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It's Only A Tree. But. . .

Wednesday 17th April, mild windless air; a soft overcast, downy grey and white quilted and threadbare blue. Forsythia and Almond blossom spring-flower gardens and birdsong outside my window. Coming down from Cumbria, having been, for a week or two, as offline as humanly possible if you leave all the chargers at home, we were quite shocked when the trees remained leafless as we hit the sunny south, but now I do believe Spring has sprung. Yesterday I brought in the traditional bowl of tadpoles, and placed a rather over-powering sugary hyacinth bouquet by my bed, to replace (at last) the chaste ivy and pine of the New Year.

I kind of miss the ivy and the pine, but their turn will come round again.

With some trepidation I checked SaveOurTree, and I'm glad to report the Seven Dials Elms (although there's some controversy about "root-trimming" going on today) seems to have made it through the B&H Council's lengthy deliberations. . . So far. Don't count on it. But a small triumph, as I have said, over Mr Gradgrind, and the whole brutal project of the so-called profit-motivated, so-called aspirational mindset: the sensible life, whose only passion is hatred, and a local news story that's been a useful corrective to popular assumptions. Everybody was having fun, last month, about the spluttering and shuffling of the "Green" controlled Council of Brighton&Hove. Greens caught in the act of planning to chop down a hundred year old elm tree! One of the sacred urban elms in this last stronghold of the English Elm, for no very good reason at all! What were they thinking!!. .
Many feeble excuses and much flailing about later, the genuine explanation seems to be that our Council, lead by our Green Council leader, looked at the tree, saw nothing of particular value, and didn't realise there would be a fuss. Fine. But why didn't they realise the tree was valuable all by themselves?

Maybe the answer is that the Green Party is not now, if it ever was, the party of the Natural World. Social Justice, yes (and a very necessary role too!). But trees, now: trees have to come last. A caring, inclusive and democratic Green society will enable everyone to do valuable work, follow their interests, interact with their community and enjoy nature. A Green government will have the courage to pursue responsible solutions to our social, economic and environmental crises through its commitment to fairness, citizen participation, shared responsibility, peace and environmental protection.

I don't want to be mean, I hope the Green Party is a little more sincere than the "greenest government ever" but Dave Cameron's copywriter could easily have penned that lot.

Nightingales may still be silenced at Lodge Hill, whichever Party is pulling the trigger. Trees and little brown birds really cannot be at the forefront or in the foreground for any party aspiring to govern. There's only one way to minimise the losses: to keep these people on their toes, we have to convince them, and keep on convincing them, that trees, and little brown birds, can vote. That there IS a party of the Natural World, and honestly, it isn't altogether, or even mainly, about "Green Jobs" or "Sustaining Economic Growth Responsibly". It's about the natural world for its own sake, it's about things many people aren't prepared to sacrifice; it's just for love.

PS Dear Plashing, thanks for the electroluminescent paint link. I don't think you could get straight from this stuff to Aoxomoxoa's neurologically controlled skull mask, but it's definitely a step on the way.


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vicky (Victoria) on :

Gwyneth, Sussex, 1970 memory lane, hearing your voice in the blog, and the voice of so much that we worked out together in those heady years, breaking open the box that they called education, reformulating the political. Love to you and P and the cat (butterflies, sticklebacks and trees), V.

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