indian state sets its own health policy. If the Kerala model had not been in place, she insists, her government’s response to Covid-19 would not have been possible.
That said, the state’s primary health centres had started to show signs of age. When Shailaja’s party came to power in 2016, it undertook a modernisation programme. One pre-pandemic innovation was to create clinics and a registry for respiratory disease – a big problem in India. “That meant we could spot conversion to Covid-19 and look out for community transmission,” Shailaja says. “It helped us very much.”
When the outbreak started, each district was asked to dedicate two hospitals to Covid-19, while each medical college set aside 500 beds. Separate entrances and exits were designated. Diagnostic tests were in short supply, especially after the disease reached wealthier western countries, so they were reserved for patients with symptoms and their close contacts, as well as for random sampling of asymptomatic people and those in the most exposed groups: health workers, police and volunteers.
Shailaja says a test in Kerala produces a result within 48 hours. “In the Gulf, as in the US and UK – all technologically fit countries – they are having to wait seven days,” she says. “What is happening there?” She doesn’t want to judge, she says, but she has been mystified by the large death tolls in those countries: “I think testing is very important – also quarantining and hospital surveillance – and people in those countries are not getting that.” She knows, because Malayalis living in those countries have phoned her to say so.
Places of worship were closed under the rules of lockdown, resulting in protests in some Indian states, but resistance has been noticeably absent in Kerala – in part, perhaps, because its chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, consulted with local faith leaders about the closures. Shailaja says Kerala’s high literacy level is another factor: “People understand why they must stay at home. You can explain it to them.”
The Indian government plans to lift the lockdown on 17 May (the date has been extended twice). After that, she predicts, there will be a huge influx of Malayalis to Kerala from the heavily infected Gulf region. “It will be a great challenge, but we are preparing for it,” she says. There are plans A, B and C, with plan C – the worst-case scenario – involving the requisitioning of hotels, hostels and conference centres to provide 165,000 beds. If they need more than 5,000 ventilators, they will struggle – although more are on order – but the real limiting factor will be manpower, especially when it comes to contact tracing. “We are training up schoolteachers,” Shailaja says.
Once the second wave has passed – if, indeed, there is a second wave – these teachers will return to schools. She hopes to do the same, eventually, because her ministerial term will finish with the state elections a year from now. Since she does not think the threat of Covid-19 will subside any time soon, what secret would she like to pass on to her successor? She laughs her infectious laugh, because the secret is no secret: “Proper planning.”
The Ecological Land Cooperative says small farms could and should play an important role in the future of our food system. It buys agricultural land, then divides it into small-holdings, gets planning permission for houses on each one then sells or rents the plots at well below market value. The idea is to allow new entrants into farming without the need for huge capital. We find out more and visit a vegetable farm in Devon that grows more than 50 varieties of veg on less than an acre.
Presented by Anna Hill
Produced by Heather Simons download/listen https://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/6/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/https/vpid/p08cc14w.mp3
An ageing population of farmers, losses of small and family farms, huge barriers to land ownership and an unprecedented environmental crisis see the social enterprise Ecological Land Cooperative (ELC) announce a new Community Share Investment Offer. The ELC’s plans for a mosaic of small ecological farms will regenerate rural areas – putting healthy food and a healthy planet centre stage.
Shockingly perhaps nearly half the land in the UK is owned by just 25,000 people – less than 1% of the population. And much of that land is dominated by industrial methods of production that come at great cost to the natural world. Yet there is another way. There is huge potential for the growth of agroecology – agriculture that works together with natural ecology.