Wednesday, 16 September 2015
And Some Truths Just Never Exist
Last week, my wife bought a copy of a local newspaper. She doesn't normally do this, but there was a promotional offer, with a packet of biscuits given away free with every newspaper sold. She fancied the biscuits....
On page 27 of the 'Press and Journal', September 11th 2015 edition, were the usual 'Letters to the editor'. Among them was a communication from a lady from Corwen in North Wales. For the past fifteen years, she wrote, she had holidayed in Scotland with her two sons, enjoying the magnificent landscapes the country had to offer. She would be doing so no more, however. During their last visit, up the M74, through Glasgow and on to Oban, they had been kept company by windfarm after windfarm, and they didn't come all the way to Highland Scotland to look at industrialised landscapes. Visitors were being treated 'with utter contempt' by the Scottish Government, she concluded (not just visitors, I would add, but residents of rural areas), 'I've had enough of being taken for an undiscerning fool' she signed off. Spot on.
The impact of windfarms on tourism in Scotland has recently come increasingly into the spotlight. This I actually find a bit strange. From day one, anyone in their right minds would see that windfarms would damage tourism, in rural places at least. I have yet to meet the people who come all the way to the Scottish Highlands for the privilege of opening the curtains in their bed and breakfast to stare out at an army of enormous metal constructions gleaming in the morning sun. But this is a perfect example of the process described in my most recent post. Enough slimy ideologues and profiteers were able to deny the obvious for long enough for the windfarm invasion to get into top gear. Even now, reports are commissioned into the question. Findings published. Findings questioned. More reports commissioned. All the time, the windfarm programme is proceeding apace. In layman's terms, delaying tactics. A facade of consultation and democracy hides a pre-planned programme being put into place. Even now, the Scottish misgovernment insists that windfarms and tourism can flourish side by side. And white is black, dear friends.
Last month I spent a few days in the Big City. It was great to see one or two friends and family members. But for the rest it was the predicted psychic disaster. After ten years of living away from this environment, I have become a slightly different type of being to the typical big city resident. If I wished to have children (a bit late now, I know....), I could not do it with a being from the Big City world. They are a slightly different species. I do not live out in the wilds of Highland Scotland, but on the edge of what is a small city. Nevertheless, substantial daily contact with trees, hills, rivers and streams, cloud, rain, wind, occasionally sun, have altered my experience of myself and of the world. I am in communication with the natural matrix out of which I have come, and which continues to sustain me. For the majority (there are some exceptions) of inner city inhabitants this is not the case. The enfolding environment is relentlessly synthetic. and this makes a difference. As Jim Morrison once sang: not to touch the earth, not to see the sun, nothing left to do but run, run, run. Without that contact we are alienated, lost, hopeless in our quest.
While walking the Big City streets, I couldn't help but notice the number of organic food and healthy eating establishments that have popped up in recent times. Swathes of the City appear to have been given over as shrines to the body fit and healthy. It is better, I am sure, for people to be eating quinoa burgers than snacking 24/7 on artery-clogging factory stuff. I observed a few of the people in the organic shop opposite to where we were staying. Knocking back carrot juice and something made from chia seeds while making a frantic phone call, sending a few hurried text messages, dropping the device on the floor, paying the bill while making another frantic phone call, leaving the establishment at full pelt, only to return twenty seconds later to pick up the bag they'd forgotten. Trying their hardest, in a certain way, to be healthy, natural, organic, while living an almost entirely synthetic life.
Inhabitants of the Big City seem to be in a continual hurry, mind turning over at a rapid pace, and engaged in a project that is clearly extremely important. It's just that I've lost all memory of what that project is....
I used to think that, despite their imperfections, the Big Cities represented the zenith of human progress. Our greatest cultural achievements, embodying our finest dreams. The City marked an evolutionary step, as technological advance released the population from the toil and slavery of the land. I'm not at all recommending slavery to the land, but suggest that this story we've been told might be a little simplistic, let us say.
The people of Highland Scotland live at the bottom of the pile. There are those who will bleat and protest at this statement, but this is what I see. Your little bed and breakfast in danger of economic ruin because of a bunch of wind turbines up the road? Nobody gives a shit. It's the same treatment for people living on the rural margins all over Europe. While we're all supposed to throw our arms up in horror and beat ourselves up because of refugees and illegal immigrants from Syria and North Africa, we never hear a thing about the village folk of the Greek islands, Sicily, and elsewhere, who wake up to another boatload of people turning up on their beach with nowhere to live, nowhere to go. Scant sympathy for the many folk of southern Spain, Greece, and elsewhere, thrown into sudden, apparently insoluble mass unemployment and general economic ruin exacerbated by the countries' membership of the EU. Juncker and his EU cronies are keen on throwing money in the direction of our new arrivals, but lift not a little finger to help those who are supposed to be part of their own big family. These are, I submit, genuinely nasty people with genuinely nasty agendas. And that's it for now.....
Photo: Lochluichart Windfarm. Alpin Stewart, via Creative Commons