Marion Shoard – Power In The Land (1987) – LWT production for Channel 4

Tony Gosling tony at
Thu Nov 23 08:38:06 GMT 2017

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Marion Shoard – Power In The Land (1987) – LWT production for Channel 4


Thanks to the Land Justice Network for digging 
the original out

Marion Shoard was born in the west of Cornwall in 
1949 and spent most of her childhood in Ramsgate, 
East Kent. She read zoology at Oxford University 
and, in order to work in countryside 
conservation, spent two years at the then 
Kingston-upon-Thames Polytechnic, studying town 
and country planning. 

She then worked for four years at the national 
office of the Council for the Protection of Rural 
England (CPRE), campaigning in topics ranging 
from national parks to forestry, and rural public 
transport to wildlife conservation. However, she 
had become more and more convinced that the main 
threat to the beauty and diversity of England’s 
countryside was the expansion and intensification 
of agriculture and, with the help of a grant from 
the Sidney Perry Foundation, she left CPRE to 
research and write The Theft of the Countryside (1980).

This book struck a chord with the public and 
sparked off a lively debate, with thirty letters 
published in The Times, for example. During the 
following few years she wrote articles and gave 
talks on the book’s theme, lobbied on rural 
issues in Parliament and helped set up 
countryside action groups. The Theft of the 
Countryside included proposals to establish new 
national parks in lowland England.

A second book, This Land is Our Land (1987), 
examined the history of the relationship between 
landowners and the landless, and suggested it 
should be placed on a new footing. This book also 
attracted attention. Channel 4 Documentary: Power 
In Land I presented a one-hour documentary on its 
subject matter made by London Weekend Television 
for Channel 4 and called Power in the Land. 
During the next few years, she wrote numerous 
articles and gave many talks about a wide range 
of rural issues. She also taught countryside 
planning and land management to students at 
universities, including Reading and University 
College London. Gaia Books reissued This Land is 
Our Land, expanded and updated, as a Gaia Classic in 1997.

One element of the arrangements she had put 
forward in This Land is Our Land was the 
replacement of the UK’s trespass régime with a 
general right of public access to the 
countryside, providing much greater freedom to roam.

With the help of grants from the Nuffield 
Foundation and The Leverhulme Trust, she set to 
work out how such a right could operate on the 
ground, after making trips to Scandinavia, France 
and Germany to see for myself the very different 
access systems operating in those countries. Her 
conclusions on access were published in A Right 
to Roam (1999), which was acclaimed as 
Environment Book of the Year in 2000 by the Outdoor Writers Guild.

She has recently supported Jean Perraton’s call 
for a right to swim in inland waters in the UK, 
through penning the foreword to her book Swimming 
against the Stream: Reclaiming Lakes and Rivers 
for People to Enjoy Swimming against the Stream: 
Reclaiming Lakes and Rivers for People to Enjoy.

Her activities in the environment sphere were 
profiled in two articles which you can read here: 
The Essential Marion Shoard The Essential Marion 
Shoard by travel writer Jim Perrin Accessing All 
Areas Countryside Access by environment journalist Caron Lipman.

 From South America, where payment must be made 
with subtlety, the Bormann organization has made 
a substantial contribution. It has drawn many of 
the brightest Jewish businessmen into a 
participatory role in the development of many of 
its corporations, and many of these Jews share 
their prosperity most generously with Israel. If 
their proposals are sound, they are even provided 
with a specially dispensed venture capital fund. 
I spoke with one Jewish businessmen in Hartford, 
Connecticut. He had arrived there quite unknown 
several years before our conversation, but with 
Bormann money as his leverage. Today he is more 
than a millionaire, a quiet leader in the 
community with a certain share of his profits 
earmarked as always for his venture capital 
benefactors. This has taken place in many other 
instances across America and demonstrates how 
Bormann’s people operate in the contemporary 
commercial world, in contrast to the fanciful 
nonsense with which Nazis are described in so much “literature.”

So much emphasis is placed on select Jewish 
participation in Bormann companies that when 
Adolf Eichmann was seized and taken to Tel Aviv 
to stand trial, it produced a shock wave in the 
Jewish and German communities of Buenos Aires. 
Jewish leaders informed the Israeli authorities 
in no uncertain terms that this must never happen 
again because a repetition would permanently 
rupture relations with the Germans of Latin 
America, as well as with the Bormann 
organization, and cut off the flow of Jewish 
money to Israel. It never happened again, and the 
pursuit of Bormann quieted down at the request of 
these Jewish leaders. He is residing in an 
Argentinian safe haven, protected by the most 
efficient German infrastructure in history as 
well as by all those whose prosperity depends on his well-being.
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