Talks breakdown as SUN subjected to the most venomous bigotry
imaginable at Liaison Meeting
On Wednesday 4th March 1998 SUN committee members met with National
Trust officers and other diverse 'interest groups' for the first of
several proposed liaison meetings for 1998. Also in attendance were
representatives from English Nature, CCBN - including Rex 'Razor
Wire' Watson editor of BN Magazine, Studland Parish Council, and a
couple of unaligned beach users. Craven Walker and Sue Walker
from Bournemouth and District Outdoor Club also attended.
Tour and inspection of Heather Walk
The day commenced with an inspection of Heather Walk and a tour of
the dunes and beach. We then returned to the offices of Countryside
Manager Julian Homer for a meeting chaired by National Trust Dorset area
manager Mark Harold.
This is the fifth such meeting that SUN have attended with the
National Trust and
we have stuck to our demand for the removal of the red post boundary and
the re-routing of Heather Walk.
This demand has been met with
intransigence from the National
downright hostility from others present at the meetings.
The CCBN have
made it clear, as have Studland Parish Council that they are in total
agreement with National Trust policy and plans for the area.
Only SUN is prepared to
question, challenge and criticise. For our pains we are attacked and
vilified, typecast and insulted.
Rex Watson and Craven
Walker censured for bigotry
During the tour, supporters of the National Trust's policy nodded approvingly at the
fixtures and fittings the National Trust have installed in the landscape to mark out
the border of the nudist zone and the route of Heather Walk.
Rex 'Razor Wire' Watson indulged himself in matey banter with Craven
Walker and made several jibes designed to provoke SUN.
Offensive comments revealed nothing more than a deep-rooted homophobia
and at one stage Celia Mead, the National Trust's Public Relations Officer, was
compelled to censure both for their bigotry.
An acrimonious display of prejudice, hypocrisy and
fruitless argument on irrelevant side issues
Once back at the table, after the formal pleasantries, the meeting
rapidly descended into an acrimonious display of prejudice, hypocrisy,
kow-towing and fruitless argument on irrelevant side issues. SUN members! What you have to imagine here is a room full of people
most of whom direct all of their venom at the SUN representatives. It
gets a little tiring! For all of us non-aligned Studland nudists are
cast as the root of all Studland's problems. It is us who:
the 'wrong type' of reputation to the village of Studland."
(Studland Parish Council)
"do nothing about the queers"
SUN is the problem personified for
"while we all agree
with what the trust are trying to do its is your lot who are making it
bad for everybody else" (Beach Users Group)
"Never mind removing the
posts, shouldn't those red-topped posts be painted pink"
(Rex Watson, CCBN)
And so on, and on, and on...
Withdrawal as meetings get SUN nowhere
This has been the normal pattern at these meetings but what made
Wednesday's meeting exceptional was the quantity of venom.
importantly, although we're hardened to such attacks, we felt beforehand
that these meetings were getting SUN nowhere. We decided to announce our
withdrawal from future meetings unless the National Trust could place something new
on the table. They did not and, apparently, they will not.
At this point your Chairman delivered a concise summary of SUN's
position and the reasons for withdrawing. A transcript is reproduced
It is important to stress to all that
this need not be a permanent withdrawal.
This momentarily shut everybody up - while the National Trust team were visibly
shocked. The meeting closed shortly afterwards on a muted note.