– Thursday 4th June 2015

When we first arrived in Spain, and for many years afterwards, whenever the subjects of culture/ public services/ or democracy came up, I would feel forced to tell my new spanish friends how much better things were in the UK. And it wasn’t boasting, they were. That is, until now. I can’t believe that after all that hard work in the 1970s/ 80s/ and 90s it was for nothing. I remember trying to buy a copy of Armistead Maupin’s best-seller in the US, TALES OF THE CITY, and being told it was banned in the UK (though eventually getting an illegal copy from GAY’S THE WORD) as if it were yesterday. How you had to be 21 to be in a gay relationship. Now (according to my special correspondent in Scotland), the new Tory government are set to make those days look like the good old ones. Bring back real hell. Leave the EU. Build nuclear power stations again. Spend out even more on unnecessary nuclear weapons. Even less on benefits to those whose most need them. Abortion in the hands of religious fanatics. Equalities, ha! And as for justice and democracy, forget it, unless you money you don’t exist.

Compared to life here, where in many aspects the legacy of dictatorship still has a big influence, this feels like a real jewel compared to the UK right now.

But this isn’t what I wanted to say at all, what has really got up my nose is what those bastards are trying to do to Botton Village, in North Yorkshire. Botton is a community for “learning disabled people”. Whatever that means, it is unique. Literally, there is nowhere else like it. Founded by a follower of Rudolf Steiner (one of my prime influences), this place is heaven on earth. If you want to see the way a society should operate (forget party politics/ socialism/ communism/ collectives/ any of that old crap), experience sustainability in action first hand, then this is where you go to look and learn (taste the coffee too, it is the best). Or was, until the pinheads from the government started telling them how they should do their job. Have you ever thought it odd that ministers don’t need (or ever have) any experience (whatsoever) of the departments they run? Does anywhere else operate their organisations/ business like this? Botton has been leading the world in what it does (there are copies of this model literally in every country now), based on over 60 years of dedicated hard (and all voluntary) graft/ experience. Yet apparently this counts for nothing. Because the current Tory government want to close them down. Allegedly they don’t conform to their high “standards”, or is it the state service doesn’t come anywhere near close? And despite Botton not being a public service or under their jurisdiction, a totally independent charity, always has been, they are forcing them to change. Who or what is going to be next? Will it be the spanish who’ll be signing up to fight in the next English Civil War? Visit http://actionforbotton.org and see how you can help.

Finally, in my efforts to tidy up El Pocito a bit, just in case a potential soul-mate does make it this far, I came across some mint copies of MY KIND OF LIFE this week. Rather than keep them or take them to be recycled (I am really proud of this one, and it is still as relevant today) it would be nice to find a good home for them all. However the postage to the UK is expensive. If anyone would be willing to pay the postage (about £50) please get in touch.

Phil.

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