Monday, 13 February 2017

Day 29 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 29 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people gathered and grew more numerous through the day; with friendly face after friendly face to enjoy on a brilliantly sunny, wildly windy day at the roadside. The gouging at the earth continues on the other side of the street but it’s been clearly a slow and frustrating process across there… which is satisfying. 

So it was a bumpy start to the day – arriving around 9:30 my sister and I walked onto the dramatic scene of 30+ police officers , a handful of protectors, security and site staff all in various positions about the first of 6 trucks. Other Protectors were arriving and the air was tense, the shouting continuous and the mood ugly. Police grew impatient and those stopping the truck were moved aside as all 6 trucks raced into the site. It was a vile sight as we’d been slow-walking for 29 days and never seen trucks fly through without being hindered. The slow walks we were told – were stopped.

We’ve valued the walks – they’ve been a steady hindrance to the site progress (more than 2 weeks behind schedule after just 29 days of work) and provided opportunities to engage, inform and gather knowledge… they’ve also been without violence and enabled residents to start getting more involved in community protection. Has actually been hugely rewarding to be part of this empowering experience. They serve a multitude of purposes and still share the aim of stopping fracking.The most powerful action that has actually contributed most to stopping work and scaring the hell out of investors and industry, has been the work done by Bolton Against Fracking who have stopped vehicles at source, caused two suppliers to cancel contracts and is eating away at the key contractor, AE Yates. The actions at suppliers gave PNR a huge gift and the fracking industry a shiver down its spine.

There is much discussion about what constitutes ‘action’, what is effective and what we expect of each other… my thoughts are that thousands of hours of research and evidence delivery at planning meetings and appeals or reasoning with staff and suppliers to get them to understand why we do what we do… is every bit as much an ‘action’ to achieve the goal, as slowing a truck, locking-on or leaflet dropping, petition signing, MP lobbying, letter writing, meeting calling, event creating etc.
...and the crucial bit about ‘effect’ is, what happens when every one of the approaches is taken and we’re active in all arenas – I think that’s where the power shifts. Activists expect a lot of each other and this makes it difficult if we are to make activism accessible to community members who are just arriving –a tough challenge that has been made easier at PNR than any other site I have been on.

The day was one of two halves, the first chaotic scenes reaching the end of their burn for early afternoon when we called again for our right to slow-walk and took the final three trucks of the day through their delays. We filled the hedge with yellow ribbons; the mood lifted along with wind speeds and the honks came loud and frequent. The ups and downs of the days at the roadside would give a rollercoaster a run for it's money but there is no exit route for us. See you tomorrow?

Miranda Cox did such an exceptional job of writing the days in my absence that she’s given me her view too for including – two views far better than one. I remember my mum explaining how mis-communication happens by the use of a beachball. If we’re sitting round a table and I can see a ball of blue and pink, you can see a ball of green and yellow – we both see a different version of the ball… only when we share our view, can we see the whole x<3 span="">

From Miranda:
[My thoughts for today day 29… It's very hard watching the police facilitate deliveries to site, knowing every lorry brings destruction to the land, and misery to our souls. It's difficult because you instinctively want to counter this. However I personally feel the need to consider every action and reaction . Personally I need to consider friends and family and their well being, I need to consider my fellow protectors, to consider road users...I'm not NOT acting, I am reacting as I am able at THIS time. The aim of each of us is to end this night mare. It's awful seeing it. What's even more awful is knowing that in order to stop it we still have to counter untruths, to keep winning hearts and minds and that for every action there may be a potentially adverse reaction]

*Heartlifting moment of the day: when after a moment of rage and outbursts, an angry man, apologised to the woman who had caught but not deserved his wrath. Respect x

*Positive thought of the day: BIG rally on 25 FebDon’t Frack Lancs - National Rally

*Incidental... we've named the new traffic island 'Paradise' and are considering deck chairs, a palm and some sombreros for the little people-shaped lights