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 façade 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