Thursday, March 29, 2012


This afternoon I took a walk in Oxleas Woods, that ancient woodland covering a few precious acres of Shooters Hill near where we live.  Apart from the silence (interrupted only by the distant rumble of traffic and the noise of scores of birds going about their avian life) I was alone for most of the time, free to wonder the intersecting pathways and enjoy the space and emptiness.  I could breathe in deeply the majestic life of the trees whose roots in this place go back thousands of years. 

It might not have been so had developers in the 1930’s had their way and continued building to the summit of the Hill.  Thankfully people concerned to conserve at least some of these ancient woods mounted a successful campaign to prevent them.  It was against this backdrop that I recalled that the government has published its reformed Planning Act, a ‘radical reform of the planning agenda giving new powers to local councils, communities, neighbourhoods and individuals’ which critics fear ‘could lead to inappropriate development in the countryside’.  Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

It’s not long ago that the Government (namely the Conservative majority) proposed selling off publically owned forests causing a major outcry which led to the Government dropping the proposal.  But there seems no such reaction at present to the inevitable privatisation of the Royal Mail (will they wait until the Golden Jubilee celebrations are over?)  And no one knows what is going to happen to the NHS consequent to the debacle over – Conservative – legislation which many see as the thin edge of privatisation.

Then there is the matter of the Governments proposal to suspend Sunday trading Laws during the Olympics.  “(This) will not only contribute to the overall experience of visitors to the Olympics, but it will also provide a boost in sales and employment to the economy. (Business Minister, Mark Prisk).  But, as many point out, once they are relaxed large stores are going to fight to retain the right to open whenever they want.  It all seems frightening close to that new definition of being human – I shop, therefore I am’.

As someone once said, ‘everything has a price, but nothing has any value’.

So my reflection, ‘What is a Conservative?’  Dictionary definitions include: ‘Favouring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change. Traditional or restrained in style: a conservative dark suit.  Moderate; cautious.’   But it is clear that the notion that something may have value beyond the economic seems to have been cast aside, forgotten or ignored in a headlong rush to maximise monetary rewards.  Perhaps ‘The Conservative and Unionist Party’ should rename itself ‘The Capitalist and Turn-a-Profit Party’, which seems a more apt and honest description of what ‘Conservatives’ actually stand for.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is a conservative? As you aptly pointed out Mr Friendly to be a conservative is to be a hypocrite, it suits them to change the narrative so long as it doesn't effect the social structure. I shop therefore I am has replaced I love Jesus therefore I am. The narrative dictates the group think. It matters not what the subjects believe so long as the peers and royals(216 of which are currently in government)are safe and prospering. So.... the real question, What are the real values of a conservative? In my estimation family trumps all values, family is the bedrock, it is hard wired into the psyche of the British elite and one wonders, how does that effect our freedoms, the peoples freedoms? What chance have my family got? Was Darwin right? Are we just clans baying for power? Is life to be reduced to a game? There is no humanity in these values, especially when the game is 100% rigged in their favour. In a hyperreal world what can we be sure of? As Wittgenstein said Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. I think therefore I am free to think for myself. The conservatives conserve the hyper real narrative to which we are all extras in their opulent, pompous biography. Side notes to monumental egos with hardly even a speaking part. Just a pleb in an ocean of plebs doing absolutely nothing significant. It's time to revalue all values! We are free to think yet from cradle to grave we are subject to indoctrination, if not the priest the teacher, the T.V, video games, advertisements, pop culture, hyper sex; Panem et circenses. Is it any wonder religious belief is sidelined when the grandest distraction ever to grace the planet is in town? These elite families can probably trace their ancestry back to ancient Greece that is how long their narrative has endured. That is how the game is rigged in their favour. The spectacle, the grand illusion. I am not a religious person myself, faith by definition is meaningless to me. But freedom is close to my heart. In the name of freedom I chose to revalue family values. Do my parents define me? Do my families beliefs define me? Do other families have the right to define my social status? Am I born into karmic fate? If so, do I actually have free will at all? Why conserve anything that isn't progressive to my freedom and to social harmony? If I am to suffer any fate at all shouldn't it be due to the quality of my thinking that truly defines me, and the merit of my actions rather than the infected, dysfunctional beliefs of my fathers, fathers farther? And the same should go for everyone. I was born free, then I was given a name, I became a slave as did many others, few become masters. And so the inferno burns on.....