It’s Now 31 Years Since the Battle of the Beanfield: Where is the Spirit of Dissent in the UK Today?

1.6.16

The cover of The Battle of the Beanfield, Andy Worthington's book about the dreadful events of June 1, 1985, collecting accounts fro those who were there on the day, along with contemporary analysis.

Buy my book The Battle of the Beanfield. Also available: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion.

31 years ago, the British state, under Margaret Thatcher, committed one of its most violent acts against its own citizens, at the Battle of the Beanfield, when a group of travellers — men, women and children — who were driving to Stonehenge from Savernake Forest to establish what would have been the 12th annual Stonehenge Free Festival were set upon by tooled-up police from six counties, and the Ministry of Defence. The travellers were outnumbered three to one, while the police were at the height of their use as a paramilitary force by Margaret Thatcher.

The year before, the police had crushed the miners at Orgreave (promoting calls this year for an official inquiry after the belated triumph of victims’ families against the police at the Hillsborough Inquest), and the assault on the travelling community had started shortly after, when a group of travellers were harried from a festival in the north of England. Some of this group joined up with other travellers, festival-goers and green activists at Molesworth, in Cambridgeshire, the planned location for Britain’s second cruise missile base, where a peace camp was set up, following the example of the Women’s peace camp at Greenham Common, set up in opposition to the first cruise missile base. The Molesworth camp was, in turn, shut down by the largest peacetime mobilisation of troops, in February 1985, and for the next four months the travellers were harassed until June 1, when the Battle of the Beanfield took place.

The Beanfield was a horrible example of state violence, with both short-term and long-term implications. Severe damage was done to Britain’s traveller community, who had been seeking to create an alternative culture of free festivals from May to October every year, and who, as Molesworth showed, were not just hedonists, but also had ecological and anti-nuclear aims.

I had attended the last two Stonehenge Free Festivals, and what I experienced had been an astonishing eye-opener, an alternative society that evidently continued the counter-cultural ambitions of the 1960s and 1970s, but that, by the 1980s, had run up against the intolerance of Thatcher’s vision of a new Britain, where dissenters — the “enemy within,” as she called the miners — were crushed, so that corporate capitalism could prevail unchallenged.

The Beanfield did not stamp out dissent, although it paved the way for the notion of the criminalisation of dissent to take hold, which led to repressive laws being passed that clamped down on the freedom of assembly so that it now appears to be some sort of ancient dream, and the police eventually worked out a form of crowd control — kettling — that effectively shuts down unwanted protest.

Nevertheless, following the Beanfield, the government of Margaret Thatcher, and, later, of John Major, was ambushed by the rave scene, when, every weekend, millions of ecstasy-fuelled young people partied in fields and in warehouses across the nation, and by the road protest movement, which saw creative protestors living in trees to stop road expansion programmes (a uniquely British development that does not appear to have been replicated anywhere else). This is turn led to an urban offshoot, Reclaim the Streets, that joyfully took back public spaces — roads — in a way that is now almost unimaginable.

The beginning of the end, after the creative chaos of the Major years, was, I think, the election in 1997 of Tony Blair, who, as I generally describe it, hit us all with a psychic cosh, removing our freedom through a mixture of repression and brainwashing — the former building on the laws passed by the Tories, and taking advantage of the new opportunities for repression and a message of permanent fear that was enabled by the 9/11 attacks (after a few years of serious dissent from the anti-globalisation movement), and the latter through a message of greed and materialism that infected the culture as a whole, and, it seems, significantly changed the way far too many people think.

Below, via YouTube, I’m posting ‘Operation Solstice’, the 1991 documentary the Battle of the Beanfield, and the subsequent trial, in a version that co-director Gareth Morris produced for the 30th anniversary of the Battle of the Beanfield last year:

Every year, the Beanfield anniversary reminds me how much has been lost, and while I’m aware that this is, in part, because I’m becoming older, nothing has yet persuaded me that the current culture — selfish, self-obsessed, materialistic and corporate-enslaved, and with an almost inescapable obsession with suppressing anything that resembles a viable counter-culture by pricing it out or buying it up — has much about it worth celebrating.

We may have grown up to overcome much of the dysfunction that fuelled a lot of the iconoclasm of the ’70s — which has to be a good thing, of course — but in many ways that has left us, in general, quiescent, prone to believe the lies told us by new age-saturated charlatans in PR and marketing, who have convinced us that there is no such things as righteous anger (there is), and unable to fight back against those who have taken advantage of the lack of opposition to feather their own obscenely greedy nests, at the expense of the domestic poor, the globally exploited and impoverished, and, of course, the environment.

To my mind, whatever victories have been achieved in our superficially clever, insatiably greedy society, with its promise of billions of everything — from food, to clothes, to gadgets, to all the treats we’re told we deserve because we’re worth it, because we’re special — are offset by catastrophic climate change, by the greatest refugee crisis of our lifetimes, and by the self-obsessed miserable, isolationist whingeing of an aging population of people who, far from being deprived of anything, are, materially, the most fortunate generation in human history.

As I mark this sad anniversary for the 31st time, I have a dream — of the revival of a vibrant counter-culture — to tear down the dull complacency of the materialistic mainstream, with its smug empty triumphalism, and its cold, cold heart.

Below, as a bonus, I’m posting, also via YouTube, ‘Life in the Fast Lane – The No M11 Story’ by Operation Solstice co-director Neil Goodwin and Mayyasa Al-Malazi, about the road protest movement:

For more on the Beanfield, see my 2009 article for the Guardian, Remember the Battle of the Beanfield, and my accompanying article, In the Guardian: Remembering the Battle of the Beanfield, which provides excerpts from The Battle of the Beanfield. Also see The Battle of the Beanfield 25th Anniversary: An Interview with Phil Shakesby, aka Phil the Beer, a prominent traveller who died six years ago, Remember the Battle of the Beanfield: It’s the 27th Anniversary Today of Thatcher’s Brutal Suppression of Traveller SocietyRadio: On Eve of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, Andy Worthington Discusses the Battle of the Beanfield and Dissent in the UKIt’s 28 Years Since Margaret Thatcher Crushed Travellers at the Battle of the BeanfieldBack in Print: The Battle of the Beanfield, Marking Margaret Thatcher’s Destruction of Britain’s TravellersIt’s 29 Years Since the Battle of the Beanfield, and the World Has Changed Immeasurably and It’s 30 Years Since Margaret Thatcher Trashed the Travellers’ Movement at the Battle of the Beanfield.

For reflections on Stonehenge and the summer solstice, see Stonehenge and the summer solstice: past and presentIt’s 25 Years Since The Last Stonehenge Free FestivalStonehenge Summer Solstice 2010: Remembering the Battle of the BeanfieldRIP Sid Rawle, Land Reformer, Free Festival Pioneer, Stonehenge StalwartHappy Summer Solstice to the Revellers at Stonehenge — Is it Really 27 Years Since the Last Free Festival?Stonehenge and the Summer Solstice: On the 28th Anniversary of the Last Free Festival, Check Out “Festivals Britannia”Memories of Youth and the Need for Dissent on the 29th Anniversary of the last Stonehenge Free Festival30 Years On from the Last Stonehenge Free Festival, Where is the Spirit of Dissent? and Stonehenge and the Summer Solstice, 30 Years After the Battle of the Beanfield.

Also see my article on Margaret Thatcher’s death, “Kindness is Better than Greed”: Photos, and a Response to Margaret Thatcher on the Day of Her Funeral.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album, ‘Love and War,’ is available for download or on CD via Bandcamp — also see here). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

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44 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    In my latest article, I reflect on the fact that today is the 31st anniversary of the Battle of the Beanfield, when a militarised police force under Margaret Thatcher violently crushed Britain’s traveller movement, stopping and destroying a convoy of vehicles as they tried to reach Stonehenge to set up what would have been the 12th annual Stonehenge Free Festival. It was not the end of dissent, as many of us recall from the rave scene, the road protest movement, the anti-globalisation movement and even the Occupy movement, but here and now in 2016 I have to ask: where is the spirit of dissent that ought to be threatening and causing trouble for the self-serving elites who lord it over us, and that also ought to be challenging the smug materialism that defines far too much of modern life?

  2. Andy Worthington says...

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Gary Greatorex wrote:

    you shouldn’t have to ask. i know how you feel.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Flat Hat wrote:

    Same smug materialism that’s threatening sustainable life on our little Blue planet…….

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you on this sad day, Gary and Flat Hat. I think the weather is reflecting our mood.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Ian White wrote:

    The anti-fracking movement is on it Andy.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, that is a good sign, Ian, but all the resistance movements need many more boots on the ground.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Ian White wrote:

    We used to have the dole, but now it’s not so easy.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Exactly, Ian. Without wanting to sound conspiratorial, “they” have undertaken a huge amount of effort to tie people down so they can’t rely on the dole – or, for that matter, so they feel too intimidated to even walk out of a crappy job, like we used to feel able to do.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Simon Wells wrote:

    Given the impending inquiry on Orgeave Andy, what are your feelings as regards something similar for this travesty? Regards, SI x

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I think it should certainly be tied into the Orgreave investigation, Simon​, as the two are so closely related. As I mention in the article, it was just two months after Orgreave that the police started seriously taking on the travellers – at Nostell Priory, which Phil Shakesby discussed in detail in his chapter in the Beanfield book, available here: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2010/06/01/the-battle-of-the-beanfield-25th-anniversary-an-interview-with-phil-shakesby/

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Also see this page on the excellent Festival Zone site: http://www.ukrockfestivals.com/nostell-priory.html

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Dean Johns wrote:

    In light of today’s high court ruling to reopen an enquiry 40 years on regarding the Birmingham pub bombings is it not about time the police and newspapers who were complicit in the Bean field violence lies and cover ups are brought to task.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Ian White wrote:

    I dont think they launch these enquirys out of the goodness of their hearts but because they find themselves under a massive amount of pressure to do so. Compare Hillsborough.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Dean Johns wrote:

    Ian I know the tireless efforts by two family members who’s sister died in brum have resulted in today’s ruling regardless of the outcome at least some more truths and the realism that the law of that city acted with impunity and corruption will be brought to the forefront once more

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, relentless campaigning by individuals is essential, Dean and Ian, but I also think that the Hillsborough result has given impetus to other campaigns against long-standing injustices, and I hope the impetus doesn’t let up. The Beanfield should definitely be looked at, as well as Orgreave.

  17. J9 says...

    As I read the beginnings of this and the comments I feel that there is justification in an enquiry, especially in the light of Orgreave and the backlash that happened at the Beanfield with the forces taking out their pent up aggression on peaceful people.
    The truth should be out there, to set the account right. Boaters are now getting persecuted for their lifestyle in much the same way as we were in the 80″s living on the road.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, J9, and thanks for the mention of the persecution to which those living on boats are being subjected. The establishment has had them in their sights for some time now – under British Waterways in the New Labour days, and now, of course, under the class-conscious Tories, who can’t stand anyone they regard as beneath them having the right to any kind of alternative, affordable life.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    John Hoggett wrote:

    interesting that you link it to Orgreave and state repression of the miners. You could also link it to the Wapping strikes. Those were about breaking the power of the unions, of organised labour. I think the beanfield was about stamping out anyone that was not a good, obediant, producer/consumer. The message was that no one should enjoy themselves unless they are buying services from big business

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, John. I think you’re right to make that distinction between crushing the unions and crushing a disobedient sub-culture, but the means were the same – crushing them, and, most particularly, using the police to do so, turning them specifically into a politicised paramilitary organisation.
    I also like how you framed the reason for suppressing the travellers, because they were not obedient consumers, something that is all-pervasive now, but that isn’t recognised by many of capitalism’s victims. The wonderful Festival Zone website, btw, captures very well what the festival was about: http://www.ukrockfestivals.com/henge-menu.html

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Neil Goodwin wrote:

    Grundy, who was second in command over the beanfield operation, was the custody sergeant at the station the night the Guildford Four were brought in for questioning..

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Dean Johns wrote:

    Your not thinking he may have not acted in line with his oath to serve are you?

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    An important reminder of what a dangerous establishment enforcer Grundy was, Neil. Thanks for that – and for all your important contributions to chronicling the counter-culture, including, of course, ‘Operation Solstice’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1doyDQDZtc

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    John Hoggett wrote:

    in the wake of the film Pride there was an event at some London university when academics, trade unionists and someone from Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners talked. The whole issue of the police as a way of suppressing the working class and how it was a worked out strategy decided on before Thatcher came into power. I bought up the Battle of the Beanfield then.

    If you look at what has happened with the benefits system you can see a similar pattern. People have to look for loads of jobs and jump through hoops and go on mickey mouse courses to get benefits now. Very little of that helps people get work, but it does keep people busy and make them cowed.

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    I agree, John. Those working are trapped by too high a cost of living, while those without work are victimised as spongers and scroungers, when that’s obviously untrue, as there simply aren’t enough jobs. It’s quite an extreme form of control, and I think there are human rights issues involved, but that’s part of the reason, of course, that some Tories want us out of the EU – and even those that don’t want to water down our human rights obligations. It has been pretty enlightening – and disgusting – to watch the Tories savagely attack UN critics of their austerity programme for what it is doing to the poor, on those few occasions that the UN has turned its attention to what is happening in the UK.

  26. Alan Brown says...

    Fascinating I work every year at Glastonbury Festival and a few people I work with were at the Beanfield. I’ll have to return to this and peruse in depth. Great documenting Al

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Al. Great to hear from you. I launched my first two books, ‘Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion’ and ‘The Battle of the Beanfield’ at Glastonbury Festival in 2004 and 2005, in the Green Fields, of course, but I haven’t been to the festival since. Must be interesting working there every year.
    I had a great time launching my books – with the Croissant Neuf people in 2004, when it was very windy! I had a cheap gazebo that was hopelessly unsuited to the weather, but everyone helped out.
    For the Beanfield book launch, I was with the Solar Cinema people. I carried 48 books to Pilton in a big rucksack, crossed the whole waterlogged site to get to the Green Fields, and then sat on the main drag with a table and chair for two days in the sun and sold the lot.

  28. In or out? Why did the CIA seed fund Bilderberg, EEC and today’s European Union | BCfm Politics Show says...

    […] suicide – cover up. Birmingham 6 cover up – clip from documentary.  Labour strikes in France. Battle of the Beanfield 31st anniversary this week Radio4All download pages BCfm audio file Radio4All audio […]

  29. damo says...

    People are almost under complete control now,brainwashed,distracted,obediant,…..harvested……

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    “Harvested” – are you thinking of Soylent Green, Damo? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soylent_Green
    I couldn’t agree more. This is what 30 years of the elites working to depoliticise the people looks like. People who are self-obsessed, either through arrogance or fear, and who are entirely unwilling or unable to examine the current power structures and to realise that their leaders have no interest in them unless they’re rich, and the corporations who make all the stuff they so eagerly lap up are not actually their friends. People are behaving as though corporations are their friends, when the relationship is much more akin to that of a pimp and a prostitute. Woe betide the consumers if they run out of money …
    So now the current distraction is the EU referendum, and how dispiriting it all is. I have no great love for the huge bureaucracy of the EU, and especially for the Euro project and the ruin it has brought to poorer countries like Greece, but it is clearly the lesser of two evils for the UK right now, and it is not worth underestimating the importance of a Europe-wide project in terms of maintaining peace, and allowing the movement of workers and retirees (no one wants to mention the 2 million Brits living and working in EU countries). Those who want to leave mostly want to leave because they’re white, ignorant and racist, bleating on about sovereignty and hoping to start a mass repatriation programme for immigrants, and it’s frightening to imagine the triumph of the backward-looking isolationists if the referendum goes their way, including, of course, the unknown extent of the inevitable damage to the economy. And yet, the Leave campaign currently is in the lead in all the polls.
    The only hope if they do win is that the Tories will have torn themselves apart, but I’m not sure. I’d encourage anyone with any sense to vote to stay if only to finally derail the idiotic Boris Johnson’s political ambitions. Then again, perhaps if we leave, the economy tanks, and the immigrants can no longer be blamed, people will actually work out that the problem lies with our leaders, the corporations – and themselves.

  31. damo says...

    Andy ive a bad feelin in my gut….we may leave…and god help us ….you can kiss your human rights goodbye…..you,me and all the other dissidants will be rounded up ….i just feel like i wanna go live in the mountains grow a beard and dress like ghandalf live off grid and fuck society…..but…..you cant,theres nowere to hide ….whats wronge with people they want to be …..inslaved…..drained….harvested…..yes just like soilent green ….there like willing ….victims…..led by the nose towards there fate …..appeised with empty promises and shiney baubles……….

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I’ve got a bad feeling too, Damo. I genuinely find it hard to comprehend that there are so many of our fellow citizens who, without any evidence being provided, think that leaving the EU will solve any of their problems – as if immigrants will magically stop making their way here if we’re once more an inward-looking, bigoted little island.
    As for human rights, yes, the Tories’ obsession with it has been too successful, it seems, as the Tories’ leaders, while calling for us to stay in the EU, have spent years howling about how we’re prevented from ridding ourselves of unwanted foreigners by European human rights legislation. Never mind that the legislation isn’t to do with the EU (it’s the Council of Europe) or that, post-WWII, it was Tories who played a major part in drafting the European Convention on Human Rights; now it’s supposedly imperative that we leave the EU so that we can send alleged terror suspects back to the countries of their birth, even if they face the risk of torture. To scrap our human right obligations, we have to leave the EU and the Council of Europe (you have to be in the latter to join the former), and join Belarus as the only dictatorship in the European area that doesn’t want to be burdened with human rights. What a result!

  33. damo says...

    This country will decend inro right wing hell with a tanked economy….and a british bill of human rights …..and guess who will be blamed ,the disabled ,unemployed,immagrants,lgbt peoples,others……boris,farage,gove..are known racists and homaphobes…esp boris ….who,s aiming for prime minister..thease monsters and the tories dont give a fuck about anyone but there own kind …..it will be a nightmare

  34. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it’s really worrying, Damo. We are seeing a flight from common sense on a massive scale.
    Even in London the intended voting is just 57% to remain v 43% to leave, and elsewhere in the country, of course, the isolationists are in the ascendency: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/londoners-back-remaining-in-the-eu-by-clear-majority-poll-shows-a3266416.html
    Lots of analysis here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/eu-referendum-poll-tracker-uk-7699714
    Is there a silver lining? All I can see in a hopeful sense is that the Tories have split on this (but I could also see them putting it behind them afterwards, after the resignation of Cameron, Osborne etc.) I also suppose that having half the country against you isn’t the optimum position for the Brexit camp if they do win. But their triumphalism would be unbearable, as would the pointless blow to the economy (the only thing that’s certain about this whole mess), and the inevitability of us withdrawing from human rights legislation and discovering too late how much the EU protected us, as Boris & co. take us further back to the Tory/UKIP collective dream: a new feudalism.

  35. damo says...

    Are we entering a period of loo,loo,laa,laa time ….i hate to say it andy it looks like we will leave the eu …..boris will be pm and trump will be presidant…….god help us

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it’s starting to get rather worrying, Damo. A ten percent lead for the Leave campaign? Unbelievable. And all based on prejudices and discontent and not on facts – as with Trump in the US. Personally, I’d vote to stay just to try and destroy Boris Johnson’s ambitions – but there are still people who think he’s speaking for them, or is funny, neither of which is even remotely true (and see Trump, again, for the US analogy).
    30 years of politicians and the media destroying working class solidarity – with the help of the working classes themselves, of course – and this is what we get. Very sad. And once people are driven mainly by what they think are emotions (but are actually prejudices), it becomes easy for unprincipled leaders to manipulate them through just the kind of propaganda (lies) we’re already seeing – those claims that the NHS will be rich if we leave the EU, and there are no more immigrants clogging up waiting lists. All lies and bullsh*t coming from the very people who have actively been supporting the marketised destruction of the NHS.

  37. damo says...

    andy ive just bumped someone clean out of my life …..a white south african torie….lol now i try to give the benefit of the dought ….now this guy is very intelegant ,good conversation ,extra…..but just like most tories, devious,manipulating,compulsive lier,ect,ect ….like boris…a phycopath….and unlike the british public i wasnt prepered to be the willing victim…..or enabler ….its allways a certain type of person whos a torie….useualy a phycopath…….im glad we were in no way close

  38. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, there’s generally a very clear dividing line between us and the Tories, isn’t there, Damo, much more so than in the pre-Thatcher days. I was quite pleased, last night, to play my song ‘Tory Bullshit Blues’ at a gig with my band The Four Fathers in a pub called the Catford Constitutional Club, because it used to be the Catford Conservative Club, which closed down years ago due to a lack of Tories in SE London. It felt like a small victory!

  39. damo says...

    The tories …..thease tories…..are just so vile if we leave the eu ,we have two chouises be at the mercy of boris, garage, gove, patel, or be punnished by osborne who will have a revenge …..emergancy budget….the people…..not all….are to dumbed down now to know wots going on ……either way the poorest and most vulnerable are going to be crushed

  40. damo says...

    This country is now seen as the most corrupt on earth …..a bannana republic ….exept its run by a bunch of loons, despots, crooks, murderers, criminaly insane …..and ruled over by some….sad backwards inbred divy halfwit inadaquate…..parasitical scroungeing ….so called royal family……….what a joke…..bring robert mugabee in ……hey he,d do a much better job of running the country

  41. damo says...

    The thing thats driveing me mad andy is that the governments which ever one they are …..wont leave anyone alone ….it seems now in 2016 that unless you are super rich …you arent left alone for 5 mins ……without some one ……wanting something from you…even if you have nothing to give. They STILL want chewing on the dry bones ….modern society is eating itself alive ….they want,want,want……money,information,data,details…….jesus ….modern society …..get off everyones backs,out of our hair..leave us in peace,lol

  42. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Damo. Yes, it’s pretty resolutely bleak news right now. I think you’re really onto something with your analysis of our leaders wanting something from us all the time. Modern turbo-charged capitalism wants us to buy things incessantly and the paranoid want us watched 24/7, but I’m also reminded of something Henry Miller wrote back in the 1930s – reflecting on the US and Europe at the time – pre-WWII – he wrote that Europe was regularly bled by war, whereas America had become cannibalistic. I think Britain is now at that stage – and America is still there, of course.

  43. Stuart says...

    I still have the occasional nightmare of the day, I know they will never leave, my edited comments to Kim sabido on the day do no justice to what I saw, what I knew and what I felt. Well done for the book and all the work you do in supporting and documenting truth. Regards Stuart

  44. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Stuart, for the supportive words.
    I’m glad to be able to report that there continues to be interest in the Beanfield, but the “enemies within” that Margaret Thatcher attacked in the 1980s – the miners, travellers – have unfortunately continued to be signposts to a much more intolerant future, on a scale that I doubt many of us saw back then. After portraying ravers and road protestors as the enemy in the Major years, it was Tony Blair who joined the fight against the anti-globalisation protestors who emerged in part from Britain’s low-level insurrection in the 90s, and who then embraced Islamophobia after 9/11. And throughout this period, no one stemmed the toxic rise of racism and xenophobia that has finally resurfaced as become normalised throughout so much of Brexit Britain. The kind of hatred I hear nowadays reminds me of what used to be reserved solely for Gypsies and travellers.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer (The State of London).
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