Cape Cornwall and the Brisons – image: David Eyles.
This is the blog of David Eyles – a retired livestock farmer with a past life as a quantity surveyor in civil engineering – tweeting as @Drystonesonnet, occasionally writing for Country Squire Magazine and now also writing a book on the uplands of Britain.
The following is a very brief summary of my observations of the world at large, and this country in particular.
UPDATE 05.04.19 – Having said that I intend to use this as a platform for writing about conservation, ecology and the uplands of Britain, post-Brexit politics has turned into a temptation too far. I have become by degrees mesmerised and then obsessed by the eternal wranglings of the government and Parliament. So I have written about that instead. This country is going through its most dangerous period for perhaps hundreds of years. I say that because, aside from the periodic threats of invasion, our democracy was never in doubt. Now democracy in the United Kingdom is under serious assault as never before – not from the threat of invasion, but from forces inside our political classes and our establishment. Things have not been so perilous for a very long time.
The EU referendum is now over. The people of the United Kingdom Of Great Britain and Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly to leave the EU by a margin of roughly 4%. 17.4 million voted ‘Leave’, to give the biggest electoral mandate for anything in British electoral history. But many of those who voted to stay in the EU are resentful and do not accept the result. As I revise this section (February 2018) things are fast moving but shrouded in the fog of war between Theresa May’s government, Jean-Claude Juncker, Michel Barnier, rabid Conservative critics of the result such as Anna Soubry MP (who is given far too much air time), the Labour Party (who are conflicted) and thousands of bloggers, tweeps, media and other interested parties. The hard core of recidivist Remainers are intent upon reversing the result and keeping the UK locked into the EU. So the eventual outcomes of Brexit are impossible to predict.
Aside from Brexit, the Labour Party has transformed itself under Jeremy Corbyn into a quasi-Marxist party which is busily trashing its working class roots and morphing into an offshoot of the Islington intelligentsia – an elite of privately or grammar school and university educated, middle class, third-rate, Guardian-reading, militant public sector workers. Corbyn himself has recently been accused of meeting with a Czech intelligence officer during the 1980s at the height of the Cold War. There is alleged to be a Stasi file on him (presumably dating from the time that he and Diane Abbott MP went for a romantic motorcycle tour of East Germany). The existence of a CIA file on Corbyn is also rumoured. Corbyn has demanded and received a full apology from Ben Bradley MP who tweeted that Corbyn “sold British secrets to communist spies”. This statement clearly suggests that a) money was exchanged, and b) that Corbyn had actual secrets to sell. There is no proof at all that either of these two events actually happened, and so Mr Bradley is compelled to retract his statement. Corbyn wins that one on points.
However, Corbyn has repeatedly associated himself with terrorist organisations – Hamas, Hezbollah, IRA and so on. Whilst the Czech agent is accused of being a liar, there seems little doubt that Corbyn met him on at least three occasions. Sir Richard Dearlove, former Chief of MI6, states that if Czech intelligence gave Corbyn a codename (“Cob”) then they would have opened an operational file on him. It all fits into a pattern of continual, comprehensive betrayal of the peoples of the United Kingdom. And yet this man could easily become our next Prime Minister.
The British working classes have effectively been dis-enfranchised by the new Labour/Momentum Party. “The Workers” have been a continual disappointment to the Far Left in this country, because they have been more interested in raising their own standards of living instead of becoming revolutionary cannon-fodder for their betters in the middle classes. This middle class intelligentsia have tried to lead the lower orders into self-immolation whilst carefully preserving their own privileged standards of living. But this strategy has failed. So, finally, a transformed Labour/Momentum Party has walked away from these miserable running-dogs and have espoused extreme Islam because they are more revolutionary, nastier and violent. And the feminists have joined them. Existing Labour MPs who were elected on a platform of looking after the interests of the low paid and the poor appear to be helpless, supine or just plain cowardly as the extreme Left take over their party. UKIP, which could have filled the electoral gap, remains chaotic and unable to convince voters as to their worth.
British politics has never been so interesting, with something new and apparently earth-shaking happening almost every day. If North Korea started to lob nukes onto South Korea, the BBC would only bother to report it on a slow news day.
Aside from the perils (or opportunities) of Brexit, the United Kingdom faces a number of strategic difficulties over the next decade or two. Off the top of my head they might be listed as:
- The ability of our armed forces to protect and defend this country from direct attack, or project military power to our allies and trading partners, has been greatly compromised by successive governments (including the current one) in failing to invest in timely procurement and recruitment. This is especially grievous, given our impending departure from the EU and the need to establish more direct relations with many other countries around the world.
- Recruitment to the British Army in particular, has been and continues to be severely damaged by successive legal attacks on serving and former soldiers whilst serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and even Northern Ireland.
- At the moment, unfriendly and unstable parts of the world are multiplying: Russia (which is rapidly re-arming and constantly testing our defences), North Korea (which is threatening just about everybody with nukes and is also re-arming), just about all of the Middle East except for Israel, most of North Africa, especially Libya (which was destabilised when Gaddafi was overthrown).
- Much of southern Europe is acting as a conduit for economic migrants from the Middle East and North Africa. As a result of Angela Merkel’s unilateral invitation to them, many of these migrants have arrived in Germany and Northern Europe. They are causing mayhem. Rapes are now commonplace in Germany where German women have started protesting about their loss of freedom. Sweden is experiencing almost daily grenade attacks, especially in Malmö and parts of Stockholm where the migrants have effectively taken over. Malmö is frequently described as “the rape capital of Europe”. Although this is disputed by Swedish authorities and the ever craven BBC, there is clear anecdotal evidence that rape is now so commonplace that women simply do not bother to report it. In any case the police are so busy that they do not have time to investigate. This is one of two or three other factors which, in my opinion, will lead to the eventual break up of the European Union.
- De facto Sharia law is being practiced in many parts of European cities, including the UK. There is a move by the legal profession to legitimise Sharia courts in the UK. The consequence of having two sets of laws, with often directly contradictory principles such as the legitimacy or otherwise of Female Genital Mutilation, is that the rule of law will eventually break down. We will have lost the central tenet of the rule of law – that it applies equally to everyone, regardless of their station in life. The law will be applied differently according to which group an individual identifies with.
- Political correctness has been applied in such a way as to instil fear into many of those who have wanted to speak the truth, but have been silenced. It has led to the suppression of what was first exposed in Rotherham and has now also been identified in many cities throughout the UK – the organised grooming and rape of young white girls by gangs of mostly Muslim men of Pakistani origin.
- One aspect of political correctness is that an up-and-coming genocide/ethnic cleansing and humanitarian disaster is only just around the corner in South Africa, as white farmers are preparing to take their last stand. This is not being discussed in our media at all to my knowledge – because the victims are white. Other genocides such as the destruction of the Yazidis in Syria, and attempts by the Turks to eradicate the Kurds, are not being discussed to any great extent. Only social media are giving us the news. It may not be accurate; it may be distorted by one side or the other, but at least we know that something nasty is going on.
These are just some of the problems that we will meet with increasing frequency over the next few years. The list is far from exhaustive, but it serves as a taster for what is to come. We are, all of us, dependent upon the political and administrative elites to do the proper and honourable thing by putting the interests of the nation and its peoples first. But we are now witnessing the longest and most sustained period of blatant dishonesty, lying, cheating and rank hypocrisy from the political classes and the media that I have seen during my lifetime. A very large number of things in the administration of this country have been neglected or deliberately sabotaged by the establishment. Things have happened without our knowledge or consent and only now are the majority of us made aware of what has happened. And we are the ones who are paying for it.
Fascinating though all this is, for the most part, I have not blogged about these matters. I have relied upon Twitter for news and opinions on these matters. And it is there where my opinions on the subject are expressed, rather than subject them to detailed analysis on this blog.
Instead of railing at the injustices of the world by howling at the moon or becoming ever more furious and pounding a spittle-flecked keyboard, this blog has somehow morphed into a study of some of the things that are affecting, or likely to affect, the uplands of Britain. My own interests in farming, ecology, birds and animals, geology, archeology and human history, economics and statistics have caused what is becoming a small but wide-ranging enquiry into the state of things in some of the most beautiful parts of our islands. And it would appear – as with the rest of our society – that not all is well in the uplands of Britain.
The combination of the consequences of Brexit leaving a possible gap in the finances of hill farms; economic and demographic pressures causing farmers to leave the land; and a conservation industry which senses both a threat to its income stream of public money, and an opportunity of taking over control of bigger chunks of land, mean that the management of the uplands is under threat of considerable change.
Farming in the British uplands started during the Neolithic, when the first modern humans arrived upon these islands with their sheep and cattle. Progress continued throughout the Bronze Age, and so on continuously until the current day. In round numbers, we can say that anthropogenic impact upon the hills started between 7,000 and 4,000 years ago. That impact was undertaken by individuals and small family groups which ultimately grew into communities which flowed downhill into the lowlands as the altitudes and seasons dictated pastoral events.
Blackface sheep crossing remains of a Bronze Age farmstead below Rough Tor, Bodmin Moor – image: David Eyles.
As demand increased, the uplands became important for their raw produce – wool and meat. Since the end of the second World War, that demand has not ceased but rather, it has lost value to the hill farm. Instead the value, which is added to the sheep and cattle and their produce and by-produce, is earned in the lowlands and even overseas. The true economic worth of the hills is thus only multiplied when it is transported downhill and away from the people who originate it.
Meanwhile central government, based in comfortable offices in London, has viewed the hills as being largely empty except for a few low value sheep – and has proceeded to make sweeping diktat according to the needs of the country. First it was the reservoirs needed to provide for burgeoning industry and population. Then it was forestry to provide timber. More recently, wind turbines have been planted on the tops of our hills, to dominate the landscape far more than the reservoirs or alien forests could ever hope to do.
Ultimately, government policy is set by ambitious politicians who want to feel that by pulling a few bureaucratic levers, they can “make a difference”. An environment as fragile – ecologically, culturally and economically – as the British uplands in the twenty-first century is therefore at grave risk of being destroyed because ministers are given a very narrow view by their advisors. Those same ministers are also prone to becoming over-excited by ideas which are new and glitzy and offer all the promise of bounty to come. Those ideas are given credence by the academic credentials of the people promoting them (and who are surprisingly shy when comes to admitting what grants, sinecures and tenure they are expecting to get out of this newest cunning plan). They are equally coy about the losses of what has been there for thousands of years, because those losses have not been calculated.
Rough Tor, Bodmin Moor – image: David Eyles
This blog is therefore a series drafts, a testing ground, for what I hope will be a book of some length about the British uplands.
Even if you disagree with it, I hope you enjoy it.