My health ... oh, and YOU, Paul, of course
Welcome to UKHIppy
UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.
I run a monthly event showcasing the work of poets and songwriters, mostly local, mostly extremely good. Last month one of our regulars unusually gave a little detail publicly about some of his previous projects. He was in a band during the sixties based in a nearby town. They ended up moving to London and being managed by Robert Stigwood for a while. Several members of the band went on to make pretty big names for themselves playing in bands such as King Crimson, Bad Company, or with people like Arthur Brown and Brian Auger. My friend moved back to the area, but continued to play locally. We've been on the same programme many times.
My monthly gathering has a special showcase in a local festival next weekend and he was due to play again. I've just had a message to tell me he died earlier in the week. We were only discussing his spot a few days ago. I'll be dedicating the evening to him. Condolences to his family and feeling gutted. This is the part I hate about this getting older lark.
Maybe im just stupidly old fashioned but there was a time when if you wanted to make a constructive argument for or against something, you gathered all the necessary indisputable facts you could and lobbied every possible avenue to bring about the change you sought.
I cant help but feel the infantile pavement die-ins and other more aggressive tactics that are mostly causing inconvenience, annoyance or total bemusement only undermines the seriousness of the subject matter and confuses the message intent ...
I quite agree with you, NRT, that that is possible. It is made even more possible by much of the so-called main-stream media run by people who have a lot to lose if messages such as those being promoted by XR capture sufficient public imagination. Anyone that has been active in political activism over any length of time will know that messages, both truths and falsehoods, are pushed on to the majority of the public who weren't there by a handful of newspapers and the BBC. Public opinions become shaped by what they are told, which become magnified in the retelling. The MSM were very patient over decades telling lies about the curvature of bananas, loss of sovereignty and immigration. We all know how that played out by 2016.
By no means do I think that XR is the whole answer, but it has motivated people I've never before seen being active in engaging with environmental politics and has got people in the street talking in a way that I have not seen before. The table in the local shopping centre on a Saturday loaded with leaflets and a clipboard petition is ignored by most people. Most people don't even bother to find out what we're saving this week. If, however, one is asked, "What the hell are you doing?" it can start a conversation that would very likely not otherwise be had. That is when one has a chance to rehearse the arguments and facts and send someone away with a leaflet to back it up. Some of these people might even read it. I also think that there is the likelihood that many people involved in XR will develop more sophisticated means of getting the news out there. I accept that having a lie down will be as far as some people may get but, unless methods become more sophisticated, there will soon come a time when such actions will become as easily ignored as the Saturday morning petitions.
I'm only fluttering around the edges of XR, but I have attended a couple of public meetings that have frustrated the hell out of me. I don't understand how one can be "fighting for the planet's survival" and still be talking about continued consumption. Greenwashed consumption lite is still consumption. I don't consider myself a deep green activist. I simply try to be aware enough, like most of us I suspect, to do what I can to reduce my impact on the world around me. I am acutely aware that I could and should be doing more and carry the shame of my own hypocrisies with me everywhere. I do realise though that however much any of us does on an individual basis will never be enough while there are a few getting fat off the results of actions that are condemning the rest of us to a future that we are barely able to contemplate.
So, if I see XR reaching more people through their stunts, it is progress, however small. I suspect whatever any of us is doing will prove to be too late anyway. The science of climate change is moving events along even faster than most of us feared.
I didn't realise quite how much I've missed the discussions on here. It is really helpful to read the ideas and points of view of intelligent adults who make me think. Thanks for resurrecting UKH, Paul.
I don't have a problem with XR not being a "grassroots greenies" type of outfit. We all have to start from somewhere. Dark greens will always be there too. It is their point of view that has begun to get environmental issues out onto a wider canvas and at least being discussed across a range of political parties and in groups like XR. Whether we are moving fast enough with making the "right" decisions is another matter. However self-congratulatory some XR groups might sound it seems to me that discussions are now taking place among groups of adults that did not exist previously. Eventually those groups will either fold or greater awareness of individual responsibility will dawn. By the sound of it, I have been more fortunate than some of you. The group with which I have come into contact sounds a little more aware than some of the others people on here have experienced. Even so our group has some members very impatient for more disruptive action.
I live below sea-level and pretty much everyone around here will be affected when sea-level changes kick in. We are attending council meetings and and getting items on to the agenda with the intention of getting local authorities to declare a climate emergency, so we can then hold them to account for decisions they make. We have a number of members now functioning as elected members on local councils. One of the ludicrous propositions we think we can reverse on this basis is a proposed new road through the Waveney Valley. Our actions here have also targeted multi-national businesses. I mentioned Barclays Bank. The die-in happened outside a West Norfolk branch. The "bodies" were placed so as not to block access to the bank, although we did slow down the pedestrian traffic outside so we could inform people why we were taking action. Most people chose not to engage with us, but a lot of people did. In another action the group undertook a mass shop in a local Tesco and handed back all the plastic packaging in a stunt that was attended by the local press. In both cases the company managements were informed that we were coming and what we intended to do and why. An unintended consequence of both these actions and others is that employees are learning things about their companies they didn't know. I realise it would be naive to expect them to put their jobs on the line by making a nuisance of themselves, but a groundswell of discussion in the staffroom can become an added pressure to encourage change. The group has blocked traffic on occasion, but it has so far been for very limited periods (ten minutes or so) and the place has been chosen so that people claiming they are in an emergency situation can be pushed through. Maybe we've just been lucky, but most people forced to stop for a bit say they understand when it is explained why we are taking the action and that it is for a very specific period. Most seem to switch off an idling engine.
At the moment, the local press is reporting dispassionately. I expect that attitude will change if and when action is stepped up, so it is a balancing act to try and keep opinion on our side for as long as possible. For me, the jury is out about whether this is the best use of my personal resources, but it is a step further on from even the significant changes I have made to my own travelling and consumption habits over the past decade or so. I have had to face up to the fact that if everyone went as far as I have (and I can probably do more still) it will not make sufficient difference. We have to find a better way of measuring our standard of living than by gross domestic product alone. The solutions, if there are any, are hugely complicated and require the cooperation of governments at all levels and a different way of conducting business. I am not optimistic that sufficient solutions will be addressed any time soon, but neither can I carry on with business as usual.
... It's just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
With your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight ...
Apart from my objection to "outsiders" coming into London to mess up our city, I also think it's incredibly misguided campaign -- not to undermine the importance of the issue, more that I don't think this is a solution ...
Paul has articulated one or two of the problems I have with embracing the movement in its entirety. I don't like being in a gang or a tribe, but collective action is a proven way of challenging the status quo and in working for something better, often for a majority. However, large-scale actions outside our own geographical area seem antithetical to the aims of the rebellion, i.e. to change behaviours so that we consume less, respect the fact that we are only one of many forms of life, that (despite what the book of Genesis tells us, common sense would suggest we don't actually have a right to "dominion" over the earth, nor that we should continue to go forth and multiply) and that, having created a massive problem, we have a responsibility to do what we can to help the earth heal and rebalance.
I don't believe in prophets or saviours, but I do believe there are forces determined to feed us with misinformation and that there are people who are quite able to exploit others without the slightest concern about the effects of their actions on others. I think Greta Thunberg has been elevated into something well beyond what we need and I agree that turning her into an object of veneration is very unhealthy. However, her status has been defined by a machine that consumes and defaecates out what does not nourish its corporate needs. We see this happen repeatedly, particularly in the UK, where we are very accomplished at pushing someone up on to a pedestal where they become an easier target at which to throw stones until we smash our idol into pieces.
I spent a day with a London cabbie recently who said that the stoppages earlier this year cost him a lot of money. I understand and sympathise with that. In the past I have had to decide whether to cross a picket line to be able to work. On at least one occasion the picket was nothing to do with my line of work, (we just happened to be based in the same building), but I felt that next time around the employer could be coming for me, so I didn't attempt to access my workplace that day or any of the other days action was taking place. This is all part of the game that pits us against each other and the next layer up in the food chain watches us destroy ourselves. So, we do what we feel we must, but I don't think we need to feed into the monster that has decided whether or not our motives are honourable. Sneering at a group of older people who happen to have time and feel sufficient motivation to take a stand is not helpful in my view.
People are forced to come into "our city" for all sorts of reasons. I try to avoid it as much as I can, but I don't, for example, hear many complaints from London-born musicians about their work being taken over by "middle-class wannabes" who have to leave far nicer places in their home regions to get work in the capital's orchestras, theatres and clubs. Opportunities for some kinds of work simply do not exist in all regions. I was not happy to leave my lovely fenland floating home to spend many days fighting for something I believe to have been a just cause last year. It cost me work and I had to find somewhere to stay and money for food and rent, because London is where Parliament is located. I will admit to feeling some resentment that hundreds of people in the Fens who will be directly affected by the changes in the law I was fighting could not be motivated to get up and say something, or even write a letter and left it to five of us to take the heat (a postie, a delivery driver, a care worker, a bar-worker and a musician - ah yes, we, the bourgeoisie!).
I guess people choose to stay in London (the place of my birth as it happens) for varied convenient reasons. To talk about "outsiders coming into London to mess up our city" sounds like some people want it all ways. I take some rough with the considerable smooth of living in a remote place, but I've made my choice and I'm happy with that choice. I would imagine that other people can be happy with theirs.
As I mentioned, I continue to question the extent to which I can personally support some of the actions taking place. The local XR group has been discussing its tactics in raising awareness and influencing behaviours without alienating members of the population who have yet to realise the seriousness of the existential threat and the potential power they have to influence change. XR is a young movement and from what I have seen is learning. For my own part I could say. "Sorry for the inconvenience", but you know I wouldn't say it sincerely. I have been on far too many demos, rallies and actions that have been completely ignored by the mainstream media. Misguided it may be (I think the jury is going to be out on that for a while longer), but the XR action in London did at least attract some attention.
I guess we are all here because we care about our planet. I'm doing what I think is appropriate and what I believe I can, but I am also trying to learn how to do better. Meanwhile, the water continues to rise and the earth is burning.
Meanwhile, back on topic, I've been looking over the posts in this thread in the hope of some enlightenment and it has been helpful to read a range of views. I am not optimistic though.
Recently I've found myself being drawn into some local XR events. I have no doubt the intentions are sincere, but I am struggling to decide whether my actions are the most effective way I can help raise awareness and promote change. It seems inevitable that unless we change our behaviour on a massive scale we shall not be around for much longer.
To be honest, the whole situation seems utterly daunting. In recent years I have made a number of significant changes in the way I do things and in what I consume, but it is nowhere near enough. One of the interesting messages coming through XR, though, is that while we must all do what we can it will never be enough to make the kind of difference we need to prevent catastrophe. Governments need to be taking control now and not letting the multi-nationals run the game. Unfortunately governments, including our own, are in thrall to big business. One of the books I am reading at the moment is "Honourable Friends" by Caroline Lucas and, while her party's policies seem to be on the modest side of what is needed she does go some way to explain the extent to which many of her colleagues in the House seem to accept the status quo and.patronise and absorb into the machine anyone who seeks genuine change. To coin a phrase, we are doomed.
I've been fortunate enough to have had a full and interesting life, though certainly not one without its sadnesses and challenges, but I seriously wonder what the future holds for my grandchildren. I fear for them and the mess we've left for them. They should be scared and angry and many are, but I spent this afternoon in a French lycée talking to students during a project they are studying in their English classes about protest and protest songs and trying to get them to articulate what motivates them to want a better world. Part of my task was to help the kids express their concerns through music. One class wanted to write a song about gender inequality and they began to warm to the task as we wrote a song together and performed it, but the best idea the other class could come up with was to complain that their school day is too long (which it is, as it happens) so we made up an opening song statement about that. It was a start, but if this is the extent of the current cohort of 16-17 year olds interest in their own futures, I despair.
If we are to take the threat of our own extinction more seriously we have find ways to get the message out there somehow. We have driven half of all living species to extinction during less than a century and it looks like the planet is going to reboot well before the end of this one. Governments will not act unless they come under serious pressure. I read recently that it takes just 3% of a population to fuel change. That is why I was out on the street recently. As is apparent from some of the statements in this discussion already some people are inconvenienced by large-scale action. That is indeed regrettable, but I don't know a workable alternative. We have wasted the last few years on a political sideshow that is of absolutely no significance compared with what we have coming.
A dozen XR activists staged a die-in outside a local branch of Barclays a couple of weeks ago. While the curious were wandering by and wondering what was going on several activists managed to talk to some people who really seemed unaware that the situation is a grave as it is despite the publicity large-scale action has generated. I was asked along to come and sing a few songs and we noticed that people would stand on the fringes to watch the action, but also that listening to the music seemed to give them "permission" to do that. The next planning meeting I went to had a number of members of that newly informed public also in attendance. We plan to try and get the local councils to declare a "climate emergency" so that whatever policies they develop will have to put the environmental impacts at the heart of any planning. We collected signatures and took a letter into the bank to explain our concern at the bank's continuing support for exploitation of fossil fuel. Many employees expressed surprise that their employers were so deeply enmeshed in industries actively changing the climate.
I accept that all of this may show my own gullibility and naivety, and I am asking questions of myself all the time I am taking part, but could I look my grandchildren in the eye, if we have enough years left, and say I did nothing to try and enable them to get as much out of life as I have?
Personally I have doubts that Project Yellowhammer is simply about making preparations for the effects of an unruly exit from the European Union. I think it is turning minds to kinds of authoritarian control that will result as societies relocate in search of food and respite from the effects of our folly. Maybe it would just do us all a favour if the meteor hit first.
What a nice message to find in my junk folder! I'm glad I always glance through the messages before deleting.
I'm still living on my boat in the Fens (which seems mostly to be working as it should at the moment), when I'm not with French Whale Fan in Haute-Savoie (from where I am writing this message). We lost the fight against the introduction of the Middle Level Act, but our plucky band of dissidents managed to get about twenty amendments and undertakings written in during the Committee Stage - apparently unprecedented in a private bill. Spending eight days last year in Parliamentary Committees (including speaking a few times) wasn't exactly fun, but it was an interesting insight into how broken our democracy really is. Basically you can do what you like if you have enough money as long as you let the plebs think they are getting a fair say.
I've met up with a few lovely folk from here a few times and been to a number of good gigs. I'm still working (though not so much in schools these days [mainly gigging and writing] - even though FWF has got me going in to work with his premiers (16/17 year olds I think) on a songwriting project tomorrow) and finally released my first solo album in May. Taken part in a couple of XR actions locally. Played drum kit for the first time ever in a friend's band for a festival in Northampton a fortnight ago. So much fun and a huge change from the kind of percussion I normally play.
All much the same as usual really
New moorhen family growing fast. Six chicks this year. The swan family went past with the eight surviving cygnets. They started out with nine. Swallows have been swooping all day. I'm sure there are fewer dragonflies this year. Took an hour off to watch two kingfishers just sitting on a branch the other side of the river. The river was mostly quiet, but at one point three boats came through. The first and last took it very gently past our moored boats, but the one in the middle came by like a bat out of hell. His engine was screaming and he was creating a sizeable wash. French Whale Fan and I were not ready to stop watching the kingfishers and didn't want him to frighten them off. FWF made slowing-down gestures and as the man went by he called out that we might want to think about living in a marina. Tosser.
Very sad I have had to drop out of Dovedale. Last Saturday I busked a couple of songs during an XR action at a local Barclays Bank. This Saturday I'm drumming for a band at a festival in Northampton. Although I've played percussion for years I've never considered myself a kit drummer. I guess the band ran out of people to ask and came to me. I was very anxious about it till the rehearsal last Friday, but it was a lot more enjoyable than I feared it might be and I felt I made a reasonable contribution to the sound. The other musicians in the band are people I rate highly and I didn't want to let them down. So, another rehearsal tomorrow and lots of private practice in the between-times. I'm not anticipating a change of career, but maybe I'll end up doing a bit more drumming?
Yes, I saw the FB post the other day. Condolences to friends and family.
Having been brought up in a cult that would have had "moral concerns" about dispensing some medicines (even condoms in my day!) I can appreciate the kinds of pressure a believing practitioner might experience. I think the problem comes because of the belief that they have some kind of "truth" and everyone is potentially a convert.
Until and unless everyone can accept that everyone else is entitled to make their own pathway through life I can't see this changing. Until then anyone who is not prepared to provide any service allowed for in law should seriously consider their choice of employment, though I can't really see that happening without some external persuasion. Should the professional associations that have an influence in these kinds of professions exercise a bit of muscle? If they don't the law will have to step in.
well got the ticket on van today repairs came to £230 and that included a bit of a donation to their tea/coffee fund so not to bad i will be advertising the blue fun bus soon
Glad you made it in time for the weekend.
Sat round a firepit in my son's back garden on Saturday night playing my guitar and singing with assorted children, their partners, grandchildren and my ex. We had a lovely time with them all trying to catch me out as they requested some of the ("hundreds", they claimed) songs I used to sing with them forty years ago.
I cannot find any words of comfort for my grandchildren over what we are leaving for them. Let's face it, based on our present behaviour we'll take it up to and beyond the wire and the last few members of the species will pray to their god for an extension delaying the inevitable.
Opened my woodbox and an otter scrambled out.
Dreadful. Poor Pyke and so, so sad about Mia. I saw the message from Maggie last night, but thanks for posting here, NRT.
I agree, Fly. I had friends living there during the earthquake and it was much worse than we were ever told at the time. There are few words to describe adequately this terrible act ... and, if there are, I don't have them.
Humankind is behaving to all intents and purposes like a virus. Any one of us, and I include myself, who has failed to speak against violence has somehow contributed to the conditions where some people have come to the conclusion that it is okay to commit these vile atrocities. Some people who have found themselves in positions of authority or influence have a much heavier responsibility to bear in having created these conditions when they have shared the hate. I despair.
i think they should pick somebody who as been that desperate they have tried to commit suicide
One would think that by now a number of them will have experienced the utter frustration they are causing the rest of us. I refuse to believe that all politicians seek election to line their own pockets. It's just that something happens to many of them when they get there. It's perhaps a bit like every pope who has been smoked into the job, spouts something a bit controversial and is immediately sat on. Somewhere there is a book with every politician or pontiff's misdeeds listed. I say publish and be free. We've all made the odd error of judgement.
Meanwhile, back on topic, she has been wasting an opportunity to be the only member of this government to be doing something useful.
If you open up the site topics back to the variety ukh had and add more and mass mail members youll likely get more stick around.
Maybe run a vote on what to call the site with no name.
One thing is certain,it will have to be done soon as summer is coming and folks rightly dont bother much with social media.
That sounds dangerously close to a referendum ...
For what it's worth, Paul, I donated my £12, knowing that it was a bit of a punt. You've done what you can and if, in the end, you decide you cannot make this work I shall not be chasing you for a refund either and shall not think the worse of you for keeping it. In my opinion you've earned this one.
The very best bit for me about being on here and UKH before it is actually having the opportunity to meet new people in real life. I can genuinely say I feel a connection with everyone I've met at Dovedale that I did not, for example, feel in the slightest when I went along to a boating group meet-up for the first time a month or so ago. The group of boaters may be funny and interesting people online, but in real life ... let's just leave it that I don't feel the need to go back and refresh those contacts in the way I hope to be able to do again this year at Dovedale.
Good luck whatever!
She wasn't worrying about her British citizenship when she was laying waste to us as part of Isis. Wonder how you might feel if she & her Isis buddies had managed to murder your family? Terrorists have no place in our society end of story.
That's just the thing though, maybe you know better, but I have no idea what her part was in any given atrocity except for her job as a mother. Was she an active operator in acts of terror or was she keeping house for a terrorist after a hard day at the office, or ... just exactly what did she do? You may well have read a lot more about her than I have.
Of course I have no real idea how I would feel if she were personally responsible for murdering my family. I suspect that, apart from running a whole gamut of emotions I would want her back here to face the full punitive weight of the law for what she had done. Would knowing that she had become what her fellows might consider a "martyr" in a foreign battlefield be enough for me?
I don't condone and certainly do not subscribe to Daesh philosophy, but I would argue with you that terrorists have "no place in our society". It may be a trite saying that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, but there have been times in our history when what, at the time, were described by the establishment as acts of terror have provoked a more attentive dialogue after one-sided attempts to discuss grievances have failed. Whether more patience would have achieved the same result is a question that remains unanswered, but in the end my limited grasp of history seems to suggest that a more lasting peace can be better achieved at the negotiating table. Sometimes the means to get both parties round that table are unpalatable.
Given that we, as a species, are systematically destroying the environment that sustains us I can see why some feel the need to resort to direct action, particularly in the light of considerable consensus of the urgency of the the situation. What appears to make Daesh different is the utter disregard for anyone outside their cult and the degree of savagery employed in carrying out these indiscriminate acts of evil that have all been fuelled by the clever and cynical manipulation of belief in a supernatural being that would approve and reward such acts. What we have been shown of their actions are some of the very worst aspects of ourselves.
I feel some shame at the problems we are bequeathing future generations. Somehow our society allowed the growth of the conditions that brought about a rise in terrorism rooted in separateness and a growth in philosophical fundamentalism. Allowing potentially dangerous people to roam the world at large does not seem an entirely responsible way of addressing the problem, but I don't have any answers either. The only thing I seem to know these days is that I know far less about how the world should be than I thought I knew when I was nineteen.
Just watched it in France. Quite entertaining.
I was deeply enmeshed in a cult when I was fifteen that my parents had joined when I was just six. Had they had a more aggressive approach to outsiders (and a more sophisticated way of engaging its young members) I could easily have made similar judgements.
Were I in her shoes I doubt I would be slagging off "comrades in arms" while still in the middle of a conflict.
I agree that being so public about her change of mind may not have been the wisest move, but I suspect that some ability to reason may have been compromised given the company she has probably been keeping.
To the best of my knowledge she is a British citizen and it will be a sad day when the UK goes down the road of making its own citizens stateless.
How is she ever going to be made to face the consequences of her choices she made when still a child if she is not allowed in to face the music?
Don't we believe that people can change and learn to understand more about how to make the world a better place? Ed Husain (journalist and author of "The Islamist") said, 'When I was sixteen I became an Islamic fundamentalist. Five years later, after much emotional turmoil, I rejected fundamentalist teachings and returned to normal life and my family."