Sunday, 25 January 2015

Rallying Call...

Just in from diplomat, John Ashton was at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as Representative for Climate Change from 2006-2012.
From:John Ashton
Sent: 24 January 2015 17:24:0
...My impression is that, all of a sudden, things have become fluid. But we must seize the moment because they will probably get stuck again after the IB votes. It’s important that the rally turns out to be bigger than people inside the bubble expect.
Best to everyone - hope to see some of you there!

Hello everyone.
Friends of the Earth have just told me that they hope to get up to 200 people out for this on Monday. I really hope we can all do a lot better. Here's why.
Those who want to turn our country into a fracking playground have so far proceeded by stealth. They have got much closer than would have been possible in a healthy democracy to turning their dystopic fantasy into reality. The votes coming up on the Infrastructure Bill will be the first opportunity to make a political choice at national level to apply the brakes.
At the top of their Party machines, each for different reasons and reflecting different combinations of negligence and intent, all three establishment parties have, as it were, been putting Cuadrilla first not people first. But finally more and more MPs are realising either that fracking really is a bad idea and/or that the political cost to them of welcoming it could be much higher than they thought. All of a sudden things are more fluid inside the Palace of Westminster than they have ever been. That is true to an extent for the Conservatives and Lib Dems; but the stresses seem to me to be even greater inside the Labour Party. Now is the moment to strengthen the hand of those in all parties who want to stop the bandwagon.
With luck and effort we could even emerge from the best few days with the beginning of a de facto moratorium on fracking. That would have been unthinkable until very recently. But a lot of effort is still needed.
So, for anyone who has been thinking about expressing themselves on fracking but has not quite found a voice, there will never be a better time. A few hours over the next few days, and especially on Monday, will almost certainly pay bigger dividends than days or weeks of effort later on.
I became drawn to this issue because there is a deep political contradiction between a two degree climate policy and a drill baby drill energy policy, especially when the aim of the latter is to open up new resources, supply chains and vested interests. It is simply impossible to be in favour of fixing the climate and of fracking at the same time.
Meanwhile on the front line, up and down Britain, some of our real heroes and heroines have been risking everything to draw attention to the threat fracking poses to their communities, and to mobilise people against it. And the more I see of this the more it seems to me that this question is also at the centre of everything NEON stands for. Without wanting to put words in your mouths, I suspect we would all like to Iive in a country where people experience politics as something they are part of, not as something that is done to them against their will and interest. But for most people now facing a prospect of fracking in their community that's exactly how it feels.
For that reason, victory on fracking will also be a significant victory in the wider struggle.
So if you can possibly spare the time, do please come on Monday, even for a few moments. Please also encourage others to come.
If you can't come but have a bit of time at the weekend, please do anything you can think of to bring people to the rally and get messages to MPs.
And I really hope, when we are there, in thousands not hundreds, in full accordance with the law, and with peace and grace in our hearts, we can make a noise that will be audible not only in Old Palace Yard but in the Chamber itself.
When I was a civil servant I was occasionally accused of being too passionate. I make no apology for being passionate about this. But I hope I have expressed myself in accordance with the values, rules and culture that we are trying to build together in NEON. For anyone who may be curious about where some of the passion is coming from, I attach a speech I gave in Dublin last week (which also touches on earlier NEON conversations about spirituality).
With best wises to all
Details of rally in this extract from FoE message:
Can you help build a massive rally against fracking on Monday 26 January, 12.30pm-3pm, in Westminster? Full details: see this facebook page.
On 26 January MPs will be voting on the Government's Infrastructure Bill containing, amongst other things, amendments proposing a ban on fracking and the Government's controversial proposal to allow fracking under people's homes without permission. We want MPs to hear an overwhelming NO to fracking.
Please join the facebook event, share it among your friends, and invite anyone who can to come along.
The rally is jointly called by Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Occupy Democracy, Frack Off London and others. Speakers so far confirmed include Caroline Lucas MP, Bianca Jagger, Tina-Louise Rothery and Vanessa Vine (Founder, Frack Free Sussex and BIFF!).
The vote comes just two days before Lancashire County Council decide whether to give the go ahead for Cuadrilla to frack in Lancs. If the Lancashire fracking applications are approved, it will set a precedent for the rest of the UK. (The momentum created by today's recommendation by Lancs planning officers that Cuadrilla's applications be rejected is great but it's definitely not all in the bag yet!)
Please join us outside Parliament to send a loud message to MPs that Lancashire and the whole of the UK is not for shale.

26 January - London

I'm speaking at the Rally tomorrow in London for the Infrastructure Bill vote. Could the powerful anti-fracking lobby stop this at Westminster tomorrow? Maybe... just maybe ;)

IF you can make it to the rally in London (so important to get the numbers) the details are here:

URGENT RALLY: No Fracking Anywhere
  • From 12:30 - Old Palace Yard, Westminster London
  • On January 26th, MPs will vote on a proposal to ban fracking and on the controversial proposal to allow fracking under people’s homes without permission.

    The vote - as part of the Government's Infrastructure Bill - comes just two days before Lancashire County Council decide whether to give the go ahead for Cuadrilla to frack in Lancs.

    If the Lancashire fracking applications are approved, it will set a precedent for the rest of the UK.

    Join our rally outside Parliament to tell MPs loud and clear that fracking should be banned – in Lancashire and throughout the UK.

    Speakers confirmed:
    - Bianca Jagger
    - Vivienne Westwood
    - Caroline Lucas MP
    - Vanessa Vine (Founder of Frack Free Sussex and BIFF! Britain & Ireland Frack Free)
    - Tina-Louise Rothery (NW anti-fracking campaigner)
    - John Ashton (Former UK Government Special Representative for Climate Change)
    - Hannah Martin (Reclaim the Power)
    - Yasmin Quershi MP
    - Julian Huppert MP

    Monday 26 January, 12.30pm
    Old Palace Yard (On the west side of St Margaret Street/Abingdon Street), opposite Parliament, Westminster, near SW1P 3JX

Green & Pleasant Land...

Just reminded of this thanks to Brenda Pollack & Kathryn McWhirter - from that inspirational Summer in Balcombe:
Fracking Anthem – And did they frack
Inspired by William Blake’s poem. Thank you, Mr Blake.
And did they frack in ancient times?
Poisoning waters, once so clean?
And were their fil-thy rigs of doom
On England’s plea-sant-pastures seen?
And did the On-ly face of Truth
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And do the frackers know time is up
To build their dark sa-ta nic mills.
Come join us here and sing your song:
Sing of the justice you desire.
Assist us NOW! These frackers are wrong.
We now remember: We’re the Choir.
We will not cease from camp-ing here,
Nor shall we rest till fracking’s banned.
Till we have kicked these frackers out
Of England’s green-and pleasant land.
2nd August 2013 ©Simon Welsh Poetry

Monday, 5 January 2015

Unknown unknowns ahead...

Here goes then... 2015 is certainly not starting off in any recognisable way - as I find myself here, running against George Osborne forTatton with the Green Party.

Realise this doesn't sit well with all and I understand the reluctance of activists to engage with the very system at the heart of the troubles we face and until very recently - felt the same. BUT... after the past 4 years as an activist, witnessing incredible determination, commitment, honour, bravery and sacrifice from so many I've encountered - I concluded that as well as aiming to create the alternatives - some of us need to be active beyond our campaigns and each other - get to the root of the problem and infest it with some of our passionate determination for better. I found the Green Party policies to be virtually in synch with all that I hope for and very similar to our Occupy Democracy demands; I also have huge respect for Natalie, so found it very easy to be Green 

Although politics is an ugly beast and I do not do this with pleasure - I do have immense curiosity and a desire to get some way into the dark mess and at least know more about the processes.

Below is a plea for help with funding - horrid to ask for money but politics isn't a cheap thing (don't we know it!) - aside from the initial 500 required to even get on the ballot paper - we need to counter the propaganda of the others - so newsletters, factsheets, events etc. need to be paid for and the Green Party has a wonderful policy of NOT accepting BIG corporate donors who will want favours later - so I've set up a account in order to raise the money and if you can help - thank you  If you can't then too xxx

The changes we need in our system of government can start happening now; raising campaign funds through individuals via crowdfunding, rather than being obliged to powerful financial backers. The Green Party is not like other parties and the 2015 election promises to be something unique.

I’m Tina Louise Rothery, the Green Party candidate for Tatton, Cheshire and this crowdfunder is in place to raise the money needed to cover the costs of campaigning. The current MP for Tatton is Chancellor George Osborne (he doesn't need to crowdfund but he will be indebted to his party's big backers). 

Time and again we see the same types of people taking office and wielding power. We are not so na├»ve as to believe any more that the political decisions that gift us dangerous industries in our back yards, the privatisation of our NHS,  seemingly forgiven banking scandals, bank bailouts and austerity, war, torture and trade agreements granting near omnipotence to corporates  – are in our best interests.

I do not believe our current system of government is at all reflective of the people we truly are and it will take the input of people more-like-us, to make it so; I am running in order to be the change I wish to see. Your kindness in giving, makes the difference in so many ways and although the 'Rewards' appear just a trifle - my thanks are genuine and heartfelt.

After 4 years of campaigning to halt plans for unconventional energy techniques like fracking and Coal Bed Methane and standing as an activist with so many others across the world calling for change with the Occupy movement, I believe bridging politics and activism to be an important step towards better. I have longed to hear politicians speak about the things that really matter and to have a reason to believe they are acting with good intent -  I find these things easily amongst activists. This 2015, I hope more campaigners and activists take their good intent and 'occupy politics'. 

I’m appealing for £900 to cover the cost of entering the election (£500) and for the publicity materials, travel and other costs along the way. The Green Party is determined to be on as many ballot papers as possible this time round and I want to make sure the people within the Tatton constituency are aware that there IS a choice in 2015... doesn't have to be business-as-usual any more.

Every pound you can give will make a difference and help to democratise political fund raising, thank you so much.

With sincere thanks,
Tina Louise Rothery 

**Please ensure you are on the electoral register - this is a requirement of donating to a political party. And you'll need to be on it to vote next year - register here if you're not.**

Thursday, 18 December 2014

PRESS RELEASE: Green candidate to contest Tatton

The Green Party will put forward its first-ever parliamentary candidate for Tatton in 2015, challenging sitting Conservative Chancellor George Osborne.

The ‘Green Surge’ has seen a 100% rise in Green Party membership in England and Wales since the start of the year and the party is putting forward more candidates than ever before.

Tina-Louise Rothery - a prominent campaigner in the North West anti-fracking movement - joined the Green Party two years ago.

She says: “The problems with our current situation appear less to do with the economy and far more to do with the way that economy is managed and whom it does - and doesn’t - benefit.

“Corporate interests have an unhealthy influence on decisions made in Westminster.  Look at the planned spending on huge projects like HS2 (due to end Wilmslow’s direct London service) instead of improvements to existing rail - including the Mid-Cheshire line - that would bring greater benefit to the local population; or the way they insist on pursuing short-term, risky energy solutions that will bring no benefits on prices or security for UK residents.

“Time and again the UK electorate watches the predictable cycle of political activity in the run up to an election; promises being made that we know will be broken. Each election leaves us disappointed and for too long, the choice on the ballot paper has been limited to a very similar line-up.

“The priorities, concerns and challenges in our everyday lives are not reflected in the policies of the current government and haven’t been for as long as I can remember. Looking at the grey suits and behaviour in the House of Commons is like looking back in time to a fossilised place that just isn’t part of the ‘real world’ anymore.”

Tina-Louise Rothery joined the Green Party “because unlike other parties, it is not funded by big business and is not influenced, swayed, encouraged or bullied by corporate interests and because we are focused on the issues that matter; the preservation of our NHS, the integrity of our education, clean affordable energy, getting the railways back into public ownership, fair taxation, action to tackle air pollution and refusing the advance of dangerous industries.”

“Unlike the vast majority of those in politics who claim to represent the residents of the UK, I do not come from a background that has groomed me for the government we know today – and I believe this to be a distinct advantage.”

Tina-Louise on TV:
Keiser Report (RT, 12/7/2014): Tina Rothery on Fracking:

C4 News (28/7/2014): James Rees-Mogg v Tina Rothery on Fracking in the UK:

Published & promoted by the Green Party Tatton Campaign Team, 3 Shuldham Close, High Legh, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 6UE, on behalf of Tina-Louise Rothery.