Had a strong sense yesterday of the ‘gloom’ in politics; I get to constantly contrast this world of political campaigning with the abundance of genuine concern I find in the anti-fracking campaign and some days, it is more stark.
Compare & Contrast Arenas
In the anti-fracking movement
…each person has walked away from their own lives to sacrifice time and so much more, to fight urgently and un-stoppably for what has to be done to safeguard the future for our children. That’s it – plain, clear, apparent and evident in every determined face and action. We do have our ups and downs but they always pass and we’re always still here and growing – no exit door from obligation.
In the election campaign
…I am encountering former or aspiring MPs from the various parties and more often than not, come away with more concerns than I started with. Despite the promises in manifestos and campaign material… there are few with the ACTUAL passion, determination, moral conviction or vision required to see them through to actual reality.
Within the anti-fracking movement we have cracks, fissures and eruptions – but we still shoot for the same goal together because it actually matters that we meet our obligation and responsibility to the children and the future. Not the same in the world of politics.
From fighting fracking alongside the ‘good people’ (the most inspirational, uplifting people to be amongst) and absorbing factual and clear reports and research …to running in the general election that brings with it the insincerity, lies, manipulation and recklessness that consumes much of what parades as politics – I’m more convinced than ever that we need to get the ‘good people’ into the other arenas.
Since 2011, the gates to fracking sites have been my stomping ground as well as the streets of cities and towns across the country; where we marched to be heard by a government that never listened. I’m committed by obligation as a grandmother to ensuring a safe future and it’s because of this (due to the absence of a duty of care in government) that my life has become that of an ‘Activist’.
In 2015 I took the opportunity offered by the Green Party, to stand against George Osborne in the election – a super-safe Conservative seat but this wasn’t about the challenge – it was for me, about meeting the man who was pivotal in bringing fracking to our shores and having two debates in which to confront him. Small gains you may think, for a commitment of months of my life but for me, it was worth it. I want to understand how the system works, how it is that clear threats to the health of our children, can actually be considered by politicians who have families too.
And it’s not just fracking – although it’s a good example of much that is wrong, all under one-subject heading – but I am deeply concerned about over-crowded, under-funded education, healthcare that is drained, exhausted, under-nourished and being nibbled away at by privatisation, what happens when we’re old and frail, whether ‘justice’ survives the current ‘justice system’ that excludes so many based on their financial situation, what trade deals we make and with who, how decisions to put our young people into wars without an honourable cause are agreed and how is it that so many politicians in positions of influence and power, can be deluded, corrupted, evil or just plain stupid on these matters.
Right now I am running in this election too. Poltics matters as an ‘arena’ to be in, as much as the entrance to a frack site, the unwanted, unwise runway of an airport or surrounding a cruel, inhumane detention centre etc. – arenas to be entered where the alarm needs to be raised and truths need to be given the opportunity to be heard above the manipulation and spin. The gain in this arena is the access to those who need to be held to account and to the industries that wield power over them.
There isn’t a living thing on the planet that isn’t under threat from the actions of governments across the world that put corporate greed above genuine need. Here in the UK we are facing a threat that is so close we can hear its foot on the accelerator – fracking - and that’s just the tip of a mighty iceberg that we realise exists; now that we see the system failing our children so blatantly and realise what it serves. It doesn’t serve the people of the country, it serves old industries and entrenched businesses to ensure they are sustained, supported and nurtured. Everything is measured against the benefits of their success in our economy – even the right to life of our children? Values and responsibilities are unheard and unheeded in the rigidity of growing in the same old direction, using the same old, time-worn tools.
There ARE better ways and such amazing futures on offer that would cause our economy, job industry and so much more to flourish – but like the threat to the establishment of truth in activist voices, the technologies and businesses that would bring better, also go unheard and unheeded. The localisation of power offered by renewables, the long-term jobs that come with renewables, the individual savings caused by renewables, the health benefits gifted by renewables - are seen as a threat to the grip on power of the existing fossilised, centralised industry and politics of the same-old…
Activism is sadly essential when a democracy fails to be one. We in the anti-fracking movement are acting in self-defence and we are unsupported.
In the political arena – we need to remain vigilant because the motives are not the same as they are for the ‘good people’ in activism.