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More on the war on hippies

The alternative news-agency SchNEWS, frequently offers inchoherent and borderline-mad stories, but it does carry some interesting stuff from time to time, including this well-composed and entirely plausible account* of how even hippy festivals are now closely regulated by the authorities:

In spite of these setbacks, [the Big Green Gathering (BGG)] managed to scrape themselves back off the floor with shareholder cash and some potentially dubious corporate involvement. Every effort had been made by the gathering’s organisers to accommodate the increasingly niggling demands of police and licensing authorities. The procedure lasted over six months – just check out www.mendip.gov.uk/CommitteeMeeting.asp?id=SX9452-A782D404 for the minutes of meetings held between organisers and the authorities. Demands included a steel fence, watchtowers and perimeter patrols, having the horsedrawn field inside a ‘secure compound’ and wristbands for twelve undercover police. At a multi-agency meeting on Thursday, police took those wristbands in order to maintain the pretence that the festival stood a chance of going ahead. A catalogue of other obstacles were also continually placed in the organiser’s path.

All of the businesses associated with the BGG came under scrutiny, licensing authorities contacted South West ambulances, the Fire Brigade and the fencing contractors and asked them to get payment up front from the BGG. Needless to say this caused huge problems.

For their own good, of course. One cannot just have hippies hiring fields from farmers in order to have a place to enjoy themselves as they see fit. Someone might not get hurt. And that would open the floodgates to anarchy in the UK. Or Wessex, at least.

hat-tip: Dr Geraint Bevan
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* Though they do get the date of the vile Licensing Act 2003 wrong

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11 comments to More on the war on hippies

  • So are these experiences causing folks to repent their statist politics now that they see how it effects them too? Just curious.

  • Well, it dates back to the Thatcher years of course- Stonehenge, the Battle Of The Beanfield, dovetailing into the War On Raves. This thing has been going on for a very long time; in a sense it was just the reassertion of authoritarian control after the brief relative anarchy of the 60s. It’s hard to blame either “left” or “right”; it’s both. It basically reflects the adoption of a new, now ubiquitous control tactic- the idea of a police state protecting your health and safety, the protection of which justify any degree of extremity. The Blair regime just picked up a ball that was already in play, though, and ran with it.

  • guy herbert

    So are these experiences causing folks to repent their statist politics… ?

    What makes you assume they have statist politics?

  • Quite so, Guy. Such folks would seem a natural breeding ground for the opposite.

  • jc

    i think the commenter was in the US and the American hippies are pretty statist in economic terms. sure they will sit-in to death for the right to smoke a bong but they will support all manner of confiscatory economic policies.

  • As much as I disagree with the state getting in the way of organised events, like the first poster I’d pretty much assumed that hippies are statists. This is the “Big Green Gathering”. Don’t all greens want an end to capitalist greed and the government domoretosavetheplanet? I hope I’m wrong and Perry is right. I’d certainly love to hear from some greens who aren’t also leftists.

  • 99.9% of the population are statists. Our metacontext is statist. It is now routine to presume that any perceived problem requires a state solution. Anyone who refuses to invite statists to their birthday party is going to be alone with the cake and balloons.

    At some point we’re all going to have to stop thinking that a few tens of people on the blogosphere counts as a movement, and get out there and start mixing it with the masses. Perhaps we should have a tent at these festivals and hand out a few leaflets, or something. I’m a festy kind of person. I’ve got the long hair and the Hawkwind tee-shirts and everything. Anybody else? We need a couple of attractive hippie-ish looking chicks to lure the punters in, I’d imagine.

  • I suppose continually boring everyone i know with libertarian principles doesn’t count. It’s certainly much less fun! I do do my best to spread the ideas though, it’s not hard. Most conversations tend towards the government interfering in some way. In the pub the licensing laws, beer tax and smoking ban. At work the daft health and safety etc etc. It would be good if we could make a big noise like the watermelons do though…

  • I suppose continually boring everyone i know with libertarian principles doesn’t count. It’s certainly much less fun! I do do my best to spread the ideas though, it’s not hard. Most conversations tend towards the government interfering in some way. In the pub the licensing laws, beer tax and smoking ban. At work the daft health and safety etc etc. It would be good if we could make a big noise like the watermelons do though…

  • mike

    Every little $2 bill helps Ian.

  • CaptDMO

    ….because, unlike the majority of ANY large events, “organized” by a “OH, this would be soooo groovy” plan committee , Someone might not get hurt.

    Just sayin’.
    The US has a “history”.