What on earth does the government think its doing selling off our forests? Yes, there are some examples of how privatisation of national assets has been a worked reasonably well in the past. Well, privatisation of sorts. More specifically, private companies running national assets with government funding. The NHS, car parking, the car industry, the rail network…? Actually no, there are not any examples of privatisation of national assets working well at all are there? They are all crap.
So why would the forests be any different? For instance, who would pay for all the fencing needed to keep people out of these lovely wooded areas? Because, if a private company buys a forest, it would surely want to charge folks to use it for, say, bird watching, dog walking etc. We would be expected to enter via turnstile and hand over our cash to a spotty pale faced vegan in exchange for a map of the muddy paths, with pictures helping us indentify blue tits, bluebells and edible mushrooms. Power crazed police wardens would roam the woods, competing for commission for penalties to be handed out to those who broke the rules. Wheel clamping would be in operation for not only our cars, but prams and bikes too. Fines would be handed out for dogs that barked, children that screamed and anyone who went for a tinkle behind a tree. In short, the government would expect the forests to be like their cities. Car-less and controlled by CCTV.
But what concerns me more is the animals. Will they be privatised too? Can you really buy a squirrel? Are they able to sell off our deer and wild boar? Because if you fence the people out then, by contrast, you surely fence the animals in? What if a couple of deer had gone off on an away-day while the fences were being erected and returned at midnight to find themselves separated from their families? It would be like Berlin in the 1950’s. In 30 years time, the fences would come down during some mass demonstration and the “free” deer would be queuing up to visit long forgotten relatives still living in hovels.
Or here is another theory, they could install animal turnstiles too. So the privatised animals would be allowed out at certain times as long as they were home by midnight. It would be like South Africa. Perhaps the owls would be trained as spies or wardens. The odd animals would escape and live as fugitives, being constantly followed and tracked down by the CIA and the Daily Star. In years to come, a bird verses quadruped hatred would evolve and eventually evolution would encourage four legged animals to grow wings.
You see, Mr Conservative minister, nature is something that happens outside Whitehall. Evolution may change the colour of your government, but mess with nature, you are messing with God, The Farmer and the Sunday Roast.