What to look for in spring:
A pair of collared doves sit, absorbed in grooming themselves, on the falling-apart fence atop the wall at the bottom of the garden: ruffling neck feathers, combing wing feathers with those wicked-looking hooked black beaks. One leans over, and worries ferociously at the other's neck plumage; it's mate (male and female are pretty much identical nb) returns the favour: tugging out and then smoothing down the other's tail fan. A robin picks at dried mealworms, darting to and fro from the bay laurel: keeping the doves under observation. In the garden pool, six frogs, or maybe seven, enjoy a mating party in a tangle of weeds, bellies, kicking feet and golden eyes, while three red goldfish drift around them, basking in the sunlight.
I've done good work on my story for the estimable Athena Andreadis
this week, but today I'm slowed down, head thick with a cold, and its Friday. The sunshine is a little wasted on me.
Credible And Reliable Evidence
Announced on Common Dream this week, "credible and reliable evidence of US Military torture in Afghanistan"
Well, fancy that! I also hear there's credible and reliable evidence that, despite pleasant rumours to the contrary, Shaker Aamer
, along with one or two others, is still incarcerated, and likely to remain so, in the most brutal conditions, in Guantanamo Bay.
And if by chance you have not yet watched this movie, you really, really should. Watch it now.
Doctors of the Darkside
Nobody's stopping you. When you've watched the movie, you might wonder why not.
They know they don't need to stop you. You'll shudder, but you won't do a thing.
Everybody should "know" about these things (easy problem). Everybody should think about what these things mean, in the context of the "radicalisation" of young Muslims, and equally, in the rising level of acceptance, globally, of the legitimacy of torture, and the evil power this acceptance has over all our lives. Hard problem. Everybody should think, think think about where the heart of darkness in this 21st century world of "terrorism" lies; exactly where it all springs from. And fight this plague with all their power. Harder still. We do nothing, or nearly nothing. We just go on, dimly feeling that the world is getting to be a worse and worse place
, an evil place, even. Never joining the dots, and mostly never considering
taking any remedial action.
"It's pointless. You'll never get anywhere."
I'm not Amnesty International's biggest fan, and I definitely did shudder when I came to the line in their "recommendations" that says "a qualified medical practitioner should be present" at every interrogation. Aaargh! But follow this link, if you want to do something, not nothing. Stop Torture
My Fracking Round Up
When I saw the last minute amendment, effectively clawing back the concession that fracking was to be banned from Natural Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, I thought to myself, immediately, Balcombe is in an Area Of Outstanding Beauty
. The Wisborough Green proposed drilling site is embarrassingly close to two extremely beautiful, valuable and highly protected nature reserves, Ebernoe
and The Mens
; not to mention a Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve immediately adjacent, and the South Downs National Park boundary 500m away.
Both these sites are showcases, flashpoints; centres of resistance in the Weald. Both of them were protected . . . for about ten minutes.
Infrastructure Bill amendment
September 2014, WSCC finds that the Celtique Energie proposal is fatally flawed. Road access to their proposed site is impossibly constricted, and they really should have picked a more suitable spot, in their huge licence area. Maybe further from nationally and internationally protected nature & wildlife preserves? For the first time, a community and a consortium of Natural Beauty & Wildlife Defenders have managed to get a fracking proposal turned down!
February 2015, WSCC suddenly decides to demolish a little bridge on a narrow lane, and replace the whole stretch of road involved with a 2 lane highway. Thus removing two major obstacles to the drilling plan: a weak little bridge, and a tree-canopied lane; both of them features that the villagers treasure. WSCC's spokespersons deny that this "improvement" nobody wants has anything to do with the drilling proposal, which Celtique Energie is still pursuing, through a public inquiry .
Do you believe
these people? I hate to hurt anybody's feelings, but I'm afraid I don't.
There's nothing I can do. Road improvements in West Sussex aren't my business. But for the record, there's a petition. If you have a WS postcode, please consider signing
And by the way, if you were clinging to the belief that "of course, fracking will be safer here" just have a look at this other adjustment in the small print:
I started off objecting to the proposed fracking operations in the Weald because I live here*, I know what fracking looks like, and when I checked the facts, I soon found out that, even if you believe that cr*p about methane being a safer alternative to other fossil fuels, there were no commercial reserves, so it was just pure nonsense. But what I've learned since is all about corruption. The dirty rotten private personal
deals that those who govern us make, with the corporations and their lackeys, to steal our land, our water, our natural resources, even the air we breathe. The world over.
Oh, and another by the way
. Remember how we were promised that the NHS would be protected from TTIP? So the corporations would not be able to take the NHS to court, at ruinous cost, for trying to be affordable or for reversing privatisation? It isn't happening
Nowhere is safe. There is no protection.
(no, I don't. I live in Brighton. Why don't I live in the countryside if I love it so much? Because I believe in cities, and in urban
development, as the real solution to the housing crisis
. And because am just about bright enough to realise that the UK is a small place and if we all go and live in the country, there won't be any countryside left.)
I don't like the new set up in New Scientist
, relegating the letters to the back pages. This might not sound serious, but it is. New Scientist
is read by scientists but written (bless) mainly by journalists. Practically every week, there'll be letters, from well-qualified persons, refuting, questioning, clarifing; and arguing with the content of the main articles. New Scientis letters aren't a cutesy extra, like Feedback
(excuse me Feedback, but you are
cute). They're integral. So, New Scientist people, please change it back! Now!
I may start a petition.
& looking forward to the third episode of the "Jonathan Holt" (it's a pseudonym) Carnivia trilogy. The second episode The Abduction
featured such a visceral and phenomenally accurate account of those practices the US government has defined as "not being torture" (start with walling, proceed to waterboarding. Don't forget the diapers the naked victims must wear, to save the torturers a messy job) I wonder where on earth Mr Holt is going next. Warning, some amazon respondents (.com
) have found Mr Holt's treatment of this sensitive subject "anti-US". And some have not.