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FOOT IN MOUTH DISEASE..? - 10/07/2001

John Bowen has some controversial thoughts about Karen Douglas’s recent Foot and Mouth article, which begged croppies’ vigilance and care around the restrictions...

This little piece is intended to present a different perspective on the current F&M situation. I'm not trying to have a go at Karen, or heap further coals upon suffering farmers. But if we are exhorted to consider the 'bigger picture', perhaps we could discuss what it might be? (I do think crop circles are very important too!)

1) As a start, footpaths in England are legally Public Rights of Way. To close them has always required an Act of Parliament. Now local government officers can shut them down. As Foot and Mouth is not a serious disease, and as such restrictions are not being widely opposed or ignored, what will come next ?

"Lord Fortescue's dinner party guests might see you scruffy hikers." ?

"Sorry, sir, National Security!" ?

"The mare's in foal." ?

"My wife's trying to sleep." ?

"You'll disturb the pheasants." ? (I think it was Willie Whitelaw who popped off a shotgun at a balloon flying over his grouse shoot.)

"The grass is looking a bit peaky. Try again in a couple of months." ?

"Mars is in the eighth house - we don't want any accidents do we ?" ?

Let's not forget, governments are intrinsically anti-freedom and pro-control. It makes their 'job' easier, cheaper, and more secure. Hence the huge amounts of ignorance, disinformation, 'terminological inexactitudes', atrocious science and enough media spin to make one dizzy, all concentrating on a disease that is surely not best managed by burning and/or burying millions of healthy animals.

And surely no-one doubts that once any rights are lost, it is extremely hard to recover them. I wonder whether Karen would like to say what her viewpoint would be if next year Foot and Mouth is still 'rumbling on'?

2) Karen writes: “I think this illustrates well the fear and nightmarish scenario that this disease has wreaked over this country and says everything about why we must take this disease seriously and conduct our research responsibly."

I would suggest that the disease has not wreaked this scenario. ‘The Department formerly known as MAFF’ (Murdering Animals For Fun), T. Bliar and the European Union are the guilty parties, aided and abetted by media censorship, highly dubious use of the police, military, and judiciary to ride roughshod over the law, and of course, the ultimate culprits, ourselves, for the following:

For watching telly and believing it; for thinking "I can read the newspapers without being influenced"; for letting the state disarm us gradually over the past 80 years; for not defending our freedoms and rights with passion; for allowing the state to teach our children religion, history, and citizenship (eeeuuuuurgh!); when, after all, we've been fighting it in one way or another for the last thousand years; and for preferring beer and skittles (nowadays beer and Lara Croft?) to civic duty.

But we can change things - if we want to badly enough, we can't fail.

3) Karen writes: "...will we been seen by the farming community to be serious and trustworthy researchers. "

As those who know me would be only too happy to say, I'm not always serious. Trustworthy? I do hope so. But as to being a researcher, I'd have to confess that I'm not, certainly with regard to crop circles. I do hope a 'licensed researcher' status is not being proposed? Or that only solemn people such as [insert famous researcher’s name here] can go into fields ? :o)

5) Karen writes: "If we set our stalls out right now, we risk burning bridges that can never be rebuilt and back ourselves into a corner from which there is no return. "

First five correct interpretations get a free Crop Circle Yearbook ? :o)

To finish, I do want to reiterate that I'm not having a go, and that Karen's piece has much sense in it. So let's be sensible out there! But perhaps the All Cannings tractor was a foreshadowing of an unrestrained fascist state, ripping the heart out of our ancient and hard-won freedoms? Am I the only one who shuddered on hearing minister Margaret Beckett talking about deploying troops in this country?

Love & light.



Karen has asked me to point out that whether or not F&M is real, fake, misunderstood or a conspiracy, it's the farmers' BELIEF that it's real that she is addressing, and thus whatever WE may think about it, we have to be careful in the way we treat their land, and we have to acquiesce to their wishes to some degree if we want to have access to their fields in future.

Karen also points out that it is NOT true that all footpaths in England are legally Public Rights of Way. Some are what are known as ‘Permissibles’, which may be used only at the landowner’s discretion.


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