If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers.................................
..thou shalt surely kill him.
(Book of Deuteronomy)
At eight o'clock on the morning of February 11, came the chilling news that the death sentence against Heather had been carried out. The whole nation was hit with a wave of sudden shock, conscious that a great wickedness had stained its honour. Millions of breakfasts remained uneaten; a few thousand were devoured with greater relish.
Heather did not, it is said, go to the scaffold in what was considered a dignified manner. She scratched, spat, kicked and screamed. It made a bad impression on the witnesses. From the time when she was told, the previous evening, that she would be hanged in the morning, she had to be restrained from attacking anyone brought into her presence. Her intention appeared to be to take someone with her, killing by a sudden finger attack through the eyeballs. Such plans may often be hatched in death cells, but are rarely remembered, and rarely if ever succeed. The story may not be true but it made a powerful contribution to the legend. Here was a new model of heroic death, which was to inspire future generations.
Three hundred years after the event, there is confusion about both her physical appearance and her personality. At once she became a heroine and a saint. Portraits of her appeared everywhere, like the holy pictures the Hindus and Catholics used; but no certainly authentic likeness survives. Even those who knew her best were involved in the promotion of the legend, and historical truth took second place. Was she warm, wise and erotically delectable, an Anne Boleyn figure, or rather unattractive physically, with only a beautiful personality? A counter image of her soon gained currency in anti-Heatherite circles. This was of Heather the "raddled old shagbag", with bloodshot eyes. The skin on her face, it was said, by some who claimed to have known her, was, when seen from close quarters, coarse and greasy, of a pockmarked, even dirty, character. Against this view was the strong sexual attraction a lot of men felt for her, not excluding the home secretary. The huge technological leap in the power to alter evidence and images and so rearrange historical records was only a few years away. By the time of the Deletions, when the immediate controversy was long over, both loa, the beautiful martyr and the raddled old shagbag had an interest in survival. Which of them is closest to the truth is something it is hardly conceivable that historical research could ever now discover.
A press conference was called by the Save Heather Committee. The official spokesman announced a demonstration to be held in ten days time. An American television reporter thrust a microphone under his mouth and asked him the question,
"What would you define as the primary purpose of this demonstrative action now that your campaign has signally failed to achieve its predominant objective?"
"Expression of hatred for certain cabinet ministers", was the laconic reply. He refused to elaborate. The public, indeed the world at large, understood that the demonstration was to be directed at David Cox, architect of the lethal anti-cannabis law, with its death penalty provision for dealers.
Cox himself was actually not directly to blame for the execution. He accepted the authority of the Prime Minister, who, if we can trust the weight of opinion, gave instructions to order a last minute reprieve. It seems that it was only Soakes who insisted on going ahead with it, and this for motives that, from a perusal of his personal diaries, appear, by the standards of the time, rather disreputable. These diaries were discovered after his death from a heart attack, five years later, in California, USA, and widely publicised.
The thought of judicially hanging a woman was something a lot of English people found sexually arousing. Unfortunately for Heather, the Home Secretary was one of these. So exciting did he find it that he was determined at all costs to be responsible for her execution. Instructions from the Prime Minister, theoretically his superior, did not matter to him; he was ready to jeopardise his political future so long as he could, figuratively speaking, put the noose round her neck. The whole drawn out business of the trial and the appeals gave him great pleasure. People speak of the what ifs of history. If Caesar had not decided to cross the Rubicon, if Hitler had sat where he usually sat on the day of the bomb plot in 1944, if St Dunstan had not cursed Ethelred at the beginning of his reign, if Queen Marie Antoinette had not crossed Cagliostro, nor the wise counsellor Rasputin lain wounded and sick at the height of the Serbian crisis, the history of the world would presumably have been different. If only Soakes's urge pattern had not been what it was, if he had been aroused by acupuncture, like Rebecca, by work, like Veronica, by inhalation of flatus, like Copper, by wiping his bottom in public, like Heath, prilting, like Crump, or by broken glass, like Kipper.....
Soakes was a stern, hard-faced prohibitionist, a confessed carcerophile with bald head and black rimmed glasses. The puerility of his diary entries is said to have typified the man. Even after three centuries they make shocking and embarrassing reading. He wrote of his delight in "wanking" while "stoned" on Heather's "confiscated gear" at the very moment when he knew the trapdoor was opening. After the hanging, he is said to have offered his resignation, but it was not accepted. Prime Minister Copper and the others refused to comment on the execution, which they said was a purely judicial matter, hoping the uproar would die down.
In the ten days leading up to the demonstration, Crump, leftist opponent of the government was most active. He held rallies up and down the country, and secret discussions with members of the government.
His public argument, constantly reiterated, was that there was an immediate threat of a radical breakdown in public order, entirely attributable to the class based nature of government rule. He demanded a coalition government of national unity. He called for reconciliation between warring parties. He offered places in a new government to representatives of all parties, so long as they would agree to be bound by certain minimal requirements, the essential provisions of his policy document, Blueprint for Revolution.
He denounced Copper, Soakes and Cox as belonging to an exclusively educated tribe, alien to the great majority of the people. It was imperative to eradicate the class basis of society that was dividing it.
The day of the demonstration came round. Busloads, vanloads, lorryloads and trainloads of adolescents and pubescents arrived from all over the country to take part in the march. The weather was dull and dark, the sky was overcast, there were short spells of light rain. The heavy showers that seemed to threaten did not fall. The temperature was about average for the time of year.
Riot police were well prepared. The main demonstration took the usual route, starting in Hyde Park, along Piccadilly, down Haymarket to Trafalgar Square, along Whitehall, as far as the prime minister's residence in Downing Street. There were no initial speeches, and no famous figures were to be seen at the head of the march. The opposition leaders stayed away. Macoodoo drum music was heard from the beginning. There were no possessions. The spirit conjured up, whatever it was, was precisely in tune with the original announcement. The mood was one of concentrated hate.
Effigies of Cox were carried round with halters, that is to say nooses, round their necks. Other people carried sprigs of heather, vast pictures of her, or lighted candles. Many wore black clothes, as a sign of mourning. Others had shaved their heads, for the same reason. Tears streamed down some of these faces, striping cheeks with black mascara. In Trafalgar Square the march halted, spaces were cleared, and the effigies set alight.
People who remembered being on the demonstration described the effect as profoundly moving. For the young girl who had been foully done to death there was sorrow and weeping. For the man whose tyranny and unjust doctrines had been responsible, a furious yet controlled loathing of electrifying intensity.
Such public emotion was unprecedented in the lives of all but the very very old who could remember V.E. day in 1945. But then the emotion had been very different. Then had been a profound feeling of joy and triumph, looking back to the dark days of 1940, when Britain had stood alone against deadly danger. Tears of joy that victory had emerged from the prospect of near certain defeat and despair, a feeling of wonderful ecstasy that war was not merely over but won, that threat was lifted and that "we" were gloriously triumphant, that our hopes had triumphed over our fears.
Then, as the old men said, countless willing girls had been available for sexual purposes, for once all the divisions between people seemed unimportant; all were united in intoxication of love and triumph.
The emotion on this day was as intense but deeply different. It was not a happy feeling of oneness. The crowd was united, but there was no joyous sense of togetherness. It was, on the other hand, as if the sorrow that a close relative might feel for the loss of a loved one were spread through tens of thousands of people, and amplified in transmission. A great multitude wept. The rage, too, so intense yet so controlled, was that of people with a most personal interest in the business.
The demonstration was attended by socialist and trade union groups from all over the country, The red flags and banners of the socialist sects, the colourful and artistic standards of the trade unions, usually made up much of the emotional force of a demonstration. Any impression made by these was quite dwarfed by the spiritual effects devised by the Heather committee and Macoodoo movements.
The demonstration was highly artistic in an abstract sort of a way. It was described by participants as having an emotional intensity greatly exceeding that of grand opera. This was said, however, to have been quite incommunicable. No mere verbal description could convey any of it. There was no vulgar chanting. What so much concentrated the emotions must have been the music, that is to say the drumming, which for the first time in western history seemed to have reached a skill and power of emotional manipulation entirely under the control of some conscious will.
After the march was officially over, and the petition of protest handed in through the railings of Downing Street, the marchers began to disperse. The accompanying police breathed audible sighs of relief at the disciplined behaviour. What had been anticipated to be the most crucial moment had apparently passed without serious incident. Thus ended the main demonstration, one of the largest ever seen in London.
However, the day was by no means over. As on previous occasions, crowds spontaneously appeared in a number of Westminster squares, under the Macoodoo influence. This time, however, all the gatherings were far more like riots, with bottle throwing and window breaking. The police fought the crowds, and the crowds fought back. Wooden staves clashed against truncheons and riot shields. Skulls were cracked. Blood flowed. The injured screamed. The sound of drums continued to be heard. Police horses pissed and manured the streets. Film cameras were attacked and destroyed, their tripods seized as weapons. Uncannily, other riots broke out at precisely the same time all over the country.
So many police were in London on account of the great demo, that the provincial police forces could not cope with their local problems. Almost every one of the traditional rioting areas was convulsed with major disorder. All over the country shops were looted, set on fire, windows smashed, cars overturned and trashed, police pelted with bricks, petrol bombed and shot at.
In addition to that, news soon spread of young people making their way from all directions towards Dulwich. Dulwich was where Cox was known to live. A special contingent of armed police was sent to guard his home.
Cox lived in a strikingly beautiful house. Surrounding the front garden were eighteenth century black wrought iron railings, tipped with gold paint. The house itself, though modern, was in a seventeenth century mannerist style, with towers and bay windows, built of Carian marble with porphyry pillars. Jasper and lapis lazuli were there, jasmine and rose and the emblems of death.
Y Parsons, a latrinography student from the Elephant and Castle, wrote many years later of his experience that day.
"I believe I ran all the way from Brixton to Dulwich, crazed with energising, moral passion. I must have been physically and emotionally exhausted, drawing on emergency reserves. Actually I remember little of the journey; I just have a few vivid images of racing along, part of a close packed crowd, unable to stop without risking frightful injury. I remember the heels of the feet in front of me, yellow running shoes, the thumping beat of the music and the shadowy, non human presences which urged us all on. When we arrived at our destination, which we all seemed to reach at the same time, for a few minutes we were suspended in our purpose as we assimilated this extraordinary edifice and the thoughts it inspired. It was clear to me that we all felt and thought exactly the same thing. I shall try to describe what it was.
"There was a bizarre incongruity in the fact that such a crass monster as Cox should live in surroundings which to a postmodern mind suggested a psychedelic hallucination. Cox used to quote proverbs like 'The Devil makes work for idle hands to do'. He notoriously believed in the ideology of work, the so-called work ethic. This concept was originally conceived by the sociologist Max Weber, who spoke of its Protestant or puritan origin. I had been reading about him at the time. At one time the peculiar doctrine was ascribed to the Protestant nations of northern Europe and America that devotion to work, to job, in factory or office, should provide the drive and fulfilment of life. Such a value conveniently avoided the recognition of the will to power behind all human activity. Its usefulness was largely as a moral admonition, an attempt to repress and control those it was desired to rule over. It was integral to certain rightist versions of Christianity. It was also used by people like Marxist anarchists to attack the lifestyles of those in power as deluded and repressed.
"But a beautiful house such as Cox lived in suggested idleness as its source and inspiration. The rigid Puritanism of the work ethic, the emotional deformation of those who supposedly invest their fulfilment in the life of offices was quite absent from this sybaritic construction. Those who spent their lives in arduous work had to invest a lot of emotional energy in it if they were not to despair. The puzzle with the beauty of Cox's house was that Cox had seemed to be sincere in his ideals however that these were hateful and repressive ones. If he had been a hypocrite, a mere power seeker and pleasure lover, that might have been understandable, even forgivable. How could you reconcile his killjoy philosophy, his hatred of freedom, his evil, narrow persecuting nature, with loveliness of any kind? This was profoundly perplexing. This is what we were all thinking. Of what happened next I recall virtually nothing".
A great mob crowded into the respectable, prosperous, residential, suburban streets around Cox's house. The police were fatally overstretched, said the subsequent enquiry into the day's events. They moved in quickly as they could in vast numbers to the scene.
Elder statesman Lord Norbury, 97, expressed the view on a television news programme that a revolution was underway. He based this on a lifetime of political experience. He had seen the same pattern at many other times and places. His opinion was confirmed by the Birmingham Chief of Police, as interviewed by news reporters. However, despite apparently very co-ordinated, centrally directed activity, there was no move within the capital to besiege the normal revolutionary targets, radio stations, telephone exchanges, television studios, post offices, government buildings, nor even, as had the 1968 French students, to seize a theatre, there to orate and speechify.
Students in fact were not especially active as an organised force in these events. They were not the instigators of revolt, for all that they were swept along by the enthusiasm. It also seems clear that Crump had very little to do with this, nor did any of the lesser parliamentary politicians who tried to make use of it.
A very large crowd assembled outside Cox's house. Music was there from the beginning. The drumming was mesmerising the crowds according to the loa of the day, Agonising Sorrow and Furious Hatred. People began to become possessed.
The police were unsure how to handle the situation. "The worst thing was those bleeding drums", said one constable who was present. "I felt they was trying to make me cowardly, control and demoralise me, make me feel myself a bastard, a baddie, a blue meanie. I was getting weaker, going under. But as I was about to collapse the noise suddenly stopped".
The crowd grew quiet, and spokesmen with loud hailers demanded a meeting with Cox.
There was silence, negotiation. These "spokesmen" were blackmen, quite unknown, not later identified.
The official leaders of the Heather committee and the Macoodoo movement were at this moment far away from Dulwich, addressing public meetings in Glasgow, the one major city mysteriously free from riot. They all therefore, it was later noted, had secured for themselves, if required, suspiciously unbreakable alibis.
Cox gave way to the pleas of desperate police chiefs, and agreed to emerge from his house to address the crowd through a loud hailer.
As soon as the squat figure started to speak the drum music started up again, and nothing of what he said was heard. He fled back into the house.
The mysterious degree of organisation became again evident as a lot of people were all at once seen to be carrying machetes. A machete was a huge knife, rather like a sword, normally carried by Latin American Indians to hack away at the jungle.
The crowd surged towards the rows of police. Tear gas canisters and plastic bullets were fired into the mob. But inflamed with such furious fanaticism, they disregarded such weapons.
In Covent Garden and Seven Dials the fighting reached a pitch of notable ferocity. The police suffered scores of casualties. Here too they found themselves unable to deploy teargas and watercannon with sufficient effect to quell the fury of the assault. Under instructions not to fire live bullets, they backed off, leaving a sizeable area under mob rule. In other parts of London, away from the main foci of riot, gangs of "survivalists" now appeared on the streets and began for the first time to put their hoarded arsenals to serious use. Crossbows, catapults and shotguns were fired at black people. Similar incidents occurred in other major cities.
Meanwhile in Dulwich, the rioters, armed with machetes, broke through the police cordons into Cox's front garden. Live bullets were fired into the crowd from helicopters hovering above, and a few people fell down. There was blood and screaming.
Cox, his wife and two teenage daughters, were in the house, together with a posse of armed policemen.
The crowd broke through the iron gates, hacked down the front door of the house, smashed all the glass in the ground floor windows, surged inside, disarmed the policemen, and surrounded the now screaming family. Cox was attacked with machetes and chopped swiftly into a hundred and one pieces.
The same fate befell his eldest daughter, after she had been stripped naked. One revolting creature, a huge, fat pink cockney, a butcher by trade, 30 years old, known as Beerbelly, grabbed hold of the piece of flesh on which was the dead girl's mott, applied it to his upper lip to make a mock moustache, dripping with blood, and danced about in a clownish fashion.
Such was the hideous end of the odious Cox. The anti-drug policy, W.A.D, War Against Drugs, of which he had been so proud, appeared to be in ruins. The riot that led to his death was the climax of years of inarticulate protest against the tyranny of prohibition. The savagery of the murder of Cox's daughter must be set against the cruelty of Heather's execution, and obviously the brief agony of Arabella pales into insignificance beside what Heather went through in the months waiting in the condemned cell.
This unsavoury episode of mob violence struck terror into the hearts of government and opposition alike.
The provisional toll for the first 18 hours of riot was 67 dead and 1379 injured. The following day, though the great mobs had dispersed, violence continued. In almost every town and village in England, there were sporadic incidents of looting and destruction. Gangs of crop-haired, clean shaven survivalist vigilantes roamed the streets, attacking, maiming and killing ethnic minorities, and such whites as from the cut of their hair or the style of their dress marked them as Heatherites. The survivalists comprised various small extremist groups politically to the right of Cox, which had been illegally stockpiling arms for many years. They are not to be confused with the crop-haired lesbians, who formed their own separate contingents on all the Heatherite demonstrations. Survivalists, mostly country based, had been anticipating violent insurrection for some time, and saw it as their patriotic duty to combat it.
Over the next week all these disturbances crystallised into a repetitive pattern. Spontaneous demonstrations constantly erupted in unexpected places, with drum music and possessions by loa of vengeance and hatred. Often these ended in window smashing and motorcar trashing; whenever the police appeared they were pelted with sticks and stones. The trade unions for transport and government office workers declared nation-wide strikes, apparently anxious for the personal safety of their members.
Perhaps the survivalists returned to their rural fastnesses, perhaps they simply changed appearance and tactics. Anyway they were speedily replaced by organised whiteist gangs, known as Marstonites, after their most articulate spokesman, Chrissie Marston, which attempted to gain control of the streets, openly patrolling in groups with primitive weapons like iron railings. If ever they found themselves at the scene of a Heatherite demonstration or riot they attacked the protestors with homicidal barbarity. They had the support of some Conservative politicians.
"Law and order has broken down", argued one such, Barry Plonkas MP, in a radio interview, "and the police have shown themselves unwilling to use the required level of force. Mr Average is taking matters into his own hands. He is telling the blacks they should return to their trees in the African jungle".
"But most of Africa cannot even feed its present population", objected the interviewer.
"Then we should be happy to send them regular shiploads of students and drug takers for their cannibal pots", quipped Plonkas.
The Marstonite gangs became a serious menace to public order in the days following the riot. Their vigilantism had the support of m.p.s like Plonkas, even further to the right than Cox had been, calling for news censorship, martial law and powers of internment, which is to say imprisonment without trial. There was also some parliamentary support for their policy of expelling the darker shaded "ethnic groups" from the kingdom, arguing from the part played by the Negro population in the recent events. Actually the worst atrocities, such as the "obscene horrors of moustachio aux grands levres" had been carried out by ordinary low class white people. It has been claimed by the revisionist historian Sprott, that the uncanny co-ordination of these demonstrations owed not a little to the traditions of English football spectators. Butcher Beerbelly was an experienced chant leader, with the skill to inspire large football audiences to shout out uno voco, obscene songs and witty comments with a co-ordination that quite baffled foreigners. This had originally won him the attention of the S.H.C.
True the riots had had their historical origins in the West Indian populations, in districts where the blacks lived, in the St Paul's district of Bristol, in Toxteth in Liverpool, in Brixton and Tottenham in London, but the genuine grievance those had felt at the repressiveness of a prohibition which the rest of the country once seemed to think without significance, had by this time spread to a far wider section of the population. This had had a volatising effect on the large numbers of idle poor, lately reassembling as the historic English mob, which work patterns of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had temporarily dispersed.
Far less, indeed, was Macoodoo an exclusively Negroid phenomenon. Like the musical cults of jazz, rock and rap which preceded it, it had its roots in what was called "black experience", but by this time it was integral to English culture, far more so than jazz, to which no one took exception, ever became. It had become an entertainment for white youth. The expertise, the drumming and so on, was still mostly in the hands of mysterious blacks, from nobody knew where. But the movement was already beginning its transformation into high level religious and intellectual complexity.
This was the partly the effect of the fusion with the Society for the Restoration of Paganism, S.R.P., and consequent injection of the teachings of the Crowleyan kabbalah, which was a special interest of Heather and her friends. For decades Crowley had suffered a neglect only comparable to that of Shakespeare in the seventeenth century. The S.R.P. was the continuation, with slight modification, of the Save Heather Committee. While its leaders were naturally all enthusiastic pagans, Heather herself, ironically enough, may well have died a Christian. She had been brought up as a Roman Catholic, and often expressed a terror of Hell.
The spread of Macoodoo naturally invites comparison with the Dionysian cult that swept across ancient Greece, originating in barbarous Thrace. It had a comparable effect in revitalising civilisation, in a very similar sense to that advocated by Nietzsche in his "Birth of Tragedy".
The S.R.P. continued to produce anonymous pamphlets on current issues, required reading for anyone who hoped to divine the immediate future. They refused to condemn the murder of Arabella, declaring that Britain was in a condition of civil war, that the outrage done to Heather was unappeasable, and that revenge was understandable.
In high reactionary anti drug circles,
was an attempt to erect Arabella Cox into a martyr, in the style of
Miracles were said to have been performed in her name, crack addicts to
have lost their cravings on praying to her. To mark this there was a
procession of dignitaries from the house in Dulwich to Westminster
bearing a relic in a reliquary; but Cox was already a lost cause and
march received little publicity. The war was over. Drugs had won.
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