We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Right. We’re going in. Those trees gonna die.

Jennifer Saul, a professor of philosophy at the University of Sheffield, has a had a figurative and literal rude awakening. Writing in the Huffington Post, she says,

Authoritarianism in Sheffield

…you might think, local Labour councils would be on the side of the good—fighting authoritarianism and working to preserve what they can of the quality of life in their cities.

This morning, however, Sheffield’s Labour council showed us beyond a shadow of a doubt how they feel about the authoritarianism on the rise round the world. Overruling their own hand-picked Independent Tree Panels, they decided to descend on Rustlings Road, a quiet residential street, in the wee hours of the morning with 22 police officers, to fell 8 trees (6 of which the tree panels said should be saved). Residents were awakened in the middle of the night by police demanding that they move their cars. Three were arrested, including two pensioners. Police in the middle of the night, knocking on doors, dragging people out of bed? Arresting elderly law-abiding citizens? This is not the lovely left-wing city I thought I was moving to back in 1995.

I laughed at her political naivety until I remembered that I shared it. Whether the local authority was Labour, Conservative, or any other party, I would not have expected to read of vanloads of police with arc lights and bullhorns descending at dawn on any street of the UK for anything short of a raid on armed and dangerous gangsters.

Nor should Sheffield City Council get away with this less dramatic but equally ominous manipulation of the law:

We learned their recommendation today [i.e the decision of the Tree Panel], only after the felling. (Although the recommendation was dated 22 July, it was only published this morning at 4.30.) The council’s hand-picked experts recommended against felling 6 of the 8 trees. And yet the council was so determined to destroy them anyway that they engaged in a massive police action against law-abiding citizens in the middle of the night.

Other accounts of the incident can be read here and here.

27 comments to Right. We’re going in. Those trees gonna die.

  • Mal Reynolds (Serenity)

    “you might think, local Labour councils would be on the side of the good—fighting authoritarianism”

    Don’t ever let your kids study Philosophy under this women. She’s clearly a bit mentally challenged.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    The left has waged a very successful PR and brainwashing campaign where they are anti-authoritarianism and all their enemies are fascists.

    I won’t exactly blame the woman for thinking this way, even if she is a professor of philosophy.

  • Why do I get the impression this woman wouldn’t have given a damn had the sledgehammer of the state been wielded in support of a cause of which she approved?

  • Cal

    She’s one of the vanguard feminists in UK Philosophy, a self-righteous American arsehole who is rapidly undermining the whole field.

  • Thailover

    “…showed us beyond a shadow of a doubt how they feel about the authoritarianism on the rise round the world. Overruling their own hand-picked Independent Tree Panels…”

    I would think that they would take “tree panel” input on an advisory basis, rather than a mandate since, well, they “hand picked” the panel.

    That beings said, I have to mention the recent American push-back against everything fascist-left. The republicans may be just as bad, but the SJW mindset has become the face of everything left. The republicans now have the House of Representatives, the Senate, the presidency (elect), 33 state legislatures leaving the dems control over only 13 state legislatures.
    This is no coincidence. This is a moratorium on political correctness weiled as a club. This is a rejection of all the Triggly Puffs out there in the audience. This is a push-back agaist the “minority” assholes who seek to get good men fired because they whisper a dick-joke between themsleves re: a computer dongle at a lecture. This is a rejection of terrorist organizations pretending they’re about how black lives really matter, and a rejection of political candidates who pander to them despite the facts and statistics proving them and their alleged cause fraudulent and proving themselves to be bullies and terrorists. This was a moratorium on PAID activists bussed into “enemy” territory to cause havoc and pretend to be “protesters”. The current “protesting” (rioting) are by people who haven’t figured it out yet.
    What they haven’t figured out is that the American people are not falling for it. You’re not going to suit us into “unity”. You’re not going to beat us into having compassion for your fake cause, (If you even bother to have a fake cause, which the rioters don’t even have). You’re not going to bully us into quitting, just as you couldn’t bully Trump into going away.

    In short, Left, go fuck yourself. You’re bully-babies. You’re parasites and WE are the ones who build, construct, plan and design and work 60+ hours a week. Walk out on your universities? Why in hell should I even CARE? What in your convoluted, self-important mind would make you think I SHOULD care?

  • Jim

    Reading the BBC article it seems slightly less OTT – if the plan is to plant many more trees, as part of a revamping of street layout etc, I hardly think its the tree equivalent of the Holocaust.

    Trees have a funny effect on some people, especially middle and older aged women – they become utterly irrational about them, to the exclusion of all sensible thought. I suspect the council has been hoisted by its own ‘civic participation’ scheme, in that the sort of person who wants to be on a ‘Tree Panel’ will be the nutters who wouldn’t want anything cut down at all in any circumstances, so rather than rubber stamp a perfectly reasonable regeneration scheme they’ll have gone all rain forest on them and refused to agree. Resulting in the stand off seen.

    It is amusing though that the protesters will still not come away from this with the idea that perhaps its not a good idea to give the State wide ranging powers over people, despite being on the receiving end of it themselves for once. The mental illness of socialism is indeed deeply embedded in some.

  • Rob

    “…you might think, local Labour councils would be on the side of the good—fighting authoritarianism and working to preserve what they can of the quality of life in their cities.”

    If you thought that then you weren’t thinking.

  • you might think, local Labour councils would be on the side of the good—fighting authoritarianism and working to preserve what they can of the quality of life in their cities.

    Hahahahahahahahaha. That is what turns this into pure comedy gold. It is hard not to laugh when people get bitten by what they have themselves helped to create.


  • Sam Duncan

    I can never remember their name, but you might recall I did a post at Counting Cats a few years back about the police being brought in to assist Glasgow City Council’s goons in dragging a family from their home during the preparations for the Commonwealth Games. Not long after that, a number of businesses were forced from their premises at the top of Buchanan Street too. Glasgow has been held by Labour since roughly nineteen-canteen.

    (But hey, not to worry, maybe this May it’ll be taken by the people who brought us the Named Persons scheme. Sigh.)

  • RRS

    What is the worth of power if it is not used?

    How can its worth be preserved if it is not demonstrated?

    For those who draw their significance from connections to that power, what would be their significance without that “worth?”

  • Paul Marks

    Yes this exactly what one should expect of “compassionate” “caring” government – the academic should not be surprised.

    “We know best”, “it is for your good – your own utility”.

    It might have come from the brain of Jeremy Bentham (with his 13 Departments of State) and his followers the Mills (James and J.S. Mill).

    They talk endlessly of “freedom” and “liberty” – but they do not mean it (at least not in the sense that we do). Most of them do not even believe in human moral agency (Free Will).

    As for their preferred style of government?

    The British Raj in India – (the Mills were very involved in planning that), honest, well meaning, and never allowed any limitations to its power, to stand in the way of the “public good”.

    There are worse forms of government (of course there are) – but this view of people as children who must be controlled by government (and spanked if they disobey) is not good.

    Especially when people are arrested in the middle of the night – for their own good of course.

    And the people who ordered this sincerely believe it was for their own good.

    The Raj has come home.

  • Paul Marks

    In Kettering local government efforts to “improve” the centre of town started in 1960 – and every change has made things worse.

    “You always believe change is for the worse Paul” – no I do not (change is often for the better), but not FORCED change.

  • I do not have a facebook account (and do not want one) so I cannot comment there. But I hope others do and point out how this is just a delicious example of people being bitten by their own dog that they were happy to set on other people. Seriously, please go upset these people.

  • bobby b

    Those trees were very probably racist trees that were making the other trees feel unsafe.

  • pete

    South Yorkshire’s local government has to be the worst in the country.

  • Dawn-raid tactics aside, there is another aspect to consider.

    As I understand it, the trees in question, which weren’t in the greatest of health – and which the residents had nonetheless adorned with name tags, ribbons and paper hearts – were buckling the pavements and road. Not too long ago, a large section of a tree, a few yards away from those cut down on Thursday, had collapsed, flattening a section of the railings running alongside the pavement. Luckily, I don’t think anyone was injured.

  • Perry de Havilland (London) (November 18, 2016 at 5:07 pm), it is always a question (but only for those who have a Facebook account, in this case), whether to “speak the truth by measure, that one be allowed to speak it longer” (Burke) or else to point out the obvious, at the risk of being thought ‘unacceptable’.

    In the present political situation, Jennifer’s most realistic option for changing her council may be UKIP. One could point that out to her.

    Alternatively, one could tell her that left wing authoritarianism is not unknown in history, and suggest the wisdom of examining how fond a particular left-wing movement is of force rather than always aligning with the local lefties in a wholly uncritical fashion. If she adopted this habit of examining, other discoveries might eventually follow.

  • The Jannie

    “And the people who ordered this sincerely believe it was for their own good.”
    And will hide behind the local authorities’ circular governing mantra: The officers have to carry out the wishes of the elected members while the elected members have to rely on the advice of the officers. Result – nobody is to blame!

  • Surellin

    Whose trees, on whose property?

  • on whose property?

    On the public pavement. I.e., they’re not the protestors’ trees.

  • David

    Pardon my ignorance of your system but isn’t the Home Secretary ultimately responsible for policing in the UK? If he/she is then he/she should be on the telephone to the Chief Constable of whatever Police Farce is responsible for the area to demand why the hell police are turning people out of bed at “sparrow fart” over a bunch of trees.

    But then I guess there is the mindset that allowed Rotherham et al to occur for years.

  • Phil B

    To quote Lord Vetinari:

    ‘I believe you find life such a problem because you think that there are the good people and the bad people. You’re wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.’*

    I think that she has fond this out the hard way. Still, life lessons are never cheap.

    * From Guards! Guards!

  • John in cheshire

    Isn’t this another case of Yorkshire police Leading Beyond Authority? They are not paid by the tax payers to be the pet bully boys for the councillors, or has their job description been redefined? I’ll bet they also accompany bailiffs to provide them with the necessary muscle to intimidate ordinary citizens. Mrs May needs to bring the chief police officers to heel and she could start by abolishing ACPO, or at least withdrawing taxpayer funding of this unaccountable collection of thugs.

  • Mrs May needs to bring the chief police officers to heel…

    Wot? You must have a different Mrs. May in mind than the one I am thinking of.

  • Laird

    Phil B, I’ve not read that one. Thanks for the quote.

  • OldBob

    ACPO gone now. It’s NCPP or something that will soon morph into what ACPO was again

  • John in cheshire

    Perry, Old Bob, has it actually been dissolved? I know there have been reports of it ceasing to exist but I haven’t seen any report that ACPO is no more. If it is gone then all to the good.