Friday, 31 March 2017

#OsborneMustGo... I'll get your coat George

Brick walls at the end of every street that’s supposed to lead to ‘democracy’ …That’s what brings people to activism; the lack of other ways to be heard and to have our say.




I reached my own personal enough-is-enough moment in 2011 and took a tent to St Pauls for Occupy London. I didn’t want to engage with the system – I wanted to make it stop. Years of aggressive wars, the bank bailout that coincided  with cuts to disability allowances, the state of our healthcare and sneaky attempts to privatise it bit by precious bit – all this and so much more had finally brought me to a halt. The system had to change, even if I had no idea or plan for what next.

After Occupy London I returned North to find the urgency of the fight to keep our country frack-free; an immediate danger that could not be ignored and represented the recklessness of the government’s pursuit of industry without adequate concern for the people and our wellbeing. Over the years in that movement with the Lancashire Nanas and our many allies, I have witnessed the immense power, honour, passion and determination of the most diverse range of people I could ever have hoped to meet. We don’t all see eye-to-eye, but we stand shoulder-to-shoulder facing the same target. For six years, the frackers have done everything to get a production site going and failed… there is no shale gas production in the UK and fracking has only taken place in April 2011 in Lancashire. Test sites are as far as they’ve got but things are changing rapidly 

In 2015 I dipped into the world of politics, running for the Green Party against George Osborne in Tatton. It was a safe Conservative seat and the independent Martin Bell was the only non-Tory who had ever won there - but running was a chance to challenge and learn.  I wanted to understand the process and to challenge George. Much was eye-opening and much pretty soul-destroying (I blogged about it at the time).

Mostly I realised just how rigged the system is, keeping certain types of politicians and ways of business safe and excluding much that seeks to question it. Our votes are not equal, our voting system is illogical and the outcomes unsatisfactory for the majority. Even if you get the Party you chose, they cand and do renege on their promises and get away with it. We try to remember what they did next time the little box waits for our mark – but we get overwhelmed, distracted, fatalistic, dismayed by the options… and the cycle repeats. 

I was reminded of that run against George when he took his fourth job as Editor of the London Evening Standard a couple of weeks ago. He was barely able to make the public meetings for the election due to his hectic schedule, he rarely sets foot in the Tatton area as it is… and now all the lovely Tatton voters I got to meet are getting their MP on an extreme part-time basis.

He made promises to them and I heard him. I watched him act the part, and I watched the audiences hope he just might deliver on this phony sincerity. He hasn’t and it’s clear, he won’t. It’s such a blatant thing too isn’t it? Right out in the open and declaring he can be all things to all people in all places… a Northern Powerhouse master, Champion of the people of Tatton, London Editorial Guru and debonaire after-dinner speaker on the world circuit – “What a man!” –but he’s not. He’s really not.



Since the news of his new job, I have been talking with others who feel the same rage at this clearly wrong situation and the way the people of his constituency are disregarded in all this. Over 190,000 people signed a petition in no time, calling for George to ‘Pick a Job’ and a poll in Tatton showed 57% of his constituents felt the same way. 

I think the people I met deserve better - so I am working with others to challenge George to step down as an MP. We’ve started a campaign to get information to Tatton voters as well as events and media, to make sure that even if he does only pop by for a moment – that George knows that he can’t pretend it’s all ok in Tatton. It’s not. He needs to step aside and let the voters of Tatton have an MP that will serve them with honour and dedication.

There is a bigger picture here. Our system of government does not resemble any definition of democracy I know – it’s as if ‘government’ is a fa├žade painted to look like something for the people but in reality, step inside, look at the lobbyists and the revolving door between industry roles and ministerial positions. Logic says that the vast majority of people would aim for a system that strives toward enabling us to lead happy, healthy lives and not do harm to others… ours appears to aim for the opposites.  The system is good at serving industry – easing the burden of regulations, manipulating laws, bargaining trade deals and showing favour to big money – whilst tightening the belts around ordinary people and cutting services we depend on.

This is too obvious, too intrusive and too unfair to continue. We were forced to bail out banks yet what we need is an energy bailout, a people bailout, a healthcare bailout, an education bailout… The system severely cuts funding and causes the good stuff to break – then along comes some commercial enterprise to pick it up at a rock-bottom price. 

Today in Lancashire, a vast fracking site is under construction despite the local Council saying NO to planning and huge, vocal public opposition. Westminster saw fit to take the decision away from our county and over-ruled us. Every day since 4th January 2017, the people have stalled work, slowed deliveries and stood in defiant protest to stop this… and they will not go home. Across the country, communities feel the same and yet our government chooses to ignore us, ignore peer-reviewed warnings from reputable scientists and ignore the growing wave of bans in France, New York, Victoria and countless other places.

The fight to stop shale gas production is urgent; our health and that of our children is at stake, along with the safety of our water and air. I wish this wasn’t the way I spend my life. But there is no exit door from protecting our children, and so we go on. The fight doesn’t end till it stops. The lessons and gifts of this are that you realise how many feel the same and how much they are willing to put into standing their ground. Activists have endured so much and put ourselves through hugely demanding situations and endured unfair hardship as a result of having to do this… because our government doesn’t value our community’s health or our children’s futures as we do. There is no agency helping us, it is ONLY the power of us. People power actually exists and that’s a reason to hope.


Thursday, 30 March 2017

Missed Days & Chemicals Under the Sink...

Although it is now Day 62 in the Cuadrilla House... and the good people are relentlessly doing all they can ...I haven't been able to write the days since Day 54 due to too much happening and too little time. This past fortnight and next few days have been at debates/panels in various places and at one (in Leeds last week) - it was a debate between Bill McCaffrey, Professor of Clastic Sedimentology in the Department of Earth and the Environment, University of Leeds, and Research Director of Petroleum Leeds, the University's Centre for Integrated Petroleum Engineering and Geoscience... and me. I worried about this one and wrote up research for far longer than proved necessary. He came essentially with two main points... that "shale gas was a bridging fuel and that the chemicals were pretty harmless as many were under our sinks."

The last part of that about chemicals came undone when I asked if he thought chemicals behaved differently deep down at shale level with increased temperatures/pressures and environment - than they do under our sinks (they do) and for the first bit about 'bridging fuel' there was a UK government study that showed that to be a false and purposeless arguement.

When searching for that 2015 report - about how by the time UK shale gas is even able to contribute with any significance to the energy market, the price and availability of renewables will mean it isn't worth it economically... I also found an excellent article around the subject from 2015 - worth your time for the excellent research and links in it. The part for the research about UK Government’s own Environmental Audit Committee report is this:

[Any large scale extraction of shale gas in the UK is likely to be at least 10-15 years away. It is also unlikely to be able to compete against the extensive renewable energy sector we should have by 2025-30 unless developed at a significant scale. By that time, it is likely that unabated coal-fired power generation will have been phased out to meet EU emissions directives, so fracking will not substitute for (more carbon-intensive) coal. Continually tightening carbon budgets under the Climate Change Act will have significantly curtailed our scope for fossil fuel energy, and as a consequence only a very small fraction of the possible shale gas deposits will be burnable.]

...and the report went on to recommend:

[A moratorium on the extraction of unconventional gas through fracking is needed to avoid the UK’s carbon budgets being breached in the 2020s and beyond, and the international credibility of the UK in tackling climate change being critically weakened — already a prospect if the provisions in the Infrastructure Bill aimed at maximising North Sea oil extraction are passed.’]
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Looking forward to tomorrow's panel at GPEW Spring Conference & Global Greens & European Greens Congres - the panel includes people with experience of gaining bans in Victoria, Australia and I so hope to gain something we can use to replicate this for the UK. Back at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest next week x

Event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/177845559394157/

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Day 54 in the Cuadrilla House...

Thanks to Miranda Cox for the update from Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest - this about yesterday - Day 54 of works by Cuadrilla:

[Day 54
Today I had to take a day away from PNR,so rather than try and piece together a daily dairy based on other people's messages, I thought about the live streamers and the very important role they play in recording and debate of this campaign. Being fortunate enough to be able to be roadside most days has enabled me to be consistent in my observations,I hope. Today surrounded by admin and tasks from the other life, my pre-fracking life, I couldn't help but be drawn to the posts, updates and live streams pinging through my computer all day. I have witnessed many things over the past eight weeks. I have seen trucks come and go, I have seen residents and protectors pushed to their physical and mental limits, I have seen attitudes of protectors, workers and police change and I have also been aware of growing resolve.

Amateur and professional photographers, film makers and live streamers are keeping this campaign visible in lieu of a mainstream media which is conspicuously absent. Live streaming isn't always about the drama, often the streams capture the humanity, the relationships between protectors. Today I viewed a protector explaining to a police officer whom she had recognised, why she was stood in front of him. The interchange was normal, an exchange not out of place in the workplace. It was however short-lived as the regimented routine of the police sweep, the containment of protectors, took priority.

The unedited streams reveal much about authorities and the protest alike. They capture both the ugliness and injustice of the corporate imposition. Similarly they record evidence, increasingly essential as the industry hastens toward production. The live streamers are out in all weathers, documenting, a form of protection for demonstrators, often placing themselves in physical danger. These are interesting and challenging times. Personally I am so grateful for the presence of these activists.]

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Day 53 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 53 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people were here in their multiples and clearly the famine of yesterday became a feast of humanity in all its glory today. Unusually but somewhat joyously, a walk to the entrance of the site showed the gates locked with a heavy chain and two vehicles blockading entrance or exit from the site and only the lime machine working behind… the Protectors though were not responsible for this successful action to prevent work. The site staff in fear of people with concerns, had created their own lock-on (more lock-in actually) and essentially locked themselves in their room for the day… perhaps realising they really shouldn’t come out till they learn better behaviour lol.



So today we can look back and ask ourselves, “What does it take to stop a site from developing?” and we can safely and boldly say …people. Every single ONE person who showed up, caused Cuadrilla to react, to lock itself down in fear of our mission to see truth, justice, democracy and sanity served. Along PNR at various points were people heading in one direction or the other between Maple Farm and site entrance and despite the bitter wind, constant drizzle and gusty winds – they kept coming and adding to our persistence.



Bolton Against Fracking are rapidly becoming a favourite at the roadside… they come with ‘skipped food’ and today, the most delicious, piping-hot homemade soup along with bread for scooping the gorgeous chunkiness of it. The gratitude of the frozen at the roadside (both by temperature and dedication), could not have been more apparent as blue-tinged hands clasped steaming cups and smiles thawed through.

A good day full of good people doing the good stuff. See you Monday at the roadside? X


*Highlight of the day… really useful and reassuring meeting at Maple with a lovely blend of Protectors and news that the Judicial Review is over a little early – much relief for the incredible groups of residents who have doggedly pushed this through and put in years of hard work. Not all Protectors are seen at the roadside, some have their heads down in research and challenge in courts and councils too – huge thanks to them xxx

*Image thanks to Cheryl Atkinson


ps: as we're all over the road these days... please be aware that other incidents and actions happen so it's worth following livestreams and posts of others at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest to ensure the fuller picture <3 span="">

Friday, 17 March 2017

Day 52 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 52 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people were spread between the Judicial Review in Manchester, AE Yates in Bolton for PuP (Pop up Protest) and at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest . The policing was at a ratio of 10 to every Protector and the scene is clearly not one where peaceful protest can in any way occur – contravening our human rights and showing our government to be in the same business as the frackers and using our police as a buffer and battering ram to prevent us with our messy truth slipping through and halting this. Sadly it was all a bit much to realise the determination of what appears to be a wannabe totalitarian regime and how very much bigger we are going to have to be to stop it.



So for many at the roadside, our hearts, thoughts, fears and internal butterflies are desperately focused on the Judicial Review in Manchester – our last shot at using a tool in the system to stop them – if it fails, there is ONLY direct action and that is a horrid future to face. Our case for the JR is incredible – you couldn’t argue it unless you were corrupt and driven by profit alone… which is where we wait and wonder if our points of law can survive and land with a judge who sees justice as his sole purpose. For me though, Day 52 made me feel too small to have effect and I succumbed to a loss of strength and called it a day around lunchtime.

There was at least a good thing… a lovely woman from the retirement park at Carr Bridge (alongside Maple Farm) returned to the roadside at Maple. She used to join us when we had events or days of action here over the years but is unable to reach the site entrance, so not been part of the daily protests and actions of late. On this day though she went to Maple and got a helpful Protector from the camp to assist opening gates and getting signs… she was soon joined by a few others and I stopped to see them on my way home. So glad I did as they are hope <3 span="">

Late start for my sister and I on Day 53 as we have to get some things and balance a baby in the process… at least if we are at Maple the those with childcare responsibilities or infirmities can be part of this too. Whether we can make any impact here remains to be seen but at least the policing down this end of the same road is lighter and we can aim to enhance the other actions that take place between. See you at the roadside?
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*Memorable moment of the day.... hmmm was mostly a bit sad really but the little uprising from the retirement park was very beautiful x

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Day 51 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 51 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people are still hard at it and me, I have been a bit overwhelmed by too much in my head and heart along with too many things to do and places to be… so I didn’t get round to writing up the days since Day 46. Thankfully Miranda kept up where she could whilst I didn’t and the collection of some missed days at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest follows my little bit. Today we gathered and although most were at the main site entrance on PNR, others were in Manchester Court for the first day of the crucial Judicial Review to challenge Westminster … and some of us broke away to get back down the hill to Maple Farm. My sister and I started the day by presenting the Police with a print out of the appropriate parts of the Human Rights Act that relate to peaceful protest… we asked them to go read and ensure they understood that we were acting lawfully with our actions (we planned on slow walking trucks) and did not consider this unreasonable or arrestable. We also asked that they provide printed evidence of any decision they made to deny us our right.





So with the daily heavy policing at the entrance and every attempt at peaceful protest actions or worthwhile slow-walks stopped as they try to start – some Nanas and other Protectors decided to take ourselves further down PNR in order to stand a chance at slow-walking. The police popped down to find Julie and I in response to the paperwork we’d given them and to try to tell us that slow-walks weren’t considered ‘safe’ on this busy road. We could see clearly the length of this stretch of road, the traffic was quite light and just a few hours earlier, had witnessed an ‘Abnormal Load’ travelling at slow-walk speed, without a police escort – it was a tram being delivered to Blackpool and we argued that if this was not considered unsafe then we weren’t. Their argument was weak and we would win in court as Protectors have time and again at other sites… but it helped to go through this process for clarity. No-one wants to be arrested or handled with force and we shouldn’t be – we are in the right… we need to keep publicly making this point even if the police are ignoring it.



A truck did come along shortly after this and our worry that we wouldn’t know which truck was for the site, was helpfully sorted when a van load of police came to herd us at the roadside outside Maple Farm. I had crossed the road to livestream them spreading out when a police car began to pass with the truck behind… I stepped between the two and was joined by others as the police swarmed, pushed, grabbed, shouted and used their bodies to bump us of the road. We didn’t get long but we hoped that the same treatment would be received by the same truck at various points in its journey up PNR to the site. We’ll be doing this again I think ;)


The ever-growing frustration amongst the good people at the roadside is immense… we are being treated as if we are criminals and the police are brutal in their handling of our bodies. We cannot continue to endure this and the situation will grow worse on so many levels if we can’t find our way to stop this soon. I fear for the well-being of all of us – whether we’re new or experienced, this is a vile set of experiences to live through every day. See you tomorrow?

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View from Miranda Cox of the past few days:

Day 47....
Lock on's are a really good way of stopping work on site. It looks excruciating for those involved, waiting. What strikes me as worse is the release.


I tried to watch as some were cut out by the protestor removal team and it was upsetting. The noise of the blades cutting the sound of metal on metal...The silence in between. All shrouded a barrier of police vans and personnel. Then of course there's the issue when force outweighs compassion. Sadly I feel we are seeing more of this.


Today's action did not inconvenience road users, just those trying to build the frack pad. The road was closed briefly by Police, not protestors, on a couple of occasions. This was to allow the Protestor removal team to set up and then to allow a stream of vehicles off site. At no point did protector action impact on road users.


The mood amongst supporters was light. Many people passed and made food donations and shared good wishes. The day was spent discussing humanity, the social implications and ecological issues connected with this campaign.


It took a whole day to release the eight people. Another whole day lost for those who want to frack. Hope to see you tomorrow or at some point soon.



Day 48
Joyous day.....My heart literally jumped when I saw the early morning live stream of a protector on top of a lorry.


My activity today has been fencing. Not the skillful art involving masks and foils and lots of fancy foot moves, but the monotonous questions about fence lines. Why bother some may ask? Because I can and I will. I cannot outrun trucks, and even my attempts at physically blocking trucks are swept aside by a wall of hi vis yellow. Not that this will stop me. But what I can do is ask questions, and keep asking.


The fence line issue is more than a planning argument. It epitomises the way this industry insists on taking from us. The extra 2 metres in highway conceded to heras fencing may seem like just 2 metres of tarmac. It isn't. It's 2 metres of land taken by an industry, facilitated by our county council, and guarded by our police.


Several reasons were promoted today. The mere fact so many versions were proferred leaves us to sumise. Peaceful protest will continue

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*Most moving part of the day for me was when I watched footage of two honourable Protectors at the site entrance who sat in dignity and peacefully refused to move – thankfully they were not harmed or arrested.


*Happy realisation:
by being at Maple Farm where there is no hill to climb... ample seating, a kettle and a toilet - some of the residents of the retirement park were at last able to join us in protest and others who can't normally stay too long for health reasons, were able to be here longer :) Also those with little ones have said they can come more often as there is a safe secure place to be.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Day 46 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 46 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people were absolutely gorgeous in numbers, in spirit and in impact – NO DELIVERIES came today and we… we sang, danced, drummed and grew in power. Conversations flowed up and down the roadsides and around the entrance gate and spring sunshine blessed the day with the light it deserved and needed, after too much gloom and thunder in recent times. 



So the day unfolded brilliantly (for the most part) – marred though by early arrests, serious over-policing that felt intimidatory even when contained in cramped vans on the verges and a particularly brutal and entirely unwarranted assault by police on a Protector in the afternoon …along with a finale involving a chorus line of luminescent police officers poised to make their moves. Harms were done but the Protectors emerged triumphant in the realisation and validation of the fact that EVERY single person counts… because once you counted us over 200, the trucks didn’t even try to come… and thus the police had no cause to leave their containers for the most part. Relieved, concerned for those hurt and arrested but overall, healed hugely by today’s company at the roadside.


The aim of the day and the reason we swelled in numbers was because someone had the brilliant idea of an event called Swap Work For Work - Power To The People – the description of the day said:


“Let's show Cuadrilla we ain't weekend warriors! We can assemble and gather on a weekday in numbers. We can protest with non-violent ways. We can book time off our day jobs or responsibilities in order to make real impact to the sites work schedule by a combination of effective peaceful protest. Each person attending will be autonomous and so can make their action however they wish. We all said no to fracking! Join us on Wednesday 8th March. The daily gatherings will take place each weekday morning before this, but we are publicising this event to give all who are too busy to attend time to arrange to come. One in, all in. ♥”


…and good people listened and came in sufficient numbers to stop the threat of fracking for the day – just wow! It would be lovely if each reading this could look into booking a day off to be at the roadside on the all-important weekdays when the frackers advance their ugly business. Wednesdays would be nice but any day would be deeply appreciated by all – you may be the one, that tips the balance.


About the bad bits... I would only be sharing second hand as I arrived after the early arrests and missed the next two by not being in the area they happened- clearer views from actual witnesses will be found in livestreams of Danny Vc Llew andFrank Roberts as well as posts from others. I gave livestreaming a go today and although I made people a little sea-sick at times with odd angles lol, I enjoyed what it offered; the chance to take time with those at the roadside and share the genuineness at the heart of the good people – rather than a fleeting glance at them at the heart of often traumatic scenes. There is so much beauty here, it was a joy to let go of the ugly bits and wallow in it whilst sharing. I’ll give it another go and will try to get a grip of doing it better… either that or you might want to invest in those bracelet things for travel sickness when viewing :) See you tomorrow? x


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Thankful as always that @Miranda too is at the roadside to add to the perspective <3 span="">

Day 46 – from Miranda:
A day of immense power and joy, framed by arrests and menace. Early arrests and ugly scenes belied the happy scenes that followed later in the morning and continued into the late afternoon.


A visit from the Police and Crime Commissioner afforded a few early arrivals to raise concerns and fears. It felt staged as these opportunities often are and those of us who did speak, left feeling we'd been treated politely but that little would change. The morning passed, unlike traffic to site. There were no deliveries at all as numbers grew outside the fence and along the path opposite.
It felt like a spring party with drumming, chat, singing and dancing.


We held a silent circle gathering, channeling our energy into the land, giving it our collective strength and receiving it back. At the culmination of the meditation the drumming started, building in speed and resonance, we began chanting "we said no" and bubbles and chalk bombs were released in a festival of joy and colour. The drumming continued and people danced all afternoon.


After the news a gentle man, a man passionate in his defense of the land and his community had been arrested, protectors remained at the gates. The gathering was disbanded by massive numbers of police. The sinister actions were upsetting but a whole day's work was lost. I fear another escalation, but I cling to the sound of drumming and laughter today, a change from shouts and screams....]


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*Highlight of the day… the list is too long and the moments too numerous for this little box for words <3 span=""> ...but if I had to commit to just one, it would be the drumming, always the drumming - it never ceases to catch us all in its spell xxx


*Image thanks to Cheryl Atkinson (stunning shot well caught)

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Ways of Women...


On this International Women's Day I want to send respect, appreciation and love to all who seek to nurture a better future for our young... especially, considering all we currently face each day, to those who have just been rudely awakened to an ugliness of reality that cannot be ignored.

Nature loves balance... it's where harmony flows. The oppression and silencing of women throughout much of history has allowed the imbalance reflected in brutal systems of government that have not been tempered with what women have to bring to the discussions. Our ways and the ways of men - when considered of equal value... are what can bring, what humanity needs.

Women across the world struggle with worse daily than we can imagine and by comparison, we are 'privileged' with access to education and more rights... it is therefore I believe up to us, to make our stand as more enabled women, for those who can't.

As an activist, I am fortunate to most often be amongst incredible men and women who support each other but even in this arena, there is much to be done for harmony to be found. Activism shouldn't have to be about brutality and to change this... and the world, the ways of women need to be respected and encouraged.

Today as I stand at the roadside for Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest - I will carry in my heart, the women who can't be with us due to responsibilities, ill-health and circumstance.

Namaste <3 span="">


Day 45 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 45 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people are in a dark place despite the sunshine; today I heard from Protectors who had been amidst the daily police pushing and are harmed on many levels by it. For most of us, being physically manhandled and shoved about – is not something encountered in regular life. There is a brutal reality of protest that is hard for anyone to take – those new to activism, even more so. The huge increase in policing these past few weeks has created an atmosphere of tension and oppression from which outbursts of frustration erupt and are quickly wrestled to the ground by police. We are acting lawfully and morally - only standing or slowly walking or sitting and there is no violence from Protectors, no weapons, no attacks – just delay and disruption to the threat this industry brings… yet our right to peacefully protest is being denied in a brutal way.



So what now? Clearly the actions to slow vehicles at the site on PNR is of small effect now that we are stopped with force and soon, fences will go up (the sound wall is higher that the wall in Gaza), making impact even more challenging. Some of us spoke today about other tactics to be tried (there is no right or wrong way – just trial and error) and of course, the huge value of the Pop Up Protests (PuPs) that are aimed at letting suppliers know that this one contract with Cuadrilla, is just not worth it. At the roadside when numbers are visible on trucks, Protectors sometimes call and it would be helpful if others could too – in order to not be accused of threatening behaviour, perhaps saying something along the lines of::

“I understand you have a contract to supply Cuadrilla at Preston New Road and wonder if you understand that this is a fracking site that is strongly opposed by the community. We would ask that you end this contract and are willing to provide information and help if we can to enable this. If you continue to supply this dangerous industry then we will consider it our right to protest your actions.”

The stock market figures are not recovering, so little work is happening on site and essentially – despite appearances and the way it feels in the intensity of the roadside – we ARE impacting not just this frack site but the very idea of any frackers getting into any community without opposition. On a personal level today, I felt despondent and so sad at some of the conversations about the suffering being experienced; maybe it was this or just a bug but I felt too sick to go on and left early. It hurts to see what unfolds here and I have deep concerns about the health and well-being of all of us who do this.

It’s International Women’s Day tomorrow and there’s another event too calling for people to give up a day of work and join us instead… hoping this will lift the day.Also really looking forward to hearing from our friends in Yorkshire as Andrew Cooper and others from Green Party of England and Wales set off tomorrow to walk from the Kirby Misperton site to our site at PNR - arriving to a big welcome this Sunday. See you tomorrow? X

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View from fellow Protector Miranda Cox on the Day 45 at Preston New Road Rolling Roadside Protest:

Day 45 - Miranda
After being advised last night that it was intended there would be a de-escaltion in tensions on PNR, I was sceptical as I could only imagine that happening with our right to protest being upheld, coupled with less brutal policing. It just did not happen. Again the pattern repeated itself, the kettling, the dragging, the chasing, the screaming. It's the screams of pain that haunted each of us, adding fuel to an already volatile situation.

I cannot write it, I just don't yet know how to express this level of pain and distress. I have been talking about the long term with fellow protectors, wondering about the kind of community we will leave our children. Whatever happens we are fractured. Those who firmly believe this industry is abhorrent will not suffer in silence. Those who support it do not suffer in silence. Those who have no opinion, or do not give voice to one, are going to inherit a fractured land. The trust in our agencies and authorities is withering. 

Yesterday I shouted my dismay, at the facilitation of this, at the provocation, the destruction of our freedoms. Today I didn't shout. I found strength in peace. Let's see what tomorrow brings.


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Highlight of the day…. Sadly hard to find much to lift the day but there are always the faces around us that smile back in deep understanding of what we share. Amongst those faces today was one I was so pleased to rest eyes on, a dear friend from Occupy London

Photo thanks to Ros Wills

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Today in Court & Day 44 in the Cuadrilla House...

Today in Court & Day 44 in the Cuadrilla House (from Miranda)

Court:
A hearing to put an injunction in place on land at Preston New Road was arranged late last week, for this morning and as the named defendant, I should have had papers delivered and time to prepare. I didn’t. They had used an address my daughter had left last year and had not bothered to use my email (we have corresponded before) till late Friday night. So I went in this morning with a rough idea of three aims but too little time to prepare and no legal representative due to short notice and being away at the start of last week in Norway. The three aims:

1-stop the injunction (always a long shot but had to be the aim) based on insufficient cause
(plan B on this was to at least have them make clear this was a ‘fresh’ injunction and not a continuation of the one that was in place 2014-2016)

2-stop the proposal of a ‘protest pen’ - as ridiculous, unnecessary and a dangerous idea of ‘designated protest areas’.

3-remove my name from any further legal actions as the injunction naming me, has ended and I have not done anything wrong.

In the end, only one of the three aims was achieved – there is no protest pen. The judge confirmed the injunction was a ‘fresh’ one but that I am still named on it as I said things on my blog and in an interview that sounded threatening. A case of my bite presumed to be worse than my bark? This video (thanks to John Ozric ) summarises pretty much the key outcomes of today’s day in court…


I want to say a huge thank you to Simon who was outside court when I got there this morning and provided much valued support – that I hadn’t thought I needed till I had it :) I didn’t make a fuss about this court appearance, barely mentioned it partly because time did not permit and also because I knew there wasn’t much anyone would be permitted to contribute.

I went on my own but saw that a few others from the anti-fracking movement were in court – I had no idea they would be or that their intent was to ‘join the case’ by adding a name but maybe this was due partly to short time-frame. Their purpose was to challenge the important ‘protest pen’ issue but the judge did not add the new name or grant the adjournment they requested. As the argument for the removal of the pen was achieved anyway during the afternoon session – the judge agreed that the size and purpose of the pen was unrealistic and provocative – we were all pleased that this was achieved regardless.

An adjournment would have been useful and I would have valued one but I was aware of a line in the documents that said ‘costs would not be sought if the case was uncontested’ – but of course an appeal or adjournment would be a different matter – I explained to the judge that this therefore meant I could take no time to prepare due to the threat of even more costs against me as the only ‘named defendant’. I said this felt like bullying by Cuadrilla’s lawyers in that they were essentially saying that if I just accepted all that they said, they wouldn’t add more costs in my name.

IF activists had the access to the privilege that Cuadrilla has – we would wipe the floor with their useless ‘evidence’ that amounted to testimony from ONE witness (employed by Cuadrilla!) and some very carefully selected (out of context in some cases) photos... but we can only play the hand we’re dealt in this very rigged game and the day ended at least with one aim in the bag and the rest of it… is what it is. An injunction is hardly a shock – of course Cuadrilla don’t want Protectors all over their land and will do all they can to keep us out. My name remaining on it – well that’ll be down to my lack of self-censorship and I fear that there is nothing I care to do about that. The lines they quoted from me involved saying things like “…you won’t like us when we’re angry – back off Cuadrilla!” and the slightly more questionable “…we didn’t take your field today Cuadrilla but it doesn’t mean we won’t…” or words to that effect. Hardly a commitment to a planned invasion! I accept though that words have power and what is gained in using them to target investors – is lost in court rooms accusing you of being threatening.

Final word tonight goes in thanks to those who sent such warmly welcome messages and replies and especially to Simon whose kindness negated some of the ugly reality of what Cuadrilla do, in order to get their drills in our land and how justice can be played, if you can manipulate it. Thank you <3 span="">

Meanwhile… at the roadside of Preston New Road today:
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Day 44 - Roadside was yet again brutal.
After a reasonably calm start to the day, anxiety and tension permeated as midday approached. We spent the morning watching service vehicles be treated with a pressure wash before leaving site. The mood was lighter and some protectors spent time engaging in three legged races, relays and light hearted chat. All the time aware that the atmosphere would change as soon as a delivery required facilitation.

The numbers of protectors ebbed and flowed throughout the day. We saw old friends as well as new faces. By old friends I mean personally people I have bonded with over the past 2 and a bit months...A short time, but the changes witnessed and the experiences shared, create bonds. After a few deliveries in the morning, helped along by a containment of protectors, a lorry arrived which piqued our interest. Unmarked curtaining and the way it was unloaded just aroused our curiosity....A supplier was concealed. Maybe a new tactic? The afternoon saw brutal tactics from the police, manoeuvres and dragging on people that were completely disproportionate. The cruelty was horrific.
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Image thanks to Ros Wills



Thursday, 2 March 2017

Day 42 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 42 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people are clearly shaken; shoved from a world once known as ‘normal’, to the hard, ugly brutality of what saying NO! to your government looks like. None of us wanted this, most didn’t expect it to be like this and all wish for anything but this awful reality. But here it is, presenting itself each day with fresh assault, after fresh assault on deepening wounds. Some are ragged and unsettled but I have never seen such strengthening of determination that each assault brings. I see no-one backing down but instead, moving forward. What we’re moving forward to though is the unclear bit. Today I only managed a couple of hours, during which the awful mood of staff on site was apparent as their vehicles were stopped sometimes going in, sometimes out, until a mass of green-glowing police arrive, shuffle everyone aside, release the vehicles… rinse and repeat. There appear to be no slow-walks of 15 minutes, just stoppages before police move Protectors along. Few vehicles came and certainly not the 50+ per day that Cuadrilla planned for by this stage. I saw no violence today but as the last few days have seen so much – maybe someone finally pressed pause – especially as injuries were incurred and included older people and Councillors. I only endured a short time as my temper got the better of me when I saw a new injunction notice with my name on it on all site entrances and nearby field gates…


So I went to a conference I was invited to in Norway on Monday and got back yesterday – it was organised by a Professor who came and witnessed much of the planning and appeal process here in Lancashire and wrote a peer-reviewed paper on it. Academics gathered to discuss studies done in the energy sector and I presented about what some of those studies do in the wrong hands, to communities like ours. It was fascinating, hugely helpful and provided much to be grateful for that is happening in that arena. I had a blog forming to tell all about it and even had some lightly amusing bits about the how Norwegians seem to have a thing for adding little fish to just about every meal… but that all seems very far away now as I walked onto PNR today to find a dear friend walking with a stick due to injury and an injunction with my name on it (again).

The injunction dated 28 Feb 2017 looks to be a weighty chunk of a thing that clearly took forests to create – I have no way of knowing the full contents just yet but am aware that it came about as a result of a phone call apparently made to Cuadrilla’s legal firm Eversheds. ‘Evidence’ for the need for the injunction is said to come because the caller, described as claiming to be an anti-fracker called ‘Danny’ with a Manchester accent said that “thousands of people were intending on entering a field and need to know if still injuncted?” Apparently he said if it was, then he’d tell everyone not to do it. He said the action was for the coming Saturday (25 Feb 2017) and that he had all the previous injunction paperwork but couldn’t make sense of the legalese,.

The previous paperwork on the inunction (lasted from Oct 2014-Oct 2016) I only forwarded to a handful of people so find this both unsettling and interesting – the story could be made up in order to get the injunction or it may be genuinely a concerned Protector – whatever it was should become clear as I have asked a lawyer to see about the circumstances and how to get my name removed as I’ve not been in the fields referred to… they say they have the mobile number for ‘Danny’ and they may well have recorded the call so I’ll see what we can find out and let you know when I do. His call is said to have first been made at lunchtime on 22 Feb 2017 and returned as lawyer was out, later that afternoon. He is said to have ended the call by saying he “may just let them get on with it and sit back and laugh”.

So what does this all mean? It means a lot of bloody reading and calls and interruptions to the true tasks of stopping fracking. It means nothing much to me in other ways as I do not intend on occupying these fields. What it means legally I will see within a few days but essentially it is saying don’t go on Cuadrilla’s land – which is kind of an obvious request of theirs anyway. Had anyone occupied the land prior to this newly issued injunction – they could have done so by causing a land dispute that would have led to eviction and eventual injunction –this is nothing new or unexpected, just how it works. What is bad about it is that it happened without an occupation of the field that would have raised awareness and maybe been able to hold based on numbers and time required for legal actions against it – had one been done. But we won’t know as the call was made, the injunction brought and should someone now want to go into the field – it would be illegal… but then again, much that we see in our government appears to be abuse of law or at least corrupted. ‘Legal’ as a term grows foggier by the day.

Life is knitted only with this bloody stuff now… high points pop like bubbles too soon, in the sharp reality of life at the roadside and if there was a way to throw my hands up and swear’ F it all!’, I possibly would… but children live where this industry threatens; it would be criminally negligent to walk away when the evidence makes us acutely aware - of what that would mean accepting as reality for them. So that’s that, still stuck. In the background I can feel it building too in other areas of life, the pressure on those behind and around us who are trying to keep it all together… family mainly – this has become their reality too because we each bring it with us like a bad smell or a vile mood. It’s not just that this is all so damned time consuming – it’s that it infests every moment, that there is no let up from the thinking about it, the planning, the wishing you just knew ‘how the hell this could be stopped?’...

All previous answers to that question have been shot to pieces as we watched the saviour ‘democracy’ crumble for the pile of lies that it is… as we watch daily that the ‘regulatory bodies’ are revealed for the toothless, ineffective, under-funded, woefully inept things that they are and entirely absent from PNR… as we hear from ‘the media’ nothing but fabrication, myth and fantasy as they paint Protectors in shades of evil and this industry in pure white-wash... and as we sense with each passing day that ‘truth & justice’ cannot be found at the roadside of PNR or anywhere else we’ve searched for it. There’s us and there’s this industry snuggled cosily inside the circles of power and influence… how do we get them out? What next? Please help. See you tomorrow? x

*Highlight of the day: seeing Miranda smile despite it all.<3 span="">

^Other little bonus... no little fish on my dinner :)