It might sound like we executed a daring infiltration of Climate Camp using some of the tunnels under Blackheath, but actually we've got bad knees so we did what everyone else is doing and went in the front entrance.
And? Yes, it's all a bit middle class, but a lot of the media hatchet jobs done on the campers for being 'lifestyle' activists seem a) to be masking disappointment there's no running battles to splash across the front pages and b) rather ignoring the possibility that middle class kids might have, you know, ideals too? We seem to have handed the baton of permitted protest and politics to anarchists in masks and anyone with working class pretensions (despite whatever public schooling they may have actually had)... but that's a debate for another day.
What strikes you first is how well organised everything is. There are rules governing what kind of, uh, waste you can deposit in which compost toilet, what time the music goes off and where you can light fires (only in the pre-dug pits; the turf has been cleanly cut out and the sensible assumption is that it's being stored and will be replaced, rather like an archaelogical dig). The people complaining the camp will turn Blackheath into a tip (Steve Bullock, we're looking at you) have ignored the fact that all Wednesday is devoted to cleaning up, plus there are litter picking groups scouring the whole area during the week. Could they actually leave the heath cleaner than when they turned up?
We also nipped into a couple of workshops. The nuclear power discussion was heavily oversubscribed, which caught even the organisers off guard. Obviously the arguments aired were heavily one-sided but it still made interesting listening. We also had a peek into the art and politics workshop but it wasn't really our thing. There's things going on all the time, from some terrifyingly hippy sounding stuff (Wooden Pencil Meditation for kids, anyone?) to meaty discussions on carbon trading, communicating climate science and the feminism backlash.
It's an easy going atmosphere and we heartily recommend dropping by; we bumped into local Green councillor Sue Luxton who was cheered by the number of residents coming in to have a chat. Police have mounted CCTV on a cherry picker across the road, but other than an occasional liaison officer popping by there's not a uniform in sight. And if you can't come down in person, the Blackheath Bugle is all over the camp like an intrigued and investigative rash.