Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Forest of Sutton Bulletin 2

Take a look at the London Borough of Sutton logo.

It is an image of a single tree. I just photographed it in Sutton High Street. It's everywhere in the borough, though it's preferable to images of a Dear Leader. It performs the same function if much more mildly.
I remember when the logo came in. The old letter-heads had to be trashed, by order, because the environmental message was so important.
It is not, you will notice, a realistic image of a tree: it is an image of a tree made by someone who does not look at trees; and I have been wondering what the message, the understory, is.
I think now that I know what the logo message is.
It says the aim of London Borough of Sutton is to get to the situation where there is only one tree in the borough. Trees make Society look untidy. We must forget our animal origins. As we have forgotten our intelligence.
The New Sutton Foresters cover their tracks. They plant some and they destroy some. They destroy more than they plant.
Now look at the logo again. It shows the trunk of that tree severed, in the stylised act of falling.
They are going to get down to one tree and then chop the hated thing down. (When the police in West Cornwall had mobile masts everywhere but at Gurnard's Head, they changed their argument from need – which some resisted – to “but everyone else has got them.”)
In Tomorrow's Sutton, the argument will be that trees are outdated, unsuited to the competitive market – look there is only one. Or else you are old-fashioned.
In the meantime, the remaining trees are generally stunted, but not all, to help people not notice. And to get people into the way of hating trees.
Whenever holes are dug in the ground for some other purpose, roots can be severed. Little by little.
In the high street, the trees are surrounded by bricks and concrete and any remaining soil is covered with an odd permeable substance so that sensitive humans do not actually have to see real earth.