Thursday, 26 April 2018

Someone's Normal...

When your days are far from whatever was once normal… you tend to be more willing to join in and say yes to invitations to other people’s ‘normals’. Today I immersed in a walking meditation, listened to people of faith express their love, passion and determination to honour what they held dear and 'amen-ed' with them in easy empathy, I did the Elm Dance and joined hands in contemplation… it was warm, welcoming, enveloping and enlightening. Sharing the beliefs of others is not necessary …in order to experience their beautiful authenticity in holding them. Today was mostly a pure delight punctuated by witnessing such bravery, dignity and honour in those who stood together.
Then there are the bad ‘normals’ we encounter too… those of angry people, full of angry rage and angry faces looking to outburst all over anything that hinders their mission. We know we’ll be moved by police but we remain defiant in refusing to budge… there’s no point in stepping aside when the purpose is peaceful protest – and standing or sitting steadfast is surely the epitome of peaceful protest.
There are those police who understand the ridiculous of all this and struggle to find themselves in it… coming down on the side of basic decency and respect; they move our bodies with some care.
Then there are those others with the unspent rage, egos and maleficence – the ones who grab at you, lunge, push, shove into sharp hedges or hard against metal fencing, deliberately twist burning to wrists, dig knuckles in backs, pull hair, pinch soft underarms and handle our bodies indecently – as if we were to be despised; no longer regular citizens (many of us women over 50 years old and many elders with health or mobility issues) but obstacles, inconveniences and clutter to be cast about to make way for the only thing that matters… Cuadrilla trucks.
What drives them can’t be the profit (they won’t see it) or the urgency (no life-saving kidney on these trucks) so it must be either direction from the bosses or the obscene pleasure of exerting power over others and using torturous touches to relish it. Whatever it is… it’s NOT professional policing that we’re witnessing. These grown men and women get up each day and put on a uniform for their pay and with that role they have a code of conduct, set of ethics and rules to abide by… yet using force beyond which is necessary to ensure safety, is something we see near daily.
Over time we re-set our personal ‘normal’ to adapt to change… a new baseline of understanding is established and we accept that when ‘this’ happens… ‘that’ will likely occur next. Today my baseline of tolerance and understanding was beautifully raised as it often is, with the merging with others who come from different lives but sadly too, the baseline for frequency of violence upon my body, is raised too and the new’normal’ has the days ending with aches, pains and disappointment.
To all who are making our United Resistance Week Four, 23rd - 28th April: No Faith in Fracking so memorable for all the best reasons, thank you x

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Life Prioritised...

Families ripped and torn, our dead inadequately mourned, illnesses ignored and treatments paused, children passing through stages missed, loves not seized and lips less kissed. We could have been so much more than this…

These years could have contained so much more…

And we will never know what was lost to us whilst we had to remain on high-alert. We were not intended for endless battle.

There's one ‘go-round’ in life and as I look upon the faces of other activists who struggle too to get a truth heard and receive some fragment of justice… I see people sacrificing the joy of the ride to rush to the side of the earth and her children’s greatest needs.

This life sets fire to our past, claws away the masks of once trusted beliefs to reveal, greed, cruelty and weakness… only made bearable by the glimmers of hope, glimpses of the depths of beautiful humanity and a sense of clarity that although harsh, is at least honest.

Being clad only in flesh, we humans are not great barriers to the threats by heavy objects that threaten our young and hurtle at us at speed ... but there is no denying we will try and when we’re pushed away, will return to try again. The only other option would be to sit by, watch them drive tankers of harm into our community and wish we were bigger, stronger, louder, tougher, less fleshy… accepting a fate on behalf of our children that would be criminal.

This ‘democracy’ slammed shut the doors of access to all but those with corporate power and success as we were left at dead-ends in courts of law and courts of appeal; deals already done, dusted and signed-off in all but public name and we… we keep on poking, prodding, digging, delving, walking up those hills and merry-helling because there is no choice but to stand strong until this is done.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Silenced, Censored, Unheard...

Very grateful for the thorough and accurate reporting coming out of the Roseacre Inquiry... one piece which I'll paste after my bit, managed to capture more clearly my unusual Wednesday at the Inquiry. ...on Wednesday evening many interest parties were given their 5-minutes to put their case to the Inquiry and I was on the list. The Inquiry can ONLY address traffic issues and where many came to speak of dog walkers, horse riders, schoolchildren, residents etc being road users, I came to speak about those of us who would become road users in the area if the site got given the go-ahead. The Inspector turned off my microphone within about 1.5 minutes and gave the impression that if I continued speaking, I would put the outcome of the Inquiry in jeapordy! Surreal, unjust and ridiculous behaviour unfitting for a man in position to appear as unbiased and impartial! Thanks to Fred Moor of Counterbalance for the following coverage of all that happened: -------------------------------------------------- 211 Tina Rothery On the list we had seen, Ms Rothery had been scheduled to speak at slot eleven of fourteen speakers, but she was not called until all the other public speakers had spoken. As the end of a long day approached, but before Ms Rothery actually spoke, we had begun to draft couple of paragraphs to conclude this session. They began: "Maybe it was the lateness of the hour and the fact that (as the Inspector himself said), he had not had his dinner yet. And perhaps he didn't intend to give the impression we were forming, but we couldn't help coming to the view that he was politely putting up with having to listen to all the public speakers. He left us with the impression that this was something that had to be gone through, but not something he gave a lot of weight to. That perception can also engender the impression that he's already made up his mind to recommend the Secretary of State to allow the appeal of course. We don't think that is the case, (and we certainly hope it's not), but his manner; his phrasing; and his body language has left us with the impression that he only really wants to hear the evidence from the professional technical experts - and anything else is more or less superfluous, (as can be deduced from the exchange with Mr De Feu for RAG which we reported yesterday)." As we said, that was before Ms Rothery spoke. Her contribution raised his ire and we report it verbatim now. Inspector: "Tina Rothery?" Ms Rothery: "Thank you very much for the opportunity. My name's Tina Rothery and although I live locally I'm here as a nationwide campaigner against fracking and have been for seven years...." Inspector (interjecting): "I don't want to hear anything about fracking. As far as I'm concerned..." Ms Rothery (interjecting): "I was telling you my role and why I was here, sorry, OK. We're addressing the highway safety for when Cuadrilla comes to Roseacre if they do, and the impact of the traffic. I'm here to address the impact of the protestors if Cuadrilla comes. We'll also also arrive along with that traffic I've seen communities throughout the seven years, from Balcombe to Barton Moss, Horse Hill and everywhere in between, rise up when there is a threat they consider to their homes, their families and their children. People you wouldn't ordinarily assume would become protestors, and although the territory about them is familiar, the actual role they fulfil within that becomes very dangerous for the traffic. Trucks don't always appear as 'Trax' does, and I can speak of this from how we see Cuadrilla operate at PNR. The trucks [indistinct word - there?] look to us like something bringing harm to our children, and so therefore our response to them will be very different. Hundreds of groups of residents have formed throughout the country, and there's no reason to expect that Roseacre won't do the same. I think as you can see from the Inquiry that there are very many more against, and I've not yet seen anybody who is for.
The message also that I would think be received by Cuadrilla and this Inquiry is that over the last 15 months, approximately 480 days, protestors have been at Preston New Road site where Cuadrilla is currently developing, and have not desisted or left, and I understand that Cuadrilla was trying to put across the point that Roseacre will not see the same level of protest, and I come with a message from everybody on the four camps over at Preston New Road, that we absolutely fully intend on being in Roseacre, and objecting there was we've objected to Cuadrilla in Balcolmbe and Blackpool. So it was just to correct them on their assumption and we don't consider that just because we don't live in Roseacre, that we're not locals. Air and water - I know you don't want to consider fracking - but air and water do travel outside the area. Currently we're experiencing on Preston new Road which I can use as the only example we have at the moment, police who are overstretched, over tires and on overtime costing a great deal of money....." Inspector (interjecting): "I don't really think this is appropriate. It's not relevant to highway safety. We already know that you're intending to protest there. I'm not sure where that take the Secretary of State's decision. So thank you for appearing but I'd like you to go." Ms Rothery's microphone was off at this point and it was hard to hear her response bit we think she said: "If there's a company vehicle in a 20 mph road over 45 mph....." Inspector (interjecting): "I dont.... That may be so...." Ms Rothery: "The impact of traffic and our safety on those roads..." Inspector: "Well..." Ms Rothery: "Indistinct words but sounded like - Why can't I speak? ) Inspector: "We are aware of, of, I've been told that you are...." He stopped short of concluding this sentence and we have to say some possible unspoken endings that led from it from it troubled us. Ms Rothery tried to make progress to explain herself but with her microphone not working we could not hear what she said clearly enough to quite verbatim. Inspector: "You've obviously not been here listening to what tee scope of this inquiry is, or you wouldn't be here talking in the way that you are. OK? So as far as I'm...." Ms Rothery: "The inquiry involves the impact [and? or?] the safety as regards the traffic...." Inspector (forcefully and with even more increasing forcefulness toward the end): "The Inquiry is about the appellant's mitigation measures to improve highway safety. If You've got things to say on those then say it. If you don't have things to say on those then I'll be very grateful if you'd leave." Again we couldn't exactly hear what Ms Rothery was saying here but she seemed to be trying to speak about how Cuadrilla would deal with the safety of people who were protesting on the highway and a number of other items. Inspector: "I don't think it's a matter for me. I don't intend to go there. So as far as I'm concerned, you're taking the case nowhere. OK? All You're doing is annoying me, which is not going to, well, if you like, my, my consideration of the whole experience tonight, and a lot of people have come here to express very real concerns about the impact of the appellant's mitigation proposals. OK? Which is what I want to take away and think about." There was a brief inaudible few words from Ms Rothery which sounded like "In the interest of Roseacre I will step down" before the Inspector said
"Good" Ms Rothery left the stand and the inspector said "That's the end of my list of people wishing to speak, I don't think I've missed anyone have I? No. In that case I will adjourn the Inquiry until one o'clock tomorrow. Thank you very much for coming along It was not an edifying exchange. The Inspector must have been tired, it was 8pm after a full day, but we're not sure that justified the tone he used. Ms Rothery told us as she left that she had wanted to address the matter of Cuadrilla's plans to ensure the safety of highway protestors, saying that the Inquiry had given regard to the safety to dogs and horses on the road, but seemed not to want to consider the safety of those who were protesting on the road. To be honest we thought the Inspector had been foolish in his handling of this matter. A wiser inspector might simply have put his pen down, listened in silence until she finished, said thank you, and, if he felt inclined, not included any irrelevant aspects in his report. Seeking to effectively publicly censor what Ms Rothery could say at the Inquiry was unhelpful, and we thought it was damaging to the credibility of the Planning Inspectorate as a body, especially when he has the power to determine what goes into his report. Perhaps a fresh day will improve things.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

United Resistance Week One...

There were so many times this past week when I could have written with a heart overflowing with love, joy and gratitude… other times I could have written bereft, soul-destroyed, sore and deflated… yet it’s tonight when I’m simply tired, reasonably soothed and just a little numb with the acceptance of the inevitable of it all …that I finally find time and space to sit, think and offload in word as we concludeWeek One, 2nd - 6th April: Nanas/Women against Fracking of the United Resistance and ready self forWeek Two, 9th - 13th April: Political Colours (longing for it to be “Week DONE” and this part over with).

So how was the first week then…
Well, it was meant to be a story and that it certainly was; about Women coming together to face a direct threat to our reproductive systems, to our risk of breast cancer and most importantly… to the survival of our children through pregnancy and beyond.

The vote was meant to mean something...
We started with an event that honoured the work of fellow women activists who sought to get us a vote 100 years ago… we stand again for that vote to actually mean something and for the sacrifice of our sisters not to have been for nothing but a rip-off ‘democracy’ offering phoney participation.

Good vs. Evil & Moral right vs. Law...
We followed with a Call for Calm as we do every Wednesday… a pause to catch breath every Wednesday morning that helps us ‘re-set’ ourselves rather than continuing stress and tension at the roadside that would otherwise grow and grow without stop. That afternoon, circles of women sat to knit and crotchet in ever increasing tangles that police warned could be conceived as a ‘lock-on’ – as the event was described as a ‘yarn-on’ we were obviously unsurprised at police perception. More than 50 police were sent to dismantle us. Usually… scenes of police dismantling activists is seen as somewhat expected, with a clear sense of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ put across in the media to make it all palatable – we were not palatable., We were CLEARLY not the ‘bad guys’ and this put the police in the position of manhandling the good guys… and it all got very messy and uncomfortable… but point made I think.

Community as a toxic hazard zone......
Toxic Thursday followed and that was all a bit ‘off plan’ but plans aren’t public so we’ll leave it at that and accept that not all things happen as intended… but sometimes, you get a great outcome anyway. The police clearly decided that ladies with yarn were bad enough… but once we put on those all-in-one hazard suits, the danger level seemed to raise along with police numbers and manhandling. It was all going pretty awfully as we were dragged, pushed and shoved across the road before bouncing back and enduring the same again… then a cheer went up and our female truck-surfer was in glorious place! I told her I would write my blog claiming it was the plan all along lol… it wasn’t, she was just magnificent at seizing a moment and stating “I feel safer up here than down there where they won’t let me protest.”

Bury this industry, not our children...
The final day of the Women’s Week was dark, sombre, genuine and beautiful in it’s raw, honest sadness. We allowed ourselves to genuinely grieve and mourn our own losses – knowing that our aim to prevent the awfulness of mourning for others in the future. I have never been more moved than I was by the warmth of of our union on this and all the other days… women who are not always able to be together, coming together in trust. I saw many reach a point of change – where the decision to truly DEFY kicked in and the police requests no longer had moral weight enough to be heeded.

We were gifted music, joy, kinship, unity and laughter on the Saturday night as Seize the Day gave up their time to bring us the energy to go on and the music to revive us.

Fracking is bloody awful… but the cure it is causing, is the most beautiful thing 

*Photo: Refracktion
**TOMORROW: Magid Magid comes to PNR
***We urgently need your help at the roadside EVERY Monday to Friday 7:30am to 6:30pm - all welcome and any time spared is hugely valued.


Call out from residents in Lancashire: PLEASE come be with us: "Cuadrilla the frackers have a new plan and it's t...