Category Archives: wildlife

The British Countryside under the Future Ethnostate

A few months ago, someone won about £100 million on one of the lotteries. I have no idea who that was, or whether his (or her) use of the monies won will go beyond the usual and indeed banal new house, new car, holiday in the sun scenario, but that massive win led me to thoughts beyond the determination to buy more tickets myself.

For example, £100M would buy somewhere around 10% of the land area of the Isle of Wight (along with country houses, farmhouses etc). Alternatively, a fairly large part of Scotland could be bought (multi-thousand-acre Highlands or Islands estates now selling for, in some cases anyway, only a few million pounds).

The above thoughts led me in turn to consider how the UK countryside could be changed for the better under a different kind of state. A ban on hunting, certainly; a ban on commercial shooting too. Along with those, there would probably have to be a reordering of rural land ownership. There would be, to start, a cap on the acreage any one individual, company, trust or family could own. This is not the place to get exact about figures, but the maximum land acreage held would obviously have to differ in different parts of the UK: a thousand acres in the Scottish Highlands is not to be equated with the same amount in Surrey.

The subject of farming subsidies has to be addressed. The present situation which (in essence) rewards landowners simply for holding (owning) land is unjust, achieves little and is a waste of public monies. It transfers monies from people in general to those who, in most cases, are already wealthier. It also has poor ecological or environmental results.

George Monbiot, the writer and environmental activist, has raised the issue of the present system of subsidizing hill farmers to own land (on which they usually produce sheep). Withdrawal of subsidy would mean that most such small and relatively poor farmers would go out of business. However, that unfortunate fact should not be the determining factor. The hillsides can be allowed to revert to forest, either by simply leaving the hills to rewild, or in a more controlled way, by selective planting of trees and other plants. This would have several benefits, including upstream flood control.

There may be some scope for limited subsidy on the basis of farmers setting aside areas for nature (this was once part of the UK farming subsidy scheme). There should also be a wildlife grid consisting of strips and blocks of (in many cases) privately-held and maintained wild or rewilded land, organized however by a state commission. The idea of the wildlife grid would be to allow animals and birds to travel easily across the country, free from interference. The grid would interface with areas already given considerable protection, such as the existing national parks.

There may be the opportunity to experiment with less-usual forms of land-holding, such as collectives of “New Age” or other persons, to be given leases by the State (as freeholder) for various terms of years. The average age of a British farmer is now 59. There must be ways found to rejuvenate the personnel in agriculture.

There would be the possibility, under a different governmental philosophy from that now dominant, to encourage production of fruit and vegetables and to discourage the production of meat, particularly under harsh industrialized conditions.

There could be State encouragement of very small scale horticultural production, e.g. by giving tax relief for people giving over part of their house gardens to the growing of fruits and vegetables. It is estimated that, in the UK, agricultural land amounts to some 42 million acres; however, private gardens and small parks amount to about 10 million. In past wartime situations, part of that acreage has been intensively cultivated: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_garden

The Soviet Union in the 1970s permitted private plots of up to (in some Soviet republics and toward the end of the Soviet period) about 5 acres, though the usual limit laid down in 1935 was around an acre (2+ acres in “special districts”, particularly in countries like Georgia): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_plot. In the 1970s, the private plots were about 2% of all utilized agricultural land, but produced 40% of the produce of the Soviet Union. Instructive.

Another area where there could and should be huge improvement in the UK is the production of nuts, particularly those suited to the prevailing climatic conditions: chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts. In fact, those upland areas no longer farmed for sheep by subsidized small farmers would be ideal for such trees on the large scale. In Kyrgyzstan, there are natural walnut forests. Why not in the UK too?

So we see the possible future take shape: a UK with greater forest cover, with greater wild or rewilded acreage, with many private householders cultivating part of their gardens, perhaps using small greenhouses too. In the rural areas, traditional farming being supplemented by new collectives of cultivators. A wildlife grid to make the natural world safer and more prolific. More small-scale hydropower and solar-power schemes. More vegetable, fruit and nut production, not so much emphasis on meat and dairy produce. Greater linkage via the Internet.

It is clear that, in the countryside as in other areas of national life, change must come.

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Aspects of the New Society

Political and economic organization

The basic template will be taken from the guidance given by the great mind of Rudolf Steiner, in his Threefold Social Order, sometimes called the Threefold Social Organism or simply Social Threefolding: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_threefolding.

In other words, the key is finding the right relationship between the functioning of the economy (fundamentally private rather than State-run) and the rights of citizens. That does not mean that a few strategic economic areas or enterprises, or those of direct impact on the population (eg some utility companies, some railways etc) can never be State-owned or at least heavily State-regulated.

Population

An advanced society cannot be built on a backward population. The UK and other European societies of the future can only exist and advance if at least fundamentally European. The mass immigration from outside Europe has been disastrous and has greatly set back (especially Western and Central) Europe and, therefore, the world. However, we are where we are. We cannot say “10% of our population is non-European and so we cannot create a better society”. It has to be admitted that at some level, the non-European population within the general population might be so numerous that society can only decline or collapse. Tipping-points exist. The UK may not be very far from that tipping-point now. Certainly the major cities are close to it. For the purposes of this blog post, though, we must just keep in mind that there is an iron necessity for a (fundamentally) European population.

Education

According to the principles of the Threefold Social Order, education is within the spiritual-cultural sphere. It should be run neither by the State nor for private profit. That is not to say that it should not be regulated or unable to accept private monies via fees etc. It should not be taxed but accepted as having charitable or at least non-profit status.

It might be objected that, in the UK, private education tends to perpetuate social differences. There is some truth in that, but not much. The major drivers of inequality (apart from race and culture) are those of family capital and income. The education of children is rather a red herring in terms of the equality-inequality debate. There is also the point that parents (and children themselves) have the right to choose. The fact that choice may be rationed by available money does not destroy that right, but challenges both the State and society as a whole to make the means available to support educational choice.

The whole concept of the university “degree” should be looked at. This is a mediaeval concept which has probably outlived its usefulness. Bachelor, Master, Doctor, these have more in common with the Europe of Nostradamus than the Europe of 2017. In the UK, the true value of a university degree has been lowered (indeed rendered in some cases valueless) by award inflation and the mere fact that half the population now has some kind of degree.

Methods and conditions of work

The citizen must be protected from exploitation. That is a primary duty of the State. That means that maximum hours must be laid down. There might be flexibility within that, for example by laying down a weekly maximum of hours (say, 40 hours, but it might be 35 or even 30) but permitting the employer/employee to agree how those hours should be fulfilled within the working week: 5 x 8, or 4 x 10, even 3 x 13.33, or a work-week split into different hours on different days.

There is an argument to keep at least one day, traditionally of course Sunday, relatively free from work and commercial activities. There must be a rhythm to the week and a fallow day promotes that. Obviously, there are exceptions which would have to exist.

Basic Income

Robotics, computerization, automation are developments, the advantages of which are going mainly to a few within society. At the same time, they are destroying, for many, work as a way of getting even a basic living (in the UK, this was recognized years ago and led to the introduction of Working Tax Credits etc). The nexus between work and pay is dissolving.

The answer is the introduction of a measure of “basic income” not in any way dependent upon or conditional upon work done, availability for work etc. In that way, most of the expensive bureaucracy around social security or “welfare” can be eliminated: large buildings in every town, huge numbers of low-grade staff doing repetitive work processing applications, snooping  on and monitoring claimants etc. Whether a basic system should have tested aspects added for disability etc is a matter for debate. As to the amount of money given, again a matter for discussion. Perhaps £10,000 or £15,000 per person per year on present values.

In the UK, Basic State Pension is a form of Basic Income which already exists. Child Benefit is another form of Basic Income. Neither are conditional upon the income or capital earned or held by the recipient.

Contrary to what many still believe, basic income has the potential to free “entrepreneurship”, volunteering and ordinary “work more to get more” within the working-age population.

Transport

Here we are hostages to technology. It may be that driverless cars will soon exist in large numbers. It may be that lighter-than-air craft will be brought into service on a scale hitherto unknown. We do not know for sure. As matters stand, it seems clear that new initiatives are required in the field of railways (including driverless, light, ultralight and miniature), as well as wide canals for passenger and freight transport. There are trains in tubes being developed in the USA which may travel at 800 mph. All one can do is keep open to the future of transport while suggesting suitable policy for now.

Religion or spiritual belief

Religion should be (and is, in more advanced parts of the world) a question of individual choice. It is not for the State, or a dominant theocracy, to lay down what a citizen should believe or adhere to. However, that does not mean that the State cannot regulate or ban certain practices of religious groups. Thus toleration of religion as such need not import toleration of backward practices such as genital mutilation.

Conclusion

These few paragraphs are not meant to be a comprehensive manifesto but a springboard for ideas.

A Wildlife Grid for the UK

A few years ago, I began to tweet occasionally about the necessity for a wildlife grid, that is, connected strips or plots of uncultivated land to allow birds and animals to travel and live safely. Around the same time as I started to tweet on the subject, I read that one or two charities had started pilot schemes. It has been heartening to see in recent weeks that this activity has apparently been stepped up.

We are now used to the concepts of nature reserves, national parks etc. The wildlife grid complements these. Not that nature is expunged elsewhere: there are landowners and farmers who are not completely hostile to wildlife. However, modern farming (except organic or biodynamic) is often to a great degree inimical to the environment: pesticides, herbicides, intensive use of land, grubbing up of hedgerows. The wildlife grid mitigates the damage by allowing nature respite and allowing animals to travel between areas suitable for them and through areas otherwise unsuitable.

There is another part of the UK which can help wildlife, if properly used. There are a million or more acres of land in the UK used as private gardens. Some people in modest houses concrete or tarmac their “front gardens”, destroy hedges (replacing them with walls or fencing), uproot trees, lay what is left entirely to lawn. All harmful. Others however are now learning to plant hedging, plant bushes and trees, keep a part of the garden or gardens wild, select bee-friendly plants etc and to avoid use of harmful pesticides and herbicides. Even the (often derided) “water feature” can be very helpful to wildlife. Also, there are ways of helping various creatures (birds, hedgehogs, bees) via the installation of suitable places for them to live or feed in. The wildlife grid not only complements all of that but comprises that, in part.

The aim need not be a wildlife grid owned or run by the State or even by large charities. The grid will consist of all sorts of variously-held land: national parks, nature reserves, private farmland and parkland, wildflower strips alongside roads, private gardens, woodland, unused land. What matters is what is done with the land, rather than who owns it. In any case, when it comes to small areas or narrow strips, no one large organization could monitor and control all of that.

It might be asked then whether this is not all self-functioning. Up to a point, but what would be useful even so would be a secretariat to map the UK in terms of a wildlife grid, to identify areas of the country where gaps exist and, assuming existence of a suitable trust with capital and income, to buy land to fill in such gaps, planting trees, creating whole forests. Also, such a body  would be able to explain the concept to interested landowners, as well as being able to conduct public relations education and so on.

The wildlife grid will be part of a future programme to place wildlife at the centre of urban, suburban and rural policy in the UK.

Social Nationalism and Green Politics

There has always been a strong connection between the current now known as social nationalism and what is now called the “green” movement.

The famous author Henry Williamson [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Williamson#Politics], who lived in North Devon and wrote the story Tarka the Otter, was a member of the British Union of Fascists, visited Germany during the 1930s and was, by any other name, a National Socialist.

It is well known that Walther Darre [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Walther_Darr%C3%A9] was “green” and that he represented a definite current within German National Socialism.

The only state, to date, to have banned cruel experiments on animals outright was National Socialist Germany. The anti-vivisection law was the first law or one of the first few laws passed by Hitler’s government. Cartoons showed Goering (another National Socialist and leading conservationist) and animals saluting, with captions such as “Heil Goering!”, “Even the animals vote for the Fuhrer!” and “Vivisection verboten!”goeringanimals

A leading, though at the same time once-obscure, thinker who espoused both National Socialism and animal welfare (etc) was Savitri Devi [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savitri_Devi], whose work is now again coming to attention. Her ideas and books even have websites devoted to them: https://www.savitridevi.org/last_man_french.html and https://www.savitridevi.org/.

The connection is not surprising. What is now termed social nationalism is organic, built on the natural order and having respect for the creatures of the land, water and air as well as (contrary to Zionist propaganda) the relatively backward racial groups and peoples of our Earth. The hero Leon Degrelle [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A9on_Degrelle] put the latter point very well after the Second World War:becwoaeccaazenq

It is striking to see that there is very often an overlap, for example on Twitter, between those who are protective of animals and those who are strongly social-nationalist. Brigitte Bardot is a name which comes to mind: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigitte_Bardot.

The new society in Europe will be nationalist, it will, also, be for Europe and its future (though anti-EU), it will be green and it will be socially-just.