Out of the woods
It started. as many a news story will, with a leaked ministerial letter. In this one. dated 5 July 1992. John Gummer recommended to Scottish Secretary lan Lang. the minister with lead responsibility for British forestry. that privatisation of the Forestry Commission ‘would raise money and get the forest estate out of the public sector.‘
In March I993. environmental and public access groups held their breath as Lang duly set up the Forestry Review Group. Privatisation of the Commission and an end to public ownership of a tenth of our country were dreaded.
Last week, Lang announced earlier and better than expected findings of the review. No. the Forestry Commission would not be privatised. Yes. public access and environmental improvements were to be upheld. with a new Woodland lmprovernent Grant. among other measures.
But sinister undercurrents muddied the clear water of the review‘s proposals. among them continued provision for the sale of portions of public forestry and the replacement of Forest Enterprise (the management arm ofthe Commission) with a Next Steps Agency. which might facilitate longer- term privatisation plans.
'l‘llti RAMBl.iiRS' ASSOCIATION
Andrew Wightman of Reforesting Scotland. welcomes the rejection of privatisation. but dismisses the review as ‘a massive missed opportunity. The spectre of privatisation has dominated the discussions. preventing more wide- ranging and deep debate about the future. The opportunity hasn‘t been taken to say: “Well. okay. we‘re against wholesale privatisation. but what do we want positively out ofthis?“ The debate hasn‘t got to the nub ofa lot of complex problems.‘
‘Our big concern.’ adds Dave Morris of the Ramblers Association. ‘is that the disposals policy appears to be continuing — in other words. selling off chunks of forest. it was good to see lan
Forestry Commission: still a threat of land sales
Lang flagging up public access. but the measures he was talking about were really just tweaking of the system. which will have no measurable effect. The net effect of these proposals will be a continuation of public access loss.‘
Morris sees direct campaigning as the most effective weapon against this loss. and indeed the Ramblers‘ Association have scored significant victories over past privatisation schemes. ‘Our message to all local communities.‘ he says. ‘is that they should monitor what‘s going on and what woods in their area are being put on the market. and they should campaign against it.‘ (Andrew Burnet)
I Sounding off NVA Organisation. the Glasgow multi-media performance group. is looking for Scottish inventors to submit ideas for a concert and exhibition due to take place in The Arches in October. The group is looking for electrical or mechanical devices which make a noise. with the ten winning contraptions incorporated into a live concert. Contact NVA on 04! 353 3223 for details.
I Fast film Automatic roadside cameras were installed in Edinburgh this week in an effort to cut down speeding and red-light jumping. The idea was widely welcomed though the Scottish Council for Civil Liberties expressed concern about the increasing use of remote-controlled policing measures. ‘We are concerned about the development of policing based on technology with fewer police on the spot.‘ says director Carole Ewart. There are 26 sites located on the west side of Edinburgh with four cameras rotating round the sites.
I Cinema history Glasgow Film Theatre. which as Scotland's first custom built arts cinema has been made a listed building. is to get a £90,000 grant from the Historic Buildings Council for Scotland to help meet the costs of restoration work. The Dutch modernist-inﬂuenced building originally housed the Cosmo cinema and was completed in I939.
_ Spreading ide
Who knows how it’ll play in Romania, but that’s where Glasgow-based performance artists Cylinder hope to take their piece ‘Thin.Dirt.Spreading’.
The performance is billed as: ‘the semiotics developed from the inverted morality practised by those who refuse to recognise any self-less elements in their view of the death/killing of children.’ The performer will be ‘clothed/painted black, wearing a “kilt” of wood, and antlers on his head.’
Cylinder has been staging site- specific performances around Glasgow for several years, collaborating with groups such as Test Department and Mute-8. How Cylinder’s Roddy Hunter wants to set
Cylinder: sending work to Romania
up a cultural exchange with Romanian performance artists and is looking for like-minded Scottish artists to contribute performance videos, experimental tapes and essays about their work. The idea is to create a ‘cultural package’ to accompany Cylinder’s performance at the Trench Art Festival in September.
‘Romania as a country has been completely forgotten about culturally,’ says Hunter. ‘For our small part we want to give people a chance to see work they wouldn’t otherwise see.’ (Eddie Gibb)
Details of Cylinder’s Romanian project from Roddy Hunter, Flat 0/1, 290 Paisley Road West, Glasgow G51 130.
I Earth First! The Glasgow contingent of this direct action campaign is continuing its activities against the M77 extension in Pollok Park. On Saturday 30 July there will be a Reclaim The Land event at the park with bands. On Tuesday 2 August. Larnrnas Day will be celebrated with a vegetarian and vegan harvest festival. On Saturday 6 August the ‘Alternative Pollok Family Day‘ will be held in the park with games. crafts. workshops and music.
I Criminal injustice Although some of the more ludicrous aspects ofthe Criminal Justice Bill (CJB) will not have an effect in Scotland. opposition to the Bill is very much alive up here. Among the parts of the CJB which will apply to Scotland is the introduction of ‘aggravated trespass' which will mean that anyone going onto private property with the intention of hindering any legal activity (including nuclear waste dumping. fox hunting. road building and tree felling) will make themselves liable to a three month prison sentence. Mass trespass will also become crirninalised: if more than 20 people are congregated on private land then the police will have a right to remove them. This will outlaw demonstrations involving more than 20 people. The Edinburgh members of the Scottish Network Against The Bill are seeking to provide maximum publicity about the effects of the C18 and ask any interested people to contact them at one of their weekly meetings which take place on Mondays at the Southsider Bar, West Richmond Street.
1 I Bisexual Conference The twelfth
National Bisexual Conference will take place in Edinburgh from Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 August at the Methodist Central Halls in Tollcross. This is expected to be the largest ever conference with over 200 participants from all over the UK. Among the topics on the agenda are Bisexuality and Religion. and The Media and the Relationship with the Lesbian and Gay Movement. Details and registration are available by sending a sac to Edinburgh Bisexual Group. 58a Broughton Street. Edinburgh Elll 3SA.
I S.A.F.E. Support on Addiction for Families in Edinburgh is a registered charity that works with individuals and families effected by the problems of drug addiction. HIV and AIDS. A fundr'aising ceilidh for SAFE will be held on Friday 5 August, 7.30pm—lam at St Mary‘s Church. Constitution Street. Leith. Tickets costing £4 (£2) are available from the SAFE office 24 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh (031 662 0358).
I Amnesty Gamelan Concert Amnesty International and the Naga Mas Garnelan Orchestra are combining to present the Aung San Suu Freedom Concert in Glasgow on Tuesday 16 August. The concert will take place at The Arches. 30 Midland Street, 8—l0pm. Admission will be £4 (£2) and all proceeds will go to Amnesty international.
I If you have news of any events or courses which you want publicised in this column, please forward them to ‘Action’ at The list, 14 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 TTE and include a day- time phone number.
The List 29 July——l l August 1994 5