Sunday, 15 October 2017

6 Years On... "WHY OCCUPY?"

When I was little and I didn't want to do something... I'd sit, cross my legs, fold my arms firmly and simply stop until things changed 

This moment... give or take a minute... exactly 6 years ago is when I physically became an 'activist'. With hindsight ...this may not have been my wisest choice lol! But for all the pain, change and sacrifice... has been the gain, change and reward beyond imagining. The days serve a clearer purpose and the company of others who find themselves headed in this direction is (for the most part) - exceptional... a few anomalies make it terribly draining and difficult but even those serve as fascinating studies on how we interact, what rubs us wrong and the fact that there are some things individually we cannot even begin to tackle. I've also learned though that for all the things I can't do... there is a someone who can and does... that's the beauty of the most brilliant discovery of all - the actual purpose of diversity.

We live much that is 'homogenised' from identical high streets, to working patterns, standardised processes, predictable house design, crafted pathways without a risk of wandering off into unknowns... activism is the opposite of all that. I won't say it's a good life because it's one of facing ugly truths and threats but I believe it an essential choice because all that homogenisation came at a cost and made a mess that's impacting the very stuff of our survival - air quality, water safety and fertile soil.

A couple of days before Occupy London on 15 Oct 2011 outside London Stock Exchange (that ended up through police kettling, on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral)... I wrote about why I was doing it. The blog follows and having just re-read it for the first time for reasons of nostalgia - it's a relief to see that it still reflects my thoughts despite all that has happened since.

As for FRACKING? Well that turned out to be the easiest way to explain 'Occupy' - although I didn't realise it till later. It is symptomatic of the power of industry over government, the willingness to use force against democratic opposition, the inhibition of our human rights, the manipulation of laws for purpose other than justice, the bias of media, the purchasing away of the integrity of our academic institutions and the reckless disregard for individual humans when measured against the demands of the powerful.

What started at the feet of the police blocking our entry from the Stock Exchange... goes on and all that I do, I still consider to be 'Occupy' 

Blog entry FROM 2011:

But what do you hope to achieve?

On October 15th 2011 I will Occupy the London Stock Exchange

"But what do you hope to achieve?"

...I hope to achieve the breaking of a spell.

Those in power (who are abusing it) have only got away with it for so long because they didn’t hear us complain loud enough.

Those in power (who abuse it), imagine that we are so busy scrambling to make a life with the poor quality tools they provide – that we won’t have time to notice just how bloody fabulous life could be – if ‘we the people’ weren’t held in place by the 1% that has the power (and abuses it).

...I hope to achieve power by standing with others.

‘We the people’ are, in all areas of our lives, labelled and then divided by these labels. We are black, white, male, female, gay, straight, graduate, student, christian, muslim, public sector, private sector, yob, youth, unemployed, immigrant, foreigner, expatriate and all the rest.

These labels are used to divide us by the media representation of those labelled and by those in power who make laws based on highlighting the wrong in any one labelled group at any time. There are no good groups or bad groups, no right labels or wrong labels – just an ease of division.

BUT before my label I am first and foremost one of the people who inhabit this earth. I see this in every other human before I see their label and start working out what divides us. I hope we can hold ourselves to this one label so that our sameness unites us and we cannot be divided and conquered (again and again)

...I hope to achieve change.

I want the system of government to change; not just the party and the people. It is the way government abuses the power we give them with our votes and taxes that needs to change. The way politics and business are so entwined needs to change. The priorities of government need to change so they reflect the role as representative of the people and FOR the people - not banks, business, other governments etc. don’t know what this change looks like – but I know it shouldn't be so ugly.

I don’t have answers - I just have questions.

I don’t have solutions – but I have a starting point along with others from the 99% who are stifled by the abuse of power by the 1%.

And I have hope - because I am with those who:
#OccupyWallStreet #OccupyOregon #OccupyBoston#OccupyToronto #OccupyLeeds #OccupyCanada#OccupyAtlanta #OccupyTheHood#OccupyPittsburgh #OccupyPhoenix#OccupyDameStreet #OccupyDublin#OccupySydney #OccupyManchester#OccupyLondon #OccupyLSX #OccupyTucson@occupytaipeitw @occupystaugust @OccupyUP @OccupyWSaParis @occupyseaside #occupywallstreet #takethesquare #otw and so many more too numerous to list.


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Bruises at Bedtime...

Just said goodnight to an 85 year old friend who is currently checking her bruises before bed… 

Today for Anne Power– was a sharp contrast to the day before when she sat next to me at the Green Party Conference to be honoured as a ‘Green Hero’ (video: ) for her dedicated and on-going activism for humanity and its future. Anne is quite literally a powerhouse of a woman who is loved and admired by all who know her. She stands strong in her activism against injustice and the reckless harms being done to the stuff of our very survival – our air, our water, our soil and ultimately, all our children’s futures.

The bruises she is checking for were inflicted by police officers outside the fracking site on Preston New Road in Lancashire. Video footage is available
and here:
that will help you see the events in context. She caused no danger, did no harm and was entirely peaceful and yet, she was lifted from her stool and literally dragged, with no support for her feet… across this broad road. Anne uses a stick to walk and a stool to rest and yes, she is feisty and ferociously dedicated but she is always peaceful, eloquent, polite and intelligently analytical – she knows her rights and the laws better than those who handled her like a rag doll today.

Anne retains the honour dignity and strength that her character commands - and those who grabbed at her gentle skin, pulled at her arms till they bruised, caused her shoes to slip with the dragging and dumped her back down – forfeited their humanity today. They should not rest well tonight as sickness and self-loathing should surely overwhelm them from the pit of their stomachs. I cannot conceive of what it takes, what depths you must reach inside – to put on a uniform and manhandle gentle people whose bodies have journeyed long and have fragility.

Each week we have a ‘Call for Calm’ on Wednesdays – women dressed in white conduct a silence at these gates where so much anguish, violence, frustration and anger have played out since 5th January 2017 when Cuadrilla arrived against our Council or community’s wishes. This week will be our Women's Call 12 walk up to the gates to again call for a re-set point in the week – where we stand as the absent mothers and grandmothers of those on this road who cause violence – to call for calm amidst the tensions. It is worth noting that there have been NO incidents of violence BY campaigners on this road – all incidents that have happened have been during police actions.

This week will be hard. Anne is with us each Wednesday and the epitome of what we seek to achieve. I type with tears for my friend – although she’ll say she doesn’t need them and that she’s fine… I know she will pick herself up, dust herself down and simply keep on doing the things that vitally need doing. So maybe I’ll cry for me or for any of the others in this long battle to protect ourselves from harm in a country with a government that shoves it down our throats. I’ll cry instead for the pain and suffering we each endure, each time the police flex their muscles; I’ll cry instead for the lost time that we’ll never get back because this eats it all and I’ll cry because we have to do it at all – that everyday people have to become extraordinary beings in order to keep their children safe from harm – delivered courtesy of their own government.

The night before, at dinner… Anne popped on her tiara from when the Nanas went to Buckingham Palace to implore the Monarch to act more like a concerned grandma and stop the lunacy of fracking… it was a great night and the conference for Anne as well as me, had been hugely inspirational and uplifting… that this is the day that followed not and never will be the actions or dictates of a lawful government or reflective of civilised society.

I do not understand how we can define the world about us anymore - it is alien to all that is natural. I know though that I stand on the right side of the street and I stand with honour because I stand with Anne 

*Beautiful image courtesy of Ros Wills

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Prayer Assembly at PNR 04-10-17

Love the way today went.. from the beautiful start with Women's Call 11 - through to this amazing experience brought by those of faith who came, honoured the Protectors and stood in solidarity, peace and determination with us - the 45 minute video is worth your time... words, songs and glorious people all 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Scotland Bans Fracking

“Fracking cannot and will not take place in Scotland”
-Scottish Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse

Summary article linked from the ever-reliable and independent Drill Or Drop?​ - this from the comments sums it up well:

[Fantastic news – congratulations to Scotland for standing up to the oil and gas industry and protecting its citizens. And for all the pro-frackers out there, note that this decision was taken after a thorough review of the current evidence, so please let’s have no more ‘there is no evidence anywhere that fracking is bad’ nonsense. If only the UK government would stop relying on heavily-selective five-year-old reports and review the mountain of current evidence, as Scotland have done, then they may well come to the same conclusion.

Now England is surrounded by countries that either have a permanent ban (Ireland, Scotland, France) or moratoria (Wales, Northern Ireland). And with only 16% of the British public supporting fracking (according to the latest Government WAVE survey), and over 99% of respondents to the KM8 application in Ryedale opposed it, there is clearly no social licence for fracking in the UK either. I can hear the sound of investors phoning their brokers to divest from this unwanted, unsafe and unnecessary industry as I type …]​

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Stockport Stones...

Each meeting I go to, people express a wish to show solidarity with Protectors at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest and a sadness that they cannot be with us when they so support all that is being done - but life, work, children, mortgages, bills, responsibilities, health etc. make it impossible to realistically expect all who wish they could - to somehow find a way to join us....

Recently on a #CallForCalm Wednesday, the women brought small stones with messages on that were placed at the verges to the side of the site entrance - at one point when I was being arrested. I looked down at my feet and there they were... it was strangely comforting and calming; a sense of all of us who come and do what we can. The image here is of this evening's 'Stockport Stones'... each with a name or message.

They're to be taken to PNR and placed with the others, to represent those who would be with us if they could. Think we could encourage others to get there little stones to us and we can begin to see a mountain grow - certainly I'll be asking each time I do meetings now 

It was a wonderful warm welcome at the Stockport Green Party meeting this evening - many thanks to all who came and especially to organiser Camilla Luff who went above and beyond the call by not only getting me back and forth from station and organising stones into a jar... but provided a delicious meal and hospitality too (I may self-invite to a future date lol!) 

*Big grrrrr though to awful rail travel - just 2 coaches on one train that should have been six, we were all so close we merged into one blob of passenger... a cancellation of another train that meant hanging around an extra hour late at night... and finally a bus replacement service - we really need more civilised public transport 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Tonight... Stockport x

Delighted to be heading off to this later...... huge thanks to Camilla Luff and all at Stockport Green Party for the generous invitation 
We'll be talking about communities and how we face up to threats together. Overcoming our differences to stand united is not always easy but is essential if we are to keep our families safe from the risks brought by industrialisation, fracking, loss of local democracy and more. Becoming 'active' brings up all sorts of issues… including women's rights, media bias, our own social judgements and what is this thing we call ‘democracy’ in reality. I genuinely believe though that we all end beautifully because I have seen the power of neighbours becoming a community that stands together. Activism is often tough and can be soul-destroying - but the gains, are immeasurably greater than the losses. 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Sunday's Tale... The Dis-embrace

What did you do in the great war mummy?

Ah I worried and worried my love
Feared for what would come if the attack was not stopped
But you were so young
You needed me near and so
…I stayed close
Closed the doors
Locked out the sound of alarm
And ensured that we… came to no harm.
In that time when we were lost
Separated from truth by chosen ignorance
It would knock, shout at the windows, try to come in through the cables and webs

Ah but I was too good at weaving our space my love...wrapping you in a warm embrace of what felt like normal, what seemed like home – what was our only-known way. Beyond the door lurked certain danger, certain harm, certain ugly reality that would ensure an uncertain future – and I was so scared. All I wanted was to keep you safe but the attack was all too soon, on all sides.

It was when your asthma could no longer be managed at home and the hospital visits became all too frequent; when bottled water doubled in price and became invaluable; when George’s farm went bankrupt because his herd were too close to the poisons that were seeping into our air, our water and our soil… that we could no longer hide.

That’s when we rose my love to face truths and see the world for what it had become at the hands of the industries that pillaged it, spilled toxins carelessly into it and cut corners and mountain tops to get every last bit of it - under the sleepy eye of weakened, impotent regulators who whispered only gentle concern or when things went bad… something about ‘lessons learned’

Those who claimed ‘authority’ were exposed to be the despicable, callous, inhumane, uncaring swine-at-a-trough that they’d become – none with power in those houses of ‘academics, law and state’ were fit for offices where they’d contemplate the value of economic growth versus the insurance claims on the dead. Pontificating on how to mitigate fallout from increased miscarriages and grief, that would otherwise bleed profit from shareholders; hemorrhaging their precious hopes and dreams of bigger, better, brighter, bolder, more Porsche-infested futures.

I’d see news and even knew some, who’d grabbed truth by the hand and walked with it sooner – the ‘activists’.  I’d feared them almost as much as the industries that were surrounding us and pounding the land night and day till there was no rest in us… those uniformed for ‘law’ had roughly handled many into vans and through court systems, imposing fines and sentences, tarnishing reputations and painting a picture of ‘crimes’. Our minds had been set to perceive the good and the bad, the cowboy black hats or white and the disconnect – was hard to handle. 

If the people with the truth were in courts, prisons and police hands then what measure, what value, what worth was being given to ‘truth’ and how do we define 'criminal behaviour'? The papers too used words to make shapes that seemed black and white and yet there were seepages of footage from industrialised places that were grey. I wondered if any of the black and white history of my life had ever been real anyway… friends, enemies, good, bad, healthy, unhealthy, right, wrong, right, left – did the papers ever tell truth’s side of the story? Truth seemed to have been outcast from this pillar too.

When we came to be with the ‘activists’ it was as if walls literally came crumbling down – divides between us, separators that kept us apart; the marks of our positions, colours of our robes and skins…. prioritised down to nothing as we stood arm in arm with truth and divined – the only way through this was to be kind and if we could not do this one thing - we would fail our children and gift them the uncertainty by which we were now defined.

The great war was no war at all really my love… it was a great re-shuffle, a sorting and a time of great revelations that brought forth the emergence of truth in all its naked, raw, flawed, powerful, unfinished beauty – when we faced that – then we could face each other and the road ahead...

Saturday, 2 September 2017

To Get to the Other Side...

1st September 2017:
The police chose to unlawfully limit our movements at the entrance area of the Cuadrilla fracking site (under development since January) on Preston New Road (A583 between Kirkham & Blackpool) - preventing anyone from stepping onto the traffic island or crossing the road to the verge. There were no actions taking place and no clear answer was given when we asked 'Why?'. This has not happened before and as we've been gathering at this place since 5th January 2017 - it was clearly an escalation and abuse of power by the police.

As I've done many many times in these past 8 months, I chose to cross the road at various points and get onto the safe verge - no risk, no harm, no issues - yet each time, I was confronted by strong, wide police officers barricading, pushing, lifting, placing, manipulating and controlling my movements.

That brute force would win the day is a serious assault on our rights, our safety and freedom - and sets a dangerous precedent that cannot be tolerated. IF this went unchallenged... it would appear to be our acceptance and could allow the scene to be repeated on Monday morning and beyond... and then what? Further limitations and restrictions 'for our safety'? We are being effectively kettled/penned into a space of the police's choosing and that is a police state of affairs..

After my arrest and charge with 'willfully obstruction a police officer', I was offered the opportunity to accept a 'caution' but as that would involve lying (ie: I would have to say I was guilty of something) - I opted instead for truth and will attend a brief court appearance to make a plea of 'NOT guilty' on 10th October.

The honourable Protectors I have the privilege to spend my days with ...will NOT be tolerating these restrictions and I look forward to being 'on the other side' on Monday morning... join me? x

Tina Rothery fracking interview

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Day 139 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 139 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people ride the waves of empowerment and hope and fall victim to the tides of violence and anguish in varying measures. We’re tossed between disbelief that THIS is actually the state of democracy and the awareness that we can’t fail or so much crumbles with us… safe air and water, good agricultural land, a community identity, the health of our people, the respect of our children, a voice in our lives and so much more. This is a stand for sanity to win out over ‘the economy’ and for us to make our system of government face up to its recklessness. Day 138 was a thing of beauty and wisdom, where the genuine TRUTH of our movement shone bright… day 139 was an abomination of our rights, an assault on our persons and proof positive that we really are now in no-man’s land, down a rabbit hole, up a creek and yet somehow, through all this… becoming a kaleidoscopic mass of beauty by diversity and stubborn determination.

So it is that we face our days never knowing what they will bring, only the certainty that at 6:30pm there will be a meal at the Community Hub, that we will find each other more often now in kindness and empathy and that no-one can ever really go home for good but that little breaks matter. Some days are pure hell with nothing but aggressive policing, snarling security and uncertainty over what new toxins are emerging from the growing monstrosity of the forming frack site… other days (currently Mondays & Wednesdays), we feel what it would be like to live in wiser times… where the community can come together to oppose the obvious risks of this industry and not be assaulted for doing so.

Day 138 was the Anti-Fracking - Second 'Green Monday'! - where green/enviro/eco groups come to the roadside at Preston New Road to speak their reasons and make voices heard. The event was beautiful and after speeches, inadvertently ended up with what was set to be a group photo… resulting in at least 60 of us sitting down within the entrance-way to the site (completely off the road) and holding the space till the end of day at 6:30pm. We did this purely peacefully; singing, chatting and feeling the effect of non-violent direct action in practice. Work stopped and we remained without road closure due to our activities and without incident – our single aim (to stop work at the site) was met and it was a day that was good to be part of. The police behaved professionally and no action by them was required as no crimes were being committed.

Today I woke to an entirely different scene… 

...the police gathered outside the entrance to the Community Hub at Maple Farm to hold us in place as a convoy passed – they always do this to ensure no-one tries to exercise articles 10 & 11 of the Human Rights Act and use non violent direct action to protest. This morning was particularly aggressive one small woman apparently approached a delivery vehicle and I witnessed the police chase her into the entrance of Maple Farm. They caught her and threw her to the stony-gravel ground with the weight of the officers on her tiny back pressing her down. Naturally those around her rushed in defense – NONE applying violence, only shouts; stronger male Protectors were tousled with by the large number of police. The scene was ugly, disproportionate and a complete mess of policing – no control, no order, no attempt at dialogue – just out and out brutality and tragically, a vile sense of pleasure in some of the police faces.

This contrast I try to weigh up… the way GREEN MONDAY went and how today went. We also have events on Wednesdays – the one in the morning is our 5th and we call them the ‘Women’s Call For Calm’ – we dress in white and form a silent vigil for 15 minutes at the police line before each telling our story of why we’re here. This too is a good day where newcomers feel safer to join us and policing so far has been as it should be – reasonable, respectful, professional and facilitating both peaceful protest and the safety of all involved in the area from road users to workers and Protectors… the differences that mark these ‘set days’ as opposed to days without plan are: numbers – we have at least 70+ on Mondays and Wednesdays which makes policing us more challenging… and the other difference (and I think it’s maybe the key one) is demographic… our police do not so easily lunge to violence when the people before them are the retired midwives, professors, choir masters, teachers, Councillors and business people of the community. This fact shows bias and is an awful reality that results in countless injuries and needless cruel arrests of wonderful people who have given their all to stop this industry.

I don’t know how we fix any of this… only that we must. Fracking is an ugly symptom of far greater problems but in tackling it… we expose them; the corruption in government that serves industry at the expense of people’s health and wellbeing – media lies/disinformation and arrogant disregard of the very real news we experience but never get to see on TV – the myth of local government as we see it exposed as impotent in the face of Westminster commands – the abuse of our public services including the police who we see used as an extension of industry security team and with an agenda that puts daily quotas of work at a frack site, above and beyond the safety of the people who oppose it.

This ugly business is draining but thankfully these beautiful Protectors are sustaining. See you at the roadside? 

Women's Call 5
 — with Rebecca Fitton.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Green Mondays... the first

If you care about the environment, wildlife and our communities -
then 'Green Mondays' is the perfect day to be at the Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest - today is the first of these events that sees green campaigners from all walks of life, coming together to say NO to fracking here in Lancashire - or anywhere.
Honorary Nana and (since the start) anti-fracker Natalie Bennett is joining us again at the roadside for this first event. Please join us if you can for hot drinks and snacks from 10am at Preston New Road Community Action Hub - then up the road to the site.
The press release is here:
Members of environmental movements across the North West are joining forces today to keep up peaceful pressure on both the shale gas industry and the government by bringing in more people to stand in protest at Cuadrilla’s fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire.
’Former Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, who will today speak at the launch of ‘Green Mondays’.said:
"I'm disappointed to be having to make my third visit to the Preston New Road site. The public of Lancashire, indeed the UK public, have made it very clear that they do not want fracking. Lancashire County Council said no, the protectors on site, working day and night for months in the face of aggressive policing, have said fracking must not happen here, yet still Cuadrilla is throwing its shareholders money into a project that doesn't have community consent.”
Liz Stanton of Greenpeace Preston said:
“Greenpeace are joining with other anti-fracking groups to try and stop Cuadrilla from fracking Lancashire. It has not brought employment to Lancashire, it won't bring our energy prices down, but it will damage our environment. We need to look to the future and make sure our energy is clean. Renewable, clean energy has brought jobs to the northwest, it makes energy more affordable and its clean!”
Dot Kelk of Friends of the Earth - Central Lancashire, UK said:
“Fracking - the unconventional and risky extraction of shale gas and oil - poses a serious threat to our world’s climate, and to local environments and communities. Catastrophic and abrupt climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity, and extreme weather events are already having an impact in the UK and around the world. To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, the world needs to stop burning fossil fuels as fast as possible.”
Gina Dowding (Lancashire County Councillor) said:
“Our voices have not been listened to, so it's now time to take action with our bodies. Being at the site demonstrates our strength of feeling against this toxic industry, and reminds the company and the Government that the community will not roll over."
The ‘Green Mondays’ idea follows on from the month-long Rolling Resistance protests organised by Reclaim The Power throughout July. As a result of the protests which have been taking place since January – works at the site are currently five months behind schedule.
Natalie Bennett added
"The Green Party has supported anti-fracking campaigns from the start, and the campaigns have been highly successful in preventing the start of an industry whose existence is indefensible on climate change, safety and wellbeing, and economic grounds. We, and the protectors, are also championing the alternatives - community-owned renewables and energy efficiency, which create business opportunities, jobs and energy security."

Monday, 7 August 2017

Carnivals, Lock Ons & Myths...

We at the roadside have become the ugly, twisted face of a community wracked and worn, torn and scarred by the brutality of an industry determined to overcome our wisdom, over-power our obligation to protect our children and over-write our cultural and community identity – manipulating perception of us as wild, reckless, wanton and hell bent on violent encounters. We are the peaceful and caring mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, the grandparents, teachers,, pharmacists, students, pensioners of this land – we look as we do, act as we do and respond as we do because we’re terrified at what comes, astonished at how un-protected and vulnerable we actually are and angry – so very very angry. Thoughts or actions no longer spared on caring as much about tidy hair, appropriate actions and behavioural norms… these things pale to insignificance, drift like an iron ball to the bottom of the list of priorities as we protect our young.

We question what is ‘lawful’ as opposed to what is essential or moral… we stare into the eyes of the police and no longer know if we should tell our children to find one if they’re lost… we look to the media and see storytelling that is so removed from the reality before our eyes – and it all crumbles… the whole fa├žade of life as it’s been presumed. Democracy ignores the wishes of the people, the ‘news’ is spun from press releases by invested parties, Councils are a folly – powerless toothless tigers with no ability to stand for the communities they are elected to represent.

Seven months at the gates of hell on Preston New Road in Lancashire, six years of opposing the threat as drills keep prodding the flesh of our country and millennia of mankind getting us to this state of being – where fossil fuels are worth more than our children, where the ‘powerful’ can bubble-wrap themselves in our ‘forces’ to prevent us getting a chance to defend ourselves. I find it so hard to accept the scenes that unfold daily here – where police goad Protectors – their job is to protect and maintain safety NOT antagonise and raise temperatures. Professionalism is another one to add to the list of myths.

So much has been done in these past 7 months of Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest and we were gifted an outstanding July with the help of Reclaim The Power month of actions; we are now in a place of transition – there’s currently a void and if we don't fill it with determined, clear and good intent - I fear what will come instead. We have choices to make about what we each do next and how we do it – many ideas are flying and groups preparing to join us… please be one of those people because the thing we've found at this roadside - is that our numbers can bring work to a halt on site; without the need for other tactics that put us in harm’s way... a carnival works as well as a war here and is much more encouraging to bring others to join us.

BUT… the roadside is NOT the only story, the Police vs. the Protectors is NOT the story – this story is about how big industry can convince our government to adopt it, even when evidence abounds that it will bring harm to the people that government serves. THAT’S the story. This is an error of system and fracking is a huge and obvious symptom… the frackers just do what they do to profit, the police just do what they do for wages, the security the same… but the government – now that’s a whole different evil.

This is not a battle that will be won solely at the gates – it never has been... in fact it’s not a physical battle that will succeed – even though that aspect plays a part. Reaching out and engaging other residents and groups all over the country, is a huge role that is played by many and the reason we have gone from no awareness of fracking just over 6 years ago – to a point where all regions have resistance groups, all main parties except Conservatives are opposed, all Unions except GMB oppose, the NGOs are with us and the power of our movement is undeniable… that was outreach. Then there’s all sorts of other work going on by members of our movement with legal challenges, alliances with renewable initiatives and transition groups, faith and spiritual acts, work to get pensions out of the companies that bring the harm and work with Councils to get them to stand up and help us get Government to back off. What we see daily - is a mere fraction of the work of our vast and very beautiful movement here in the UK and across the world.

Fighting police is futile – they merely cushion Cuadrilla from the blows… fighting Cuadrilla is possible through their finances as we delay them, cost them and turn-off their investors and supply chain… but the ultimate goal must surely be to tackle our own system of government that says yes to all that is happening and at stake.
There are many ways to help… impacting media misrepresentation by writing to complain, lobbying MPs and Councils to get answers about the risks of fracking, joining a local group that's trying to stop fracking or advance alternatives, visiting camps and sites where fracking companies have arrived and helping out with food, banners, actions etc, looking out for events to join, getting some leaflets (Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland - Greenpeace UK - local anti-frack groups can supply) and sharing the information with neighbours, in shopping centres, at clubs etc. - finding what role in this movement, works for each of us - is what will bring success 



Honouring Nanas everywhere on the 3rd anniversary of the taking of the field... we needed to raise awareness for local residents of just how close it was to their homes and it worked. Much happened before this and much since but for me... this remains the most emotional of memories. Seeing our much missed Karen Merritt  at 3:28 - so wish she was here 

Friday, 4 August 2017

To walk away, means certain harm to our children.

To all at the anti-fracking actions on Preston New Road in Lancashire... we've faced this situation time and again for 6 years as evidenced in this beautiful memory showing the welcome from residents of Balcombe Protectors at BALCOMBE COMMUNITY PROTECTION CAMP.
Misinformation in the press, agitators sent by PR companies to divide us, challenges never before encountered and the mass of us that is comprised of all sorts of people from all sorts of places, with all sorts of ways - we're a kaleidoscope of humanity and not all our patterns fit at first... we all get frazzled and burned out at times as we pass through anguish... to the final acceptance that this is not a short, sharp win - it's a battle on many fronts that is relentless and sadly - inescapable. To walk away, means certain harm to our children. BECAUSE... "to walk away - means CERTAIN harm to our children"... we're stuck and growing and UNstoppable - regardless of what we face along the way

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Where do we go from here?

We can’t stop this industry by just locking-on or jumping on trucks – BUT we don't stand a chance at all, if we don’t take direct action. Since fracking companies started threatening our communities over 6 years ago… we have fought in courts, council chambers, in MP’s surgeries, at supplier premises, through community groups, at public meetings the length and breadth of the country, in the press, through our planning procedures and always with just one weapon – a little bucket of truth. And we’ve succeeded in halting the progress to fracked gas production – there is still no fracking in the UK. Right now though, the situation has become critical as fracking companies seek to use both brutal force and legal process to keep our honourable Protectors from their absolute duty to the children of our communities… NOW it matters more than ever before, that each of us do all we can in our own way, to increase the power of our movement.

Every one of us is an autonomous volunteer and that’s important – no-one should do anything they’re not ready to do and all have something to contribute. The volunteers who cook the meals, welcome the visitors, provide a cuppa and a blanket, clean the toilets, provide happy places for the children, help with media interviews, create banners, play music, perform a ritual etc. are every bit as vital to our movement as those doing the direct actions. If you’re not able to stand on a truck or put bits of your body in a tube… no worries – come cut a courgette, stir a stew, tell the children a story, make a banner, wave a banner or simply (yet crucially) bear witness to all this and contribute by sharing our little bucket of truth.

Where do we go from here… 
...reading across the networks there is a beautiful sense of urgency that is needed and it matters that this urgency touches all of us and not solely the communities under immediate threat… whether you’re from the Outer Hebrides or the Isle of Wight, this is your fight too because air and water is everyone’s business.

I’m reading groups that are talking about ‘adopting a day’ either each week regularly or on set dates, brilliant news – although actions by autonomous individuals and groups can occur at any time on any day, having a regularity and certainty of numbers on as many days as possible WILL make the difference. Posts and emails are being made and sent to get people to Preston New Road so that eventually, every day has a ‘certain something’ about it no matter what else is going on. Already, environmental groups, NGOs, the Green Party and Unions are making plans about which days they can support and so too are the visitors from our wiser neighbours (already with moratoriums and bans on fracking) from Ireland, Wales & Scotland. If your group wants to ‘adopt a day’ or then please just do it. Create an event and share it, email your friends, bring your gran... maybe have a theme if you're a group or maybe just be yourself.. 

Central organising doesn’t happen in a horizontal movement comprised of determined individuals who self-elect to volunteer to do this… it helps to have the PNR Community Hub and camps for points of information collection and sharing but really – just come, do your thing and when it’s done… come back and do it again whenever you can.

There is no agency or official body fighting for us – we’re all we have and we need each other very much 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Dear Prime Minister...

Sent to Theresa May
Dear Prime Minister,
About the fracking of our country – we really need to talk. Currently there is a daily nightmare unfolding on Preston New Road in Lancashire; relieved only by the beauty of watching a community come together in defense of its young. For more than six years now your party has sought to inflict this dangerous industry on innocent residents and for more than six years now, those residents have pulled together and grown and stopped you every step of the way.
Each year the industry promises ‘full production within the year’ and each year I mark another that the UK remains frack free. You have gifted this industry subsidies and tax breaks as well as adapting laws to fit this industry’s needs. You have walked all over local democracy where councils said no and worked with clearly manipulative reports to fake safety. You are a disgrace and positively criminal in what you are willing to do to us and our children.
It’s NOT WORKING! We aren’t going to give up or give in – we read the same evidence that all those other more wise governments did that then banned it. What are you ignoring, that they saw… and why? Day in day out I have journeyed these years of resistance and seen your government flounder at every turn – whilst we flourish in ever greater number, beautiful creativity and strengthened bonds. You are not one for plans it seems so I see the pointlessness of this question regarding our situation in Lancashire right now… that’s been going on since 5th January 2017.

What’s the plan then?

We keep jumping on the trucks, blockading the routes, gaining support with wide-reaching campaigns and non-violently clawing back our right to peaceful protest and you? Via your police force, you dangerously run the trucks ever faster to evade us, throw more and more police into our blockades to tear us from them, use trained police as body-guards for trucks and security guards for gates (no wonder you didn’t approve a payrise for them – you don’t value them) and continue to find ways to make our lives ever more difficult with countless, pointless (soon to be thrown out of court) arrests – more restrictions on parking to keep us further from where we need to be and deny the right of those less able to reach us. You force propaganda through the old-world press (thankfully we counter with alternative media). As plans go – this one really sucks.

So really… let’s talk about a Plan B.

Tina Rothery