London has sun and shadow bouncing around the buildings and jumping around the pavements, parks and greens. It’s as if the day is nervous, it can’t stand still as the slight breeze makes the leaves throw lace patterns around that dance and jig in their excitement - a sunny day, at last!
We decide that Hyde Park is the place to be, a great green carpet in the heart of London, an everyman space, provided and maintained by the ratepayers and taxpayers of London for everyone, rich, middling, poor or destitute, you are free to wander here. It is a superb symbol of the municipal spirit, the idea that there are some things which can’t be bought but can be paid for out of the common treasury.
So said The Levellers and Gerard Winstanley in the 17th Century of Oliver Cromwell’s England.
His utopian experiment in Christian communism was broken up by Cromwell’s troops, but he will be smiling today as he peers down on the public parks of Britain, feeling that here, at least, is one legacy, unacknowledged, that he can claim a part in.
The Rolling Stones, ancient and aging troubadours of the 1960’s, are going to hold a concert here in the park and will charge over £100 a ticket!
The Stones remind us of the African religion that holds that there are some spirits which can kill people but the victims do not realise that they are dead, so they wander around, dazed and confused, often making fools of themselves.
These spirits must have chosen the Stones as victims some time ago, for they are surely perfect examples of the living dead - ‘ the graves did open and the sheeted dead did squeak and gibber in the streets’ to paraphrase the bard.
What happened, apart from the fact that in the interval they have earned a large fortune from record sales and broadcast fees, to drive a wedge into the principle that the park is free for everyone?
Was it Margaret Thatcher and the enterprise spirit which she unleashed?
If there is no such thing as society, why should there be public parks?
We don’t know, but when it comes to politicians, democracy and distrust are the only safeguards we all of us have.
My parents look back on 1953, the year I was born, as a time of decency and order, the year that things got going again after the war.
But in that year, the Conservative Government invited British servicemen to take part in research into a cure for the common cold.
They were lying - it was the nerve gas sarin that they were researching.
One Ronald Maddison died a horrific death from its affect.
This was, of course, suppressed with all the secret power of the British state, and my parents, along with the rest of the country, were able to hang on to their patriotic illusions.
A report in Daily Telegraph about Porton Down, theGovernment research centre into nerve gas, reveals that this old trick ofdeceiving our servicemen into helping out with research into the effects ofsarin gas was still being played, and suppressed, in 1983, under Margaret Thatcher’sgovernment.
She may have changed some things for the better, but some of the big bad things seem to have just carried on calmly, as the old war poster advised.
And carry on calmly they did, from the auspicious year of 1953. One man who could have claimed to have been a genius and to have saved his country was Alan Turing, the mathematician. (He cracked the enigma code the Nazi military used during WW2)
But he was a homosexual, so in 1953, when homosexuality was illegal, the authorities hounded him to his death by insisting that he take a course of injections to change his sexuality. These caused him to commit suicide.
If this is what they will do to a national hero, none of us is safe.
Especially since, as we've seen, some things don’t change, but others are now charged for and youth grows spectre thin and rolling stones do gather moss.........
The secret courts are on their way, so tread warily on your way.