The best politics is no politics. Well designed systems and good management means that wheels and cogs just turn smoothly without too much squeaking, banging and burstings. We've still got a way to go with the Beddington Farmlands project but I do think the time has come where things are set up better and there is no need for too much politics. We now have a higher level accountability structure (The Housing, Economy and Business Committee) to deliver the reserve, the CAMC is populated and working and so is the CSG and work is being distributed more equally across members of the Bird Group. Road maps, completion plans and enforcement planners are all in position- everything has come together and aligned nicely.
Campaigning does work, public pressure does work- none of that would have happened without the community pulling together and pressurising Sutton and Viridor to get their act together- which they have. Instrumental to that has been Extinction Rebellion who basically put the wind up everyone (with the threat of getting swarmed by a pagan multitude) and it will go down in history that it was this group (XR is actually a campaign of another group called Rising Up!) that kicked things into place for Beddington Farmlands.
However even though campaigning does work, it also doesn't work and selection of what campaigns and at what stage those campaigns are at , to support is vital. Most campaigns will fail in the same way that most things fail in this world- relationships, businesses, empires, hopes and dreams. Therefore very reluctantly, due to so many other commitments and pressures, despite being a founding member of the local Extinction Rebellion group I have decided to leave the campaign and focus on non-political activity. Originally the group had three objectives- to tell the truth, declare an emergency and form citizen's assemblies to advise government on how to solve the emergency. Over time XR has become more about veganism, not flying on planes and a bridge protest on Waterloo yesterday was about women's rights and issues such as climate rape, demonstrated by ladies with breasts out (I was struggling to see the link between that and ecological monitoring and restoration management plan implementation- which is what the ecological emergency needs). I think ecological decline is getting watered down (it should have been the ecological and climate emergency anyway, not the climate and ecological emergency). The group never got the support of the eco-social establishment that it needed to effectively challenge capitalism. I think that was a mistake- if the eco-social establishment got behind them and worked with campaign leaders, they could have kept it more on track. I think public support is waning and its become an umbrella for hard left extremism rather than ecological and environmental science. Personally I always favoured a disruptive targeting of elites and people in power - not a targeting of the public who are clueless to planning and legal systems that are penetrated by capitalist interest to rig decisions agaisnt democratic will. This is a corridors of power game- not just a game that can be played by people power.
However, this is far from a perfect world and what the group has achieved should not be under-estimated and personally I think if they focus on targeting main polluters and ecological destroyers they will gain more public support than allowing themselves to descend into a left wing cluster fuck fest. For the Sutton group, I think if they target Viridor that will be make a lot of sense- a lot of the public will support challenging polluting incinerator builders (especially ones built on a nature reserve). I was involved in writing a strategy about this- a collaborative one but there was no support for a cross party local political alliance on it- with Independents, Labour and even the Green Party being un-supportive. XR is supposed to be beyond politics and a vehicle to unite political divides- however those divides and turf wars are more important to party members than unification and targeting elites directly- they all seem to be fighting to be either elite lackeys or political puritans (martyrs) and take the pound of flesh, whether in money or their own flesh, for it. I've spent the best part of ten years sacrificing my well being to get this reserve built and I really do not want to enter another 10 year war, without the support of the entire community. I feel like I won this war for the farmlands (and now I'm being nominated for establishment awards (like the BTO) its shows I'm no longer a threat or force of change) and the next one is so big, there is no way I'm going in alone or with a divided nucleus this time. I've concluded it won't be until the next generation that grow up in the prison of late stage Capitalism that the next big one can really start. It's now a waiting game. Viridor have 25 years at Beddington Farmlands- I reckon we are talking 5-10 years time when the Thunbergites and climate strikers enter the work force and feel the full horror of the reality they are in.
It's also all part of my down sizing of volunteer commitments and focus on family and personal (selfish bastard) objectives- I'm also no longer gong to edit the bird report (it's time someone else took over again- I started the report when I was 13, overhauled and updated it 20 years later and overall have edited nearly half of all 30 editions) and basically going to concentrate on new projects and business which are not political. I would say to anyone who is suffering from a serious case of altruism, infected with a care for other people and concern for the future of the human species, and worried about their disconnection from nature, is to volunteer in the volunteer sector. Being paid for something is a nice sedative to the unrequited love but volunteering to help others is a different box of cheese altogether. By the end of a decade of that shit, you will be quite happy to see the entire human species obliterated from time and space and want nothing more than the capitalist oligarchy to enslave them all and carry out a global genocide on the obsoletes. I don't think I've been worn down as much as I want to be involved in that but I certainly have got to the point where I don't give a flying fuck if they do (Im in the watching evil and doing fuck all about it camp now)- as long as I can keep away from it all- which is what the fucking plan is! As you can tell I need a break!
I intend to maintain low key support for local environmental groups and campaigns (more here ), will be feeding back to the HEB and keeping an eye on things and will intervene if needed but I'm hoping I can just watch it all come together now from my deck chair on the Black Sea- heading out there next month.
Goodbye to eco-politics (me and Jacob on the left of the banner)