Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Report from my travels in the UK

 My days have been occupied by nostalgia tripping, (here is a link to my travel blog) and I have yet to be gripped with enthusiasm for anything progressive, although there are tell-tale signs of full allotment gardens, people growing a bit of food in their home gardens. I feel like I need to go cold-calling on likely looking people to get any kind of a sense of awareness, let alone urgency or resolve. The Steyning Downland Scheme (I went out with a gang of their rangers to do some work up by the Court Hill Barn on Saturday 9th after I arrived) are working hard to achieve positive ecological benefits, but if the rural environment was actually functioning as it should- producing food and fuel etc. for local use- the desired environmental outcomes would come forth as inevitably as night follows day. I suppose we must see it as a necessary stopgap measure until the real deal- if it ever comes...
 Yesterday (Sunday 17th) I visited my father Bill and his wife Davina in the afternoon, we had tea, quite a few bits were from their garden, and eggs from their neighbour that they did exchanged for salad things. I was heartened.
The price of food was a shock- per Kilo prices are cheap compared to NZ regardless of what basis you compare it, relative to exchange rate or proportion of earnings. Trouble is it's all crap!  The first meal I ate  I couldn't taste anything! Yesterday I went to Sainsburys supermarket on the way to Dads and shopped- a horrible, time consuming and surreal experience, by the way. On the basis of what I had experienced earlier with the "standard" stuff I bought organic, including organic vine-ripened tomatoes. Still crap- almost indistinguishable on flavour from the "standard issue" stuff. I would take this to equate to a similiar defecit of nutritional value. Now I really see the relevence of Kay Baxters prioritizing of Nutrient Density over merely being organic- in fact, certified organic is absolutely no warranty of fitness or quality, and in most cases has merely become a corporate marketing tool.  I am also reassured that the stuff we produce at the farm, although sometimes a bit scruffy-looking, is utterly superior.
 The political life of the country is non-existent. There is this (what should be a) huge scandal going on at the moment following the discovery that journalists at the Murdoch press had been hacking the mobile phone of a missing girl called Millie Dowler, deleting texts to make more space for new ones, giving her family hope she was still alive when in fact she was murdered, presumably to "enhance" the newsworthiness of the story. Turns out the Met.Police knew about this all along but "worked around it" and didn't tell the family or act against the journalist involved. Since this came out there has been a landslide of "me-too" cases indicating massive circumstantial evidence of collusion between the Murdoch press, politicians at the highest level, including Cameron the present PM who hired a News International exec. as a PR consultant just five months ago, and the Met at a very senior level.
 The government announced a Judicial Inquiry into the affair, the very next day the Met "arrested" the CEO of News International, one Rebekah Davies, which totally undermines the Inquiry because now the principal players at N.I. and the Met. have had all the time they could possibly need to collude on their story at the Inquiry in the privacy of a police interview room. Likewise, Davies (and I presume also the police) can now withhold evidence from the Inquiry on the grounds of "sub-judice" or self-incrimination. Murdoch, who has sworn to back Rebekah Davies to the last ditch, is presently in the UK but can't be sub-poenaed to appear at the Inquiry because he's not a British subject. In my view he probably could be arrested but this would undoubtably provoke a diplomatic crisis with the U.S. so not much hope there.

 Of course, to the Great British public, this- which should be a public outrage- is merely another soap-opera played out on TV. I am quite convinced that even viewing the "good stuff" (which, of course, 99% of people don't even go there) is toxic to the ability to reason. Stuffing the senses with endless (or perhaps even relatively small amounts of) sounds and images dissociated with the physical presence destroys the ability to distinguish between truth and fiction, relevent and irrelevent. Perhaps it is the effect of having a one-way relationship with a machine that cannot engage in rational discussion that reduces the recipients to banal idiocy.


  1. Looks like you're about as impressed by current UK events as I am... Glad I've got a stake in my local progressive patch to keen me sane :) http://etnet.org.uk/wordpress/?cat=17

  2. Dave, just posted a message at the link above. I am well impressed by the Highbridge Farm project. I will be travelling West in a few days, any way I can contact you to meet up?