Knepp – an inspiring project

One of the problems with rewilding, as a friend knowledgeable in this area mentioned to me at the weekend, is that the people who are generally enthusiastic about it are not the ones who own the land that they want to see rewilded.

And their point was that this means the biggest proponents of rewilding can afford to be idealistic about what would they like to happen to land when they don’t rely on it to give them an income.

Continue reading “Knepp – an inspiring project”

Leo P – the Jimi Hendrix of the baritone sax?

To claim that anybody is the Jimi Hendrix of anything is a pretty bold and possibly silly claim and I realise that it’s one that may be open to ridicule, especially when I concede that I know almost nothing about the baritone sax and the only other player I can name off the top of my head is Harry Carney, who played so beautifully with Duke Ellington, as in this clip here:


…Leo Pellegrino (or to use his stage name, Leo P – but I think he should stick with the Pellegrino name – if there’s one thing this guy has got, it’s plenty of fizz!) became a global star as millions watched the YouTube videos of him playing with the ‘brass house’ trioToo Many Zooz, busking on the New York subway.

Continue reading “Leo P – the Jimi Hendrix of the baritone sax?”

The problem with referendums

An often overlooked problem of the whole Brexit referendum is not the result, but the mechanism that was used to achieve it. The truth is that the United Kingdom is not used to referendums and that has meant that at least part of the crisis that has ensued from the 2016 vote has been how to interpret, contest and implement the result.

Only three referendums have ever been held which have covered the whole of the United Kingdom, including the 2016 Brexit referendum. Not only that, but our first past the post electoral system means that the national result at general elections is actually only ever an aggregated result of all the separate constituency votes. In other words, the UK has a highly localised electoral system – and there is very little precedent for any sort of meaningful national vote unlike in many other countries where there are, for example, presidential elections and proportional representation on a national basis (parties are awarded seats on the basis of their percentage of the national vote) .

Continue reading “The problem with referendums”

The new northern forest

It looks at first glance like another environmental good story that follows in the wake of a number of other positive announcements in recent times – the government is to support the planting of 50 million trees in order to make a new northern forest that will spread across an entire swathe of the north, from Liverpool in the west to Hull in the east. There’s a more detailed look at the project here, on the Woodland Trust website. I previously wrote on this blog about how we need more trees in this under-wooded country and so in this respect it seems like a great thing. But as Patrick Barkham points out in the Guardian, there is more than a suggestion of greenwash on the part of the government about the announcement of the new northern forest – at the same time, HS2 and fracking in northern England are destroying valuable existing habitats and trees that have stood for hundreds of years.

Continue reading “The new northern forest”