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.]

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