Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Trespassing in the Peak

Kinder Mass Trespassers in 1932 (Benny Rothman indicated)

I'm in favour of trespassing.

Let me qualify that statement. When 75 years ago, a group of young socialists trespassed upon Kinder Scout, they struck a blow for real freedom. In defiance of the law and the privileged landowning class, they showed the way to a possible future where people could wander to their hearts content upon mountain and moor, leaving behind the city and the worries of that other, crazy world.

If we are to be truly free, we need to maximise the time we can truly call our own. Theirs was, and still is, a truly profound vision of freedom, still to be realised.

But for these brave, principled individuals, we would not be able to enjoy the Peak District. They were the 'eco warriors' of their day, and people younger than them would do well to respect and understand the real meaning of that.

But, I'm not in favour of trespassing.

Again, I'll qualify that statement. This bypass is the thin end of the wedge for encroachment and trespass into green spaces and National Parks by road schemes and developers. That is good enough grounds to oppose it if nothing else is. Some of the more idiotic Tameside Councillors have argued that building more roads through the countryside allows us all to see more of wildlife. I can only presume they mean roadkill.

The whole point of a National Park is that you get out of your bloody car and walk! The fact that some people prefer to remain atomised and alienated from life in general is not an argument for a lifestyle which is slowly turning us into bloated, alienated machines.

Better late than never, the Peak District National Park have renewed their opposition to the bypass. They know full well that they would not exist without those Manchester lads and lasses who took to the moor in 1932. And those who value and cherish our National Park must move mountains to end this scheme.

The Highways Agency could not have chosen a more apt anniversary to try to gain legal backing for this scheme, through a Public Inquiry. They need to be clear that for every legal measure there are counter-measures, both legal and illegal. Our justification for such activity? Our heritage...

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