Trees come down in Edgar Street – it’s not the end of the world

Tree felling Edgar StreetTen trees were cut down in Edgar Street yesterday to make way for an additional road lane at its southern end.

The operation was carried out early on Sunday morning by national firm Acorn Environmental Management Group, leaving only four of the 14 lime trees standing.

Campaigners had fought to halt the plan and had been in discussion with the Highways Agency and council to come up with an alternative solution.

Unsurprisingly the news was not well received by those involved in the campaign. In fact it’s safe to say that many people became hysterical, as though someone had been assassinated.

Talk was of the underhand, dirty ‘tactics’ of felling the trees early on a Sunday when there was little traffic around; how the trees had been ‘murdered’ by ‘vandals’; and how people were distraught at the actions of a council that they thought was listening to them.

It wasn’t a fair fight said one (it never is).

Various individuals have since encouraged civil disobedience in retaliation including stopping traffic in Edgar Street, wedging potatoes in the council leader’s car exhaust and a tongue-in-cheek comment (we hope) of desiring an American with a gun to come and wreak revenge on Herefordshire’s elected representatives.

All this for 10 trees. It’s a shame some of the same anger was not vented over cuts to adult social care, youth services or even public toilets.

The outrage, however, is now being turned into a loose campaign to kick out the ‘dead wood’ from the council: It’s Our County members are encouraging people to stand for election in 2015 and an online petition calling for a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the council is now slowly gaining momentum.

Yet this opposition is set to make the same mistakes again.

Outside of a few areas in Hereford city itself, It’s Our County has little support in the rural wards where it would be necessary to strategically unseat influential Tory councillors. And the cutting down of a few trees is nothing out of the ordinary in the countryside where many voters will be indifferent to yesterday’s events in Edgar Street. Without strong support from the villages the Tories will retain their grip on power in the county.

Now is the exact time to remember that the petition to save the Edgar Street trees failed, despite being signed by almost 3,000 people (and let’s not forget the It’s Our City petition against the Edgar Street Grid in 2009 that was signed by many thousands more but also had no effect). Calling for people to sign another petition as a show of no confidence in Herefordshire Council will ultimately fail. Let’s be blunt, it’s a complete waste of time.

If the aim is to kick out the council then more effective tactics need to be used. Drop the petitions, drop the fluffy yarn-bombing and start being awkward—Egypt didn’t oust Mubarak by knitting scarves did they.

Discontent with Herefordshire Council is widespread, although the motivations and solutions are many and varied.

If people are serious about breaking the council then we must take effective action: all their meetings should be picketed, rallies should held in Hereford and all the market towns. Mass flyposting across the county will spread a message of resistance and will signal a desire for change.

Power must be taken from the council with a strategy of ‘counter-power’: decisions should be made in our neighbourhoods and villages, and rulings coming from Brockington should be ignored and disobeyed.

Crucially we all must be involved, let’s not leave this to the (wannabe) politicians.

Hereford lost 10 trees yesterday, but let’s not dwell on it: worse things are happening and future injustices must be prevented.

12 thoughts on “Trees come down in Edgar Street – it’s not the end of the world

  1. This is the most sensible thing I’ve read written about the Edgar Street Trees. Thank you Heckler and ‘It’s Your Hereford’ on FB/Twitter for providing some reassuring sanity on the matter.

  2. The vast majority of Herefordshire people are totally asleep and have no idea what is really going on here.
    Perhaps a short study of what ‘sustainable development’ and Agenda 21 really are, might just nudge them into waking up. This is a global agenda gaining pace and very fast.
    This county like all other counties is run by the corporations namely the council and the lower courts – oh and not forgetting their buddies the police. Privatisation has been done by stealth. Does nobody ever question why a council has a CEO and a customer service department. Let us not forget that CEO’s can never be held liable for their companies actions!
    These companies collude, conspire and commit fraud on a massive scale in order to remove the wealth of the people. It’s nothing short of racketeering just like the mafia, except they have dispensed with their machine guns and use their criminal buddies in the courts to railroad through their unlawful actions and screw you over.
    They are answerable to nobody, they make the rules and they change them without warning to suit their corrupt agenda.
    The only answer is mass non compliance not letter writing, petition signing or demonstrating. They don’t give a shit.
    Hit them where it really hurts – stop paying their unlawful taxes which are a complete breach of trust law.

  3. Thank you for highlighting this, even if we do not agree as to the effectiveness of different modes of doing things. The petition, expressing no confidence in the Cabinet, was organised by me, and I am happy to discuss it with anyone.

    Believe me there is a great deal of anger over everything… this is not just trees, this is about the wholescale practice that seems to cloud everything in obscurity so that the facts are obscured. It is some of those facts of which not everyone is aware and which we shoudl work together to highlight. Facts such as:

    1 – Councillor Price said this morning that the plan was down to the Highways Agency. This was the same councillor, in charge of the counties transport, who said on radio two weeks ago, and I am paraphrasing, ‘Don’t ask me questions about transport as I’m just a farmer’. This was also the same councillor who said, last week at a meeting, ‘I don’t give a shit what local people think. I’m 65 and not standing again’.

    2 – The Highways Agency stated this afternoon that the project was suggested by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and Herefordshire Council. The MLEP dreamt up the scheme and suggested it. The board of the MLEP comprises members of HC’s cabinet. It’s things like this that we should be informing people about.

    3 – The whole budget farce needs highlighting – the sum of £3.8 million was double counted. The councillor who was responsible for this is now leader of the council. This needs highlighting. He blatantly refused to apologise.

    Yes, Herefordshire’s services are under threat, and yes, protest is a valid method, but the only time these people will listen is when we are about to take their jobs away from them, which is what happened with the schools review in 2008.

    So yes, protest away, leaflet in each of the wards, but there has to be an end for these means… stand as a candidate in each of the wards represented by a cabinet councillor… show the people that there is an alternative. They will listen when they don’t hear the tills ringing.

  4. Obviously this is less important than cuts to services, but the difference here is that while cuts have been forced on the council by reductions in funding from central government, this act of destruction is purely their decision. If the case can be made for widening the road then the land could have come from the development side of the carriageway. This would have cost the developers a few square metres of building space. The sad fact is that every time these councillors are faced with a choice between the needs of ordinary people and those of wealthy businesses, they will, without fail, favour big business.

    The “no confidence” petition is a nice idea but a waste of time. Even in the extremely unlikely event that it was effective, the same old dinosaurs would be voted back in. In many wards there simply isn’t a choice – either there is only one candidate or the choice is between a Tory and an “Independent” Tory, and even where there are alternatives the people of Herefordshire usually prefer to vote for familiar faces.

    • I couldn’t agree more,
      Voting wont change Herefordshire council, a change of system is what is needed but i fear that is far to a radical idea for those calling for change at the moment.
      It’s a difficult thing, i agree things are shit but i cant support a campaign that appears to want to change one set of politicians for another.

        • It’s not about simply saying that voting changes nothing.
          It’s more about looking at the system that is in place and looking for a working alternative.
          Brighton council is a good example.
          Lots of well meaning middle class people have been voted onto the council, but once there they realise that the sytem is fucked, and they end up passing legislation that attacks working people.
          We need real democracy not this sham.
          I dont trust anyone who says they want to represent me.
          I’ll represent myself thanks.

          • The biggest problem is, that most people don’t understand the system and can’t accept that neither their councils or their government give a shit. It’s my understanding that under their Agenda 21, local councils will be abolished in favour of a few supra regional councils which will screw us over even more. Even more worrying is that it’s rumoured that the arch sociopath Blair will get the top job in the EU.
            Democracy never works because democracy is mob rule. We actually have a corporatocracy in place operating under commercial law ie maritime law. They are nothing more than pirates, robbing us of our wealth. More and more draconian legislation creeping in removing us of our remaining rights. Has legislation improved society? No because it is nothing more than taxation.
            What they are doing is a total breach of trust law. They hold our legal titles therefore they are the trustees and responsible for all encumbrances – taxes, fines etc.
            If you shout anarchy, well great because the real meaning of anarchy is a civilised society that doesn’t need a corrupt government, with absolute freedom of the individual. If you abide by natural laws with respect for all, the world would be a much better place. We have all the laws we need, we don’t need legislation.
            People have to see the bigger picture and not be so parochial. With the announcement this week that the Federal Reserve are not going to taper quantitative easing, you should all be very afraid and get yourself prepared. When the global economy collapses (a mathematical certainty) your local councils will still come after you for their unlawful taxes and if you can’t pay, they will take everything you own including your home aided by their criminal buddies in the lower courts. Since 2008, there has been the biggest transfer of wealth in history from the 99% to the 1% and they haven’t finished yet. The middle class is the prime target for these corporate criminals.
            You simply have to get off their system and stop complying otherwise you are just feeding the monster. Divestment is the key

        • Well they haven’t necessarily won, Neil.

          Nevermind the anarchist society we’d like to see, if we had a vocal, powerful grassroots movement in the county that kicked up a fuss when the council passed rulings it didn’t like or kicked up a fuss to make them pass the rulings they wanted it would give a lot more of a voice to the ordinary person in the street. Don’t forget that their power lies in our subordination.

          The alternative would be to elect a different set of well-meaning councillors to replace the shower we have at the moment. But it would still be, what, 60 individuals governing a county of near 200,000. That’s not very democratic in our eyes.

          If we had an effective collective voice we could influence the council without having to wait til 2015 for an election.

  5. ‘Hereford Resident’ highlights the absurdity of a council having a ceo. The last one was plain lazy; the current one seems to be about as invisible as the Very Rev Anthony Priddis! But spare a moment, too, to reflect on the line of dullards and wankers who’ve been shuffled into the top slot as so-called Council Leader. First we had to endure the tedious diatribes of Roger ‘The Weasel’ Phillips. Then he tired of the job and handed over to that hapless ex-copper John Jarvis (aka Jarvis Cockup). But he got fed up with the flack after barely 12 months, threw in the towel (claiming ill health), but conveniently recovered to pick up the Health portfolio on the cabinet four weeks later. And now we have lacklustre Tony Johnson, who’s only been in post six weeks but has already earned the nickname Captain Mainwaring, after his piss-poor performance at a recent public meerting in Hereford. His background is rumoured to have been ‘with the TSB’. Judging by the simplistic economic arguments he marshalled together for a letter to the Hereford Times, I’d suggest that that previous existence was probably as a part-time employee at the Outer Hebrides branch of the TSB!

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