Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Sleepless in East Yorkshire


It has been just two weeks since the story broke that Davis was going to make his gesture and free up the H&H constituency for a proper representative. In those moments of wakefulness which were common, but thankfully have now diminished, I ask myself, ‘Why am I putting myself through all this?’

Well, it began at an early age... yes it did… my wonderful, kind, tennis-playing Dad, Arthur Jones, died from lung cancer when I was 5 and I haven’t forgiven whatever caused it. I have a good idea what did: he was in the army right through the war - in ordnance which means he was close to all kinds of chemicals involved in weaponry. He had also smoked a bit so I wouldn’t let my mother do it. I now know the story of tobacco. There was also the explosion at Windscale (now re-christened Sellafield) in 1957. Added to this, I understand from my mother that some of the hospital treatment Arthur had was hopeless.

From all this I think I learned to be suspicious of human activity in general. I’ve only made these connections in the last few years, and it still makes me cry when I think about it. This suggests to me that this is the deep motivation for what I do.

We moved into the wilds of the Cotswolds where my mother got a job teaching in a boarding school and I was a rather feral kid - usually to be found in the woods in a tree house with a book and the cat. This was therapeutic for me, but lonely for my mother (widowed at 29).

By the sixth form (Plymouth, 1970) I was deeply worried about pollution. My spin on the Affluent Society (a popular paperback at the time) was to use the expression ‘Effluent Society’. I became an English teacher in Hull and East Riding and I know that my preoccupation with human effects on the environment had a big influence on what went on in my classroom. Luckily, kids are interested in issues of social and environmental justice too.

Ah well … off to badger the burghers of Kirkella

3 comments:

  1. Very moving

    Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" opened my mind to the madness of our industrial effluenza economy and the diseases it gives us

    All beings are interconnected, after all:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=HeR1l0V0r54C&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22Rachel+Carson%22&sig=ACfU3U0fNINTk_l08iWkLLPHEp3nDnzvdg

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  2. AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0WOIwlXE9g

    BRITAIN'S FIRST GREEN MP!

    We have control of cyberspace. Please enjoy taking control on the ground.

    Cybernaut
    'The Flying Facebook Circus'

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  3. Hi Shan, just a note to wish you all the best on election day.
    Keith. (Recruitment & Canvassing Coordinator. South Devon Green Party)
    PS. Love your expression "effluent society"

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