TRUTH & RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR STONEHENGE
TRC 9 RECORD
Notes of Stonehenge Truth & Reconciliation Commission Meeting Of
July 10, 1999 At Shrewton Village Hall
Dr Thomas Daffern (Chair), Rollo Maughfling (Archdruid), George Firsoff (Secretary), Val Bannister (Pagan Federation), Adrian Tibbetts (Resident of Shrewton), Paul Aitken (Stonehenge Campaign), Hilary (Stonehenge Campaign), Wesley (Stonehenge Campaign), Kasia (pagan from Bristol), Arthur Pendragon (Druid king), Heather, Andy, Anne Waterhouse (Big Green Gathering), Roy Gillett (Astrological Association of Great Britain), Kay (King Arthurís College), Andy Hollingshead (Police Commander), Tim Abbott (Wilton Councillor), Chris Hogan (from Australia), Nora Morris, Gilli Bradbury, Clews Everard (English Heritage - Arrival is noted in text)
Tape is muffled at beginning and clears when:
Val says the next step forward is to dialogue with people who climbed on the lintels and felt dissatisfied.
Adrian Suspicious of English Heritageís plans due to Jocelyn Stephensí rudeness to a Shrewton resident during a meeting about Stonehenge. Most important to find out why Solstice í99 went wrong and who was responsible.
Paul Interested in wider access for everyone associated with the Solstice event, talking to everyone concerned because itís the only way it will be solved if people want to solve it.
Arthur Wants to see peace at Stonehenge and free access for everybody and in my opinion the situation was worsened by heavy-handed police tactics or that of English Heritage because I donít know on whose invitation the police were evicting people. I was actually in there at the time and I was evicted.
Anne I was away during Solstice but coming back and picking up on it, it seemed a failure of communication and lack of leaflets, from what I hear.
Roy Iíve been attending meetings in Amesbury throughout the year, trying to set up access. Chart for this year wasnít done till after the event but it clearly shows what happened. Chart for next year clearly shows we have to be very careful, because it could be very, very wonderful or very, very horrible. If we donít solve it this year, it wonít be solved for a very long time.
Kay Iím researching Stonehenge as a site of religious significance and peopleís perceptions of it.
Andy I was responsible for Stonehenge on the night of the 21st. My interest is to find a solution to meet everybodyís needs and wants regarding Stonehenge, within reason.
Tim As mayor of Wilton four years ago, I started meetings with druids and travellers, gradually including English Heritage and Wiltshire Constabulary, which has led to the level of communication we have today. There was a concerted will by everyone this year. I was there on the night and there was no feeling of contention and people were happy.
Andy There are two stories re the fence going down 1. A group of people leaned on it and it just went down; and 2. A concerted group moved in through the crowd and pushed it down. This was civil trespass under the Ancient Monuments Act, as the site was technically closed. Two laws used: aggravated trespass (trespassing to obstruct a common gathering, ie hunt saboteurs. And civil trespass. Tried up to the last minute to let special access work but for special access to work, the Stones had to be cleared.
Arthur I was arrested for obstructive trespass. I tried to negotiate with police.
Andy It was low-key clearance, all units were trained, objective to clear Stones and hold the fence where it was down. I wanted special access to happen, couldnít get people down from the lintels, which was a Health & Safety issue for English Heritage. Police were in riot gear and carrying truncheons as protective clothing. If youíre dealing with fire, you wear protective clothing; if youíre dealing with sewage, you wear protective clothing. They werenít dressed provocatively, just protective clothing. Until the fence went down, they were deployed in normal uniform. Brief was to police this a normal event. 110 officers, plus 6 mounted officers and 42 security officers. Crowd peaked with approx 3,000 in the landscape.
[A short dispute re numbers here with Tim and Rollo, but agree that around 3-400 went inside, with around 400 outside the Stones.]
Andy There were 23 arrests, a few of which happened on the 21st, the next day. It happened when the fence went down. Police not engaged in arresting people at 2:00, just wanted to restore order and get people back onto the road. Disappointing for all that the fence went down. What is important compared to what happened the previous week in London and compared to whatís happened at previous Solstices, there was no violence, only 2 extremely minor injuries, excepting Arthurís broken ribs. I would say it was calm.
Kasia The picture I got from the media coverage was a huge riot, with thousands of people and thousands of police.
Andy The mediaís interest in the past has been confrontation.
Arthur There is a third version re the fence going down. When police put the fire out, people from the National Trust field joined those on the English Heritage side of the road and the pressure of those extra people caused the fence to go down. Steve Andrews, former manager of Stonehenge, and myself were asking one of Andyís officers why they were in there as this was civil trespass, which was down to English Heritage security. Another officer whispered something to the first officer, who then told us he was not allowed to engage in conversation with us and at that point, the police line came forward. The third time I was evicted from the Stones, there were three lines of police behind me and the backend of a police horse facing me. Thatís when I returned to the Stones and got arrested. Why were horses used in the dark? Itís dangerous. At 2:00, everybody inside the Stones was perfectly willing to work with anybody who had access at dawn and it was a very amicable situation. Steve and I were telling people that it was most unlikely police would evict them that is not policy. What it does mean is it buggers up special access for people at dawn. But we were wrong because police came in and evicted people by force, which only aggravated a bad situation. At that point, people were willing to work with anybody else who turned up at dawn, but once theyíd been forcibly evicted and gone back in again, I donít know because I was in police custody. The whole operation was rather heavy handed and not well thought out, because once the police had cleared Stonehenge, they couldnít hold it. If it hadnít been cleared in the first place, it would be a different story.
Andy Didnít know how many arrested had actually been charged. Andy Tatum had police officers working the crowd, (walking through and engaging in conversation) and deliberately didnít put officers on the fence line as this was seen as provocative.
Tim Police officer told me that the majority of dissidents were teenagers, or in their early twenties, therefore too young to remember The Battle of the Beanfield and only saw Stonehenge as a symbol of rebellion.
Rollo Horses, dogs and police helicopters wind people up and feed the media with confrontational photos. Whilst still in Salisbury, I phoned someone at Stonehenge and was told that there were people in the Stones, but it was peaceful. We wanted to go, but the police officer assigned to the group said, No, there have been petrol bombs. When we reached Amesbury, we were told all special access had been cancelled. We walked to Stonehenge, met up with Tim Sebastian in the National Trust field and carried out various ceremonies. There was no sign of Clews Everard, the police were not giving way and we were forced to remain outside. The police would not allow us in to ask the people in the Stones if we could come in, even though those people had been hoping for the Druids to join them. We perceive this to be an extraordinary exercise in mis-management. We see no reason at all why people who went in werenít left there. All they wanted to do was watch the sunrise and go home. We know they all left by opening hours anyway. Had we been able to get in with our stewards, we believe we would have been able to persuade people to come down off the lintels and join in. There would have been excellent pictures of a good Solstice being enjoyed by all going around the world, instead of what happened. English Heritage made the arbitrary decision to remove members of the public by means of the police from a sacred temple. I wrote a letter to Clews Everard shortly before the Solstice and Iím sorry sheís not here to respond to it. In our opinion, there are only two ways of doing things and the endless permutations thereof: By extended limited access to those who have applied in writing, two to three hundred at least, with the rest waiting outside at the Heel Stone where Arthur and others might keep them amused until I and others bring the main ceremony to them after a shortened one inside the Stones has been completed, or b) Allowing all those who attend to converge on the Stones shortly before sunrise for a shortened ceremony, say 20 minutes of mass convergence only. Thereafter the central circle is cleared by persuading all attendees to leave the Stones and form a vast circle around the outside of the Henge, linking hands and dancing around the Stones until high spirits had been relieved. Thereafter, groups of people could spend time inside the Circle on a rotational basis while others congregated outside. Although (a) may be workable with assistance from the police, (b) is better because it rules out the element of frustration of those outside who may be unfamiliar with the code of conduct and still feel they are being deliberately kept outside. This is business that must be ongoing with Clews and that (b) is the only way forward. For the last thirty years, I have worked with, or for, Michael Eavis at Glastonbury Festival and we have 100,000 people come and we have no incidents. For the last seven years, I have actually been responsible for looking after the Stone Circle on the field of the Kingís Meadow and ceremonies there. For the whole week building up, until people go afterwards, we have never had an incident there. Clews Everard is not the sort of person we would employ at Glastonbury Festival. She is a sower of division: she puts one lot of general public against another lot of general public and says, These people canít get in, those people can. We know that if we did that at Glastonbury, and said, These people can touch the Stones, those canít., or said, Those people can go in, those people have got to wait outside, weíd have trouble. But if you let everybody in, let them touch the Stones, sit and meditate, watch the sunrise, do what they like until theyíve had enough, then they go home. And we feel this is the way forward for the future.
Wesley A lot of problems seemed to be caused by a lack of somewhere for people to congregate. If there was a gathering point, people would have stayed there and not gone to the Stones so early in the evening. A lot of people seemed scared when the police lined up and I have video footage of that. Lots of people were shouting, No violence, and a lot of people seemed worried about the police coming in. It was a very chaotic removal of people from the Circle; people were going round behind the police, groups were being separated and a bottleneck was created where the fence was down.
Hilary I thought the police operation was softly, softly. Duncan, an EH security guard, was seriously losing the plot and making the situation worse. I saw him get pretty heavy with people. I think heíd got to the stage of taking it personally and pushing people around really badly. He was almost at hitting people stage and pushing people around really roughly and that wasnít helping. When I was pushed out of the Stones, I was pushed into the line of horses, which was intimidating. But it was still the best policing I have seen at Stonehenge.
[Clews arrives at this point.] Clews (Summary of speech). Was very disappointed that the fence went down. Had removed travellers from the car park on evening before the Solstice, but found some niceties amongst what otherwise could have been an unpleasant element. Gave background of Stonehenge Peace & Reconciliation meetings and Round Table meetings to woman with small child, saying we were working towards greater normality, greater access, etc, who thanked her for her time. Also, a man gave her a flower at the end and thanked her for evicting them so nicely. Clews felt there was accord amongst everybody there. Although concerned about small children and dogs, the mood was congenial. Also concerned about the campfires in the road with the number of small children around, but left that to police. Concern expressed too about the number of people who appeared to be drinking quite heavily. At 2:00, the fence went down. Bitterly, bitterly disappointed because had hoped that, even though there was a different mix of people there, that we would be able to see that last dawn in peace. A significant step forward was that, although the fence was down, a lot of people chose not to go in. A lot of people just went in to see what was happening. English Heritage viewpoint is that it is now that much harder to move forward. Clews would have to work that much harder with colleagues in London because they werenít there and didnít see how very quickly things resumed to normality; they only saw what the media publicised. The leaflets in her office were not distributed because you couldnít see at 2:00 in the morning.
Thomas suggests that maybe they could have been handed out earlier and Clews agrees that they could have been but more people came as it was getting dark, and thatís the reason. Thomas suggests an information point is necessary, with leaflets, people there giving out information and taking comments.
George Hoped to relax situation by creating another event and having two dawn celebrations. Permission was granted for group to walk to Stonehenge from Woodhenge and although the media had put out that all access was cancelled, procession went ahead because we donít believe everything put out by the media. Mark Harold, who advised us not to go near the fence because police might start interfering with us, met us. I donít know why he said that, maybe heíd already seen some activity to suggest police might be jumpy or might misunderstand what we were doing, but it had all been cleared at the Round Table meetings and the police knew our route. A delegation went up to the fence to speak with Clews. English Heritage management in London, having seen the press coverage, had decided to pull the plug on access and staff at Stonehenge had no leeway. This was a pity because it was peaceful at the Stones. People in the landscape joined in so there were about 200 in the circle and we held a pagan circle, which was very wonderful in its own way. There is a video record of this. I invite Clewsí comments on English Heritageís decision. Quite disappointing that people could not be admitted after the months of work we have put in.
Clews Youíre absolutely right. The decision was taken in London by our chairman, Sir Jocelyn Stephens, and I really canít comment. I am aware that the evening was a very different scene to dawn. Iím very disappointed but I work for a very large organisation and have to support any decision made.
George Over the years of dealing with English Heritage, they say one thing and do another. In 1986, at the very moment we were having discussions with them, the commissioners were making the decision to close Stonehenge. People are reluctant to join the peace talks and I am consistently told that you cannot trust English Heritage: they say one thing and do another. I am repeatedly put in the embarrassing situation of people saying, We told you so. You work for months with these people, supply lists of names, do everything theyíve asked you to do and they still wonít let you in. I tried to organise a meeting with Jocelyn Stephens, with Thomas Daffern as peacemaker, partly because I wanted to criticise him to his face before telling the world what a balls up heíd made. But he was too busy, couldnít be bothered or didnít want to meet us. This is dreadful from a person who had taken control, made the decision, but was not taking responsibility for it, not willing to be made accountable. This is dreadful because, English Heritage, apart from being a quango (ie, commissioners are appointed by a Minister), which is not very accountable anyway, they do not act in an accountable way and there is a problem there. There is also a problem with the other side, with the people who climbed the Stones and accountability is needed from them too. But English Heritage has an accountability problem and are also seen as untrustworthy.
Clews Iíve been trying over the years to show that there isnít a Ďsay something, do something differentí policy. The decision re access was one that, from English Heritage point of view, from the scenes in the media, witnessed and regardless of what anyone may think, English Heritage has a statutory responsibility for the preservation of the long-term monument. Access was denied to the dawn of the 23rd. That group had been told there was no access and only re-informed quite late in the day.
Tim thought that group had preferential treatment and that English Heritage had a long history of mistrust.
[Nora and Gilly arrive.]
Thinking Ahead (or proposals to prevent such incidents happening in the future):
Val Summarises as follows: Horses are seen as provocative and are not effective. Are police dogs really necessary? Why should the media have special access? If they want to come, let them apply like everyone else. Theyíre no help, even if theyíre not much nuisance. Regarding English Heritageís liability, it is possible to draw up a water-tight, cast-iron contract which would take the liability away from English Heritage, which could be discussed and signed beforehand. If people read the terms and conditions of the contract and sign it, then English Heritage are not liable if anything dreadful happens. What did the security men do when the fence went down and people headed in? I hope they stayed, not to drive people back, but to ask people to treat the Stones with respect. I agree with Rolloís point that open access seems easier to keep under control and to carry through the preservation and responsibility of the monument. It seems easier than some in, some out. A lot of dialogue is needed and an information point is necessary. I see what Clews means that if people camp one night, theyíll want to stay on other nights, but not to the same extent and not to the same pressure as if you do say, Sorry mate, go away. We need to look towards an information point, a legal gathering point. We need to make every effort we can to talk to people who are not in groups involved in the peace process and educate them, face to face, on the Internet.
Paul Jack Straw has promised to block the loophole in the law that we call ĎFreedom of Assemblyí.
George In response to Robert Key MPís question, Jack Straw said, 'The honourable gentleman is correct. Certainly the appellate committee of the other place (House of Lords), by the judgement that it made, shows considerably to restrict the circumstances in which exclusion orders can be imposed to restrain trespassory assemblies. I fully understand and share his concerns, not only about the events that took place last Friday in the City of London, but about the terrible events that occurred in the Stonehenge area of his constituency overnight. I also fully comprehend the concern of the Wiltshire Constabulary, to whom I pay tribute for the way in which they, and other forces involved, tried to deal with that dreadful disorder. I shall draw the question of what appears to be a lacuna in the law, following the decision of the appellate committee. After those discussions, we shall take steps to remedy the gap.' I have written to him to ask how he thinks the incidents, which the police themselves do not think of as being particularly violent, are being portrayed by him of being so full of terror and dread. People from the Home Office were invited to attend this meeting, but nobody came.
Thomas Tony Marshall, Head of Research at the Home Office is one of Britainís best mediators and we should be looking at this from a mediation point of view.
Paul Conspiracy whatever goes on behind closed doors, even if the intent is good. The essence of the conspiracy theory is that more could have been done if there was the will for this to work. It seems the absolute minimum was done and I appreciate the National Trustís efforts towards smoothing things down. But there was no willingness to accommodate people, they were just expected to stand there for hours, and freeze. There is a gap which needs to be jumped and either you make arrangements for the fact that people are coming or you donít. A letter was sent to the National Trust, pointing out that their fence might be a problem in a public order situation. Stonehenge Campaign had specifically asked the police and English Heritage to explain when people came why they couldnít go in, and how the future is likely to be. On that basis, they could then make a decision about how to conduct themselves. This was requested not only as a way of lubricating a pleasant evening, but I was hoping they would also look within themselves to see what their real explanation was, their personal explanation, not the official line, and to see what they wanted for the future. Unfortunately, I donít think they came up with anything they felt they could tell anybody. Tim had a go with his leaflet but couldnít promise much as there was nothing told to him which he could promise. Why do the police and English Heritage feel that now is the time people should stop protesting by going over the fence? All we could say was that essentially there had been talks and please donít go over the fence.
Thomas Reads leaflet. Suggests that had this been distributed and displayed as large posters on the fence, it would have gone a long way to defuse the situation. As Andy is about to leave, asks for his view about how to prevent this next year and what could be done in the long term.
Andy There is the Home Office argument or question of exclusion zone. Has an unread message but has been asked to put up a draft, does this now impact on people like the Ramblersí Association, where are the boundaries? A lot of issues, like the European Human Rights Act, which he is getting a copy of. Person from the Home Office is coming down for a presentation on what happened and Andy is sure thatíll be a balanced presentation.
Tim Could you arrange for other people to make a presentation?
Andy Didnít know, it may be possible but he had never met this guy before. Home Office work in funny ways and it appears fox hunting is back on the agenda so this might just disappear.
Thomas There is a strong feeling around this table that the way forward is not to go back to the exclusion zone. Weíre in the process of peace and reconciliation here.
Andy I agree with that. My personal feeling is that there has to be an agreed compromise but a lot of it is out of my hands.
Thomas Can I suggest that you mention to your superiors that the real cause of the problem is plan (a) and I suggest a more radical peace solution. As an experiment, have one or two days a year, including Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice, as free access days. Police management could be low key, with English Heritage in the background and it would be free as in no charge and free as in no restrictions. Rituals and ceremonies could go on over a 24 hour period. If community units, groups, druids, Stonehenge Campaign, pagans, etc. take responsibility for blocks of time, we could sit and negotiate a way to take off the pressure of the fences needing to go down or exclusion zones reappearing. To me, thatís the peaceful way forward here and policing shouldnít be too much of a problem. Problems like dog excrement and people clambering on the Stones would be taken care of by the community. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission would be willing to bring about dialogue in that direction. We could get travellersí representatives and others to talk to police, English Heritage, Clews and others. If you could say that to the powers that be, rather than bring back the exclusion zone, a Peace Circle.
Andy My intention in working with you and the Home Office, politicians, government and local communities is to come to a solution of Stonehenge which meets everybodyís needs and is workable. I was bitterly disappointed and was almost incommunicado for a week after the Solstice because I did think that it was going to be a peaceful and law-abiding event. I have been reading the long-term history of Stonehenge, since 1984, when it was closed down. There was no dialogue at all for a decade. It was Autumn í97 when people first went in and dialogue has really built up since then, talking, sharing honest opinions and thatís very important and a very strong basis from which to work on. I hope there will be a solution soon and I think the building blocks are there to get to one.
[Tim and Thomas invite the Home Office representative to their meetings and Andy leaves the meeting.]
Nora What is going on at Stonehenge is against international law, the Common Market and the United Nations. Peaceful assembly for religious purposes is part of the United Nations Charter and if the Home Office canít get it sorted out, we have Euro MPs and the United Nations. Itís all very well being tolerant but there comes a time when they ought to conform to international laws which are the laws of this country, and where it is peaceful assembly for religious purposes, the bureaucrats have not acted correctly.
Val Pagan Federation of many groups of many different pathways, including some druids, and not all pagans belong. Includes followers of Northern tradition, Celtic, Wicca, you name it, theyíre there. We arenít so desperate to be there for the Solstice as many of the druids it isnít so special for most pagans. The rest of the year, Stonehenge is open and fine. I took seventy people for the Spring Equinox and there were no problems. Thanks to English Heritage for whatís been done so far, but thereís still more to do.
Clews confirms Valís statement that throughout the year, pagans, druids, Buddhists come to Stonehenge and the only problem is the Solstice. Round Table members had promised to be outside the fence, talking to people, but that seems to have slipped through the net. Not sure who was there and who wasnít, but had been assured there would be lots of stewards explaining what was going on.
Tim I didnít think it would happen so early. Thought the fence would be most vulnerable when the coaches arrived.
Clews We all thought the flash point would be later, by which time the leaflets would have been handed out (around 4:00).
Roy There is a very challenging situation next year, (distributes chart). Analogy: supposing for fifteen years, Westminster Abbey had been banned to Christians at Christmas time and they were trying to get access, what would happen and how would they behave? This is the kind of predicament we have here and the astrology for next year shows a concentration of planets in Cancer in the first house, which indicates a very paranoid defensiveness, and the moon conjunct Uranus in the tenth house suggests revolutionary intensity. If it's treated the way the powers that be in London seem to be going at the moment, it could be every unpleasant and set back the long-term peace plan. A lot of sub-committees that have to approve a long-term master plan for Stonehenge might well feel something terrible might happen if the master plan was approved, so itís absolutely vital next year is right. We canít put it off for another year; we have to bite the bullet and the people at a distance, with prejudice, must meet us. But the positive thing is, if it does happen, it could be the seed of a very positive beginning of the kind of good ceremony people are talking about at this table. Courage will be needed but it could happen. The Round Table at Amesbury has to openly and honestly cooperate with each other. We should have been there, working alongside the police and that is our failing. Maybe there are things English Heritage could have done, but we have really got to mean it, we mustnít play games when we meet together at Amesbury Round Table, we have really got to work together and then we can make it work.
Thomas The chart presents possibilities from which the individual can choose. One possibility is this strong paranoia, a sort of clamp down, or this co-operation, this pooling of knowledge.
Roy We could pour all the negative conflict into devotion of the Stones, not in a superstitious way, but real respect for the monument and what it represents.
Kasia Suggest stewards to ensure behaviour in Stones is respectful, as befitting a sacred temple. Also suggests information points and facilities, like toilets and heat.
Chris I second Thomasís point that people like to work by operatives. Tell a kid not do something, and s/he will at least try. Story about Monkey Mile, a sacred spot in Australia, where dolphins choose to come in with their young. People are allowed to interact with the dolphins 24 hours a day, 365/6 days a year. Dolphins are incredibly fragile, blocking their blowhole suffocates them so people are taught Ďdolphin etiquetteí. At the site, there is an education process, people are allowed to camp, lots of people gathering together. Thereís a whole zone of things an incredible number of information points, beautifully displayed, dolphin research, whatís going on around the world, the history of Monkey Mile and people are taught how to interact with dolphins. Kids are taught how to feed them, there are Ďdolphin stewardsí in the water and everyone knows and respects that if just one person mucks up that system, the dolphins will leave. If people can be taught dolphin etiquette, then surely they can be taught Stonehenge etiquette.
George Although sitting around the table, it all seems very calm and reasonable and English Heritage should just open Stonehenge next Solstice, whilst talking to people soon after the event to compile this report, people had polarised into Ďus and themí. English Heritage had become the Ďthemí or the New Age travellers had become the Ďthemí. Itís all calm and reasonable now, but when people get a shock, or when there is a crisis looming, people revert back to tribalism and we do need a peace process. We need better understanding, better communications individual to individual, group to group. The Stonehenge Campaign had appealed on their website for ages prior to the Solstice for people not to climb on the Stones. There was insulting behaviour and when pooper scoopers were mentioned to dog owners, there was a bad response, as if dogs, and indeed their offerings to the Earth, were sacred. This is an issue, which needs to be dealt with, because a lot of excrement had to be cleared before the monument could open to the public. Donít just open the Stones for Solstice 2000 make sure there is a positive peace process between now and then so that everything works well.
Tim In terms of management of the landscape, we now have wonderful co-operation and understanding with the National Trust and we can now use the landscape, providing there are no fire, vehicles, etc. This opens up 14-1500 acres of surrounding land where other things could be going on, thereby taking the pressure off one focal point, Stonehenge. If access is allowed, if thereís no fence to jump, thereís no issue. (Tim then quotes from his letter to Salisbury Journal). Voices fear that if there is an exclusion zone, it would bring more people than would normally come and it is the villages and communities on the Ďborderí of this imaginary fence who suffer the most disruption. As soon as we get to open public access, it would make it far easier for all of us to manage, to make sure people didnít climb on the Stones. We could steward if we could get there, but if all the best stewards are kidnapped on a bus in Amesbury, it doesnít help.
Thomas Asks Clews if she has spoken to Robert Key about this, but he is/was not available. He has been invited to meetings but wonít attend, which shows a lack of interest. As Chair of a group of people who applied for special access, is there a letter of apology or explanation?
Clews Yes, a letter has been sent to 300 people. Regarding the bus, I never liked the idea but I was told it was the only way forward when the road was closed. But this has to be revisited, itís a huge cost, apart from anything else.
George English Heritage has offered access as soon as required as recompense for the cancellation. The first 100 will have free access, which is worth £400. This is satisfactory and better than a letter of apology. This access could take place on the Hunterís Moon, the full moon of 24th October,1999.
Roy mentioned compromise. What you have to accept, whether you like it or not, is that there are dozens of different people, individuals who have different right or reason, and I personally perceive it is my role to facilitate access for the many, not just the few. One of the things I was so disappointed about was that we had extended that access over a period of days. There were going to be nearly 100,000 people, starting with dawn of the 19th, noon of the 20th, dawn of the 21st, evening of the 21st, dawn of the 23rd, noon of the 23rd and dawn of the 24th, which is a lot more than in previous years. Five times as many as last year and that was huge step forward, because it was trying to extend access. I even phoned around, asking people to use cancellations, which was difficult to manage. Even people who applied late, so very few people were disappointed.
George But they were disappointed because it didnít happen.
Clews Only those on the 19th, 20th and 21st. I know they were disappointed. Regarding Paulís conspiracy theory, I assure you there is absolutely no conspiracy theory. There is a genuine desire to move things forward. I canít stress that enough. In London, as well as Amesbury. It all comes down to communication. Itís not a conspiracy theory. I go to London regularly and I talk to the commissioners. I want to see greater and more open access that is trouble free.
Tim Suggests to Clews that, should the opportunity arise, Jocelyn Stephens and/or the commissioners are invited to a meeting in the next few months. This could also help back Clews up, as, like Andy, she faces the chiefs alone.
Clews Iíve had many letters from people, hoping that Iíd consider this as a blip, rather than terminal. I have. Iíve done many reports to London and other people, saying that although things went wrong, an awful lot of things went right. Although the fence was down, many people consciously did not go in, many people didnít like people being on the Stones anymore than I did. Thanks to all around this table for some terrifically interesting suggestions, which I will bring forward at the next Round Table meeting. Iíve also had the Rainbow Bridge and the Rainbow people contact me, offering to do anything to help. Re access days, I had been working before the Solstice to get the commissioners to agree a couple of access days. Unfortunately, thatís now on hold, but working for access day to do as Thomas suggested later this year. Re Westminster Abbey. Apart from trying to move forward, most difficult thing is that when things go wrong, people automatically assume weíre on a slippery slope to what happened in the past, and donít recognise the progress that has been made. My personal view, which is not necessarily English Heritageís view, is that one of the big problems we have with the local community, and a lot of people in positions of bureaucracy, is that they donít want to see a return of the festival. And camping is an element of that. If we can remove that element, of course there would be far fewer problems. I recognise that as well as anybody else, but itís the camping that creates issues in peoplesí minds and they feel that this is the next step. In the same way people wouldnít camp at Westminster Abbey, is there any way for greater and open access to be done, with people arriving, having access to the Stones, and then leaving, without the necessity of camping? I have to be like a sponge in that I have to absorb all your comments, and then work how I can present that in a format that I can be accountable for. Proposals I put forward are either accepted or not by the commissioners, and I genuinely want to see this move forward, but camping is difficult to deal with.
George Then let us deal with it.
Clews If there is a possibility to move things forward for greater and open access, if camping wasnít associated with it, instantly it becomes easier as a project.
George People could be informed, they need to understand that an arranged gathering in the next century is never going to be like the old free festival. Those days, those people, those circumstances, those things are gone. We have to think what the new gathering will be like, from the grass roots up.
Adrian Speaking as a local, if the villagers at Pilton donít mind camping for the Glastonbury Festival, I donít see why people in Shrewton should mind some kind of organised event.
Thomas There is a campsite nearby.
Clews Weíre trying to look at things radically, to move things forward.
Thomas mentioned Robert Key: if youíre trying to win over a wider community, then you have to look at things radically on all fronts. A final point before Clews goes is that Jocelyn Stephens, Chair of English Heritage, is coming up for retirement, and I applied to the advertisement for the position. The information received reveals interesting work pressures that Clews and everyone at English Heritage are under and the ethos that English Heritage is coming from. The funding agreement, working to an economic agenda, the info states in enormous detail how many millions of pounds need to be raised over a certain structured timetable. The Chair of English Heritage is very much the moneyman and has to raise millions from whatever sources available. This is something we havenít talked about - the economic problem and English Heritage as a fund-raising flagship and there has to be an economic dimension to this peace process. It comes down to cultural differences between an organisation that thinks solely in terms of money to conserve the built heritage of this country, rather than looking at the people as the genuine wealth of this nation. The true heritage of these islands is the people and the buildings secondary. If we end up a divided nation of Ďhaveí on the one hand and Ďhave notí on the other, (and they do seem to polarise around the Stonehenge issue), there has to be a way of including into the heritage those who feel most excluded, the people who wanted to bring the fence down, climbed on the lintels I donít know how we engage them in dialogue.
Arthur If there was no fence there, no one would break it down; if there was no exclusion zone, no one would challenge it. Itís quite simple. Everybody says they want to go forward. Well, I want to go backwards. English Heritage, like the Romans, itís time to go home. Just leave the bloody site alone, as it was in the middle of the bloody downland and if it had been left like that, we wouldnít have any of these problems now, would we?
Tim Two or three thousand gather at Avebury with no problems and thatís completely open with free access. How on earth can Avebury have two or three thousand people, peaceably gathered, yet English Heritage simply canít manage the Summer Solstice for the past fifteen years.
George Avebury is a bigger site.
Roy There is also a history, an ethos, a whole attitude about Stonehenge but let Clews go. Sheís made a point which we have to think about camping.
George We have asked over the past few years whether English Heritage would consider a site being set up within reasonable distance but weíve not really had a clear answer.
Clews Thatís not true. English Heritage would not supply camping facilities if you wish to camp.
Tim Thatís not the issue. Would you support that initiative, if the effort were made, as part of the peace process?
Nora I wrote to Dr Jack Cunningham, but all he did was send my letter back to English Heritage, and I have not yet had a reply. What we should all be doing is writing to Mary Robinson, Human Rights person in New York.
Chris Ayers Rock has Aboriginal custodians who are there to look after the place. And thereís camping facilities.
Thomas Could you let me know how the Aborigines obtained custodianship?
[Notes compiled from video by Xia Lane]
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