August 15th, 2006


The Heath

An article in yesterday's Independent suggested that various UK celebrities were less than happy with the idea of ramblers being allowed unbridled access to the coastline. Having forked out several million at least for ownership of private strips of coastline, surely they have every right to exclude the hoi polloi?

Madonna is perhaps the best known celebrity opposition to the Right to Roam, following a dispute over her Wiltshire pile. To this list, we can now apparently add Kate Bush, Jonathan Ross, Norman Cook/Zoe Ball and Jeremy Clarkson. Fucking nouveaux aristos! I thought. If they had titles and strange surnames, it'd be easier to spot them. "Too long I roam in the night!" Kate once sang in Wuthering Heights. How would that story have panned out if Cathy and Heathcliff had been forced to negotiate chain-link fencing and maglite security patrols on their trysts?

What such celebrities publicly claim is that allowing people the right (frequently an ancient right in the case of many footpaths) of access is a threat to their security. Well, what they mean are the nutters and other oddities that are after their blood/underwear/autograph and so on. Are these people encouraged by having access across someone else's property? Possibly, although I doubt they're discouraged by the lack of it. Access or no, the only resolution to such a situation is summoning the police, brandishing a boutique shotgun accessorised by Tom Ford or in Kate's case shouting "Release the Hounds of Love!". Is it that those anoraks clash with a distant arboretum or rather a new iteration of the Great Confinement as the Great Exclusion. You're not on the list, you're definitely not coming on my land. Mad people, unknown people, get away from me! Within the fortress, every sound may be an attack. Expel contaminants, wrinkly skin, death. Control contingencies, anus, the press. Above Madonna's mansion, a giant Aleph floats charged and ready to deal with invaders. Or Quakers.

Collapse )