Friday, 21 April 2017

Day 75 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 75 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people were in short supply, unlike (as we’ve come to expect) the policing which comes packaged tightly in multiple dark vehicles that litter Preston New Road – fly-tipped from the over-reactive mind of someone, somewhere ‘higher up’ who has fears beyond the reality. One of the dark vehicles hurtled at speed under blue lights today, making a fuss… for all of a few yards; seems drama is a key ingredient to policing this road. Certainly there was no cause as a single lane was (yet again) closed in order to enable a convoy of seemingly precious trucks to thunder into the frack site; ample dozens of glowing police had already herded the pensioners, disabled, peaceful few Protectors into a cosy huddle and NOTHING looked remotely threatening. Today was different as all days are different but the one thing that is currently to be relied on for predictability – is that the policing is massive, over-reactive and ill-informed about what’s really going on. Lots of trucks in on this day where we were light on Protectors but impossible now to keep tallies as the pattern of days has changed.

So when my sister and I left to get back to grandma duties this afternoon, it happened to be at the time of another truck arrival – causing more wild panic on the road with the on-edge policing. Another dark carrier raced to catch us up (we were pretty slow as pulling a PA system and carrying signs and other paraphernalia) …as the door of the vehicle opened, out poured a good 9+ officers – sort of laughably for a minute looking like parachuters do before they jump. They dramatically forced a line between us two grandmas who were walking away quietly – and an oncoming truck on the other side of the road. Well, words fail me (which is pretty rare). I said we were clearly headed home and asked what on earth they thought we were going to do. An officer said “well you never know do you, people lie” – this is apparently one of my tender points as it set off a roar in me. We’re treated every day as if we’re vicious criminals (NO violence EVER comes from Protectors – only police) and now he judges me as a potential liar too. I raged and it was pointless of course, but it cleared my anger at least for a moment.

What ARE they briefed before they come on duty? To expect what? Rabid, raging animals ffs?! We are deeply concerned UK residents seeking to protect ourselves, families, communities from a real and provable threat to our health along with the quality of the essentials to ALL life – air and water. Yet we find ourselves here on the seemingly ‘wrong side of the law’ each day.

I did this word-cloud (my first) from my ongoing (though terribly unreliable now) blog about PNR… the image doesn’t surprise me – all those words and thoughts that rush around as in this height of dilemma – answers are sought. It’s so sad though isn’t it? I know I’m not the only one stuck in a reel of thoughts and constant seeking that has evicted all the former thoughts… hard to recall what I filled my head with before this but I bet it would have been a prettier word cloud with more frivolity, joy and hope. Such a ridiculous way for humans to spend our days. That we have to do this in the absence of a responsible government, speaks volumes about what our ‘democracy’ and systems of checks and balances has come to.

I wonder what the police think is going to happen? They keep claiming to seek only the safety of all and yet despite the complete non-violence of all Protectors – each day violence is applied to us; they man-handle us far more brutally than this situation could possibly warrant. We are in the way, we are trying to be disruptive and we are angered… the police want us to peacefully co-operate and we want to have an impact and there lies the crux of the problem.

We claim articles 10 & 11 of the Human Rights Act is what empowers our actions to protest this industry. Slow walking has been recognised as acceptable use of right to protest – yet the police tell us it just can’t be done on this road as it’s too fast. Advisory notices to reduce speed are in place and should soon become compulsory – so surely then we ask, it would be our right to slow-walk. They are evasive on this. They can’t imagine surely that waving banners and getting road user support – is what protest looks like? We KNOW this industry brings harm to our children and will work to stall, delay, stop this site being allowed to develop to production. Pretty soon we’re all going to have to work out what this is heading to and what we can do for or about the various potential outcomes. Thankfully PNR isn’t the only arena where fracking is being challenges… Pop up Protests at suppliers, work in political circles, Councillors, NGOs, environmental groups and more are all part of the mix too and although the roadside can be upsetting, the supplier pull outs have been uplifting – it’s swings and roundabouts.

In the end, this will not be stopped by direct action at the roadside alone – and there are many working in all sorts of places to help. Numbers though make a difference and your presence is always very much valued if you can make it. Despite the policing, it is safe enough (what a crazy sentence to type) and there is always the best of company to get you through. See you at the roadside?♥

Sunday, 16 April 2017

A New Occupation...

At Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest, like so many other protest sites in the past 6 years... people come fresh to activism each day and it's bittersweet to be part of. Each time we are forced to act 'against' the state/industry, we're slow-walking away from the life that each once had. Becoming an 'Activist' may turn out to be an essential decision in the long run - but in the immediate aftermath, it's about pain and loss.

The pain of seeing stark truths that show the lies of this 'system of democracy', the 'integrity of academia', the 'impartiality of media', the confusing purpose of things.,, and pain at the realisation that you can't let yourself be soothed by imagining things will be OK anymore; in opening your eyes to one wrong - so many more wrongs become apparent by clear association and collusion.

And the loss... of normality, familiarity, comfort once derived from lies of state/industry... loss of former hopes and dreams, loss of friends who don't yet 'get it' (no fault of theirs - we are so misled and it takes a bit to get to truth and the day before any of us was an activist... we weren't too) and loss of faith in solutions by any formally trusted bodies.

I feel overjoyed that we grow but so sad that we have to - especially when I see the stress, sadness, pain and loss in the faces of more recent Activists. It doesn't get easier but it does get more familiar and the company for the most part... is inspiring. Other humans who found their inner-Activist too and can't go home anymore to the same type of life. We sometimes have what feels like huge ups and downs in this intensely diverse tribe of Activists... but these are nothing in the face of what comes if industry/state go unopposed and unchallenged. So we plough through the bad bits, knowing there's no way out anyway.

Normality for me ceased the day I literally got an Occupation; 15 Oct 2011 outside the London Stock Exchange. Was just reading back over the testimonies of those who were part of Occupy London and realising how many I still encounter - because they're still here too. The link below goes to a site where the reasons and impacts of our Occupation are explored:
[I recognised the struggle within my own interpretation of the world I was living in; the one where education and health were seen to be market commodities rather that logically beneficial and essential; the one where too many in government, entertained lobbyists from industry and later ended up on their boards of directors and we were supposed to pretend that no favours were done; the one where bailing out bankers went hand in hand with cutting disability benefits; the one where the arms trade emanating out of my own country, meant that from my taxes, I paid to kill people and in none of the wars we started or armed, was there an ounce of honourable purpose… and then there was the deadly foolishness of keeping alive industries that should long ago have died but were clinging to us in a death spiral of fossilised pollution and waste that was overflowing into the bodies of our young,

Those tools Occupy gave me meant that rather than tell anyone how to do their activism, we delivered what I call ‘The Unwelcome Gift of Truth’ to communities and then asked only that they please act individually and together to find out more and respond. I didn’t want to say ‘save the planet’, that was too big an ask, nor did I want to tell them that along the way, all their original beliefs would come crashing down and that before it got clear and the self-empowerment kicked in – it would be a bit awful, isolating and crushingly real. There was no need to say though because I knew that once they started tackling this ONE issue, they would discover that the media lies (and come to ask themselves, what was ever true?), their MPs serve their party not the people, their Councillors are ill-informed and mostly powerless, lobbyists from industries as big as the energy sector, have the power to change our politics and laws and that THIS is NOT what democracy looks like.]

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Day 71 in the Cuadrilla House...

About yesterday... a little late but hey ho. Headed up to Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest shortly <3 span="">

Day 71 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people got the worst news, that the judicial reviews had failed to get this site development stopped. One honourable Protector had been atop a delivery truck for 18 hours when the news came – he’d said he wasn’t releasing the vehicle until the ruling came. As the ruling was clearly wrong (really, do read the piece on Drill Or Drop? to see the strength of our points of law – and Judge Dove’s absurd excuses for refusing to accept their validity) … he did not come down. Later at the 24 hour mark, he would be delivered by police, along with the truck right into the Cuadrilla site (more on that later). The mood of us all was impossible to define as it went from rage, upset and jaded... to defiant, determined and resolute. What NO-ONE thought was “Oh well that’s it then”.
So it’s been a rollercoaster of a ride at the roadside these too many days, with deep lows and massive highs depending on the moments… I remember reading somewhere once that because usual everyday life is usually full of common sights and routines… that much of what we think we are seeing, is actually just like the ‘cache’ on a computer – where the ‘usual’ things are sort-of assumed by our minds to save re-looking too much at the stuff that’s always there; like the pattern on wall-paper or words on office doors etc. (maybe why we notice the slightest slight fringe trim on a familiar face sort of thing?) Every day of activism defies this fact… every moment of every day we are experiencing a new thing that can’t be predicted or presumed… or really steered either. We are a tribe by virtue of our shared locations and aim (stop fracking) – but without deep knowledge of each other – so everything including ourselves is impossible to predict. We’re a movement that looks a lot like a murmuration of birds – we surge, cluster, separate and act independently… together. My head hurts trying to figure how we take the mass of us and apply it to the truth of the problem… the system of government that yesterday forced the risks of fracking, onto the children of Lancashire.

These blogs I try to maintain when time, mind and clarity permit… started out as a way of noting number of deliveries, mood of Protectors, breeches of planning etc. but this became impossible as the wonderful PuPs (Pop up Protests) meant there were more fronts to report on and the actions at the roadside itself, spread to different parts of Preston New Road. My view will only ever be a fragment seen from one spot; there are so many other places to stand and things to see. Livestreams from a variety of Protectors are coming into their own for fuller views but mostly only on Facebook Live which can limit our reach to those not using the platform… and considering the nature and rapidity of change that can happen one moment to the next – a full clear view is not likely! Which makes me ponder longer at the way any news story is covered and which aspects of a ‘story’ old media chooses to shine a light on and how they choose what to exclude… but that’s for another blog.

Thankfully Miranda Cox has added her perspective on the day to follow my bit – so for now I’ll update on what happened that I was witness to that appalled me… the delivery of a Protector, to the very place he is working against and where the people we oppose, are gathered in number. My sister and I arrived at PNR around 10am just after hearing the outcome of the judicial reviews and at this point the Protector was atop the truck outside Maple Farm (just down from the site on PNR) and had been there 18 hours. Some local media was milling about at this point. Later in the day when time atop truck reached 24 hours … I was nearby when I heard screams. We’d previously been spending time with others up at the land owner’s area, site and various points along the road – when we got to where the truck had been, it was just moving off with three helmeted police on the back and on top of the Protector (this was a gravel truck full of sharp stone). A police officer was driving.

The truck went at quite a pace and we got the car to head up and see where they were taking him. We reached the fracking site entrance and saw that the truck, the helmeted police and the Protector had been delivered right INTO the site and the gates closed behind. Quite simply WTF?! I asked police what on earth was happening, why the Protector had not been taken to a police station and what they thought he would be going through being delivered into the place we’ve stood and opposed for 70 days. He went off to find an excuse that would do and was told to say:
There was nowhere the truck could go that was suitable and the police station in Kirkham could not accommodate an HGV… the site was the ‘safe’ alternative. (*safe for who??)

I challenged that it was the least safe for the Protector and that there were huge carparks nearby that would easily have sufficed. I should have recalled the HGV testing station but didn’t – surprised the police didn’t think of it either as it is just down the road from their station in Kirkham! My Facebook Livestreams are public and the exchange is here:

Lots else happened… but it always does. You really need to be here :)Much planning is happening but early stages as we’d tried to hold out hope that further actions might not be needed if justice had its way … sadly justice too has been ignored by government and now just lives in our hearts as a forlorn hope rather than in the law books. o back to the roadside but everything is different again and moreso – now we KNOW there is nothing for us to call on from this ‘democracy’ or the legal system. We KNOW we the people are working separate and in opposition from the government and that changes our mindset… but we’re not going home. We can’t. See you at the roadside?

View from Miranda:
[Bloody angry about today...I'm actually fizzing. We have one planet. This has been my main thought all day. We have no back up plan. We have our land, we have each other, we have our air and our water. We can look after our planet or we can destroy it. It's that simple. While world Governments pursue wealth for the few over quality of life for all, while they continue to push economy over the environment, they are not protecting humanity. We are reaching a tipping point, socially and environmentally. Its now time for us to push for change, to demand environmental agendas instead, to protect the planet rather than business.

The news that the two separate appeals had failed did not come as a huge surprise, but it did feel like the knock out blow at the end of a huge fight. There's that feeling of disempowerment, and abandonment which takes the air from your lungs and leaves you clenching and unclenching jaw muscles. Then there's the rise of anger, that feeling if you shout loudly things will be different. This was then followed by a desperate need to reach out to fellow protectors. Arriving on PNR I was struck by the calmness, the sense of resilience from everyone. The solidarity in knowledge that yes we had received a blow, but nothing had changed. We will not go away or be silent. Our obligation is too great.

We were appalled to witness removal of a protector in a way that was unsafe and intimidatory. We are getting used to this, but it doesn't mean we accept it or deserve it. Years of government peddling the idea that protest is illegitimate, that those who stand up are outsiders has rendered many people fearful of taking a stand. While populations are neutered big business will take advantage. All I could think about today was if our lawmakers, law enforcers and regulatory authorities cannot or will not protect us, the only choice is we do it.
They may try and alienate us, divide us and hurt us, but if anyone, including those perpetrating environmental destruction have any future we have to stand up.]

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Day 70 & we're not OK...

So today is Day 70 and I will try to update in words this evening (I'll get to roadside this afternoon) - my daily blog has been hindered by too much demand on time and energy to always get round to it... I had thought that with so many livestreaming and image gathering that it was pretty well covered now anyway (in the early days of Jan/Feb... we were still finding our ways to get our story out and gather others to help us and I blogged more then)... but others on Twitter and elsewhere who do not keep up with Facebook have messaged to say that if they're not on Facebook, they aren't uninformed so I'll try to resume & put on the blog and Twitter too :)

It's hard to face any of this some days but impossible to walk away - those who have hit low points or encountered difficulties with the harsher sides of being an activist, have had to drag ourselves to be at roadside or sometimes even just opted out when it got too much. Now though we can't... no-one can - if we're to stand any chance of stopping this.

Nothing is normal about anything at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest - nothing. To get up and KNOW that your day will involve conflict is horrid and to then go anyway.. feels absurd. But... to get up and KNOW that if you and a whole lot more other people DON'T face it... then we damn our children to ill-health and worse. Whatever we feel about facing the conflict - we are needed.

In the early days when the road traffic management was in place and just a single-lane operated... it was possible to find our sense of community and each other's warmth as we grew our numbers - now though as the very busy road has opened back up and the site is progressing (3 months behind schedule though - drilling originally in planning for March - now not till June)... and worst of all, the policing has become over-reactive and hugely intense and intimidating, the mood and tone is indeed much darker. But the odds were I suppose that it was always going to be this way.... sadly the tragic, emotional witnessing of it all - leads some to turn to each other and lay blame.

Fellow Protectors look at each other for better answers, more hours, better tactics, more effective actions, the way to stop what's happening ... we question ourselves (and some accuse others) about if what we've done was good enough, would others have done it better, was the task of stopping this site helped or hindered as a result of actions and so on. We need to stop this, we're only bloody human and the FACT of us being there and doing the best we can, should be enough to earn us reprieve from accusation... plus it serves only to divide and weaken us; which is of course what is desired by any industry manipulators.

I posted an article earlier about a PR company and the dirty deeds it does for clients and if you want to research along these lines - you'll find exposes on how protesters are disrupted, infiltrated and movements squashed by what they refer to as 'the dark arts'. Not a conspiracy, just a fact of what big business does to protect itself from loss of profit. When we first met the frackers here in Lancashire in 2011... a firm called PPS was the PR Agency fronting the story for Cuadrilla - a Channel 4 Dispatches programme from a few years before shows the levels they stoop to including infiltration, listening-in and disruption with activist groups. We are challenging the energy sector - the biggest industry there is (is the arms trade bigger? I'm not sure) - and when you consider that it is just you and me opposing them and we've done well for 6 years of stopping them... they are going to respond with all they can.

Lovely others have asked if we're doing ok... we're not. We're watching the build happening and every day this causes pain and fear. Of course we're not ok. Taking a break though is NOT an option right now and we need to be at the roadside, in our Councillor's and MP's offices, at planning meetings, with our groups,on the phones, sharing online and reaching out to suppliers or protesting them if they fail to understand... what we can't do it stop.

Please don't sit this one out - even if it pains you to get involved... what we leave behind if we fail, is far worse than any harms to us as individuals now.

On the plus side... the best part of ourselves as part of humanity is what is working when we are Protectors... there is no greater beauty in any of us than this bit <3 span="">

ps... best action you can take at any time is to simply turn up - it is our numbers that makes all the difference to our impact and each other x

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The State of Divide...

The State of Divide…
There’s a state emerging,
New destination slow-birthing,
So big it is named
‘The Divide’

It existed first only in waves of intent;
When unable to make a home in the hearts of others,
Those who would come to claim ‘The Divide’
Broke away from the states of Humanity
To seize the spaces between.

Like dark matter permeating,
Or diseases replicating
They found the cracks and weak points
Entered through the pain
Journeyed on the tears
Made glorious the anguish
And took hostage the vulnerable

Traps were laid at the doors of Divide
So passers-by could be caught,
Brought away from the State of Humanity
And into this world of confusions, mistrust and anxiety.

The sameness that united Humanity was crushed,
When entering the dark confusion of Divide.
Hopes, dreams, wisdom, kindness and love
Slashed by brutes with sharpened tongues.
Harm comes this way, it feels at home here
Breeds and festers in its work.

Bruised and battered by words, thoughts and deeds
Divide had no need to lay a hand
The damning alone, did the work of forty fists

This conflict in our heads...
Needs no body blows

The State of Humanity splintered
Fractured pockets of life clinging on
In a world where Divide’s borders grew
So damned wide
We struggled to see across the distant we’d become
...Even when looking in each other’s eyes.
If Humanity hopes to survive...
Humanity needs to Unite <3 span="">

Friday, 31 March 2017

#OsborneMustGo... I'll get your coat George

Brick walls at the end of every street that’s supposed to lead to ‘democracy’ …That’s what brings people to activism; the lack of other ways to be heard and to have our say.

I reached my own personal enough-is-enough moment in 2011 and took a tent to St Pauls for Occupy London. I didn’t want to engage with the system – I wanted to make it stop. Years of aggressive wars, the bank bailout that coincided  with cuts to disability allowances, the state of our healthcare and sneaky attempts to privatise it bit by precious bit – all this and so much more had finally brought me to a halt. The system had to change, even if I had no idea or plan for what next.

After Occupy London I returned North to find the urgency of the fight to keep our country frack-free; an immediate danger that could not be ignored and represented the recklessness of the government’s pursuit of industry without adequate concern for the people and our wellbeing. Over the years in that movement with the Lancashire Nanas and our many allies, I have witnessed the immense power, honour, passion and determination of the most diverse range of people I could ever have hoped to meet. We don’t all see eye-to-eye, but we stand shoulder-to-shoulder facing the same target. For six years, the frackers have done everything to get a production site going and failed… there is no shale gas production in the UK and fracking has only taken place in April 2011 in Lancashire. Test sites are as far as they’ve got but things are changing rapidly 

In 2015 I dipped into the world of politics, running for the Green Party against George Osborne in Tatton. It was a safe Conservative seat and the independent Martin Bell was the only non-Tory who had ever won there - but running was a chance to challenge and learn.  I wanted to understand the process and to challenge George. Much was eye-opening and much pretty soul-destroying (I blogged about it at the time).

Mostly I realised just how rigged the system is, keeping certain types of politicians and ways of business safe and excluding much that seeks to question it. Our votes are not equal, our voting system is illogical and the outcomes unsatisfactory for the majority. Even if you get the Party you chose, they cand and do renege on their promises and get away with it. We try to remember what they did next time the little box waits for our mark – but we get overwhelmed, distracted, fatalistic, dismayed by the options… and the cycle repeats. 

I was reminded of that run against George when he took his fourth job as Editor of the London Evening Standard a couple of weeks ago. He was barely able to make the public meetings for the election due to his hectic schedule, he rarely sets foot in the Tatton area as it is… and now all the lovely Tatton voters I got to meet are getting their MP on an extreme part-time basis.

He made promises to them and I heard him. I watched him act the part, and I watched the audiences hope he just might deliver on this phony sincerity. He hasn’t and it’s clear, he won’t. It’s such a blatant thing too isn’t it? Right out in the open and declaring he can be all things to all people in all places… a Northern Powerhouse master, Champion of the people of Tatton, London Editorial Guru and debonaire after-dinner speaker on the world circuit – “What a man!” –but he’s not. He’s really not.

Since the news of his new job, I have been talking with others who feel the same rage at this clearly wrong situation and the way the people of his constituency are disregarded in all this. Over 190,000 people signed a petition in no time, calling for George to ‘Pick a Job’ and a poll in Tatton showed 57% of his constituents felt the same way. 

I think the people I met deserve better - so I am working with others to challenge George to step down as an MP. We’ve started a campaign to get information to Tatton voters as well as events and media, to make sure that even if he does only pop by for a moment – that George knows that he can’t pretend it’s all ok in Tatton. It’s not. He needs to step aside and let the voters of Tatton have an MP that will serve them with honour and dedication.

There is a bigger picture here. Our system of government does not resemble any definition of democracy I know – it’s as if ‘government’ is a fa├žade painted to look like something for the people but in reality, step inside, look at the lobbyists and the revolving door between industry roles and ministerial positions. Logic says that the vast majority of people would aim for a system that strives toward enabling us to lead happy, healthy lives and not do harm to others… ours appears to aim for the opposites.  The system is good at serving industry – easing the burden of regulations, manipulating laws, bargaining trade deals and showing favour to big money – whilst tightening the belts around ordinary people and cutting services we depend on.

This is too obvious, too intrusive and too unfair to continue. We were forced to bail out banks yet what we need is an energy bailout, a people bailout, a healthcare bailout, an education bailout… The system severely cuts funding and causes the good stuff to break – then along comes some commercial enterprise to pick it up at a rock-bottom price. 

Today in Lancashire, a vast fracking site is under construction despite the local Council saying NO to planning and huge, vocal public opposition. Westminster saw fit to take the decision away from our county and over-ruled us. Every day since 4th January 2017, the people have stalled work, slowed deliveries and stood in defiant protest to stop this… and they will not go home. Across the country, communities feel the same and yet our government chooses to ignore us, ignore peer-reviewed warnings from reputable scientists and ignore the growing wave of bans in France, New York, Victoria and countless other places.

The fight to stop shale gas production is urgent; our health and that of our children is at stake, along with the safety of our water and air. I wish this wasn’t the way I spend my life. But there is no exit door from protecting our children, and so we go on. The fight doesn’t end till it stops. The lessons and gifts of this are that you realise how many feel the same and how much they are willing to put into standing their ground. Activists have endured so much and put ourselves through hugely demanding situations and endured unfair hardship as a result of having to do this… because our government doesn’t value our community’s health or our children’s futures as we do. There is no agency helping us, it is ONLY the power of us. People power actually exists and that’s a reason to hope.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Missed Days & Chemicals Under the Sink...

Although it is now Day 62 in the Cuadrilla House... and the good people are relentlessly doing all they can ...I haven't been able to write the days since Day 54 due to too much happening and too little time. This past fortnight and next few days have been at debates/panels in various places and at one (in Leeds last week) - it was a debate between Bill McCaffrey, Professor of Clastic Sedimentology in the Department of Earth and the Environment, University of Leeds, and Research Director of Petroleum Leeds, the University's Centre for Integrated Petroleum Engineering and Geoscience... and me. I worried about this one and wrote up research for far longer than proved necessary. He came essentially with two main points... that "shale gas was a bridging fuel and that the chemicals were pretty harmless as many were under our sinks."

The last part of that about chemicals came undone when I asked if he thought chemicals behaved differently deep down at shale level with increased temperatures/pressures and environment - than they do under our sinks (they do) and for the first bit about 'bridging fuel' there was a UK government study that showed that to be a false and purposeless arguement.

When searching for that 2015 report - about how by the time UK shale gas is even able to contribute with any significance to the energy market, the price and availability of renewables will mean it isn't worth it economically... I also found an excellent article around the subject from 2015 - worth your time for the excellent research and links in it. The part for the research about UK Government’s own Environmental Audit Committee report is this:

[Any large scale extraction of shale gas in the UK is likely to be at least 10-15 years away. It is also unlikely to be able to compete against the extensive renewable energy sector we should have by 2025-30 unless developed at a significant scale. By that time, it is likely that unabated coal-fired power generation will have been phased out to meet EU emissions directives, so fracking will not substitute for (more carbon-intensive) coal. Continually tightening carbon budgets under the Climate Change Act will have significantly curtailed our scope for fossil fuel energy, and as a consequence only a very small fraction of the possible shale gas deposits will be burnable.]

...and the report went on to recommend:

[A moratorium on the extraction of unconventional gas through fracking is needed to avoid the UK’s carbon budgets being breached in the 2020s and beyond, and the international credibility of the UK in tackling climate change being critically weakened — already a prospect if the provisions in the Infrastructure Bill aimed at maximising North Sea oil extraction are passed.’]


Looking forward to tomorrow's panel at GPEW Spring Conference & Global Greens & European Greens Congres - the panel includes people with experience of gaining bans in Victoria, Australia and I so hope to gain something we can use to replicate this for the UK. Back at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest next week x

Event here:

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Day 54 in the Cuadrilla House...

Thanks to Miranda Cox for the update from Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest - this about yesterday - Day 54 of works by Cuadrilla:

[Day 54
Today I had to take a day away from PNR,so rather than try and piece together a daily dairy based on other people's messages, I thought about the live streamers and the very important role they play in recording and debate of this campaign. Being fortunate enough to be able to be roadside most days has enabled me to be consistent in my observations,I hope. Today surrounded by admin and tasks from the other life, my pre-fracking life, I couldn't help but be drawn to the posts, updates and live streams pinging through my computer all day. I have witnessed many things over the past eight weeks. I have seen trucks come and go, I have seen residents and protectors pushed to their physical and mental limits, I have seen attitudes of protectors, workers and police change and I have also been aware of growing resolve.

Amateur and professional photographers, film makers and live streamers are keeping this campaign visible in lieu of a mainstream media which is conspicuously absent. Live streaming isn't always about the drama, often the streams capture the humanity, the relationships between protectors. Today I viewed a protector explaining to a police officer whom she had recognised, why she was stood in front of him. The interchange was normal, an exchange not out of place in the workplace. It was however short-lived as the regimented routine of the police sweep, the containment of protectors, took priority.

The unedited streams reveal much about authorities and the protest alike. They capture both the ugliness and injustice of the corporate imposition. Similarly they record evidence, increasingly essential as the industry hastens toward production. The live streamers are out in all weathers, documenting, a form of protection for demonstrators, often placing themselves in physical danger. These are interesting and challenging times. Personally I am so grateful for the presence of these activists.]

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Day 53 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 53 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people were here in their multiples and clearly the famine of yesterday became a feast of humanity in all its glory today. Unusually but somewhat joyously, a walk to the entrance of the site showed the gates locked with a heavy chain and two vehicles blockading entrance or exit from the site and only the lime machine working behind… the Protectors though were not responsible for this successful action to prevent work. The site staff in fear of people with concerns, had created their own lock-on (more lock-in actually) and essentially locked themselves in their room for the day… perhaps realising they really shouldn’t come out till they learn better behaviour lol.

So today we can look back and ask ourselves, “What does it take to stop a site from developing?” and we can safely and boldly say …people. Every single ONE person who showed up, caused Cuadrilla to react, to lock itself down in fear of our mission to see truth, justice, democracy and sanity served. Along PNR at various points were people heading in one direction or the other between Maple Farm and site entrance and despite the bitter wind, constant drizzle and gusty winds – they kept coming and adding to our persistence.

Bolton Against Fracking are rapidly becoming a favourite at the roadside… they come with ‘skipped food’ and today, the most delicious, piping-hot homemade soup along with bread for scooping the gorgeous chunkiness of it. The gratitude of the frozen at the roadside (both by temperature and dedication), could not have been more apparent as blue-tinged hands clasped steaming cups and smiles thawed through.

A good day full of good people doing the good stuff. See you Monday at the roadside? X

*Highlight of the day… really useful and reassuring meeting at Maple with a lovely blend of Protectors and news that the Judicial Review is over a little early – much relief for the incredible groups of residents who have doggedly pushed this through and put in years of hard work. Not all Protectors are seen at the roadside, some have their heads down in research and challenge in courts and councils too – huge thanks to them xxx

*Image thanks to Cheryl Atkinson

ps: as we're all over the road these days... please be aware that other incidents and actions happen so it's worth following livestreams and posts of others at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest to ensure the fuller picture <3 span="">

Friday, 17 March 2017

Day 52 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 52 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people were spread between the Judicial Review in Manchester, AE Yates in Bolton for PuP (Pop up Protest) and at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest . The policing was at a ratio of 10 to every Protector and the scene is clearly not one where peaceful protest can in any way occur – contravening our human rights and showing our government to be in the same business as the frackers and using our police as a buffer and battering ram to prevent us with our messy truth slipping through and halting this. Sadly it was all a bit much to realise the determination of what appears to be a wannabe totalitarian regime and how very much bigger we are going to have to be to stop it.

So for many at the roadside, our hearts, thoughts, fears and internal butterflies are desperately focused on the Judicial Review in Manchester – our last shot at using a tool in the system to stop them – if it fails, there is ONLY direct action and that is a horrid future to face. Our case for the JR is incredible – you couldn’t argue it unless you were corrupt and driven by profit alone… which is where we wait and wonder if our points of law can survive and land with a judge who sees justice as his sole purpose. For me though, Day 52 made me feel too small to have effect and I succumbed to a loss of strength and called it a day around lunchtime.

There was at least a good thing… a lovely woman from the retirement park at Carr Bridge (alongside Maple Farm) returned to the roadside at Maple. She used to join us when we had events or days of action here over the years but is unable to reach the site entrance, so not been part of the daily protests and actions of late. On this day though she went to Maple and got a helpful Protector from the camp to assist opening gates and getting signs… she was soon joined by a few others and I stopped to see them on my way home. So glad I did as they are hope <3 span="">

Late start for my sister and I on Day 53 as we have to get some things and balance a baby in the process… at least if we are at Maple the those with childcare responsibilities or infirmities can be part of this too. Whether we can make any impact here remains to be seen but at least the policing down this end of the same road is lighter and we can aim to enhance the other actions that take place between. See you at the roadside?

*Memorable moment of the day.... hmmm was mostly a bit sad really but the little uprising from the retirement park was very beautiful x

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Day 51 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 51 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people are still hard at it and me, I have been a bit overwhelmed by too much in my head and heart along with too many things to do and places to be… so I didn’t get round to writing up the days since Day 46. Thankfully Miranda kept up where she could whilst I didn’t and the collection of some missed days at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest follows my little bit. Today we gathered and although most were at the main site entrance on PNR, others were in Manchester Court for the first day of the crucial Judicial Review to challenge Westminster … and some of us broke away to get back down the hill to Maple Farm. My sister and I started the day by presenting the Police with a print out of the appropriate parts of the Human Rights Act that relate to peaceful protest… we asked them to go read and ensure they understood that we were acting lawfully with our actions (we planned on slow walking trucks) and did not consider this unreasonable or arrestable. We also asked that they provide printed evidence of any decision they made to deny us our right.

So with the daily heavy policing at the entrance and every attempt at peaceful protest actions or worthwhile slow-walks stopped as they try to start – some Nanas and other Protectors decided to take ourselves further down PNR in order to stand a chance at slow-walking. The police popped down to find Julie and I in response to the paperwork we’d given them and to try to tell us that slow-walks weren’t considered ‘safe’ on this busy road. We could see clearly the length of this stretch of road, the traffic was quite light and just a few hours earlier, had witnessed an ‘Abnormal Load’ travelling at slow-walk speed, without a police escort – it was a tram being delivered to Blackpool and we argued that if this was not considered unsafe then we weren’t. Their argument was weak and we would win in court as Protectors have time and again at other sites… but it helped to go through this process for clarity. No-one wants to be arrested or handled with force and we shouldn’t be – we are in the right… we need to keep publicly making this point even if the police are ignoring it.

A truck did come along shortly after this and our worry that we wouldn’t know which truck was for the site, was helpfully sorted when a van load of police came to herd us at the roadside outside Maple Farm. I had crossed the road to livestream them spreading out when a police car began to pass with the truck behind… I stepped between the two and was joined by others as the police swarmed, pushed, grabbed, shouted and used their bodies to bump us of the road. We didn’t get long but we hoped that the same treatment would be received by the same truck at various points in its journey up PNR to the site. We’ll be doing this again I think ;)

The ever-growing frustration amongst the good people at the roadside is immense… we are being treated as if we are criminals and the police are brutal in their handling of our bodies. We cannot continue to endure this and the situation will grow worse on so many levels if we can’t find our way to stop this soon. I fear for the well-being of all of us – whether we’re new or experienced, this is a vile set of experiences to live through every day. See you tomorrow?


View from Miranda Cox of the past few days:

Day 47....
Lock on's are a really good way of stopping work on site. It looks excruciating for those involved, waiting. What strikes me as worse is the release.

I tried to watch as some were cut out by the protestor removal team and it was upsetting. The noise of the blades cutting the sound of metal on metal...The silence in between. All shrouded a barrier of police vans and personnel. Then of course there's the issue when force outweighs compassion. Sadly I feel we are seeing more of this.

Today's action did not inconvenience road users, just those trying to build the frack pad. The road was closed briefly by Police, not protestors, on a couple of occasions. This was to allow the Protestor removal team to set up and then to allow a stream of vehicles off site. At no point did protector action impact on road users.

The mood amongst supporters was light. Many people passed and made food donations and shared good wishes. The day was spent discussing humanity, the social implications and ecological issues connected with this campaign.

It took a whole day to release the eight people. Another whole day lost for those who want to frack. Hope to see you tomorrow or at some point soon.

Day 48
Joyous day.....My heart literally jumped when I saw the early morning live stream of a protector on top of a lorry.

My activity today has been fencing. Not the skillful art involving masks and foils and lots of fancy foot moves, but the monotonous questions about fence lines. Why bother some may ask? Because I can and I will. I cannot outrun trucks, and even my attempts at physically blocking trucks are swept aside by a wall of hi vis yellow. Not that this will stop me. But what I can do is ask questions, and keep asking.

The fence line issue is more than a planning argument. It epitomises the way this industry insists on taking from us. The extra 2 metres in highway conceded to heras fencing may seem like just 2 metres of tarmac. It isn't. It's 2 metres of land taken by an industry, facilitated by our county council, and guarded by our police.

Several reasons were promoted today. The mere fact so many versions were proferred leaves us to sumise. Peaceful protest will continue


*Most moving part of the day for me was when I watched footage of two honourable Protectors at the site entrance who sat in dignity and peacefully refused to move – thankfully they were not harmed or arrested.

*Happy realisation:
by being at Maple Farm where there is no hill to climb... ample seating, a kettle and a toilet - some of the residents of the retirement park were at last able to join us in protest and others who can't normally stay too long for health reasons, were able to be here longer :) Also those with little ones have said they can come more often as there is a safe secure place to be.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Day 46 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 46 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people were absolutely gorgeous in numbers, in spirit and in impact – NO DELIVERIES came today and we… we sang, danced, drummed and grew in power. Conversations flowed up and down the roadsides and around the entrance gate and spring sunshine blessed the day with the light it deserved and needed, after too much gloom and thunder in recent times. 

So the day unfolded brilliantly (for the most part) – marred though by early arrests, serious over-policing that felt intimidatory even when contained in cramped vans on the verges and a particularly brutal and entirely unwarranted assault by police on a Protector in the afternoon …along with a finale involving a chorus line of luminescent police officers poised to make their moves. Harms were done but the Protectors emerged triumphant in the realisation and validation of the fact that EVERY single person counts… because once you counted us over 200, the trucks didn’t even try to come… and thus the police had no cause to leave their containers for the most part. Relieved, concerned for those hurt and arrested but overall, healed hugely by today’s company at the roadside.

The aim of the day and the reason we swelled in numbers was because someone had the brilliant idea of an event called Swap Work For Work - Power To The People – the description of the day said:

“Let's show Cuadrilla we ain't weekend warriors! We can assemble and gather on a weekday in numbers. We can protest with non-violent ways. We can book time off our day jobs or responsibilities in order to make real impact to the sites work schedule by a combination of effective peaceful protest. Each person attending will be autonomous and so can make their action however they wish. We all said no to fracking! Join us on Wednesday 8th March. The daily gatherings will take place each weekday morning before this, but we are publicising this event to give all who are too busy to attend time to arrange to come. One in, all in. ♥”

…and good people listened and came in sufficient numbers to stop the threat of fracking for the day – just wow! It would be lovely if each reading this could look into booking a day off to be at the roadside on the all-important weekdays when the frackers advance their ugly business. Wednesdays would be nice but any day would be deeply appreciated by all – you may be the one, that tips the balance.

About the bad bits... I would only be sharing second hand as I arrived after the early arrests and missed the next two by not being in the area they happened- clearer views from actual witnesses will be found in livestreams of Danny Vc Llew andFrank Roberts as well as posts from others. I gave livestreaming a go today and although I made people a little sea-sick at times with odd angles lol, I enjoyed what it offered; the chance to take time with those at the roadside and share the genuineness at the heart of the good people – rather than a fleeting glance at them at the heart of often traumatic scenes. There is so much beauty here, it was a joy to let go of the ugly bits and wallow in it whilst sharing. I’ll give it another go and will try to get a grip of doing it better… either that or you might want to invest in those bracelet things for travel sickness when viewing :) See you tomorrow? x


Thankful as always that @Miranda too is at the roadside to add to the perspective <3 span="">

Day 46 – from Miranda:
A day of immense power and joy, framed by arrests and menace. Early arrests and ugly scenes belied the happy scenes that followed later in the morning and continued into the late afternoon.

A visit from the Police and Crime Commissioner afforded a few early arrivals to raise concerns and fears. It felt staged as these opportunities often are and those of us who did speak, left feeling we'd been treated politely but that little would change. The morning passed, unlike traffic to site. There were no deliveries at all as numbers grew outside the fence and along the path opposite.
It felt like a spring party with drumming, chat, singing and dancing.

We held a silent circle gathering, channeling our energy into the land, giving it our collective strength and receiving it back. At the culmination of the meditation the drumming started, building in speed and resonance, we began chanting "we said no" and bubbles and chalk bombs were released in a festival of joy and colour. The drumming continued and people danced all afternoon.

After the news a gentle man, a man passionate in his defense of the land and his community had been arrested, protectors remained at the gates. The gathering was disbanded by massive numbers of police. The sinister actions were upsetting but a whole day's work was lost. I fear another escalation, but I cling to the sound of drumming and laughter today, a change from shouts and screams....]


*Highlight of the day… the list is too long and the moments too numerous for this little box for words <3 span=""> ...but if I had to commit to just one, it would be the drumming, always the drumming - it never ceases to catch us all in its spell xxx

*Image thanks to Cheryl Atkinson (stunning shot well caught)