In a pivotal moment in British history, Lancashire County Council will tomorrow start the decision process in which they’ll decide whether to get on board the Planet ravaging collapsing Ponzi scheme known as fracking and go all chips in on the game of fossil fuel stranded assets roulette.
This half arsed conduit of tomfruitery will provide a live rolling blog of correspondents, characters and reportage from the very heart of what will most likely resemble a mash up of Woodstock, Carry on Anti Fracking and a Barnum & Baileys three ringed Circus.
Tomorrow a panel of local politicians who rule over a land, much of it at sea level, will decide whether to proceed with a process that will directly lead to a huge increase in sea levels. To find out about more stuff that you just can’t make up keep in touch all week via this blog or on Twitter following the hashtags #DontFrackLancs and #FrackStopsHere
In the meantime in the true spirit of how any Northern live blog should be launched…I’m off to bed…big day tomorrow 🙂
Tuesday 23rd June 10.00am
Gloriously beautiful day in Lancashire today where the sun is truly shining on the righteous as a tasty crowd of Earth protectors gather outside of the County Hall. The legendary Anne Power is on point today….
….and the message is being sent loud and clear to the men in grey suits in the building behind….
….MancunianSpring managed to snag a word with a lad giving evidence to the Council regarding the huge risk that fracking presents to the incredible ecology of the Fylde. He said that by the time he’s finished there won’t be a dry eye in the house and that if indeed the Councillors do approve fracking they’ll feel like they’ve agreed to have a Zoo napalmed.
The differences are clear. Inside County Hall are a set of crusty old men chewing over the imposition of a dirty technology from an age we’re fast moving beyond. Outside are, as Owen Patterson put it, people in exciting clothing demanding and fighting for a cleaner brighter future…happy days……
Tuesday 23rd June 12.00pm
Mr Frack is now rampaging around the streets of Preston spreading fear panic and generally clunking folk on the back of the head with his extraordinarily huge fracking arms…
All quiet on the County Hall front, no white smoke from the roof or Cuadrilla execs jumping from the windows but the bagpipes have turned up 🙂
Tuesday 23rd June 1.30pm
The beautiful people have formed a human chain around the entirety of County Hall…
…and something completely Lancastrian has just happened. A bridal party emerged from the hall. The bride was given a Lancashire Nannas feather duster “honour guard”. The bride completed her procession under the guard, turned around, hoiked up her wedding dress to reveal a dazzling set of black and yellow “Frack Off” undertrolleys!?! The entire bridesmaid posse were also rocking black and yellow hair ribbons. Never been more proud to be Lancastrian than today 🙂
23rd June Evening
It all went quiet post 1.30pm cos my phone battery went dead just after and I was having such a great time at NanaFest that I couldn’t be arsed chugging back to Nero’s for my 6th cup of coffee and a bit of leccie.
What an inspirationally beautiful day. Lancashire County Hall hasn’t rocked to a drum beat like that since the Scottish invading armies rolled through in the 1700’s and funnily enough the saltire and pipes were both present amongst a kilt clad crew of Scots anti frackers.
I keep prattling on about the contrast between the men in grey suits and corporate lawyers inside County Hall and the people in “exciting clothing” outside partly due to it being starkly apparent but mostly because this shows the fundamental difference between the “all out for shale” system and the folk wanting an cleaner alternative future.
Outside were the young and the old, the suited and the fairy dust booted, cool as you like kids scootering around doing drive by shirt front stickering, smiling Nanas asking if you were alright chuck and high fiving honking car drivers, babes in pushchairs, old fellas in mobility scooters and a lad with a sparkler flaring fracking derrick on his bonce?!?
Inside the building were old men in suits listening to nonsensical arguments from the corporatocracy as to why the folk outside should be poisoned in a whole variety of ways purely for greed when there are a million better ways of doing things as being demanded by those about to be poisoned outside. Inside the building were corporate stooges repeating the same old lies and having their 4 minute diatribes drift off into the surreal at times due to the complete lack of belief and conviction in their own nonsense. Outside were people so utterly convinced and passionate about their case that many have dedicated large portions of their lives to stopping the scandal that is fracking and 95% of them could out debate Francis Egan on fracking including most of the kids.
There’s another huge gulf between the crusty old folk in County Hall and the true “Lancastrians” outside and that’s their perception of who anti fracking folk are and the reality of who we are.
Lancashire cops were extremely courteous and well mannered as you’d expect from any true Lancastrian but there were so many of them around that you’d have thought that the West Ham “Inter City Firm” were about to arrive in Preston. There were perhaps 100 police to stand around and try not to dance essentially babysitting the Lancashire Nanas and their Children. Whilst not wanting to cry at such a waste of money it also shows the mindset of the folk behind the ordering of such a ridiculous level of over policing. After all of these years they still don’t get anti frackers.
After the countless solidarity event gatherings of thousands of anti fracking folk most often with zero police presence they still don’t get how peaceful we are. Go through hour after hour of YouTube video from Barton Moss and you won’t find a single instance of any form of aggression towards the police or indeed any conviction for assault in the hundreds of pointless court cases after the hundreds of pointless arrests. There’s no need to resort to violence when the strength of your case is so compelling and thoroughly proven. The only violence ever used is by the frackers and as they say, if you have to use violence to push an idea then your ideas are crap.
To complete an inspirational day outside County Hall, and as if the Gods of exciting clothing had made it so, Vivienne Westwood quite literally swanned in and declared all politicians criminals until the people say that they’re not and there was not a Lancashire Nana in sight not in agreement with that and as they say, your Nana knows best.
This is the happy bride who found out just days before her County Hall wedding that the joint was being cuddled by anti frackers and decided to theme her wedding as anti fracking…
Wednesday 24th June 1.00pm
THERE’S A FLAG ON THE PLAY!!!!
….submitted to the Council……
Dear Mr Perigo
Cuadrilla Bowland Ltd: Planning applications:
LCC/2014/0096 (Preston New Road)
LCC/2014/0101 (Roseacre Wood)
LCC has received three commentaries from expert witnesses, myself included, which are at least in part critical of your Officer Report published on Monday 15 June 2015. The two others (that I am aware of) are from Professor Stuart Haszeldine (Edinburgh University) and Dr Damien Short (London University).
Professor Haszeldine’s report is especially significant in that he backs up what I have been saying for some time about the risks to groundwater. It may also go some way to counterbalancing, with solid evidence from an internationally known expert, the outrageous ad hominem attack on myself that you permitted the DCC to be subjected to yesterday, in the four-minute diatribe from Dr Nick Riley.
These three reports (which, for the avoidance of doubt, I attach herewith) have missed your arbitrary deadline of Friday 19 June, but are too important to be omitted from the body of information put to the Development Control Committee. In any case my own report was submitted on the Sunday evening of 21 June, and was therefore available for you at the start of the working week on Monday morning. I know of other instances where late submissions have been made in good faith in such circumstances, and they have always been accepted.
As you will be aware these three reports are critical of the LCC planning process. If you choose not to include them for DCC’s consideration you may open yourself further to the risk of Judicial Review. If you feel that the DCC has too much on its plate already then the appropriate measure to be taken is to adjourn or postpone the debate. You have already extended the time available to the applicant for consideration of late information. Not to do so for objectors, particularly expert witnesses, would be further evidence of prejudice in favour of the applicant.
I would be grateful if you could confirm that my request for these documents to be included will be carried out.
[Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow]
Ventenac en Minervois, France
The Council is currently considering the implications of this gargantuan Professor off……
Wednesday 24th June 3.00pm
The Councillors have yet to return from lunch..there’s speculation that they may have gone to Manchester for it. In the meantime a list of the harmed of Pennsylvania has appeared on the wall at the entrance to County Hall…
Thursday 25th June 2.00pm
As predicted its utter chaos in Preston 😦
The decision whether to collapse the property prices around the Preston New Road site has been postponed until next Monday. Did I say collapse the property prices rather than fracking? That’s in order to balance out the absolute nonsense coming out of the Council chamber that toxic fume belching frackpads will have a minimal impact regarding sightliness?!?
Perhaps estate agents have given evidence that one of the first things that buyers of family homes demand are sweeping views of the local frackfield. Stooges and the ill informed can lay claim to whatever they want but the market never ever lies. The impact regarding sightliness of frackpads will not only NOT be minimal, it will be measured in the millions of pounds in collapsed property values. Dear oh dear what Planet do these people live on?
The County Hall hoo ha gets even worse. There have been secret meetings, Councilors almost breaking down and more “power brokers” leaning on people than a Greek/EU debt meeting. This is exactly the kind of rodeo clown show that will be coming to 60% of the UK and with 18,126 written objections to fracking submitted to LCC with only 217 in support you can understand why the term “social license” doesn’t even get a mention any more. The dirty frackers would embarrass themselves even more than they already have if they were to ever mention social license again
With one of the themes of the week having been folk from areas that have been fracked pleading on their knees not to accept fracking in the UK the heroic Ian Crane will be Preston premiering his film about the misery that good honest Queensland folk have had to endure in Australia. You know, if I had a former car owner telling me that the thing was a death trap I’d probably be quiet wary but then can you ever imagine an automobile manufacturer trying to sell any vehicle in the UK with a highly questionable safety record…wouldn’t happen would it?
Thursday 25th June 5.00pm
This just in…it looks is if a decision on the dark fate of pretty little Roseacre may be made today…
Thursday 25th June 5.20pm
Godzilla’s application to turn Roseacre into an HGV filled industrial zone has been unanimously voted against because fracking in the heart of English communities is a really really stupid idea…more details on just how stupid an idea it was later…
Friday 26th June
Nowt happened today. I’m guessing because if things had carried on any longer folk my have started to faint.
To sum up the week..a huge crowd turned up, some from as far afield as the Isle of Wight..enough folk to completely surround the huge County Hall building…
…academics tried to step in and tell Lancashire County Councillors not to be so bloody stupid…
…the atmosphere was often tense outside of County Hall with the pressure etched on peoples faces…
…but the pressure was just as much inside the building with Godzilla CEO Francis Egan wishing that he’d joined a different Circus when he was a kid…
…don’t allow yourself to feel sorry for the back scuttler though, he’s upsetting our senior citizens and that’s just not on…
…local support was fantastic with a non stop cavalcade of honking car support…
…and in typical British style what could have been a sombre day was turned into a carnival…
…and would you believe it?!? Even the Police couldn’t resist the carnival of life mood forming into an impromptu drum corps…
…because they were obviously feeling the love…
…and so on we roll to Monday when the Preston New Road decision is due to be made. This rotten corrupt “government” of ours wants Lancashire to lead the way with fracking and we most certainly are. We’re showing the rest of Britain how to protest against it, how to fight it tooth and nail and how to make it perfectly clear that it’s completely unacceptable and unwanted in our communities.
See you Monday 🙂
Monday 29th June 10.00am
…and the sickening terrorising beat goes on as another perfectly idyllic British community finds out today whether their lives are going to be turned upside down.
In the meantime, as is the way with fracking, the bad news just continues to drip out of America.
Yet another study has found an increase in birth defects and a whole array of infant abnormalities including spikes in cancer rates. There are many abhorrent things about the imposition of fracking in the UK but probably the most perverse is the fact that the precautionary principle just doesn’t seem to apply even though the process will be situated directly in our communities among our loved ones. Referring back to the car analogy, Its inconceivable that a foreign automobile model with a proven dangerous history would ever be allowed to be sold in the UK market let alone families being forced to drive it.
In a week when political incompetence and stupidity could well bring down the whole of the eurozone, UK citizens are yet again having to battle to stop the political elites from harming them. Thankfully another huge crowd has turned out in Preston and even if the grey old men in County Hall do decide to poison their own communities the fighting folk of Lancashire continue to show the 60% of our Country slated for fracking just how to fight it…
Monday 29th June 11.15am
BREAKING NEWS….FRACKING REFUSED IN LANCASHIRE!!!!
They even got told to stuff their seismic arrays where the fracking flares don’t shine. More to follow…obviously…including loads of crowing and raucous rounds of LANCASHIRE LA LA LA LANCASHIRE LA LA LA 🙂
Monday 29th June 12.30pm
You’d think that it was a no brainer that a local authority had decided not to poison its citizens, befoul their countryside, flatten them with HGV’s and crash their property prices but that doesn’t take into account the immense pressure that Lancashire County Councilors were under from a totally corrupt industry and morally bankrupt government. Fracking in Lancashire was considered such a “done deal” that vast amounts of money have already been spent on infrastructure even including the building of a dedicated fracking college. Then the people stepped in.
This VICTORY really needs to be put into context.
On the one side we have an industry with a long history of getting exactly what it wants, with bottomless pockets and the full unadulterated backing of the UK govt to the extent that Dave consistently repeated that he’s “all out for shale”. The industry was working from a proven playbook operated countless times over many years in Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio etc and they ran every play in the book. They lied about how fracking had been going on in the UK for decades, they lied about jobs, they lied about “cheap gas”, raised the false spectre of the “nasty Russians” and downplayed every single fracking application as “just a test well” and that they “wouldn’t be fracking”. Some of the lies were so pernicious and so thoroughly media pimped that they were still being repeated in the Lancashire County Hall last week?!? This is because the frackers had a completely uncritical and compliant media (especially the odious BBC) to do their bidding. They employed an army of shill Professors/Frackademics whose University names will now go down in history with a stain that will be very hard to remove. They employed legions of internet stooges to flood online newspaper comments sections with how wonderful fracking was and to attack and smear anyone opposed to it. They funded astroturf (fake grassroots) organisations to try and fool local folk into thinking that there was a degree of local support for the industry and finally they poured thousands upon thousands of pounds of bribe money into local community projects/groups in order to ingratiate themselves with the citizenry.
In opposition to all of this was a tiny amateur army of what was to become known as “Crusties and Colonels” operating on a shoe string budget and the truth and as it should be, the truth won.
Don’t for one second think that this is over because fracking has never been about democracy, especially local democracy. There’s the Infrastructure Act to consider where I’ve yet to have it confirmed to me that it’s not actually now against the law to oppose fracking being as the maximisation of the extraction of our nations fossil fuel reserves is now enshrined in law. Eric Pickles had a right to overturn any local decisions made regarding the rejection of fracking and I’m assuming that once they’ve scoured the galaxy and located Jabba the Hut to step into his shoes the situation will remain the same.
So where do we go from here?
Well first of all us Lancastrians thank from the very bottom of our red rose hearts every single person throughout the UK and way way beyond for anything that you’ve done to help us in our hour of need whether you’re a Scottish Highlands tweeter, an Isle of Wight Preston demo attender or a New York State Congressman writing letters of appeal to our County Council. The support at times has been overwhelming and will never be forgotten. Standing against the above mentioned forces was near impossible. Standing against them alone would most likely have been impossible xoxo
As for the next step, I’m not entirely sure myself, but I do know that we are now unstoppable and that a complete UK wide ban on fracking brought about by us is inevitable 🙂
Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton
Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring