A really good turn out for the second Save Chopwell Wood Day of Action. They estimated 1,200 people. On the whole good speeches. But I felt that the Blaydon MP Dave Anderson was too old Labour. Talking about pit props 40 years since the collieries went, does it connect to young folk, of whom a lot turned out? What I did not hear was a simple answer to the obvious question? If you sell the woods, who will find the cash to buy them? The feckin banks. The bastards whose greed (a lot said about greed) got the nation into the mire will be the ones who end up owning our woods and putting up the keep out signs. I felt that was a message that needed to come over very loudly.
And this coming from someone who is not a great activist! I think I have done about four/five rallies in my past. An MP lobby c1985 on behalf of the World Development Movement to Westminster. Around the same time going to the Dales Rally led by Mike Harding to protest the planned closure of the Settle & Carlisle Railway and a couple of the Durham Miners Galas when I lived in the city. Today three of us went from Prudhoe in the car, myself, Fiona and friend Sarah. So to motivate me to get out in the rain does take a broad based issue which is beyond the pale. The sale of the Foresty Commission or of the National Nature Reserves is exactly that. Why are the national museums not being told to charge before the forests are sold? Why does not English Heritage review its property portfolio and hand out some of its absolute loss makers to local trusts? At least a ruin is unlikely to be appealing to a bank. And would be better off with a local trust or the National Trust. Again and again today the same message as was heard at Hexham on Friday came over. A community trust can help the Forestry Commission as it does now at Chopwell. But force it to take over and the task is far too big and specialist. After just a few years, like the employee sell out bus companies at privatisation, the wood or the bus company will be in the hands of a few big multi nationals.
An album of photos in a Facebook album at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=25774&id=100001912940850 .
Friends of Chopwell Woods own site. Their own Facebook page.
Another blog about the day is here.