Yesterday, on Twitter, I amused myself (and, apparently, the good people of Harpenden, in Hertfordshire) with abusing literary quotations in support of the Westfield Action Group’s attempt to achieve Town Green status for a recreational green space threatened by town council development. The land has, in its favour, a resident colony of threatened and protected Roman Snails (helix pomatia), which for me symbolise the very small and vulnerable with at least the potential to conquer the very strong; in essence, a David versus Goliath. This is the stuff of legend, of the imagination and of crime writing, for here is the opposition of good and evil, life and death, virtue and vice, in the midst of which is the lone law enforcer (a Sarah Lund, say!) doing battle with the big wheels of government, international conglomerates and criminal organisations to strike at the heart of wrongdoing, often at the expense of his or her own personal life and peace of mind. We love the chance to see the mighty fall and are captivated by the process by which it can, sometimes, happen; it is the sign of the weakness at the heart of all of us that cries out for justice.
So, today, there is a public inquiry and the town council, bulwarked by a barrister, is meeting on the metaphorical field its no doubt much under-rated opponent, the Chair of the Westfield Action Group, fellow writer and blogger, Carol Hedges, whose local community story immediately grabbed me when I read about it in my first visit to her blogsite. I believe that she has a fair chance of success, not least because of the presence of the snails, and I sincerely hope that the process she has no doubt had to be obsessive about has not turned her into one of those manic lone rangers of the crime novel!
Here is one of yesterday’s tweets, for illustration:
Westfield: This other Eden, demi-paradise, this fortress built by Nature for herself against the council and its barrister.