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.