Thirty years ago:
“At one point the police surrounded a coach and it stopped. A woman inside stood up and held her baby up – in a very melodramatic fashion, you wouldn’t normally hold a baby that way for fear of dropping it. But she did. She yelled at the police that there was a baby on board. “There was a pause of about five seconds, then from the back of the police ranks, whistling over our heads came a very large flint that exploded the windscreen over the baby.” Yet that was not the worst thing [the Earl of Cardigan] says he saw that day. “At some point in the crazy melee there was a heavily pregnant woman wandering around. Two policemen came up behind her with batons and clubbed her around the head and shoulders, and down she went.”
These were travellers going to the Stonehenge Solstice festival in 1985, attacked by the Wiltshire Police. The police attacked the convoy using “police tactics used in the miners’ strike to prevent a breach of the peace” (such as mounted South Yorkshire Police attacking picketing miners in Orgreave, on 18th June 1984).
Ten years ago, in 2005, Tony Thompson, the Guardian’s crime correspondent, wrote with apparently sincere bafflement:
It remains a mystery why the police felt compelled to use such violence. With evidence that radio logs of conversations between officers on the day have been altered, the full story may never be known.
Like most bloggers, I started because I felt I had something to say that wasn’t being said in the mainstream media.
George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist: I respect and admire his writing in general.
But with regard to Scottish independence? I wish he’d shut up.
There’s nothing personal about this. I wish all of the politicians, columnists, and other People Paid To Have An Opinion would get their know-nothing nebs out of our referendum.
Should Scotland be an independent country?
Peter Luff, Conservative MP for Mid Worcestershire, asks on Twitter:why do people “refuse to understand” that the Conservative party stands for “compassion and social reform”.
Peter Luff won his seat in the 1992 General Election. He is a founder member of the Parliamentary Hunting with Hounds Middle Way Group which is said to be a front for the hunting lobby. In January this year Peter Luff was invited to “a day’s shooting” in Gloucestershire (approximate value £1,500) by Leo Quinn, CEO of Qinetiq, paid for by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). I’m sure that had nothing to do with the plan to kill buzzards to protect pheasant shooting.
Peter Luff is one of the MPs whose second home flips. He has a house in Worcestershire, and a flat in London.
From the Telegraph’s report on his expenses:
In the months before he switched the designation of his second home from Worcester to the capital, he paid for more than £5,000 of decorating and repairs, including the £53.71 cost of having his Aga cooker fixed.
A big estate allegedly trashes the environment: there’s nothing remarkable about that, you might think. Until you discover that [Richard] Benyon is the minister responsible for wildlife and biodiversity.
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, was the founder of the fortunes of Richard Benyon. Cecil was appointed to manage Princess Elizabeth’s estates back when her younger brother was King of England, and he became Elizabeth I’s chiefest minister. William Cecil’s son Robert was the first patron of the founder of English gardening, John Tradescant the elder.
When David Cameron was handing out posts to loyal Tories in May 2010, Richard Benyon – MP for Newbury since 2005 – got the job of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He had, after all, studied at the Royal Agriculture College and managed his family estates so well that his family get to live on welfare Continue reading