A Reminder of a Colourful Past was noted recently by a Reader, Murray Hedgcock, of VEGA’s Antecedents
1. A reminder of a colourful past was noted recently by a reader, Murray Hedgcock, of VEGA’s antecedents. He recalled series of small ads used week after week in the then vigorous classified columns of the Observer, Sunday Times, and New Statesman each weekend by the Publicity Group of the Vegetarian Society in London. These snippets continued themes introduced by fuller debate over topics raised by the May Day celebrations during the Cold War and the consequences of nuclear threats and much military posturing, which were harming initiatives to reduce poverty, hunger, and strife. One of our Trustees initiated and organized the peaceful protestations. One of the group was Ruth Harrison, author of the seminal book Animal Machines, published in 1964, Ruth’s severe Quaker authority matched the gungho champaigne socialism of the late Roy Brooks, an estate agent in Chelsea, London.
2. “Tribute should be paid to the late and great Roy Brooks, who in the Sixties startled the market–and potential buyers, let alone sellers–with his deliciously frank and witty descriptions of properties for sale,” recalls Murray Hedgcock, who quotes this typical “gem”.
3. Our Trustee recalls one of our ads that so offended the New Statesman, whose then editor was Richard Crossman; he affected a robust appreciation of free speech, but jibbed at our description of a food-poisoning outbreak in Aberdeen. The NS pulled our ad. The Observer accepted it, but only after reluctant changes from “filthy meat” to “dirty” and finally to “unclean”. The Sunday Times published the ad without demur. In explanation to us later it declared itself above such interference and interventions and at the time was proving very helpful to the veggy cause, notably in its support for our Campaign for Real Bread (CAMREB); it awoke to the fact that vegetarianism was not to be dismissed as “the lostest cause since the flat earth.”