First libraries, now woodlands (don’t worry, there will be no further exercising of the Clutterbuck socio-political hobbyhorses after today (unless the Government attempt to outlaw Test cricket or privatise clouds, damn them)).
There are abstract as well as economic reasons for keeping our forests free. I like fact that, until bloody neothilic man spoiled things, this was a woodland nation (almost as much as I love the thought that, much more recently, we were once a maritime nation). Woodlands, like oceans (and as opposed to jungles, which, to a European, or at least to this European, conjure a more specific and less primal sort of foreboding: a relatively simple fear of the exotic and alien), have a powerful hold on European imaginations – consider, for instance, the Grimm brothers’ collections of folk-tales, and the terrifying darkness of the Germanic forests therein (Freud said that folk-tales contain “the dreams of the human race” – in this case, they contain (or are contained by) the nightmares).
I wish that we still had elks and wolves and beavers and bears. But then I suppose, if we did have them, they wouldn’t have any mystique (they are, after all, essentially mythological creatures to an Englishman), and if I were that bothered about having them I’d go and live in the Carpathians or somewhere. Rather than in Leeds.
I’m rambling now. Some links: to woodland photography; to a couple of woodland poems (one concerning private ownership of same, one not); and to a petition against the forest sell-off, which you can sign, if you want.