Legalised theft

AS someone who loves to cycle and walk around Kielder Water and holiday within the Northumberland National Park, I’m both angry and disturbed by the privatisation of our woodlands (including Kielder Forest) by this reactionary Tory/LibDem government.

Any justification of this helping the environment or improving the area is patent nonsense. It’s yet another example of the legalised theft of state assets and anyone who buys this land is interested in one thing and one thing only: Profit.

I recently came across these words on a Chartist leaflet in 1839 and was amazed.

Calling for a general strike in the August of that year (the previous summer had seen massive public meetings and clashes in Newcastle) the flyer said: “Men of the North of England…within the last 70 years the aristocracy robbed the people of eight million acres of common lands apportioned to them for an inheritance by England’s one good King, the immortal Alfred.”

The leaflet then goes on to say: “In the space of 30 years from 1776 until 1815 the borough mongers borrowed £800million for the purpose of murdering the patriots of America and France (read today Iraq and Afghanistan), not the estates of the aristocracy but you, working men and your children, are mortgaged for ever to pay this unjust debt.”

If you throw in the banking collapse for which we, the working class, are picking up the tab, has anything fundamentally changed in the last 160 or so years?

Ed Waugh, Baring Street, South Shields