Friday, 13 January 2017

Day 8 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 8 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people gathered under blue skies and sunshine for a day’s tally of only three vehicles entering the site and all were delayed and slow-walked. A portaloo, a generator and a road-sweeper were all that was delivered on this day of high winds that forced the moving-in of the fencing so that if it was blown down, it would fall within the coned-off area rather than the traffic.



Numbers are recovering now as residents numbering 30+ came and went according to availability and the honks of support, get louder and more numerous every day. Site building progress is slow and sluggish; all they’ve done in the 8 working days is to put in a temporary lightweight pathway and some portable toilets and cabins – the site-road suitable for the heavyweight trucks to eventually come, is not started yet.

Incompetence and arrogance are key characteristics of Cuadrilla sites here in Lancashire and the safety failings and traffic plan breaches that happen daily, can now contribute to the two outstanding legal challenges.  Today an ambulance was delayed at lights as the oncoming traffic had filled the single lane. 

Thankfully we usually have one or more Councillors amongst the Protectors and video and photographic evidence is being sent to Lancashire County Council’s Planning Department for investigation.

A new notice has appeared on site, it’s a ‘Method Statement’ produced by Cuadrilla for the Health & Safety Executive and Lancashire County Council and deals with the slow-walking. No-one had any input on this and as far as we’re concerned, it does not have any impact or power... especially as the road it names is not even this one (PNR is the A583 NOT the A538 in Cheshire).  We will continue as residents/Protectors to decide how each day goes, according to those who are there – whatever notices they put up. 




The terminology in the notice is rather specific and one of the Protectors who is a Psychologist, noted the way it seemed designed to imply consent or agreement – despite no-one being ‘consulted’. She also noted that the impact of the document could cause suspicion and division and was probably why it was written that way.

There is an interesting article that deals with the methods used to demonise protesters and stir internal division to break any growing unity - 5 Ways Powerful People Trick You Into Hating Underdogs - it is worth your time and says things I recognise like:

- If you can just convince them it's a competition, they'll spend all their energy hating each other and none of it trying to fix the system.

- Find an example of a successful member of the  group and exaggerate their power.

- Simply wait for a member of the activist group -- any member -- to commit a crime. Then the media will focus on the crime not the reason for the protest; because riots and broken glass make for even more exciting photos and videos than the demonstrations. The majority -- who fears crime and instability above all else -- will then associate the movement with violence from then on.

- Talk about how environmentalists are only in it for the money (in this case, Al Gore), and there you go -- soon you'll have common folks looking at rising gas prices and saying, "Thanks a lot, Greenpeace."

- By highlighting the silliest of complaints from a group, you inoculate the audience against any real complaints that might come along later. Because they're ridiculous complaints, they get all the coverage and become the face of the movement. And, as a result, no meaningful change will occur.

- With just a little nudge, the people - even the good people -- will do it (label the protesters as irrational freaks) themselves.

I mention this because throughout this campaign to keep the UK frack free (and before it at Occupy), I witnessed the way our unity was clearly the biggest threat to those in power  and how much was done to break it. Right now as we gather each day, we also witness the online provocation of those who don’t know enough about the situation or people involved, to know what is true.  It is easy though to find truth if you research the people involved, the behaviour they have exhibited over time and the possible motivations behind their involvement.

Enough though now of the down-side… the 8-day rollercoaster looks to have hit a nice pause as the residents’ groups were told the site would not operate tomorrow (it didn’t last Saturday either) – we’re not trusting this of course and have residents who will be there anyway and will call and post online if there is any movement. 

So back 9am Monday if nothing changes, please do join us for the roadside protest and/or the slow-walks. Expecting to start the week as we finished it and to respond to any changes as they come. We’re requesting somewhere for disabled parking as our elderly and less able bodied residents are struggling each day with the long walk and lack of a place to rest. Being hindered from the right to protest because of age or disability is unfair. Will update when the groups are told..

On a personal level I’m feeling the weight of the week like many others but there’s no way off this road and we’re here till we stop them. Thank you to the very many who do this stuff throughout the country and those who have only just joined us, it isn’t easy but it is essential.


Namaste x