The blog of Laszlo Bokor

The blog of Laszlo Bokor

Monday, 5 December 2016

The Pattingham experience

Hello again,

Before I get where I want to get with this piece of writing, first of all, let me point out another reason why I think it is a good idea that I have become a blog owner. Some of the reasons I already explained in my very first post that you can read here; I, however, feel the need to extend that short list with a very important one: so that I can have a rant on things, but mostly on people, their acts, and other nonsense that bother me on a daily basis, without the need of a funny-looking dog or a cute little cat picture posted alongside it just to call somebody's attention. It is a fact, guys; if you share something on facebook that you think has some seriousness and should be addressed by people, you will never get it passed the mass of information that appears on your newsfeed.

I spent the 15th November 2016 in Pattingham which is a lovely little village in Staffordshire, near Wolverhampton. As part of my business activities, I have spent many many days there since 2011 and I always like visiting. On this day I wanted to take a little walk in the nearby forest which previously had been accessible by three footpaths which I had used a number of times before. But on that day, only one path was open, the other two were closed off by rope and this sign welcomed me:

The sign says: "This Permissive Bridle Path will close to the public from 1st November 2016 Our 10 year Countryside Stewardship Scheme ends then, new schemes unfortunately have no options for Public Access - an EU directive!". Whilst I was typing this, Grammarly kept shouting at me about the absence of a full stop and some commas; I would, however, proudly like to highlight the exclamation mark at the end preceded by a mysterious "EU directive". Well, here is my message that I cried out via a facebook status:

Dear Neil Burton (Pattingham, Staffordshire),

Could you please give us some more specific information on that EU directive which is mentioned on your sign? I understand that occasionally public paths may become inaccessible due to certain reasons, but in this case, all I can see is that frightening exclamation mark that does not leave me without the bother that you only blame the EU whilst that specific directive had to pass British legislation. Since you have also left a path open (permitted), referring to that directive leaves me with doubts.
I do not like speculating, but I believe the land belongs to you (D W Burton Farms), therefore it is private, so you may grant access to it; could you, therefore, tell us please what is an EU directive on Public Access to do with a private land? As far as I am concerned, walls, barb wires and other fences in and around fields, forest and mountainous areas are typical British things; and also bear in mind that the law in England and Wales differs from that in Scotland just as other European countries make public access to those areas possible in different ways.

I have no interest in what reasons stand behind the closing down of those paths that go across a private property, but for me as a researcher, it is a right to stand up against invalid information presented publicly which may have manipulative effects on people.

Yours sincerely,
~ Laszlo Bokor

I am telling you, some people in the UK have knocked themselves into a proper Brexit cloud. Let's blame the EU for anything and everything, but hey! Has the D W Burton Farms not received EU subsidies? Maybe not enough...

The place where I normally stay in Pattingham has a crazy number of books which I love, of course! The day after I had discovered that sign with the EU-blame on it, I found a very interesting series of publications. I also posted my thoughts regarding that one on facebook, so let me copy that here too:

As far as I can remember, a pile of large books (they look more like files) have been there for ages, I never really paid attention to them. Today I have finally had a closer look at this pile and the title of the enormous work has instantly caught my eye: "History of the English-speaking peoples" by Churchill. What really pushed me into thinking was 'peoples', the plural of an already plural form. It is not the aim of my post to analyse the reason of the double plural -- although I believe this is how he grouped the people of each nation (e.g. British, Americans, Australians; i.e. the people of Britain, the people of USA, thus the peoples of the English-speaking countries) -- but I would like to highlight the importance of a paragraph in the Preface written by Churchill himself referring to a 'United Europe'. During the Brexit campaign, both sides liked linking their views to Churchill whether he would or would not have been a supporter of a deeply integrated Europe. I am not going to evaluate his words, but in his own work dating 1956, he clearly wrote 'United Europe' as someone who believed in its existence (and saw its importance too).

60 years later, in the era of social media, anyone can become a knowledge knight no matter how ignorant they are in real life and with beliefs rather than facts they initiate rants on anyone who thinks differently. There is nothing wrong in being a Brexiter, even I admit to being one sometimes; but it is important how the information available, for example on the internet, is interpreted and how rationally it is used in arguments and discussions. Say, for example, people of Britain who voted to remain part of the EEC in 1975 (the country joined in 1973) often say they voted for the Common Market. That is understandable, because that is what the EU was at that time, but the idea of a United Europe goes much further back in time, and the absolute kick started in 1944 with the formation of the Benelux Union. After World War II this process became faster which has always been part of the creation of the United States of Europe, the EEC was one of the stages of that enormous and extremely challenging project. I personally support a deeper integration and the eventual birth of the 'dinosaur', as many of the Brexiters call it, as in the 21st century with all the effects of local and global challenges, this is the only way forward.

Well, what I have learned since I posted that about Churchill's own words is that I was right about the "peoples". According to Merriam-Webster "a body of persons that are united by a common culture, tradition, or sense of kinship, that typically have common language, institutions, and beliefs, and that often constitute a politically organized group". 

Well, smart people strive to understand things and how they work...

~ Laszlo