Sunday, 18 June 2017

What Responsibility The Audience?

There’s just too much to feel right now
Overwhelmed by failings and fallings
Grief and foreboding
For those lost and the losses to come
That won’t be undone
Unless, unless, unless
What stands between now and reconciliation, realisation, restoration, reinvigoration of humanity FOR humanity …not crafted, shaped, styled to feed economies?
What stands between now and the joy of life lived in truth, awareness, acknowledgement, love, kindness for humanity… because humanity?
The answer simple, predictable, clich̩-able yet seemingly undoable Рyou, me, we, us.
We’re it. Because we’re the problem… all the problems.
We’re what allows the value of life to be measured by rank of Queen or child of Grenfell.
We’re what permits our sons and daughters to slaughter the sons and daughters of other mothers in a place called war.
We’re what accepts flawed, failed, fossilised ways of powering now and disempowering the future.
We’re what numbly tolerates systems of state unfit for human… kind.
Where is the place and way to put our rage, make a change, insist a way, stand united for a single thing like honour?
When is the time and what tick on the clock makes it too late?
Why am I here? Or you there? What point if simply joined to the decisions of ‘leaders’ in rooms unknown … decisions that lead to places I don’t want to go, harms in my name that disgust me, risks with our babies that haunt me… who the hell are those that make Grenfell, war, fracking, poverty, suffering… our intolerable reality?
We KNOW that profit won again in the race against caution and responsibility; when for the sake of mere money – the Grenfell children were sacrificed. Lady Luck was not enough to keep them safe.
We KNOW that profit seeks to win again in the race against caution and responsibility; when for the sake of mere money – the children of Lancashire are loaded into a game of chance in the search for gas at PNR.
We KNOW that what we witness is just the smallest tip of an ugly beast at the heart of our system of government – that unless expelled… WILL lead to more dead children in the name of profit.
Why are we here?
Are we only to be ‘The Audience’?

Friday, 9 June 2017

Dogs, Sticks & Politics...

It's late, I'm tired and not up for much sense in a blog... but I did have a memory that I think works as a bit of an analogy:
When my elderly Labrador was in her final years of life and only had 3 working legs. I moved to Mallorca.... she may not have been much at walking but she swam like a mermaid and loved the sea. Around this time an abandoned puppy (mostly Lhasa Apse-ish) came to be mine too. I'd throw two sticks into the sea for them... the Lab was instantly swimming out to get one whilst the newcomer sat at the shoreline and simply waited the Lab got to the sand... the little one would casually walk over and remove it from her mouth, to give it to me.
I'm delighted that fracking is a political issue at last - this is due ENTIRELY to the last 6 years of ridiculously hard work and dedication by individuals, NGOs like Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland Friends of the Earth Scotland & Greenpeace UK as well as (up until very recently, the ONLY political party fighting to stop fracking) the Green Party of England and Wales.

Now The Labour Party has made it a key part of their manifesto and I saw tonight that our local candidate got the anti-fracking vote added to his - using the same message others in the party have:
"Labour is the only party that can ban fracking".
Let's not forget though that the Green Party got us here, the Protectors got us here and workers at NGOs got us here... to the point where fracking is finally an issue to be banned.

...but don't get me wrong, I am literally ecstatic that I think this fight to stop gasfields in the UK may just about be over. The shareholders are looking worried and don't believe anything other than a strong Conservative majority will save them - so bloody YAY our lot

NO other party has shown up and done the work of the anti-fracking community in anywhere near the way we have needed them too - yet now the issue is in the manifestos, we really need to see positive and immediate actions by Labour and their local parties in licensed areas, to support the anti-fracking movement on the frontlines and bring this business to an end.

I hope we all win 'the stick' (vague reference back to that analogy lol) but never forget that the legwork was done by many who I have seen sacrifice so much to get it done x

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Fylde Voting & Fracking

Thanks to DeSmog UK for this - your questions were so on point... full piece below for those not clicking the link (here):
Tina Rothery is standing as the Green Party of England and Wales candidate in the Fylde, an area on the frontline of the UK's fledgling shale gas industry.

She is running against Conservatives Mark Menzies, who won the seat by around 13,000 votes in 2015.

But a vote for her and the Green party is not just a vote against Menzies, she told me over the phone. It's also a statement: that local opposition to fracking can't be ignored.

The following is an abbreviated transcript of our interview.

Q: What made you want to run in the general election? Why are you standing for the Green Party?
A: In the area we’re in, the Fylde, it’s a safe Conservative seat. It’s very far from a marginal and there’s always at least a 30 percent gap. And there are a lot of voters here, a lot of people coming to it for the first time, who aren’t necessarily going to vote for Labour. So as we can’t change the national picture, we still need to give them a way of saying ‘we don’t want fracking’.
Because a lot of people around here, whatever their political persuasion, are now suddenly finding that they’re going to be living in a gas field and that the industrialisation is going to impact their house price, their quality of life, the character of where they live, and ultimately the health and wellbeing of the people that live here. And you need to give people a way of saying that.
It’s a two horse race, and it’s the same two horses. They keep it a two horse race by not changing the system. So I think it’s essential that we give people a way of saying that democracy failed us when we submitted all our thousands of planning application rejections. And all of a sudden we find ourselves in a situation where we’ve been overruled by Westminster, we are powerless and voiceless. And I think it’s an important opportunity for people to make a statement.

Q: You’ve been at the forefront of the fracking movement in the Fylde. How has the issue featured in your general election campaign?
A: It’s quite amazing. It’s coming up as the most important topic every time.
What astounds me is that Labour and the Lib Dems are of course now on board. But if it wasn’t for the Green voice in parliament over the last six years, would this subject have made its way into the other parties’ manifestos?
Because the Green party thinks more than five years and a short-term cycle ahead. We’re constantly thinking about the future - how does this fit into that future, and are we kept safe? And certainly with fracking you can’t just look five years ahead, you have to be looking a lot further ahead.
We have someone like Caroline Lucas who actually makes an impact in parliament and keeps the subjects on the floor that really need to be discussed, and we need a lot more Carolines.
By running here, not only do we give people an ability to say we don’t want fracking. We run the chance of reducing a safe seat in a system that makes it so difficult to change parliament at all. And for me it’s a way of reminding people this isn’t just about going red or blue, it’s about diversity of representation in Westminster.
Cuadrilla has just erected its first rig at the Preston New Road site, albeit not for drilling; what does that mean from local people’s perspectives?
In 2015, when fracking first came up on the election agenda in the Fylde, there were three candidates who claimed they were running on an anti-fracking agenda. Labour wasn’t with us on the issue yet. And those candidates together equalled the Labour share of the vote.
It was a subject that mattered then when it wasn’t a live site. Now that it is a live site, it’s a conversation that everyone’s having. Because now it’s finally here, it can’t be ignored.
We’re always told by the pro-fracking people that there is a silent majority in favour. I can say from door-knocking that categorically ‘no’, that’s a lie. There is a huge majority just hoping that those of us on the frontline will win.
They don’t know how to fight, they’ve never had to do it before. They’re out of their depth. And when the government overruled [Lancashire County Council’s objections to Cuadrilla’s plans], it left people perplexed as to what tools are left. How do we defend our communities when something as blatantly dangerous as this is on its way, and yet it’s government sanctioned?
And all of the vehicles have a police wrap-around, so when you’re confronting them, you’re confronting authority.
A lot of the population here is elderly in Lytham and Wrea Green and places like that, and they maybe trusted the Conservatives all their lives. And they’re now looking for an outlet. They’re angry and they’re upset.

Q: Is fracking the only local green issue in the area? What other issues are you and your constituents concerned about?
A: I was helping register homeless voters with Streetlife, using the Streetlife address. And a lot of them are from *Europe (*I meant were born within a pre-referndum/Brexit Europe including UK), and they don’t want to not be in Europe. And they’re upset they don’t have a voice in that.
And they don’t know what Brexit means? Noone does, we’ve established that. What does Brexit actually look like? For young people that’s a key issue, because they want their freedom in Europe.
Young people are also concerned about the legalisation and decriminalisation of drugs, because they’re worried about the mental health of their friends who are taking even just marijuana and the various strong strains there are.
Here, it’s mainly about fracking, but also the infrastructure around it. People are worried fracking is going to decimate the quality of our roads, and one day the industry is going to leave and we’re going to pick up the tab in our taxes.
It’s very hard to switch off my local activist and switch into polite politics, because i’m sitting across from Labour or Conservatives who are saying ‘this time we;re going to do this, or this is wrong’ and i’m thinking ‘yeah but you two are the guys who make it wrong. You make it wrong every time. And you come back and tell us the last time was bad, we’re going to do it better’, and expect us to believe it.

Q: Theresa May refused to condemn Trump’s Paris Agreement withdrawal in any strong terms last week; what do you think this says about the state of climate change policy and politics in the UK at the moment?
A: I think it says we need a heck of a lot more Caroline Lucas’ in parliament. If we hadn’t been there, if you hadn’t had the Green party for all these decades constantly being a warning sign and putting up with the ridicule, then we wouldn’t even be as far as we are today.
We’re about to fall out of Europe, and if we fall out of Europe we lose our safeguards, we possibly fall into trade deals with people like Trump that have no respect, no concern, and are not forward-looking.

Q: What’s your main message for the people of the Fylde? Why should they vote for you?
A: Because I genuinely give a damn what happens to the Fylde and have fought relentlessly for six years.
I’m not a typical politician, I actually do stand up for the community. And i’m really honoured by the people i’ve stood beside within this community. And I think we need to strengthen ourselves.
And I see this election of making a statement that the red guys and the blue guys have messed us about.
It was Labour who issued the license for the fracking site in 2008, it’s the Conservatives who are pushing it through and driving it through like a steamroller through our community. We are the only party that has always had our best interest at heart.
Vote and make that statement. That’s important.

Monday, 5 June 2017

3 Days to go! #GE2017

Just 3 days to go and more to do... coming up:
-all Fylde candidates will be in Lytham Square from 4pm today for a BBC interview

-this evening, I'll be on BBC Lancashire live at 7pm for a North West hustings with representatives of all 5 parties

-on Wednesday morning Fylde candiates will be at at Lytham St Annes High Technology College

,,,we're hoping for a Wednesday evening opportunity for residents to have another hustings in Fylde but not confirmed yet.

In the meanwhile, there is still a need to cover costs of additional campaign costs and I hope you can help... any amount is much appreciated. Payment can be direct through PayPal here:
or if you would rather use direct bank transfer, please do message me for details. 

Thank you x

Friday, 2 June 2017

About Jeremy, Fracking, Fylde & Votes #GE2017

This past few weeks have been contrast, contradiction and finally, conclusions… one of which is that time really is precious and too limited. Mine has been split between standing up with our community to prevent the worst harms coming from the fracking industry… and standing up as a candidate in this election in order to seize the opportunity to get our voices heard in Westminster. 

Both activities have brought the opportunity to better gauge public opinion here in the Fylde… the conclusion I reach is that we are indeed a very diverse population but that the many, are stubbornly opposed to having our local democracy undermined or gasfield development on our doorstep (or anywhere). From the gates of the site on Preston New Road where residents gather to do what they can to stop the growing threat …to the towns when canvassing, I’ve been relieved to hear the strength of opposition and determination not to give in or give up. 

Many of our older residents particularly are fearful for what this industrialisation brings and although they do not feel able to physically protest, are just as firmly opposed to fracking and express gratitude to those who literally put their bodies on the line at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest

Although I take the reasons for my activism to the political campaigning I’m now doing, I don’t brandish my political preference when campaigning against fracking... politics as we can currently see, is divisive and in a movement as diverse as the anti-fracking one, that’s the last thing we ever need. We share *ONE aim and that’s our glue… stop fracking in the UK. That’s it. All the other matters are for other arenas where they will not harm our unity. With that in mind, the following is the political bit – so turn away now if you’re anti-fracking and we don’t share the same politics lol! 

*Although I think we could safely say that the anti-fracking movement does also agree that we need to get the Conservative party out of power urgently as they are the only party supporting this industry :)


About the election:

FIRST and foremost - we need to see an end to this dangerous, reckless Conservative government.

Where it has mattered in this election and where we could help ensure the change of government, the Green Party has worked in alliances to ensure that votes in close-run marginal seats - are not split. The Liberal Democrats and some Independents too have done the same. 

What doesn't seem to be as well understood is that where there is little to no-chance of Labour getting in (because it is a clear 'safe seat') there are other gains to be had that dent Tory power. 

Denying votes to the Conservatives is the best outcome in a safe seat like ours... 

Here in the Fylde, UKIP has pulled out which will likely see their vote share going to the sitting Conservative Mark Menzies MP Fylde - increasing his usual easy majority. Ever since voting here began in the 1800s, the MP has ALWAYS been a Conservative - the runner-up, by a very wide margin, is mostly Labour (although they've also fallen to 3rd place). 

The clear certainty here in the Fylde is that Labour don't win - they never have and are at a worse disadvantage now UKIP aren't splitting the vote on the right. Last election in 2015, the anti-fracking candidates combined, nearly matched the Labour share of the vote and this was the first time they'd run on that message. This time, we have a site in development and the threat is literally breathing down our necks… more people are aware and worried.

During canvassing, many TOry voters have seen the unfolding developments on Preston New Road and are angry with their MP for letting this happen - for putting them and their families at risk and changing the character of where they live. These voters will not go to Labour but are looking for an alternative that the Green Party can provide.

Last night I watched the political debate on BBC 1 and Caroline Lucas spoke of the issues and concerns I fully share; her wisdom and priorities were as obvious as her professional yet humane capacity as a politician. We need more ‘Carolines’ because it is only with more diverse representation in Westminster, that concerns beyond those of just red and blue, are raised. 

A vote for me makes clear that you are not happy with what has always been, that you seek change and that in this absurd voting system – you can still make a stand for what matters most urgently to the Fylde.


About the Labour Party:

It's complicated but I feel I need to clarfiy how I feel about the Labour Party. 

Before Jeremy Corbyn came along, it wouldn't have been complicated at all: 

-they were key in getting us into wars we continue to be entangled in at huge cost to human life as well as the implications on the economy and refugee crisis

- they moved so far from the left, they nearly met the Conservative party with their attitude and policies; removing any genuine opposition when their time in power ended

-we had one shot at stopping fracking during the infrastructure bill - that they did not seize, instead offering (as yet to be met) conditions to make it safer (impossible). The infrastructure Bill became law because they were weak and did not fight to keep us safe

- License for PEDL 165 Fylde – given to Cuadrilla (fracking company) under a Labour government in 2008

- License for PEDL 244 Balcombe – also given to Cuadrilla under a Labour government in 2008

- the banks were ‘bailed out’ under a Labour government and are at the heart of why we are experiencing austerity and all the pain that comes with that

…I had no faith at all in Labour in 2010 for the reasons above and so many more. Yes they’ve changed now and seem to be striving to again connect from a more people-centred place but my concern is the repetition – we get red and drive it out to end up with blue… blue does more damage and we drive them out to end up with red again…rinse and repeat for evermore?

I would easily have known how I felt about Labour before Jeremy came and spoke words that made more sense. His wisest policies, appear to be taken straight from our Green Party of England and Wales manifesto... either by sensible choice or simply a coming of age and the wisdom to realise we have been correct all along.

So along comes this snap election before Jeremy has had time to bed-in and take proper control or reveal realistic direction, OF COURSE we need the 2017 election to see the back of the Conservative government that so clearly serves industry and profit, above people, health and well-being and because we have an unfair voting system …that means we always end up with a two-horse race (nearly always the same horses) - then a Jeremy led Labour Party is the better of the only two options we ever seem to have.


Here in the Fylde, because it isn’t a marginal seat… you are encouraged to make your vote stand for what you believe in. 

Caroline Lucas said last night that where you are able to vote for what you believe in, then a vote for a Green MP will make more of a difference than for MPs from other parties. Our country stands at a crossroads – the direction you take will make clear if you want to keep going left and right in repetitive patterns – or boldly stride in the direction of change.

I do want your vote on 8 June in Fylde - because I would genuinely value it and what it represents.

Will we thrive, die or barely survive?

The photo states a fact... plain, simple, unavoidably true. Sadly we're in a world where it's politics that dictates ...