Thursday, October 03, 2002

Get orf mi land

The good thing about the Countryside Alliance is that it's really shaking out people and making them choose sides - now comes the news that Roger Waters out of Pink Floyd, Sheila Ferguson from the Three Degrees, Christopher Biggins and Nicholas Parsons are going to put on a show to raise awareness of the problems of stalled careers, um, sorry, countryside matters.

Well, I must say, this glittering bunch of talent might make me change my mind about the whole fox hunting thing.

There's no hidden agenda behind the CA, of course - it's all out in the open:

"Concert organiser Maggie Heath told BBC News Online: "We want to keep the profile high of the Countryside Alliance.We in the countryside should be left to run the countryside without interference from people in the cities. It is about liberty and democracy."

Hmm - I should point out to our overseas readers that, despite what this may suggest, people in the UK countryside actually have votes at the moment, and the 'people in the cities' (they mean Parliament) they complain about were, um, democratically elected. It's funny that during the two decades of Tory rule, there were never any complaints about 'people in the cities' sticking their nose in rural affairs back then; maybe democracy only actually counts when the people you vote for wins the election.

This comes hot on the heels of Keith Richards getting a path moved from his Sussex home - just like Nicholas VanHoogstraten, then. The sickening sycophancy of the chair of West Sussex County Council Rights of Way Committee may upset some readers:

Chairman of the committee, Bill Acraman said: "Someone well known is more vulnerable than you or me. We are well aware of what the paparazzi do. We are well aware of what nutters can do. Whether they be Prime Minster or pop star, they are more vulnerable than your or I. I strongly feel we should be able to go the extra mile."

Well, walkers are going to have to go an extra mile now the bloody footpath's been re-rerouted, that's for certain, but what the starstruck Mr. Acraman was actually saying was a pop star is more important than a centuries-old right of way. Apart from anything, how is re-routing a footpath going to protect Richards from what the sensitively described "nutters" - do West Sussex County Council dismiss the mentally ill in these terms all the time? - I'm no expert, but I believe the determined stalker is not going to be put off by the lack of a stile and a fingerpost pointing in the direction of a private house. I await the building of giant tube in Chichester City Centre to save Mr Richards from being photographed when he goes to the shops, too.

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