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Living in a Time Warp

I like to entertain the notion that I am not such a narrow-minded individual as to immediately lie down in the road and object to every last thing that comes of out of our coalition government’s mouth, but yet again my heart sinks as George Osborne has his moment of: Georgie Porgie’s not for turning on the television yesterday.

He has to stick to the plan of cuts, he said, because mind-changing would induce market panic. Maybe so. Then he was so dismissive of the unions that I would like to poke him with a sharp stick. Apparently, he hopes to sort out a possible wave of strikes by having a “mature” conversation. Of course the implication was that a union was not capable of such a thing. He also said he’d be willing to change the union laws to prevent striking if necessary and, if that were not outrageous enough, he proceeded to tell unions what was best for their members anyway i.e. what he proposes.

What rank arrogance. How long I will have to wait for that man to come a cropper, I do not know, but please let it be soon. Get after him Mr Balls, and get after him good.

Aside from the jaw-dropping conceit of the Chancellor, we are also witnessing the Tories scratching around like Old Mother Hubbard for the odd crumb on the floor to flog to private interests. Maggie only left them the Royal Mail and the Forestry Commission (the NHS they only dare to give to GPs to run). I can be reasoned with over the Royal Mail, but the idea of handing over forests and woodlands to charities or community groups, knowing full well private landowners are going to pick up the slack, is plain depressing.

Many communities can barely function as a community; thanks in part to this shower’s ideological inspiration. Remember there is no such thing as society…just individuals…and families. Those communities that remain, struggle to effectively run a community centre without support from the local council, so how the heck are they going to effectively manage a forest? It’s not just a case of listening out for falling trees and letting nature take care of the rest; it involves hard work, dedication, skilled management and conservation. In fact, all the things the Forestry Commission currently delivers. Please don’t be hoodwinked people. The Government say they want to hand us our own forests to share and enjoy together, but we haven’t got the time, the energy or the expertise to do it. This is nothing more than a money-making exercise that will leave much of our forests in the hands of private individuals. And don’t think they’ll want the likes of us tramping about on their land; not unless we are prepared to pay handsomely and join a pheasant shoot or summat.

Thankfully, and I never thought I would write this, Melvyn Bragg is on the case. Go Melvyn…

The Forest of Dean: not being flogged