Friday, 18 September 2015

I'm back at Court......with Grow Heathrow!

I never thought I'd be outside a court again, early in the morning, endlessly hanging around......

On Thursday I was outside Uxbridge County Court in Hayes;

We even got into trouble - this is the security guard ordering us off the premises and then I got warned off twice for taking photographs.

Something which I took very seriously.

They even called the police out on us - which at my stage of life is the biggest tribute you could pay me.

'Grow Heathrow' is a collective of campaigners who took over a derelict market garden over five years ago - because it lies in the path of the planned third runway at Heathrow Airport.

They've been adopted by the local community and every so often you will have read about the things they do on this Blog.

There's music and and protest.

A year or so ago, a speculator bought up the site with the intention of building luxury houses on it - all of which is a bit odd given the impending runway. 

Does the tax exempt offshore company imagine that the poor buyers won't have heard of the new runway?

Apart from being home to a lot of people, no one wants them to be evicted from the protest.

We had music - and it was good - I recognised the guy on the left from 'The Lagan' - a band of London Irish 'Celtic Punks' Robyn and me are hoping to see again soon.

Up The Lagan!

We sang one of my favourite songs; 'The World Turned Upside Down' which was written by Leon Rosselson but made famous by Billy Bragg and was very relevant on a day when some very courageous people were still holding out up in the trees at the Runnymede Eco Village;

In sixteen forty-nine to Saint George's Hill
A ragged band they called the Diggers came to show the people's will
They defied the landlords, they defied the law
They were the dispossessed, reclaiming what was theirs
"We come in peace," they said, "to dig and sow
We come to work the land in common and to make the waste ground grow
This earth divided we will make whole
So it can be a common treasury for all
The sin of property we do disdain
No man has any right to buy and sell the earth for private gain
By theft and murder they steal the land
Now everywhere the walls rise up at their command
They make the laws to chain us well
The clergy dazzle us with heaven or they damn us into hell
We will not worship the god they serve
Their god of greed who feeds the rich while poor folk starve
We work, we eat together, we need no swords
We will not bow to the masters or pay rent to the lords
Still we are free men though we are poor
You Diggers all, stand up for glory, stand up now"
From the men of property the order came
They sent the hired men and troopers to wipe out the Diggers' claim
Tear down their cottages, destroy their corn
They were dispersed, but still the vision carries on
You poor, take courage, you rich, take care
This earth was made a common treasury for everyone to share
All things in common, all people one
We come in peace, the order came to cut us down

There were lots of people from the squat;

And banners;

And something wonderful happened; the local Member of Parliament arrived to join us. I've been on quite a few demonstrations with John McDonnell in the past but I've never been on one with 'The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer'; 

John took a break from what must be the busiest time of his political life to give 'Grow Heathrow' his support and to hand in a statement for the court;

“Members of Grow Heathrow have become part of the local community, making a valuable contribution to the life of the local villages. Grow Heathrow is part of a fierce community resistance to Heathrow’s expansion that won’t go away easily for any government. I commend this group to you and hope that its members will be able to continue to remain on this site and be part of our community.”

Here's most of us in this picture by a freelance photographer Mark Kerrison - you can even see me with the green sign and the hat.

                         'Runner beans not Runways'

This was a sad and sombre day - while we were at the court the people from The Runnymede Eco Village were being chased down with dogs, their homes and possessions destroyed.
But by the end of the day 'Grow Heathrow' got an unexpected adjournment (lawyers love an adjournment) until summer 2016!
We live to fight another day.
They even called the Police out on us!
How cool is that?
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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