Talk:Battle of the Beanfield

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With facts so thin on the ground, independent indications of the intensity of action would be useful. The Guardian ( - para 7) states, "In total, 537 people were arrested - the most arrests to take place on any single day since the Second World War."

Is this so? If that statistic is true, it gives a totally non-POV indication of general intensity of behaviour.

- Sonic_Hawk (a festival-goer) - 29 Aug 2008. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:08, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Is this even nominally NPOV? --chbarts 16:23, Oct 16, 2004 (UTC)

Ahahahahaha..... ahahahahaha! I'm not entirely sure, but its extremely funny. [[User:Sam Spade|Sam Spade Arb Com election]] 18:47, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Rewritten, including personal observationsSquiquifox 18:46, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

this is so not NPOV. tag added (tim)

I was a policeman on the ground during this time. The article has been edited to remove obvious bias against the police. Sadly there is very little real news footage of the event due to the police desire to keep it low key so other groups didn't perform copycat actions. (

The NPOV tag has been removed until the reasons and how to fix them are listed on the talk page. You don't just tag stuff without that - David Gerard 07:55, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I think just biased the article in the opposite direction. I prefer the prior version. Jamie

Suppressing the truth[edit]

I have restored the NPOV tag, because it seems everyone on all sides here has some problems with the pov in this article.

In particular, the following sentence keeps getting summarily blanked out by a couple of new editors

(even though wiki custom and courtesy dictates that when a sentence is removed, it should be removed to the talk page)

Anyway, to blank it out without putting it here is commonly known as "suppression", so here it is:

"Basically the police were extremely violent and beat up men and women with children."

There is no POV with this statement, it is factually true. If you have a problem with the truth (I seriously doubt either of those editors was an eyewitness to the pregnant women getting truncheoned) read what the Earl of Cardigan said and please discuss how you would modify this sentence to make it more factual and less "pov"...

Also I see that one of these new editors has just accused ME of reverting a third time, but that will not hold water because my last edit was not a revert but simply to put up a NPOV tag, and that is perfectly allowed. The NPOV tag is gone already, but I hope noone will object if I now put it back up a second time.

Regards, Codex Sinaiticus 15:11, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

i decided to do a section on this as most of the media went missing, the police tapes went missing during the court case against them and the earl of cardigan sued the media for libel after they called him a liar (he won). not only is this all factually true but it was all proven in court. if anyone disagrees with the accounts of police violence perhaps cardigan can sue them too! --Gothicform 23:03, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

There is no doubt the police were voilent against women and children[edit]

....this is a NPOV. There is no 'bias' against police. Nobody who has seen the (NPOV) BBC film footage or read the (NPOV)Guardian reports can assume otherwise. In 1993 the (almost always NPOV in the police's favour) courts found aginst the police and awarded the victims £120,000 in compensation (although incredibly this was swallowed up in costs). The Beanfield, like Orgreave has come synonomous with the excessive police voilence that was common in the Thatcher era.

Double Standards[edit] 18:36, 29 January 2006 (UTC) One source is from the mainstream media (ITN). There have been documentaries presenting two sides of the dispute between travellers and landowners. In them it has been mentioned that a lot of New age travellers do not have the necessary tax and insurance for their vehicles. This is not seen as admissible in the article so why is a television report admissible here? There is also testimony from an eyewitness. Eyewitnesses have also said things of a negative nature to journalists, such as the lack of tax and insurance mentioned above, on a great deal of subjects across the political spectrum. Again, if it is negative it may not be mentioned in the entry for New-Age travellers so why is it admissible here?

Erm, in the context of the New age travellers article, whatever footage there is of showing coppers beating up travellers is a good primary source for the actual events mentioned here, and a TV documentary would likely be a good secondary source to verify that the events depicted here happened in the way the article says. I imagine your TV documentary, or Hansard mention re: tax discs isn't a good source, in that all it's a source for is that someone, somewhere says that some unspecified New Age Travellers don't have license plates. I'd be surprised if the people saying such things have done ANY verifiable research into the subject. I hope WP:RS clears things up. --Aim Here 02:40, 23 March 2006 (UTC)


I've reorganised the article a bit, to try and give a tighter narrative and explain the core of what happened.

However, there's a lack of citation - especially independent sources (the police and travellers can't really be called independent witnesses - and gave conflicting accounts afterwards - but the journalists, Cardigan etc. weren't on one side or the other, and therefore carry more weight).

This isn't saying anything in the article is inaccurate, but there ought to be more reference to some of the source material, even if just by stating more clearly exactly where statements were published (e.g. 'The Guardian, X/X/85'), and including some in-line external links for specific points (or footnotes if it's not a web-based source).

I'm pretty sure there's also more material that can be included - there were anti-traveller headlines in some of the newspapers over the next couple of days - for example, The Sun alleged attempted murder of a police officer by a traveller. 22:38, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

  • I believe one of the best references is what Kim Sabido said at the end of his news report. It was not broadcast until a few years later in a documentary I believe (along with a piece on how the BBC altered news footage in order to make it look like (the striking) miners attacked Police before the Police responded). If you watch this YouTube clip until the end, Sabido speaks at 09:28.

Stephenjh (talk) 21:26, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Re: the "Double Standards" item on this page. I tried to post a reply there but the edit link leads to here..what appears to be the "Citations" item. References to a group of people having a propensity to avoid tax are prejudicial to any individual who may or may not avoid tax and who is classed as part of said group. generalisations are inherently inaccurate and misleading, and serve only to promulgate ignorance by the deploying of such propaganda. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:07, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

'The incident became notorious for the Police riot that was reported to have taken place'[edit]

I changed that because 'that was reported to have taken place' is unsourced. ninety:one 21:39, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

  • On this day, Police actions were extreme to say the least. I considered Police Riot to be a good and reasonable definition because, particularly,
  • I thought this was fairly 'neutral' it suggests that the Police are human too, and subject to the same emotions and reactions as everyone (obviously). When one considers the facts of the matter, the video evidence and the eye witness accounts from journalists (not the Police and travellers) it is understandable that Police actions that day were excessive and that their was a 'loss of control' either by the individual Police officers themselves or whoever was responsible for briefing / instructing / leading them. Consider Sabido's comments above and also those of Nick Davies, at the time Home Affairs correspondent for The Observer within the article. Stephenjh (talk) 22:54, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
  • How about 'some claim [source to excessive violence] that there was a police riot'? ninety:one 12:46, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Here's my suggestion: "The incident became notorious for the police actions, described by some[ref] as a police riot." Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 12:50, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
That sounds good :) ninety:one 17:52, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Citation standards[edit]

I have no vested interest in this article other than the observation that the majority of citations provided fall way short of WP:CITE. BBC Sources are good, as are major news publications. Random druidic websites and essays are not. Perhaps there was excessive police brutality, but it should be presented objectively (not with weasel words) and with proper citation. Djma12 (talk) 20:18, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

  • RE: WP:CITE - In what respect, exactly, do the citations fail? Are you suggesting that the "random druidic websites" are not reliable, or as reliable as the BBC? If so, I would suggest that there is possibly more factual information about the Battle of the Beanfield in them, than most of the major media websites. Stephenjh (talk) 01:23, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
    • Yes, I am claiming that a herbalism website and an individual's personal blog is not as reliable as the BBC. As the incidents occured to neo-druids, druidic websites are inherently NPOV. Please read WP:QS, WP:SPS and specifically, WP:NPOV. Djma12 (talk) 03:15, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
      • Yes but NPOV means presenting both sides of the argument in a balanced way. Thanks, SqueakBox 03:39, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I definitely agree. I think we're all in agreement that some form of police brutality occured. But wikipedia is an encyclopedia, so the sources have to be encyclopedic. Please refer to WP:RS.

Let's put it this way. I had absolutely no knowledge about the events described here until I read the wiki article. (I found it via wikilink from Stonehenge proper.)

Being reasonably skeptical of wiki, my first reaction was, "Wow, that's horrrible. What did they cite?" I see several BBC and Guardian articles (so far so good), then some herbalism websites, a personal blog, and a self-published book. My opinion of the article immediately drops into, "Well, this is just disgruntled hippies exaggerating events." Stephenjh was good enough to fill me in on a few details, but the underlying problem remains. When you use substandard sources in an encyclopedic article, it cheapens the article and lowers your readers impressions about its reliablity. ESPECIALLY when you a describing an atrocity, objectivity must be maintained, otherwise readers get turned off. Djma12 (talk) 03:46, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

I do agree (and as someone with very strong memories of the event). It was a major media event at the time and there was lots of publicity at the time re alleged police brutality, though this was far more destruction of property than it was actual people getting hurt. Thanks, SqueakBox 03:52, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm not convinced that 'auto-assumption' the BBC is entirely accurate when compared to a 'druidic website' is proper. In fact, Sabido's reporting (and statement about the Police violence) only finally made it to TV as part of a documentary years later, the other half of that same documentary was a report about how the BBC reversed footage taken at a Miners picket line / demonstration to make it look as though the miners attacked the Police when, what happened was the opposite i.e. their stone throwing a reaction to a Police charge. We are dealing with an event that took place over 20 years ago and its reporting in the media at the time was itself highly subjective and contentious, remember, Lord Cardigan (see article) won his legal actions against all the largest newspapers at that time The Times, The Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror. I think viewing of the documentary (via YouTube) should be considered before people get too defensive about some issues in the article. It shocked me as a young man to see and hear Sabido's words and I have never forgotten them, I'm glad that this matter is still being debated.
My NPOV tag removal was based on the comments within the NPOV paragraph above. I didn't see these POV arguments within the 'Citations Standads'. My error perhaps. But where does it state that sources outside of the mainstream media aren't acceptable? Druids can be honest too ;) ! Stephenjh (talk) 06:02, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
It has nothing to do with honesty, but objectivity, and preventing even the appearance of non-objectivity. The WP:RS standard for an allowable source states that: Wikipedia articles should use reliable, third-party, published sources... and later: Articles should rely on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Just as you wouldn't trust a police website for publishing what happened, you can't trust a druid one as well. They can't, by any definition, be third-party. Djma12 (talk) 12:50, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Suggested improvements[edit]

Rather than get caught up in the negative, why don't we talk about how the article can be improved? Here's some of my suggestions:

  1. Include a rationale on WHY Stonehenge was off-limits. The impression I get so far was "It was declared off-limits, people tried to go in, badness happened." This just doesn't make sense to a discriminating reader. In legal terms, sine qua non! WHY was it off-limits? WHY were the police so psycho in defending it? Did they just come off the Coal Strikes? Were there previous episodes of mischief? Having a violent act without an impetus is simply puzzling.
  2. The most potentially powerful section of the article is, right now, also its weakest. All these quotations are used, but do we have an original citation? All I can assume, since the overarching citation is to someone's book promotion website, is that's its either adversting or fabricated.
  3. Do we have any police accounts, properly cited, of the event. This article is told entirely from one POV. It may be that they were total fascist pigs, but the lack of their POV sticks out as a glaring omission to the casual reader.

Just my thoughts. Djma12 (talk) 04:00, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

While the police were clearly unhappy about the selling of drugs openly at the festivals English Heritage were concerned about damage to Stonehenge itself and the archaeology of the surrounding area. I agree we need more factual information about the exclusion zone. Most of the festival goers were young, alienated unemployed people at a time of high unemployment etc in the middle of the Thatcher era, rather than being lots of druids. I think a great part of the problem is that the police have been far more circumspect than the convoy about whta happened but I do agree that we need to present both POVs with equal value. Thanks, SqueakBox 04:09, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Almost everything related to the period 85-89 is disputed. IIRC, Wiltshire Constabulary said that EH asked them to intervene, EH said that WC suggested that their help would be needed...

I am not sure what the truth is. I do know that the Free Festival had done a lot less damage to the environs of Stonehenge than the Army had done to the ancient monuments on the Plain - around 60 substantially damaged. I think it will be very, very difficult to get any sort of consensus on a NPOV for this, despite the fact that some of the facts were established in court.Buffalo Bill talk to me 14:49, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

how can you create a full article without any leading citations? the enitre "media" section is completly unfounded. For example a channel 4 show recently documented this event after finding more articles/evidence? Which? The operation is not marked or known to wikipedia also. Ive tried searching relevant documents and news websites to trace the specific programme to these events so surely it should be removed? Jw 22/09/08 10:54 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:54, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

  • How on earth is the enitre media section unfounded? That statement itself seems "unfounded" to me. The sources for the statements quoted are within the news footage taken that day and they are all viewable on the Channel 4 documentary cited within the text. This documentary remains the 'best' coverage of the incident and I would ask people to watch it before editing the article. I'm all for encyclopaedic standards, but I fear that by removing some of the sources and information from this article, the history of the incident is being re-written, incorrectly.
  • Prima facie, 'Druidic' websites might not seem the best source to use, but considering the event (summer solstice) and the type of people that were there that day (including druids!), I believe they are relevant. I don't believe it encylopaedic to remove the POV of one of the groups that attended that day. Stephenjh (talk) 13:28, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

"none of the riot police involved had been wearing identifying numbers"[edit]

This supposedly happened recently during the G20 protests. Surely the police are required to display their identifying numbers are all times? If this is the case, surely there absence suggests intent. If the police are required to wear their identifying numbers and where not doing so on this occasion surely this should be spelt out in the article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:45, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

12th year or even 13th[edit]


The article states that this was to be the 11th festival - unfortunately this is not quite correct as the actual festival was the "Peoples Free Festival". That festival moved to Stonehenge in 1975 but existed before that in Windsor I seem to recall... and so the 1985 event would have been the 11th at Stonehenge. The whole reason that the government was so eager to stop the festival was the law which stated that "after 12 years of gathering in the same place of celebration a national event automatically came into being" and as a national event they would have been unable to prevent it from occurring again in the future. It was imperative for the government to stop the festival that year or the next to prevent it from becoming a national event by the next year 1986.

I will research more but the main refs [1], [2] and [3](Google news so Firefox users may have to switch to IE to look at them)

Chaosdruid (talk) 20:17, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

The Peace convoy - The Convoy[edit]

The "Peace Convoy" was only a part of "The Convoy". The Convoy was made up of smaller groups from all over Britain and it would be wrong of anyone to say that the convoy was, as a whole, the peace convoy.

"The actual ‘Convoy’ in 1985 was made up of groups who had come from different places, including the Rainbow Village from Molesworth via Glastonbury and the Peace Convoy from Bristol." [4]

It is also true that someone who was a part of the Peace Convoy could make the mistaken assumption that others from the rest of the country, once joined together alongside them, would consider themselves part of the "Peace Convoy" - Please recheck your sources.

thanks Chaosdruid (talk) 22:14, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

So on that logic, I must be from Bristol... News to me! Sounds like a typical case of the source being rather divorced from reality, but I suppose WP:VER policy says we have to go with it until a more accurate source can be found. My own observation and experience is that "Peace Convoy" ("Convoy" for short) was used internally as the main generic name, and most of those I travelled with were from Manchester. There were multitudinous subgroups with all kinds of self-names like Rainbow village, Rainbow warriors, Green warriors, New Age, straight up anarchists who belligerently rejected any "labels" whatsoever, and lots of others... Yes, yes, I know, my own observation and experience counts for nothing unless I can find it in a published source... Os Cangaceiros (Yippie!) 22:40, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
And the same is true for me lol :¬)
I joined from over in East Anglia having moved here in 82 from (you'll laugh) Manchester lol
One of my good friends was the man that took the Landrover off the police at another famous confrontation...
Later in around 87/88 we did the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge - everything was sort of calmed down by then but the police took our number plates and we got chased by 4 or 5 police cars after we left the convoy - they stopped us about 60 miles after leaving - I remember sitting in a field at about 3 in the morning in our marina car eating peanuts whilst watching them drive all around us trying to catch us lol
There were so many little elements, one I particularly remember was the "Brew crew" - famed for their incredible capacity for drinking 10 or more cans of special brew and still managing to walk lol and lots of old sunblest vans and ford box lorries for some reason
I know it can get problematic as the original intention was peace but those years 84/85/86 were not a good time for freedom of anything and peace was soon overtaken by a strange poll tax escape which led to many new New Age travellers and a gradual decline of intent.
We put on a couple of fairs here in the late 80s and early 90s and by that time we had to ban the convoy ourselves as they seemed to think they could takeover the gate and demand money from us - it was a bloody charity festival for a Woodland trust ! I remember having to walk round site with a firemans axe while ppl asked for them to turn the noise down so that we wouldnt get closed down by the local council and their db meters...bloody rules lol
Chaosdruid (talk) 23:00, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Category for Renaming[edit]

Cottonshirtτ 10:09, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

Media Coverage section / quotations[edit]

This is a note to say that I have been working on this article of late and at this juncture I am planning to remove much or even all of the quotations from the media section. There are several reasons for this:

  • The quotations make up pretty much the entire Media Coverage section and all contain highly partisan language that strongly advocates one side's POV. Therefore the neutrality of the section is compromised. There is obviously consensus against this from WP:NPOV and the essay WP:QUOTE also specifically advises against this particular usage of quotations. In addition Wikipedia is WP:NOTSOAPBOX or a means of promotion.
  • Wikipedia is not a directory (WP:NOTDIRECTORY), meaning that Wikipedia is not the place for collections of quotations which should be hosted at Wikiquote. WP:QUOTE also advises against the overuse of quotations. Since Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information (WP:INDISCRIMINATE), this also conflicts with isolated collections of quotations.
  • The majority of the citations are not cited which justifies their removal alone.Levelledout (talk) 20:42, 3 August 2014 (UTC)