‘What’s that eggy smell? Urgh, it’s the BNP’

Anti-BNP protest Leisure CentreDespite the rise of the debatably national-socialist UK Independence Party, one encouraging observation from this year’s general election is that no outright fascist candidate has stood locally, and the once-active Hereford branch of the BNP are rightfully a thing of the past.

Back in 2010 they brought in Newport idiot, John Oliver, as the prospective MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire.

The below article originally appeared in our June 2010 issue and reports on the protest we organised at the election count, attended by around 40 people.

 

Hereford BNP members were shown the contempt they deserve as they arrived at the election count on 6th May.

Fascist candidate John Oliver, and local leader Chris Gower, were among the BNP members to be pelted with eggs, glitter bombs and an endless barrage of abuse as they tried to make their way into the count.

Our supporters on the inside reported how John ‘Billy-no-mates’ Oliver never spoke a word all night and his ‘party’ were completely ignored by everyone.

As the results were announced, he stood on the platform like a “silly little schoolboy” clutching his egg-stained jacket and then promptly left without making a speech.

John Oliver held no public meetings and spoke at none of the election hustings, despite invitations. He failed to secure the necessary 5% of votes to save his election deposit. What a joke.

Herefordshire’s planning committee: A tale of councillor corruption

It’s that old open secret isn’t it: Herefordshire Council’s planning department is bent. You can’t put your finger on it but you know there’s dodgy deals that go on behind closed doors.

Cllr Phil Cutter taking a break from the corruption

Cllr Phil Cutter taking a break from the corruption

Those closed doors were thrown wide open on the morning of 11th February, when the planning committee met to discuss four applications, two of which were submitted by members of the planning committee themselves.

Naturally with a conflict of interest the two councillors were prevented from speaking on their own applications (and one couldn’t be bothered to turn up at all).

The committee heard of plans, submitted by Independent councillor John Hardwick, for 22 family homes and 11 affordable homes in Fownhope – a constituent village of the Backbury ward he represents.

The council’s principal planning officer concluded the application did not constitute a major development in local terms and recommended it for approval.

The chairman however, Tory councillor Phil ‘free lunch’ Cutter, ignored the professional advice and refused permission, claiming it was a major development. He then instructing council planning officers to find reasons to support his view in the formal refusal, despite their recommendation it be approved.

On to the application by the absent Tory councillor, Dave Greenow, for a three-bed house in Dinedor.

Fellow Tory councillor, Peter Sinclair-Knipe, spoke up in favour, giving it all the emotional X Factor sob-story of ‘personal family circumstances’ and the ‘demands of modern farming’.

Despite these amateur dramatics other members of the planning committee noted that:

• “The applicant had failed to engage with the planning process and provide information required to support the application.”

• “The application was contrary to policy. Information to support approval having regard to paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework had not been provided.”

• And crucially, it was recommended for refusal by the principal planning officer, who said the application had originally been for an agricultural dwelling “but evidence to support the functional need had not been provided”. The officer said the current application was for a house on the open market, in open countryside, and on that basis should be refused.

This time the committee chairman, Free-lunch Cutter (who is Greenow’s “best buddy”, according to one councillor we spoke to), approved the application with a nod.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how corruption works.

Lime trees not limelight

The fight to save the Edgar Street trees continued this week with a demonstration of local residents and activists. Those who attended made their feeling known with music, song and the redecoration of the trees. It was a good turn out for the first demo, but almost inevitably it was hijacked by politicians. In the resulting video that was produced from the demo (which can be viewed here) these politicians feature heavily.

All residents of Hereford have an opinion on the trees, politicians included, but why they have to be thrust to the front of the campaign is unclear. Councillors from the ‘It’s their County’ party in particular have a bad record when it comes to community led organisations. Lets not forget that they destroyed the anti-Edgar Street Grid campaign in order to get themselves elected. And since when did the Tory party give a shit about the environment. Clearly for these individuals the limelight is far more important that the trees.

The people who really matter are those directly affected by the planned road widening scheme. Local residents like Anne-Marie Dossett who are working tirelessly to ensure that the public are listened too. These are the people who are driving the campaign, and should be commended for doing so.

What matters is the opinions of local people who feel passionate about saving these trees. Let hope their views aren’t ignored in favour of self serving politicians

The fight continues.

Hereford city cycle network to be expanded

There has been mixed reaction to the news this month that Herefordshire Council plans to postpone the Broad Street development in favour of upgrading the city’s cycle network.

Rush hour in Hereford

The Council is claiming it’s listened to the concerns of the public after holding community consultations! This would be first. Herefordshire Tory Party, as we well know, only listen to the rich, the masons and the church. Councillor Graham ‘funny handshake’ Powell, cabinet member for education and infrastructure, also claimed that “Although improving Broad Street would have completed improvements made in the city centre over recent years, it is clear that in the current economic climate, now is not the right time to go ahead with the scheme.” So why aren’t you postponing the ESG Graham?

Meanwhile elsewhere in the council, the It’s Our County mob are trying to gain a bit of credit for the councils u-turn. “We know we were a major part of this decision even if the official statements don’t mention our part.” claim the IOC leadership.

The truth behind the councils decision more likely to be linked to future road building rather than political point scoreing. On more than one occasion Herefordshire Council has been told by the Department of Transport that money will not be made available for a by-pass until alternative traffic alleviation schemes have been tried.

The money for the Broad Street development is coming from Destination Hereford: a programme funded by the same Department of Transport. The programme aims to “reduce congestion, increase low carbon transport use and support sustainable economic growth around Hereford”. Common sense would tell you that upgrading the cycle network fits this remit far more that the Broad Street plans.

Don’t get us wrong, we support the idea of improving the cycle network. It could have a lasting positive impact on the traffic congestion in the city, but only if the money is spent wisely and effectively. Unfortunately, with this councils record of delays and fuck ups, it’s quite possible that this could go the same way as all their other ‘great’ ideas.

@Rural_Anarchist

In Praise of Anarchy

This article, written by Dmtry Orlov, has been posted on the Post Carbon Insitutes infomation website www.energybulletin.net Does this mean that the environmental movement is coming round to the ideas of Anarchism?

Once upon a time there lived a prince. Not a fairytale prince, but a real one, his bloodline extending back to the founder of Russia’s first dynasty. It was his bad luck that his mother died when he was young and his father, a military officer who paid little attention to his children, remarried a woman who also took no interest in him or his brother. And so our prince was brought up by the peasants attached to his father’s estate (he was born 20 years before Russia abolished serfdom). The peasants were the only ones who took an interest in him or showed him affection, and so he bonded with them as with his family. And so our prince became a traitor to his own class.

Peter Alexeyevich Kropotkin is our prince’s name, and he eventually became a renowned scientist who advanced the understanding of the history of glaciers, an historian of revolutionary movements, foremost theoretician of anarchism, and, because of his lifelong burning desire to do something to help the plight of the common man, something of a revolutionary himself. His memory has not fared well over the 90 years that have passed since his death. On the one hand, he suffered from being associated with the Bolsheviks, although he never spoke out in favor of state communism or dictatorship of the proletariat. On the other hand, a major effort has been made by Western capitalist régimes to denigrate anarchism and equate it with terrorism.

I would like to rehabilitate both Kropotkin and anarchy. People who bother to read Kropotkin’s lucid and unpretentious writings quickly realize that he is first of all a natural scientist, who approached the study of both nature and human nature using the same scientific method. He was also a great humanist, and chose the path of anarchy because, as a scientist, he saw it as the best way to improve society based on successful patterns of cooperation he observed in nature. He had no use at all for the vague metaphysics of Hegel, Kant or Marx. He also had no use at all for the imperial state, be it communist or capitalist.

Kropotkin was an advocate of communism at the level of the commune, and based his advocacy on its demonstrated superior effectiveness in organizing both production and consumption. His examples of communist production were the numerous communist communities that were all the rage in the United States at the time, where the numbers showed that they produced far better results with less effort and in less time than individuals or family farms. His examples of communist consumption included various clubs, all-inclusive resorts and hotels and various other formal and informal associations where a single admission or membership fee gave you full access to whatever was on offer to everyone. Again, the numbers showed that such communist patterns of organization produced far better results at a much lower overall expense than various capitalist pay-as-you-go schemes.

Kropotkin was definitely in favor of grass roots communism, but I could not find any statements that he had made in favor of communist governance. He spoke of the revolutionary change—change that required a break with the past—as necessary in order to improve society, but he wished that it would be a spontaneous process that unleashed the creative energies of the people at the local level, not a process that could be controlled from the top.

He spent a long time living in Switzerland, before the Swiss government asked him to leave, during which time he radicalized a large number of Swiss watchmakers, turning them into anarchists who, we must assume, practiced their anarchy with great precision. Based on his observations, he came to see revolution as rather likely. Again, he wished for it to be an anarchic phenomenon.

Based on this, I feel it safe to conclude that Kropotkin was not exactly a revolutionary but more of a scientific observer and predictor of revolutions who saw them as increasingly likely (and in this he was not wrong) and kept hoping for the best as long as he could. It also bears noting that he declined to accept every leadership role that was ever offered to him, and that his participation in the Bolshevik revolution in Russia was nil: he returned to Russia from exile as soon as he could, after the revolution of February 1917, but quickly removed himself to his home town of Dmitrov, north of Moscow, where he died in 1921. He wasn’t exactly popular with the Bolshevik leadership, but they could not touch him because he was so popular with the common people.

Dmtry Orlov

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