Saturday, January 8, 2011

“Cows do not belong in Fields”

Cuddly bovine image to encourage signing a
petition against factory farm in Lincolnshire
The disconcerting statement “Cows do not belong fields” was, it seems,  made in a BBC interview by Peter Wiles, the director of Nocton Dairies who propose a US-style mega-dairy in Lincolnshire.

Here's a Youtube clip of the interview, though it’s not clear to me what the source is.  A BBC local radio programme perhaps?  It’s one of those moments when you wonder if you're being subjected to an internet spoof.  

On the assumption it’s for real, Peter Wiles can consider himself a lemon (it says here) that’s been spotted for his ludicrous comment and giving his opponents one of the best campaign slogans ever. A number of American style battery farms are planned, essentially they apply battery farming methods to cattle and pigs.  Here's an online petition, if you like that sort of thing.  NB There are only 3 days left to sign it.

Here's a campaigning website.

Nocton wants to keep up to 3,770 cows as intensive milking machines in vast hangars with restricted access to the outdoors. To put this in scale, a typical dairy herd in the UK currently has anything between 70-120 milkers, spending half their year outside on grass.

Campaigners says that if the Nocton nightmare gets approved, the days of these traditional herds will be numbered because the arrival in the UK of US-style mega-dairies will make existing dairy farms hopelessly uncompetitive.

And here's
38 Degrees,  an organisation I've not heard of before though perhaps that’s just because I'm behind the times.  It seems 38 Degrees is the angle at which an avalanche happens. They hope that in the UK, 38 Degrees will enable people to act together, to create an avalanche for change.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Oedipus Rex

Have now finished my story of Oedipus, which I've been working on for several weeks.  You can find it amongst my
stories for children.  It bears little resemblance to what I first envisaged and I'm not even sure it hangs together with the other 6 stories I’ve already done.  But I'm quite proud of it all the same.

It will need more work doing on it.  And I haven't finished researching alternative versions of the myth.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A madman shouting in the marketplace

Dag Hammarskjöld
The madman shouted in the marketplace and no-one stopped to answer him. Thus it was confirmed that his thesis was incontrovertible.

This striking saying was written by Dag Hammarskjöld in 1957. I don't have the original Swedish but I guess it would be "Den galne ropade på torget, men ingen stannade för att svara honom. På det viset syntes att hans tes var oemotsäglig."

I came across the saying in an American blog deploring the Democrat losses in November's mid-term elections.  The blogger writes “The Dems did little to counteract the lies of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and whatever it was they did was ineffective,” and goes on to quote Dag Hammarskjöld and the madman shouting in the marketplace.

The source is Markings, published posthumously in 1963 in Swedish as Vägmärken, which literally means traffic signs.  The book is a sort of personal testament, from which it is clear that Hammarskjöld was motivated by a strong Christian faith.

Dag Hammarskjöld was the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, and his name seemed always on the radio when at the age of 7 or 8 or thereabouts I was becoming dimly aware of world events.

Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat and economist. He served as Secretary-General from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. He is the only person to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize posthumously, and the only U.N. Secretary-General to die in office.

There are grounds for suspicion that western intelligence agencies were implicated in the plane crash in which he died.  According to Wikipedia, former US President Harry Truman is reported to have said that "Dag Hammarskjöld was on the point of getting something done when they killed him. Notice that I said, 'when they killed him'."

At issue was the fabulous wealth of the newly independent Congo’s copper reserves, and western fears that Congolese prime minister Patrice Lumumba would nationalise them. Lumumba too was assassinated.