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SUN Campaign History - Dec 1996

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Secretaries Winter Comments:
The Year Past - A Summary of activities in 1996

We began the year uncertainly, but on the crest of a wave of optimism and with a deep determination that we were not going to surrender. The National Trust, for their part, seemed equally determined to force us into surrender and to conform to their draconian restrictions which sought to restrict nudists to a miserable strip of ground with little natural beauty and no solitude.

They want us out of Studland, that is the top and bottom of it, however hard they deny it, and it is a great pity that there is a sizeable group of nudists who refuse to believe this and think that the sun shines out of the National Trust's fundamental orifice. They are the ones to whom the National Trust pays attention and whom they quote as being "quite satisfied with the boundary". Of course they are - they never move off the beach! Just because they don't want to wander through the deserted hinterland is no good reason to restrict those who do want to take advantage of the whole traditional area.

The National Trust has also demonstrated a skill of media manipulation that would not have been out of place in the organisation headed by one J. Goebbels. It has been a salutary experience, and one from which SUN has learnt a lot. In the coming years, we shall be setting our own agenda with the media, giving the National Trust no chance to hijack our plans for their own purposes.

It's disturbing to see Dorset Police so compliantly supporting the National Trust's vendetta against nudists

It has been disturbing to see Dorset Police so compliantly supporting the National Trust's vendetta against nudists by accompanying National Trust employees on their harassment expeditions and selectively employing their uniformed presence in a threatening and overbearing manner. This matter is being taken up with the Chief Constable and it is to be hoped that the police will concentrate their efforts on the prevention of crime, most of which takes place in the densely populated area of the beach rather than way out in the wilderness.

Trust refer to 'other naturist groups' but refuse to give any details

This year's meeting with the National Trust management team was, to say the least, unproductive. It is evident that they are not in the least bit interested in our views and that they have no intention of removing their ridiculous path or oppressive restrictions. They keep quoting 'other naturist groups' but refuse to give any details of these: it is becoming more and more obvious that they exist only in the National Trust's fevered and fertile imagination. Certainly the 'groupies' previously referred to are not a formal group, as we are, otherwise we would have known about them since our membership covers the entire length of the beach.

Involvement of Studland Parish Council in discussions but SUN kept out

The National Trust also claimed to be involving Studland Parish Council in their discussions (although quite what this has to do with them is not too clear) but a polite request to be informed of the date and place of the meeting with the Parish Council was rudely refused by the National Trust, and a letter to the clerk of the Parish Council, sent in October, has not draw even the courtesy of an acknowledgement at the time of writing (4 December).

CCBN do not even mention Studland in their promotional leaflet, 'Naturism in the South West' so what the hell gives them the right to make agreements with the National Trust?

What is certain is that CCBN, the body supposedly dedicated to the promotion and protection of nudists' rights, caved in like a house of cards to the National Trust's demand for restriction. We now hear that the restrictions dictated to CCBN's two (!) representatives were significantly different to the ghetto currently being pushed by the National Trust. In any case, CCBN do not even mention Studland in their promotional leaflet, 'Naturism in the South West', so what the hell gives them the right to make agreements with the National Trust? The Northampton Nincompoops have a lot to answer for!

National Council for Civil Liberties confirm what we have been saying all the way along - that the National Trust have been trying it on and currently have no legal means of enforcing their new zone.

The Counsel's Opinion, obtained for us by the National Council for Civil Liberties and reproduced here, may seem at first glance discouraging. However, it does confirm what we have been saying all the way along - that the National Trust have been trying it on and currently have no legal means of enforcing their cordon sanitaire. Given that they have already been refused an additional byelaw by the Home Office, their chances of succeeding with a repeat application are slim, and we are now more aware than we were and will be ready to challenge any attempt on their part to reinforce their totalitarian restrictions. SUN members are invited to join the NCCL - the more of us who are in the organisation, the more chance we have of getting them to take up cudgels on our behalf.

Our search for a nudist-friendly solicitor goes on. You may have thought that that great champion of nudists' rights, CCBN, might have had a list of such luminaries, but no, they "don't have any list of solicitors". (Phone call 28/11) Neither, it appears, does anyone else - it seems that, although there are almost certainly members of the profession who are nudists, they choose not to make this public. So we are now planning to consult a local lawyer who is familiar with National Trust-related law, and tackle the problem from that angle. We are, however, setting a target date early in 1997 for a definitive resumé of nudists' rights in law, and we will be issuing this - hopefully, on a laminated card - to all members before the beginning of the next summer season. 

First birthday party for SUN

The September Noggin'n'Natter was a bit special - we held our first birthday party, cake and all! A good time was had by the thirty-odd members who turned up. Sadly, the photos taken during the evening fell victim to the gremlins at a well-known photo lab which managed to lose the film. (Did I hear a loud chorus of sighs of relief?) The evening was organised at rather short notice and we sent invitations only to members in the immediate area, but there's plenty of notice for the next one: our SECOND BIRTHDAY PARTY and End-of-Summer party will be on FRIDAY 5 SEPTEMBER 1997 at the Baker's Arms in Bournemouth, so please make a note of that in your diary in red! Other dates for your diary are listed elsewhere in this Update.

National Trust declare truce at 2nd Litterblitz

Our second Litterblitz was undermined by the National Trust. From our point of view, it was good fun, good publicity and we got a stack of rubbish, but our intention of making a point about the restrictions was blunted somewhat when the National Trust put an announcement on local radio in the morning that they were "declaring a truce" (although they thereby inadvertently admitted that they regard it as a battle!) and that no action would be taken against nudists outside the ghetto. They even tried to hijack the Litterblitz itself - Property Manager Julian Homer turned out to pose with a bin liner and litter-grabber (although we're not sure he knew how to use it!), while dressed in green polo shirt and shorts, a garb deliciously described by Mark Nisbet in STARKERS 11 as "normally reserved for their motorised myrmidons".

BBC Radio Solent interview

A ten minute interview with BBC Radio Solent was edited down by the next morning to just six sentences, followed by a three minute live phone-link interview with the National Trust's regional Press Officer Miz Liz. This, of course, is an example of what is known as 'balanced reporting'. Still, as someone once said, there's no such thing as bad publicity and we have managed to keep SUN Group's profile a lot higher than the ten-foot fences behind which CCBN prefers to skulk.

AGM after party

Following the formality of the AGM, we were able to let our hair down until the early hours in the bar of the Holmcroft Hotel. I think it is safe to say that a good time was had by all: admittedly, the fact that the hotel is a non-smoking establishment caused the smokers among us some problems - and a couple of their letters are to be found elsewhere in this Update - but from a purely personal point of view it made a very pleasant change for your reporter not to go home smelling like an old ashtray. (The next' morning, I discovered that a parrot had apparently taken up residence in my mouth, but that's another matter!)

SUN Merchandise

Our range of clothing has been significantly expanded with the adoption of an alternative logo. The smaller logo can now be printed on all garments, just above the left breast, in the same colours as the full size logo but without the legend above and below the main motif.

Colin James


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