Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Image set of 24 June 2016 #IamTinaRothery







Huge thanks to Polly or Friends of the Earth for this lovely collection from the court day - 1:16 was a favourite moment x

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Dear Justice...

This is the statement I gave yesterday at court concerning my refusal to pay for legal costs incurred by Cuadrilla over the very civil, 3-week occupation of a field earmarked for fracking (occupation in August 2014). The court officer wrote it down as I spoke it (I didn't have my glasses!).

The next stage is for the lawyers (Eversheds) to respond with how they would like to proceed - pursue me for contempt of court and these costs or accept that this is an unjust use of our legal system and clear victimisation of peaceful protest, aimed at deterring further actions by communities in defence of the health and well-being of their children against this dangerous industry.

STATEMENT::
With respect to the District Judge and the courts I have huge admiration for a system of justice that is fair but I feel in this case that our law courts are not being used to seek justice but instead being applied like a weapon and a threat against peaceful protest.
The fact that Cuadrilla has the finances, power and vindictiveness to pursue this through our courts is an abuse of one of the most valued aspects of our democracy.  

So please accept my aplogies if this seems rude but as this case has nothing to do whatsoever with justice, I will not be complying with any requests  for information or payment. 

I make this statement on behalf of myself and an entire movement who will not be bullied.


Friday, 24 June 2016

Before court...

I am NOT surprised... I already sensed the humanity at the heart of our movement. Already knew what solidarity felt like after five years being immersed in an alien place I now call home. Because it’s not about being me, it’s testament to the power of people who empower themselves – who refuse to watch continued injustice on ANY level. What’s happening to me isn’t the end of the world, isn’t a fraction as bad as what could be and what is, in so many places right now. What #IamTinaRothery did I think – was offer the chance on a very real, human level, for people to show they give a damn and not just about a planning application or ugly government ruling – but about each other. Standing up for each other, brings out the best in people; the part that won’t stand by silently when another is unjustly treated... and that means (as activists) we are always in the company of the best of people, whoever we are with. Tomorrow is, on a personal level, my little line-in-the-sand – my choice to refuse to make the next step, the one I am told to make (pay or face further courts, costs possibly a little time). I won’t walk further into the fraud, the sham, the disgrace that is our ‘justice’ system, any more than I will back down from protecting the precious things – our wellbeing, health, the future, my young. Tomorrow for our movement of campaigners, activists, sharers, concerned people... is also about more than being genuinely caring, kind and valued friends, it’s an opportunity. We come together in clusters and gatherings to share information, inspire each other, offload anguish and make plans for better and sometimes to we mass ourselves into a larger chunk that makes an impact with feet on streets at marches and rallies... but this has been another view of the shape and size and intent of us. From where I am – the most amazing perspective right now – I see words in languages I don’t understand, faces of friends, smiling strangers not yet met and humanity at its most beautiful best. I also see how in the years since social media came along and independent media emerged, how we have come to be masterful in the use of these new tools. A hashtag is more than just a file name, it’s a call to action, a chance for deeper research, of finding wise minds and other ways of thinking, a way of nudging others or as is happening now to @CuadrillaUK – overwhelming and shaming them. The press seats at many events, actually have genuine journalists that bring honour to the role - now that those driven to report truth because it really matters, have woven into our view. Independent journalists making the sharp contrast to the old-world common media that looks more and more like a rerun of itself that’s wearing out and with cracks and flaws all the more visible. Tomorrow will come and go as days do – but on a personal level, I have seen what true reality looks like and I wouldn’t have missed it – for the world <3 span="">

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Movement


Look at the state we’re in with these ‘negotiations’
Contorted distorted EU in-out connotations
Awash with a choice of no-win situations
Cause this isn’t about us and what’s good for the people
Isn’t about home, habitat or foreseeables
Isn’t about what’s right and what’s wrong
Just focused on making trade, weak or strong.
When its all about an economy
It’s not about humanity
In sharp contrast I’m soothing here...
Where the colours are rich and hope grows
Where those who act, reap what they sew
Where seeds once planted in occupied space
Grow strong through the gaps
Of democracy’s disgrace
Where you and me and them and us
Aren’t divided by manipulated mistrust
Where fact is made plain and truth is raw
And no-one is turned away from an activist’s door
I’ve witnessed more humanity, warmth and grace
More genuine faith
...at Balcombe, Crawberry and Barton Moss
...at Horse Hill, in village halls and Didcot
Than ever is gathered in any other place
Where kindness is written on every welcoming face
And even in mud under barrage of assault
The music plays, the voices raise and we go on
And the pain inflicted on ANY of us,
Is dispersed through the many
Till it’s virtually gone
...Absorbed by the mass-unified
Wound’s entry point faded from sight
#IamTinaRothery


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

I Am Tina Rothery

Updating things...
I’ll be in Blackpool Law Courts at 10am on 24 June 2016 - Chapel Street, FY1 5RJ (though some are meeting outside from 9am) This is of course rather worrying and not something I know how to prepare for... but as it has turned out, I couldn’t be in a better position to cope. Since sharing the news that the court wants me to pay £55,342.37 in court costs for an ‘eviction’ (that wasn’t as we’d already gone) in Summer 2014 of a 3-week camp in a field earmarked for fracking by Cuadrilla... the support, warmth, concern and pure humanity in messages, posts and hugs – has quite taken my breath away. Campaigners here in Lancashire with Frack Free Lancashire, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Plane Stupid, Occupy London, Reclaim The Power, Greenpeace UK and countless individuals and anti-fracking groups across the country have made clear their shared outrage and support – each recognised exactly what this is – an attack on our right to defend our communities and exercise peaceful protest. In other countries, honourable activists can be killed for what we do and often are – while we do have a semblance of democracy – I think we are beholden to make it work for us and to not allow this bullying that would sacrifice our rights and make us vulnerable in future to the whims of corporations seeking profit at risk to us. So the court wants me to explain why no money has been paid (I actually really can’t as I am very poor and without assets)... but I find the question is pointless. What point my bringing in financial excuses when my real problem is that I WILL NOT pay criminals, or contribute in any way to harm. What that means for my case is I believe that I will be in 'contempt of court' - I though believe that the corporate abuse of our legal system is ‘contempt of justice’. Lovely people have offered to crowd-fund but I truly think this is the wrong way to go – it sets a precedent and means that we will face this situation time and again as they break us financially and eat up our valuable time in courts and prisons. I am really fortunate to have been a travelling activist in this fight to keep the UK frack-free... so my network is broad and I know, kind and supportive. But I know many who work harder... on front lines at camps, slowing trucks, writing endless Freedom of Information requests, arranging events, sorting transport and function rooms, digesting thousands of pages of reports and researching in every spare moment – not all activists though could get the support I know is there because they aren’t as visible... so what for them if this cost is paid? We should NOT contribute in any way – directly or indirectly by submitting to their ‘authority’ and ability to use our laws to their advantage. Why is the law not working to our advantage? Why can’t we get it to move quickly on behalf of our movement? What recourse and access realistically do any of us have? We can’t win if law and ‘justice’ is based on ability to pay for lawyers – they will always have more A dear friend and fellow activist - George Brown - has kindly set up an event for any who can make it on the day... to make clear - WE WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED. The event is 'I am Tina Rothey' - rather like 'I am Spartacus'... a bit uncomfortable to have my name as a focus but I understand the purpose and see it more as ‘I am you’ rather than you are me if you see what I mean. They bankrupted Ian Rowland Crane, hit young activists with fines they can’t hope to raise with ease and are ruining future prospects for activists younger than myself who may one day want a mortgage or the freedom to travel and be employed without having to mention time spent in jail. I really don’t have much to lose... and have already gained so much in warm friendship and solidarity. If you can make it for what will likely be a quite short court appearance, that would be great... if not, then perhaps if you could share online to expose this abuse of OUR laws to support an industry that has to bully its way into our lives, that would be lovely. Thank you. #DontFrackJustice #IamTinaRothery

Video from the field in 2014:

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Fracking taught us to dance...

Who knew, hey? Who knew that putting a toe across some line that marks where democracy-the-fantasy ends and reality begins... would lead where it does. Where simply disagreeing with a government plan, would create a conflict that would ravage years and expose the fallacy of ‘rights’. Activists have known I expect, for as long as there have been, Activists. The ones who noticed something amiss, something they felt they needed to challenge, protect, defend, question... but ‘Activists’ weren’t us. At least until the day we became them.

Over the years of eye-opening public meetings in communities across the country faced with the threat of fracking – I met people who were teetering – the ways of engaging with our system of government were failing them and they needed to access democracy. Government wanted to drive an industry into their lives that they point-blank refused to tolerate. What next? There’s no handy guide for this stuff. Councillors proved either toothless, sold-out or ignorant and those who had taken the time to look properly at the risks – were too few to impact. The media showed bias to government and industry and the regulators... weak, ill-informed, ill-equipped, understaffed and overburdened.

Everyone that became an activist ever... wasn’t one, the day before and there’s lots of people in that place now – either unaware or simply holding back with caution till more is known. We are all fed lies through slick PR & marketing campaigns, flogged things we really don’t need by smooth-talkers and led to believe a myriad of things that just aren’t true... is it any wonder we’re divided, conflicted and confused?

All talk is of the EU – in or out. How the hell can anyone be expected to make a decision this big – without access to honest facts, honest government, honest figures and a wise, human debate? We’re told to be afraid of all the outcomes and presented contradictory figures to support the tales. I feel like we’re being kept busy having conversations that can only be based on assumptions – as we know, facts are not what those in our government peddle, whichever side of the debate they’re on.

What a contrast to the fracking ‘debate’ – there isn’t one. The government says you’re having it and the other side of the story remains unexplored. Media blink our way, find the colourful, the unique, the emotional, the creative ones to present as the face of activism... ignoring those of us more dull round the edges, more everyday... thus perpetuating the ‘Activist aren’t you’ lie.

The minute I became an activist was somewhere around noon 15 October 2011 – at the entrance to London’s Stock Exchange. My first direct action. I sat for around 8 hours, as close as I could get to the place where we brought our anger. Our government had bailed out the banks and inflicted austerity on the people... targeting those most in need. I hadn’t encountered fracking at this stage and simply wanted to address the unfairness of things I was witnessing.
15 October 2011 - London Stock Exchange

Occupy was a unique place to become an Activist – probably couldn’t have asked for a better environment in which to learn, grow and most of all – place assumptions aside and forget about making judgements about others... individuals are rarely what they appear and in that place – I was constantly taken aback by the wisdom of strangers.

The greatest gift I took from Occupy was the discovery of a core inside people that is capable of uniting around a shared idea/hope/demand – regardless of all the things that otherwise drive us apart. Like taking one step together in unison at the start of a dance – there’s a moment (just before it all gets prematurely over-confident and a bit messy for a while) when the mass is moving as one in a single direction... like a murmuration of birds. It takes a lot of choreography to get even that one step and we’re a long way from executing a tango... but I believe the fight to defend air and water, has been a strong focus that brought many together who otherwise never would have met – let alone become ‘Activists’.

We may call it campaigning or community building – but this is activism. This is people standing up and saying very firmly NO... to those in office who wield the power. People discovering how little power WE have in this seemingly one-sided arrangement. Everything is fine if we just listen to the lies, tick the box, swallow the story and get distracted enough so we won’t notice them ignoring their promises and abusing the arrangement.

This activism though is easy... because the cause is very clearly stupid and a RIGHT NOW threat. Who the hell thought fracking was a great idea... let alone on a fractured, highly populated island? People ‘get it’ and so adding to our numbers has not been as much of a challenge as say those honourably standing to stop a runway, to keep our NHS in public hands, to stop nuclear dumping, to stop Trident or make education accessible – not everyone sees themselves as having a stake in those things or fully understands the issues and so there are more excuses to turn away... but EVERYONE needs clean, safe air and water – and so do their children.

We have some fine tools now that also weren’t available to earlier campaigns... able to undo media lies before they hit the News at 10... able to rally ourselves to events, arrange transport, send warnings, crowd-digest huge volumes of research and share the truth of what’s happening, as it’s happening - rather than the edited version shaped to fit some agenda.

Fracking is a dangerously stupid plan – preventing it though, has done a whole lot of good.

I’d describe fracking as a very big, ugly symptom of an underlying disease – like a huge boil that you can’t help but see the infection in... election fraud, bank bail-outs, BHS Pensions, privatisation of health and education, clearly biased media and so much more, are symptoms too but they are more rashy and harder to spot. The disease is the problem and forever fighting symptoms is still failing to address the cause.


Not sure how I’d name the disease... it’s not ‘democracy’ because that reads quite nicely and we’re not experiencing that – so what is the ‘system’ we live under? That we pay taxes to? That we entrust with the education of our children, our health, the wellbeing of our elderly, the care of what we need to survive? I’ve heard lots of names for the disease – but sometimes people are confused by their interpretation of the names... so maybe, for the sake of staying in-step with the dance... we try not to fuss about the label just yet – simply first acknowledge that it exists and what the next step is. 



Friday, 3 June 2016

Enough...

I don’t want to do this – it’s such a bloody time-consuming, life-eating thing... to object to the government’s plans to take risks with our air and water, based on economic considerations. I expect everybody else campaigning to protect our air and water feels this too.
I have tried to think of ways to not be doing this anymore and I can’t find any.
If I stop standing against my government and demanding a frack-free UK – that is the same as saying I am willing to risk the health and wellbeing of our children – or that I deny anything I know of the truth of this industry. That George Bender’s death wasn’t related to this or he imagined the things he shared. That Jessica Ernst isn’t really an educated and clever woman with vast expertise – nor Mariann Lloyd-Smith. That noting how Oklahoma has now become the earthquake capital of the world, going from two a year to two a day – is just being dramatic? Or that a need to use gagging orders, expensive lobbying firms, heavy-handed policing, bend laws and avoid the clean air and water act is not evidence of at the very least – a complete lack of transparency?
So no, there’s no way out.
The past five years should have been spent enjoying my granddaughter passing from a child of six to beautiful young girl of 11 but instead have been spent at roadsides, campsites, courtrooms, meetings, marches, rallies and events... that have admittedly taken me to some beautiful parts of our country and best of all – brought me into the company of people who I have so much respect for.
There is that... the beauty of people that makes the ugly of this industry bearable.
It doesn’t matter how well we know each other or even if we’ve met face-to-face, if you’re an activist/campaigner/active resident etc. I can safely say how much I appreciate and admire you because you got up – you didn’t sit back and accept the unacceptable. No matter who we have been – when we become this, we are united and have a common thread.
In the earlier days of this campaign I named a talk ‘The Unwelcome Gift’ because every time we did a public information event – I KNEW that we’d leave behind more people who just like us, would be stuck here in this absurd and horridly consuming campaign. I also knew that they would find it impossible to walk away once they started to discover the harms this industry would bring and perhaps worst of all – that our government was going to make it easy for them.
What happens next?
Well it’s been the most emotional and impactful few weeks of the past five years and it’s like everything got thrown in the air and has yet to land. I know we knew they would probably say yes to fracking in Yorkshire as they had a compliant Conservative council, a pre-existing (cheap & already drilled) site but still... deep deep down there was a tiny light of what once I called trust in justice and honour in office. Won’t make that mistake again – ever.
Not sure how we proceed and only have one certainty – that we DO proceed.
Realistically, no matter how much the media tries to stir the pot on ‘warfare’ talk and overplayed hype about us having a battle etc – we’re just regular people thrown out of our comfort zones and into the path of a juggernaut of a government mission fuelled by one of the most powerful industries in the world. Good grief. Nothing prepares a person for this I don’t think.
It’s like a showdown - only the ‘bad guy’ is wearing the Sheriff’s Badge and pretending to act for a greater good and we’re some terrifying threat to all that is sacred and wholesome about his economy. Sadly the people writing about these roles in old-world media, are using the same script that leads to some pretty ugly stuff ahead if it plays out their way. If it played out my way... there would be this moment where those in office realise that maybe facts matter more than self-service, that the ‘greater good’ is sometimes the health and wellbeing of the people – not the economic balance and that they are bound by office to prevent harm.
Apparently I’m one of the bad ones.
This really sucks. I am far far from perfect in so many ways but I am NEVER wilfully bad and NEVER intend harm... though I mess up lots of other things. Two ‘bailiffs’ (I was corrected by one today who said they are ‘process servers’) came looking for me during the past few weeks to remind me how bad I am and that there is a price to pay. Thanks to the lovely people on Facebook who impacted the Review section of the law firm Eversheds page (they actually removed the facility to review after their rating dropped low) – they finally responded to my email. I explained that I was happy to receive the papers demanding I attend court but that I would only receive them by arrangement and not at family fun days or events. We arranged to meet today and I took the papers.
I’ll be in Blackpool Law Courts on 24 June 2016
The court wants me to pay £55,342.37 in court costs for an ‘eviction’ (that wasn’t as we’d already gone) in Summer 2014 of a 3-week camp in a field earmarked for fracking by Cuadrilla here in the Fylde, Lancashire. I am the ‘Judgement Debtor’ now. I feel quite sick looking at the words. KNOWING that this ‘justice’ is not a thing of humanity or society as I know it. That it is POSSIBLE to attach a debt like this to a person who is standing to defend against harm. I know that this is done to make an example – to show that if you DO stand up, there is a price to pay and it’s really big.
A quandary...
So the papers want me to explain to court why I can’t pay (I actually really can’t as I am very poor and without assets)... but I find the question is pointless. What point my bringing in financial excuses when my real problem is that I WILL NOT pay criminals, or contribute in any way to harm. What that means for my case, I’m not sure and will look at legal advice over the weekend. I won’t have a lawyer though as their job is to get the client the lightest penalty – whereas my objective is to not contribute in any way to what I consider an abomination of a plan – directly or indirectly by submitting to their ‘authority’ and ability to use our laws to their advantage. Why is the law not working to my advantage? Why can’t I get it to move quickly on behalf of our movement? What recourse and access realistically do any of us have? I can’t win if the law and ‘justice’ is based on ability to pay for lawyers – they will always have more.
I’ve asked that no-one contribute to costs that in the end support the industry and their position – any support I would want would be by way of action against this industry... continued non-violent but direct action involving lobbying your MP, maybe supporting a camp, writing to journalists and local press, joining frack-free groups, attending events and public meetings, organising leaflet drops etc. Whatever action suits – all action counts and has contributed to the UK remaining frack free for five years now. Yay us...
Onwards...