Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Obligation...

Was chatting earlier to someone who was wondering about being a 'Nana' (the activist kind in a yellow tabard-type) - so I tried to sum up the 'Nana' thing...

Our 'Nana' status is not so much biological... more about a state of mind. We have young male and female Nanas who don't have children and all sorts. Vivienne Westwood and Natalie Bennett are Nanas too (even have their own Tabards). We wanted to protect our communities from the harmful effects fracking would bring and needed the media to stop categorising and labelling us as being: 'eco activists' or 'climate campaigners' etc. 

...We are caring human beings first and foremost - we are informed and we do this because we are OBLIGED to future generations; to ensure they can rely on fresh air and clean water. So I strongly suspect... you are a Nana xxx

Writing it made me aware too of just WHY we actually ARE unstoppable - because we are not choosing activism, we are obligated to do this. How can any of us say it's ok to let fracking happen - that the risks don't count anymore - that generations to come don't matter enough? That would be negligent and impossible.

For me... every exit door has my granddaughter's face on it and I can't get out till I fulfill my obligation to her (and everyone else's grandchildren).

I hope we all find our 'inner-Nana'...

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Government tantrum

The Government announcement today that decisions on fracking can be taken out of Local Council hands and made by Central Government is a slap in the face not only of those opposing fracking but of anyone believing in democratic process. Ministers said the planning application dragged on and needed to be speeded up; for the benefit of who? Certainly NOT for communities looking for assurance that all aspects are considered and our health and safety are paramount.

This situation didn’t ‘drag on’ as today’s release stated, it took as long as required for a decision to be made. High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing is a new industry and there is a great deal to consider; it cannot be rushed through, just to satisfy ministers and industry.

This decision makes a mockery of government claims about localism and empowering communities. Our Councillors acted according to the evidence presented and the time it took to make the decision was largely a factor of obtaining accurate and thorough information from the fracking company.  The statement today is an insult to the hard work the Councillors have put in and obnoxiously ignores the wishes of the local community.

How many objection letters and how much evidence does it take to say no to this industry? Will this just go on until the industry and government get their way; regardless of local considerations? The Secretary of State for COMMUNITIES is to be permitted to make the decision on fracking applications ALONE; Greg Clark’s title smacks in the face of his powers.

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has said since getting the job that she WILL ‘deliver shale’ and our Prime Minister has said he is ‘going all out for shale’; the missing voices here are our Councillors and the communities they represent. This has been such a battle every step of the way and it shouldn’t have been. Why is this people vs. Government? What on earth does ‘democracy’ mean in David Cameron’s mind?
By contrast, in June the government gave greater powers to communities to object to wind farms. We’re going backwards to dictatorial rule and embedding ourselves in a fossilised past as other countries surge forward with the jobs, lowered costs and reduced risks of renewable energy.

Here are a few quotes from David Cameron's speech to local government leaders in 2011, which stands in contrast to today's announcement:

"I believe that our agenda of localism is one the most exciting things we are doing in government...
When we see a problem, we don’t ask what central government can do, we ask what can local people do, what can councils do...
Yes, we’re giving you [councils] this power. And yes, we’re doing that because we trust you."

Thursday, 23 July 2015


It seems then that the strong 'No' from our Council and the people of the area, means little to this industry and they will persevere using all the legal and lobbyist powers money can buy. The further along this process goes the more absurd it gets. When do we get a say in this? Why is the decision of our Council not good enough? How many appeals and how much money and time can our cash-strapped Council spend on this? Is the hope that the industry's might will eventually wear us down?

Locally the opposition to this dangerous industry is not going away and continues to grow as more people become aware of the facts. Francis Egan said today that he is committed "to engaging with local communities to reassure them operations can and will be carried out safely" and we would absolutely welcome this. For nearly four years we have asked for an open, public debate with Cuadrilla but they never come.  Maybe I can take this opportunity through The Gazette to invite representatives of Cuadrilla to join us in a genuinely public forum at the earliest opportunity. Our deep concerns have kept us from our normal lives for years now and mumblings of reassurance are not enough. We have questions and would like them publicly answered in full.

With dire warnings of the potential effect of this industry on our health from the Medact Report, revelations in the now un-redacted DEFRA Report that herald warnings for our rural economy, increasing investor reluctance and the announcement by the Dutch government of a five year ban,  it is clear that fracking in the UK is dangerous, past it's opportunity and worthless.

The community will continue to oppose this and although we may not have the power and money of this industry, we operate from a position of protecting our young - which makes us unstoppable.

*Please CLICK HERE if you can help us x

Monday, 6 July 2015

Feeling it...

Time and again throughout the fight to halt fracking, in places where the power is held and abused, I have been reminded by stern voices that this is no place for emotion; that this is about reports and research documents (usually of dubious, influenced, financed origin)... that it is about economies not humanity, about mitigating risk not nurturing anything.

In the House of Lords when we gave evidence to the committee there... a horseshoe shape of 'Lords' with grey palour, inflated importance and soul-less eyes reminded me again, that this was no place for emotion when I dared to interrupt to correct a blatant lie.

But existence is FEELING and I cannot switch off the feelings I have about the world around us... I can no more bare the thought of toxins in the water and air here in Lancashire than I can the eradication of rainforests, the framing of 'human rights' as if we are somehow to earn entitlement, the proliferation of nuclear, the increase in arms sales, the slaughter by war, the manipulation of regimes by bigger players and corporate entities, bailouts for banks and austerity for people. ALL is connected and yet...

...we are isolated in cubicles and homogenised in behaviour; encouraged to judge each other if we do not conform or fit the mould. I have discovered through this fight to save air and water that it is ONLY when we open the space between us, remove our perceptions and judgements and allow ourselves to connect emotionally at some level... that ideas, solutions, actions and insight come. 

We need each other and in order to connect... this is going to have to be an emotional thing heart emoticon

Friday, 3 July 2015


Maybe it started with a petition
or clicking ‘like’ on a post,
by a friend
who you always think of as a bit quirky,
but fair-minded…
Maybe it was when you shared the post,
joined an online group,
said you’d attend an event
… actually attended an event?
Maybe these gateway steps brought you hesitantly to put your feet,
one in front of other onto streets,
streets now echoing with ownership.
Never having considered: whose streets?
let alone the actually true answer: OUR streets.
Maybe from there it went
by unusual,
not common…
yet natural
yet familiar
sounds of humanity
stretching at its edges?
Voices calling, shouting, whispering, hissing
pleaing, preying, hoping, begging
…from personal, profound, perplexing, passionate
tearing at seams
that once held
us all a-part.
in nonconformists shapes
of people
JUST people
…who once
signed a petition
liked a post
shared a post…
made the most of the journey to
‘out of here’
Maybe it was then that the activist broke through?

Friday, 26 June 2015

Letter to Activists...

Written to Activists after a long week standing against Cuadrilla in Lancashire:
Whatever happens - the hard work, honourable behaviour and honesty of those defending our communities is outstanding. Also a stark contrast to the manipulation, outright lies and despicable behaviour of some in our Council and our Government.
Sadly, it was this type behaviour that took me from my formerly lovely life of 'normality' - to take my first stand as an 'activist' via Occupy in October 2011. I just wanted to have a democracy I recognised as one and at the time, the government was bailing out banks and introducing austerity - so blatantly wrong I couldn't watch in silence any longer.
Fighting fracking became an urgent necessity due to the imminent threat and so I was drawn away from exploring, exposing and confronting the lies and hypocrisy of our clearly fraudulent system, that serves business interests - not human ones. Or so I thought...
Yesterday - I found myself back at the beginning. Any joy tarnished with the knowledge that fracking is another ugly and dangerous symptom of an uglier, more dangerous disease. I genuinely believe that our system of government has at some stage become so infested with private interests of big business - that it needs rescuing and reclaiming.
I never wanted this to be my life and don't expect any of you did - I miss my family time and whatever it was I used to talk about before this all happened... but there is no turning back, no exit door (all those have my granddaughter's face on them) because if WE don't see this through, what does the future hold for our children and theirs? Already, access to legal aid is diminished and with each new bill and law, the tools of democracy are taken away.
Wish there was a happy bit to this but currently there isn't - just more revelations of the ugly stuff. Oh, except...
Yesterday the police asked the drummers if they could play and they did - I have been harmed and witnessed such extreme brutality by some police forces during these past 4 years... but here in Lancashire, we're certainly a bit different!! Not only were they genuinely exceptional drummers - they showed themselves to be warm human beings.
There were some more 'extreme' activists (or certainly many of us knowing it could make us this way) there yesterday - we had spoken about how the community was FIRST taking every avenue democracy offered and ONLY when that failed would we be in the position to consider different reactions. Many were so shocked by the behaviour of our Lancashire police (in all the best ways) and I believe that everything we are doing is having a profound impact on the way 'activism' is being done too. We are ALL learning and there are little miracles along the way.
So for now, head down, deep breath and we plough on to Monday. Many exhausted supporters will be there showing the beautiful humanity that exists outside the Council... and doing all we can to lift spirits in any way possible. I cannot guarantee anything about what will be the response from outside on Monday, to whatever the vote brings - each activist is autonomous... here's hoping we can manage to get through and still smile at the amazing Lancashire police at the end of the day. I fear though that like our Councillors, their hands are tied and their actions will be dictated.
We each have played roles beyond our expectations and made connections that enrich us... we are strong in our unity and determination and when the crowd outside hear each speaker from the community groups over the PA - the admiration is loud and joyous. Thank you to all in this for your work, you make us so proud and set examples that change hearts and minds - maybe not always the ones you intended on though.
Much love, respect and admiration,
Tina heart emoticon

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Frack Stops Here 2... #FrackStopsHere

Details on how to arrange travel for the fracking planning-decision days in Preston, Lancashire 23-26 June 2015. The 23rd is the big one and a nation-wide day of solidarity and resistance to fracking in the UK so if you can't make it, you can always do something where you live and share messages of solidarity on social media. #FrackStopsHere