Tag Archives: Fracking

Fracking . . . Debt and Loss of Morality

As Neoliberalism accelerates across the globe I can find no better example of its depravity than in the corporate destruction of this Planet and Society through the abuse that is Fracking.

Fracking is the essence of Neoliberal short termism, as it seeks to make profits now by destroying the land that feeds and waters us. It has no concern for the future. Democracy is under attack from so many directions in this 21st century but no more so that with the development of this dirty and poisonous business.

There is not an aspect of Society that is not abused and can best be summarised in this defining paragraph by Chris Hedges in 18 October issue of Truthdig: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/death_by_fracking_20151018

“The activists are waging a war against a corporate state that is deaf and blind to the rights of its citizens and the imperative to protect the ecosystem. The corporate state, largely to pacify citizens being frog-marched to their own execution, passes environmental laws and regulations that, at best, slow the ongoing environmental destruction. Corporations, which routinely ignore even these tepid restrictions, largely write the laws and legislation designed to regulate their activity. They rewrite them or overturn them as the focus of their exploitation changes. They turn public hearings on local environmental issues into choreographed charades or shut them down if activists succeed in muscling their way into the room to demand a voice. They dominate the national message through a pliable and bankrupt corporate media and slick public relations. Elected officials are little more than corporate employees, dependent on industry money to stay in office and, when they retire from “public service,” salivating for jobs in the industry. Environmental reform has become a joke on the public. And the Big Green environmental groups are complicit because they rely on donors, at times from the fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries; they are silent about the reality of corporate power, largely ineffectual, and part of the fiction of the democratic process.”

It is significant that in North America the first man to wage war on Fracking was a Christian preacher named Wiebo Ludwig. Branded as an ‘ecoterrorist’ for his actions against oil and gas barons activities – bizarre given the destruction they are wreaking upon our Planet – he came to realise the real problem at the heart of this rape of the land.

Whilst governments were seen to be passing legislation to supposedly control and regulate this industry, much of the legislation was written by the oil and gas companies, was weak and full of loopholes, allowing the continued desecration of land and communities. Ludwig’s Christian beliefs quickly showed him that Fracking is boosting an environment that is totally lacking in any moral values.

Society supports corporate activity with roads and travel infrastructures, as well as health and benefits services for the employees and in return those same corporations minimise their contribution to this support by avoiding taxes and sending profits abroad.

Because of this lack of contribution to Society, Fracking offers cash strapped governments another (potentially vast) source of income, which is only available at equally vast cost to the country, in the destruction of farm land and food production as well as the waterways that nourish that same farmland and food production.

We are entering an era of reducing water resources across the globe and taking this life sustaining commodity for profit and placing it above the sustenance of human life is a sure indication of how morally bankrupt our political leaders have become. Instead of confronting our water shortage challenges they are adding to them by the encouragement of Fracking to pay off debt.

Society has been allowed to degenerate into an abyss of immorality where financial values dominate and debt is the leverage by which governments are now controlled in the endless lust for profit growth. Since time immemorial debt has lacked any form of morality by the lender and creates immense power through fear and obligation.

Governments bow to the demands of corporate masters because of the money politicians need to get into power. And they can only remain in power provided they continue to accede to the dictates of their corporate masters.

Fracking must be one of the most odious of these financial arrangements, whereby the power electors have given to politicians to manage Society and its environment is blithely ignored.

This lacking in morality is most evident here, in my opinion, threatening the very foundations of democracy. Government continue to ignore the wishes of the people against the growing evidence of the irreparable damage Fracking is causing.

People demonstrate and sign petitions that are witness to a misbegotten belief that they are dealing with honourable people in government. Sadly, that is no longer the case, as time and environmental destruction demonstrate.

The problem of Fracking is but a symptom, albeit a powerful one, of a decadence that can now only be remedied by new leadership. New leadership who recognise the loss of integrity within government and have a desire for a clean sweep across the board.

LET’S STOP DEMONSTRATING TO THE CORRUPT AND START DEMONSTRATING FOR THE NEW.

If we keep shouting, they will come!

Until the next time.

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

Fracking Our National Parks . . . NOOO!!

I couldn’t believe parliament is going to have a debate this week on whether we should be carrying out fracking operations in our National Parks. That government rode roughshod over our wishes in allowing it in the first place was insulting enough. Now, to hold a debate on whether they should or shouldn’t, knowing full well they will anyway, is just rubbing our noses in it!

As I have ranted before, this odious process has nothing to commend it, except its production of profitable income for global corporations (as if they didn’t have enough already!), and the tax revenue our governments can expect from (some) of those profits.

It is an open assault upon our very existence as it steals our dwindling water resources away from vital food production, often operating under our homes with government permission . . . but not ours!

There is a phrase – ‘Eye Candy’ – that refers to beautiful women and handsome men whose looks are pleasing to us. I have a variation on this – ‘Eye Pollution’ – that is something that immediately jars upon all of our senses.

I was in the New Forest only a week ago, on a glorious sunny day with that special light that is only available at this time of year. As I travelled across the forest the open spaces were inspiring in their beauty, with the sun boosting the autumnal colours of the shrubs and trees. Grazing ponies and cattle added to the magic of this scene and somehow complemented the tree lined background, making a picture that has been there for a thousand years or more a privilege to witness.

This panoramic vista was one of the primary reasons government embarked upon a programme of turning these beauty spots into National Parks, to protect them, as I understood it. Or was it to take control of areas that have very much been under the control of local people for centuries, in order to minimise protest when it came to turning them over to the corporate world as another source of profit?

I am cynical enough now to accept this thinking, particularly with the push to increase the number of National Parks. The government was, as is increasingly the case where threats to our national welfare are at stake, three or four jumps ahead of us. Like donning our other cap as ‘consumers’, as ‘voters’ we are no longer the recipients of the services of those we support but rather in direct competition with them as they connive and manipulate for profit and power.

This is the unmasked face of neoliberalism in all its abusive unpleasantness. We have seen the financial face, as the Greek people have been savagely forced into decades of penury because they held a referendum against the wishes of the unelected IMF and ECB.

Here our national pride and sovereignty is being systematically destroyed by globalisation and political will, as the ‘dodgy duo’ of Cameron and Osborne use their early months in power to implement actions that will appease their corporate lords and masters.

What upsets me most is the loss of national pride in this beautiful country, which is endemic at the very top. Instead of the sight that greeted and inspired me last week, the future will see that same scenery blighted by scores of lorries constantly taking water to the fracking sites and then taking the poisoned stuff away somewhere to be disposed of (I won’t even go there!).

Yes the fracking sites, where the actual drilling takes place, are relatively small. Perhaps a football pitch or two, which can be hidden from sight. However the reality is that they also require a much larger space for the fleets of lorries transporting the extract from the site plus the transportation of the vast amounts of water necessary for the process. This often overlooked aspect of fracking will add to the damage and pollution across the country, affecting all of our lives.

I mentioned having our ‘noses rubbed in it’ earlier. It will happen again here, if the experience in America is anything to go by and I have no reason to believe we will be any different. What the American taxpayer is finding is that after the site has been exhausted and no longer profitable, the company ups sticks and moves on to the next location, leaving the mess, pollution and damage for the local people to clear up at their expense.

It seems as though the banks created an unholy precedent in 2008, when the cost of their irresponsible banking practices were simply passed onto the already abused taxpayers and the same thing is now being repeated with the nightmare that fracking is becoming.

We have the wherewithal, through social media, to put together the pieces of the venomous jigsaw that is global neoliberalism, as it seeks to devalue every aspect of Life on Planet Earth in its unregulated onslaught for power and profit.

As I have said before, becoming aware of the nature of what we face is the first step and then we can assess how we want to deal with it. Our patience is wearing thin and our apathy is turning to anger.

A far more competent emotion for change don’t you think?

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

No Values . . . No Regulation . . . No Planet!

Fracking is a sinister commercial operation that is, by its very process, creating new avenues of future profit for the corporate world that will eventually end life on this beautiful Planet. The greatest sin within this evil production process (even greater than stealing our taxes), is the stealing of our ever reducing water supplies so essential to producing the food we eat and the life giving water we need to survive.

Not only is it stealing this precious resource but by mixing it with chemicals, (the industry refuse to divulge), it is making it impossible to recycle. This odious process has also become one of the primary accelerators of global warming and climate change.

Be under no illusion that global corporations are aware of how their abuse of our water supplies will increase the price of food and water. Indeed they are banking on it to ensure a constant flow of future profits through the very problems they are now creating. Politicians also need this obscene source of money to pay back debt!

When you add to this the secret trade deals under negotiation and nearing conclusion, it is clear that the responsible management of our Planet is in complete disarray. At the heart of this growing abuse is the rise to power of financial values over every other aspect of Life. Our political bodies, put in place to protect Society and manage our resources, have now seriously lost their way as they align with these destructive financial doctrines.

I have always had immense respect for the First Nation of America, the American Indian and their way of Life before the advent of mass immigration. As individual tribes they managed their environment from shamanic beliefs that dictated they only took from the land what they needed as it was their sole provider.

Each tribe was governed by its ‘Elders’, a council of men who had earned the respect of the tribe during the course of their lives by what they had achieved and how they had conducted themselves. Their collective job was to steer the tribe through the good and lean years, deciding when to move camp and where to move to, as well as managing the young warriors eager to fight and earn recognition in battle.

At the heart of their wisdom these wise men were guided by their shamanic beliefs, their long experience of Life and an integrity towards all members of the tribe. Above all else they understood human nature and how easy it is to be enticed into short term gain, ignoring the lasting effect of such actions and their detrimental effect on the wellbeing of the tribe.

In this 21st century few of our ‘Elders’ have the respect of those they are responsible for. They are not exercising any caution on the ‘warrior’ entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, whose narrow vision and short term concerns for profit are taking our global tribe to its own self-destruction.

They have lost the support of religious or spiritual beliefs to help them form values that would consider the needs of all, as well as the needs of this Planet. They believe integrity is no longer a value, as they spin and U-turn their careers along a narrow corridor of blinkered thinking in the pursuit of the power they crave and exercise.

The American Indian tribes were not as vastly populated as our modern nations and so their Elders were accepted on reputation. They were listened to and their wisdom followed because the tribe knew their best interests were always paramount in each decision made.

Today we vote our ‘Elders’ into power based upon the flimsiest of personal knowledge and with little or no knowledge of their deeds or credentials that allow them to adopt the immense power we give to them. Here we should be reminded that in giving them that power our vote is the most powerful tool in modern democracy, irrespective of how debauched that democracy has now become.

Regulation is essential to balancing our needs as human beings. In Canada there has been an important backlash to ‘austerity’ as the Liberals came from nowhere to finally break the nine-year stranglehold of the conservatives over Canadian politics. As the conservatives moved more to the right, the liberals moved to the left with more economic stimulus, higher taxes on the rich and the withdrawal of military support for America in their war with Syria, as a starter!

This backlash began in Spain, was followed up in Greece, the UK and elsewhere and now has a large supporter in Canada. We have a way to go but like the strong Shamanic values of the American Indians’, this liberalism is demonstrating our desire for the return of balanced values as the means of our future sustenance and survival.

That is the only real change we can consider and bring about with our vote.

 

Until the next time.

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

Water . . . The Final War

Isn’t it perverse how climate change is causing droughts and water shortages, at the same time as it is also melting the ice caps and providing ‘new’ water that will raise sea levels? Professor James Lovelock’s book, Gaia, has gradually gained acceptance over the years in answering this by explaining that the Earth is a living organism.

Not unlike our own bodies, as a living organism, our Planet is getting hot and is seeking to cool down. After all this ‘new’ water will not refresh the land and enable crops to grow because of its saline content, to say nothing of its growing toxic waste content! If we are wiped out as a consequence of this planetary reaction, it’s not personal but simply the Planet looking after itself.

Wouldn’t it be a relief if governments and corporations saw the light and recognised the omnipotent power of our Planet over corporate and political power? (The recent horrific earthquake in Nepal has been likened to the equivalent of 20 huge atomic bombs and one of many Natural disasters now happening around the world!)

Their reaction, however, is one of ongoing irresponsible greed, exemplified by Goldman Sachs who described the growing water shortages as “the petroleum of the next century”. They, along with the other banks, hedge funds and even the Bush family in America, are stampeding to buy up water utilities across the Planet. Even the EU is in cahoots with the Troika, leveraging Greek debt in order to take over the country’s water resources and other public utilities, at a time when the people are on their knees.

They know that 70% of our Planet is covered in water but only 3% is fresh water and 66% of that is concealed in frozen glaciers or otherwise unavailable to us. Just stop for a moment and consider the thinking that is driving this callous activity and then hold it please, as you read on.

People will be dying from lack of life giving water, which is provided freely by our Planet, because they can’t afford it. So enters a new means of genocide of global proportions.

The banks have saturated us with ‘odious’ debt and now they seek to finish the job with ‘odious’ water. You can understand how a peaceful and loving Christ lost it just once in his short life, when he physically threw the moneylenders out of the Temple!

The people of California offer a precursor of what is to come, as scientists warn the region may be entering a ‘mega’ drought that could last for decades. Government has imposed a 25% cut in urban water use with severe penalties for anyone violating these restrictions.

What is less well known is that these same people have to stand by and watch Fracking companies taking vast quantities of their precious water for commercial exploitation, with no oversight. Once used this water must be discarded as it is contaminated by chemicals that continue to remain a secret and which are added during the extraction process.

Again, take a moment and consider the mind-set here, when the world already has a surfeit of oil that is reflected in low oil prices.

Debt and corporate abuse can be managed. We could renege on the odious debt that now plagues global Society and take our custom away from abusive corporations. However, water is a life sustaining resource and something we cannot do without. Banks and the wealthy, having got these utilities, will also want to ensure they are adequately protected and demand this from governments using their already considerable influence.

This is precisely how the Syrian war began against Assad. Youth reacted to the corrupt allocation of scarce water supplies and their arrest and torture started a revolution that resulted in terrifying loss of innocent lives by the regime. This was repeated in Yemen in 2011. Both uprisings were ignited by water and their ferocity reflected the underlying social discontent against constant abuse that had been growing in these regions for a long time.

As these confrontations over dwindling water supplies escalates globally, how long before ferocious confrontation turns to ferocious reaction. As with Syria, the ensuing warfare would also quickly descend into “gross violations of human rights on a massive scale” (Amnesty International).

As thirst spreads, it can only drive this precarious situation over the edge and escalate into ‘small’ nuclear deterrents, from ‘Assad like’ mind-sets who need to set an example (Greece and the Troika again!) and will gamble with turning this beautiful Planet into a lunar landscape to maintain control.

We need leadership now like we have never needed it before, to redress the current imbalances of power and heal our Planet. If we cannot find them, either the Planet will dispense with our services, or we will!

Who decides this one my friends?

 

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

Nobody Listens . . . Nobody Cares!

banking photo

With the election only 60 odd days away the BBC’s flagship programme, Panorama, is running four weekly reports on whether our traditional aspirations about having a good job, owning a home and feeling a part of the community are now possible in modern Britain. What comes over loud and clear, in only the first programme, is the strong sentiment from people that “nobody listens and nobody cares”.

This resonates with me in taking just two issues that will have a fundamental impact upon this country and its people. In spite of ongoing public outcries, demonstrations and countless petitions, both Fracking and TTIP will be going ahead, destroying our countryside, our health and our democratic rights with a totality we have never experienced in our history.

How did we get into such an unpleasant state of affairs and with people we have elected to ‘lead’ us but who have, by general consensus, turned their backs on us. For me the answer is in these words I have paraphrased from the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, one of Americas Founding Fathers and 3rd President:

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless. I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”

What he feared for Americans and something now playing out for them, is also happening over here.

Countries become easier to control when they are not self-sufficient and so that self-sufficiency has to be taken away. The simple way to do that is to have outside competition from cheaper producing countries slowly strangle national businesses, like steel and manufacturing, causing them to go bust or be sold off.

Government income is then challenged because of lower tax revenue from those lost companies and the now unemployed taxpayers that were. The situation is created where government needs money to continue running the country and this is where the banks step in to help with loans.

Obviously as more money is required so the lending terms become tougher. Control of the country comes from ‘austerity’, demanded as reasonable by banks because the country now has to cut its cloth to meet the repayments on its growing debts. All of this is kept from the people because it would show up the incompetence of government, as well as its inability to take the country forward. (Greece ring any bells?)

Now we get to where I think we are as a country. In order to stay in power government becomes the broker for the corporations, selling off State assets at a fraction of their value. They also introduce legislation, or bend current laws to make corporate profit growth much easier, whilst turning a blind eye to tax income that is funnelled abroad.

Unemployment statistics are ‘massaged’ to distort the reality of lowering wage rates and zero hours contracts. For all of this to happen the people are increasingly ignored and they themselves become further demotivated by a corrupted process they once believed in.

For this ‘engineered’ set up to continue the media come to the fore and like the Games in Ancient Rome, distract the attention of the masses. Constant bad news stimulates fear and uncertainty, with Terrorism, Surveillance and human and ‘celebrity’ tragedy rife across this controlled synthetic news system. People begin to wonder where it will all end and despair sets in . . . “nobody listens and nobody cares”.

The democratic process is further insulted by politicians who publicly declare they “deplore the sad state of voter turnouts” and that “something must be done about it”, whilst finding no solutions because their financial and corporate masters will not allow it.

This cancerous environment thrives when there is no strong leadership. Career politicians are good at politicking which, like a bad general, wins all the battles whilst losing the war!

Leadership is all about vision, involvement and motivation. I will vote for the person and party who stand up and state that we are in a mess and it will require ‘both the people and parliament’ to resolve it. Firstly they will institute People Referendums to immediately bring us back into the decision making process and remotivate us.

Secondly they will look to the issue and management of our own money, by providing a Public Banking service to run alongside our current banking system. This will allow us to kick start the economy and eventually provide social services the world will be envious of, as happened in Switzerland.

With those two priorities underway we can then collectively look at and decide upon our place in the EU, plus everything else.

What a difference when a leader is listening . . . and they care!

Until the next time.

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to The 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes.

The Horror of TTIP

Caution: This piece contains explicit imagery.

Many years ago I watched an interview with a psychiatrist who counselled the rich and famous in Hollywood. Treating addiction was his speciality and he stated how important and difficult it is for the addict to recognise they have a problem, the very first step to recovery. In his own case he became aware he had a serious problem when he came out of a drug induced coma one morning lying face down in the gutter with a dog urinating on his face!

I have alluded before to the addictive qualities of ‘profit’ within Capitalism http://tinyurl.com/khy6nr8 . I see the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as a serious symptom of this quality, with its complete disregard for people, democracy and the Law of the Land in the attainment of its profit goals/fix.

Corporations have been allowed to become global whilst governments, whose job it is to restrain them, remain national and increasingly ineffective. Hence the now threatening possibility for corporations to sue governments if legislation they introduce could have an adverse effect upon future profits.

Of greater concern is a recently leaked EU document showing quite clearly that corporations will become more directly involved in policy making through a new institution, the Regulatory Cooperation Body (RCB). Its purpose is to coordinate the process of ‘regulatory coherence’ between the US and the EU, effectively side-lining, if not neutering, the public and civil organisations. (Source: Centre for Research on Globalization – http://tinyurl.com/m9vxl6t)

Aided by the RCB, this abusive agreement would work against all food, health and safety legislation designed to safeguard us, as the costs would affect profits. It can also be easily seen that it would allow the continuing devastation of our Planet. Be in no doubt about the seriousness of this agreement upon us, as a Society and a country.

Let’s just look at Fracking and the US experience in only a few short years. It tells of increasing earthquakes and growing health problems attributable to the use of chemicals, the type of which nobody is prepared to disclose and of particular danger to those living near the ever mushrooming Fracking sites. As a final insult, residents are left to clear up the considerable mess out of public funds, when the well has been exhausted, as there is no profit to be had from this part of the process.

Now the scary bit! If government in the UK suddenly saw the light from the US experience and reversed all decisions made so far to allow this odious process, with TTIP in force they would be sued. Doesn’t sound that sinister until you realise that this is an infant industry and if a quarter of what Cameron tells us is true, there are obscene amounts of money to be made here. After all, we are told that Fracking would resolve all of our current financial problems and see our balance of payments in good order for many decades to come!

THAT is a lot of money which, under the terms of TTIP, corporations would then be able to seek recompense for, if we reneged on current agreements. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the elephantine sums involved would bankrupt this country once and for all!

We are entering an Orwellian world where Big Brother will cease to regulate any corporate activity and presumably be unable to seek taxes from these monoliths because it would have repercussions upon their bottom line!

Am I being ridiculous . . . could things really get this bad? WHO KNOWS! Perhaps this is the reason it has been shrouded in so much secrecy for so many years. And how could we find out, because we don’t trust what we are told by those in authority?

Given the growing abuse of the 99% by the 1%, of which TTIP is an excess beyond belief, I see the hallmarks of addiction in its latter stages, as the demands for the unchecked profit growth ‘fix’  become more excessive and menacing with a corporate world in denial at the destructive repercussions of its actions. (Another banking collapse is already on the cards we are arrogantly told and with monotonous regularity!)

We have ravaged our Planet to a point where one of our major sources of food, the oceans, is now becoming toxic and GM crops are in question. The real nature of our problem is that we are the only species to poison its own food because of troubled addictive reasoning and belief about the profit fix!

I find myself looking, with increasing alarm, at the melting polar caps and considering the metaphor that perhaps our Planet is now readying itself to urinate on our collective faces. Sadly by then, I fear, it will be too late for any form of remedial treatment for our condition.

Until the next time

 

Thinking from his Book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to The 99% . . . If They Want It! By J T Coombes

Parliament is becoming a shambles

When the Speaker of the House condemns senior politicians for what, to all intents and purpose is sharp practice we, as a democracy, are in serious trouble.

It is becoming blatantly obvious that the Prime Minister is seeking political credibility through a hard and determined attack upon the EU, some of which is justified, but to ‘bend’ the rules yesterday to deny debate upon the arrest warrant shows a disturbing turn of events.

Visionary leaders have focus and determination in directing the way forward but this leadership is not visionary. Rather it is hell bent upon holding on to power by any means, whilst appeasing the wishes and needs of its corporate lords and masters.

This is now becoming blatantly obvious as wholesale Fracking begins across the countryside in spite of strong opposition by the people. The gross distortion of democratic process that TTIP will introduce does not bear thinking about. You can forget a publicly run NHS as it would attack the very core of TTIP. Its proponents would cry, with savage greed, how it inhibits the ability of corporations to make profits.

The fact that this odious agreement has been kept so secret from the electorate, not for months but years, could only be achieved with the compliance of Westminster and that is frightening. What credibility does the parliamentary process now have to uphold undertakings given by David Cameron to a referendum on membership of the EU in 2017 if he regains power?

That this was even offered upon condition that we vote him back into power again illustrates to me that corporate sponsorship is now seriously undermining the credibility of a democratic Parliament to the extent that voters must be bribed and coerced rather than wooed, as they traditionally have been.

There is no longer a relationship with the people that holds their confidence, as the needs of global corporations are placed before the needs of a country’s citizens. Integrity is a word often scorned these days but it is fundamental to the interaction between human beings. Voters elect on a basis of trust in what they are told. If integrity is not a powerful force within that process then manifestos become written evidence of future lies, something we evidence more and more these days.

The very fabric of Society cannot exist in a distrustful environment. People need confidence that their needs are being taken account of and defended. How can they plan their lives, build a home and raise a family when political priority is directed away from the diverse means with which to live Life and towards the narrow confines of profit?

Yesterday’s abuses in Parliament have again demonstrated a political mind-set that cares little for the people of this country as it focusses intensely upon power at any cost. Here is the core reason why the gap between the rich and the poor is growing ever wider. Wages are deliberately held down to improve profits and our young impoverished by debt to again control the employment market and future generations.

The parliamentary process, it seems, is impotent to this abuse and so we can no longer have confidence in a broken political system. Corporate sponsorship of political parties is a mutually beneficial but insidious relationship of power and greed which only the people can break up.

The solution lies with the people, as it always has. Revolution is not something we enjoy but we have taken to action when so called, as Oliver Cromwell demonstrated with a monarchy that thought it had a divine right. Maybe we need a new Cromwell, in the shape of a totally new party capable of harnessing the trust and power of the people to end the cosy ‘club’ Westminster has now become.

Until the next time

Thinking from his book: Global Magna Carta. Returning Power to the 99% . . . If They Want It!        By J T Coombes

The Horrors of Fracking (2)      . . . Could it devastate our food supply?

Fracking water pumps

Water Tanks preparing from a Fracking job

By Joshua Doubek (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) is to announce a new round of on-shore oil and gas exploration licensing with about two thirds of Britain potentially on offer to exploration companies. – Source Sunday Times 11/05/2014

Welcome to the National Parks    Britain’s breathing spaces

“There are 15 members of the National Parks family, beautiful areas of mountains, meadows, moorlands, woods and wetlands.

They are areas of protected countryside that everyone can visit, and where people live, work and shape the landscape.”

“Farmers are an important group of landowners and agriculture is one of the main land uses in National Parks”

www.nationalparks.gov.uk

I would suggest that “areas of protected countryside” is precisely what these beautiful areas are no longer, and it will not become as easy to visit them either. ‘Two thirds’ of Britain has now become the playing field for corporate businesses in what can only be described as volume shale gas production in its infancy, and therefore totally untested.

Vested interests would argue that this type of exploration has been around for 60 years or more without headline grabbing disasters and I would agree. However what has been practised so far pales into insignificance compared with the 21st century ‘gold rush’ that is now being pushed by government.

Let’s forget the science of the process for a moment and just look at practicalities. We are talking a resource that requires ‘oceans’ of water and chemicals for its extraction, with huge volumes of BIG Lorries to transport chemicals and toxic waste. They will require a road infrastructure that will make Spaghetti Junction look like a quiet country lane in a small hamlet. Sadly this is the environment these roads will need to pass through, creating untold pressures to the many communities, of which farming and livestock is an integral part.

Then there is the question of pollution of air and water. As far as air pollution is concerned methane leaks can come from the wells themselves, but let us not underestimate the emissions from the plethora of powered equipment, rigs pumps and compressors etc., necessary to pump the water and chemicals into the ground and extract the resultant gas/oil. In addition there is of course the exhaust emissions from the ceaseless movement across the country of the BIG Lorries mentioned earlier.

When we look at water usage the picture gets really scary because of the vast volumes of water necessary to the process. In America it has been estimated that during the lifetime of an average well something like up to 8 million US gallons of water will be used, which will be higher over here because shale depths are one and a half times further down. Not only will water be taken from streams and rivers that are already becoming challenged in their ability to provide for our basic needs, but also we will place our food at risk by having both arable and livestock farming competing for that same water supply.

Further potential threats to our food supply come from the fluids that return back to the surface with the extracted gas and these seem to range from 20% to 70% of what is injected. ‘Flowback’ water can be treated but it is an expensive time and chemical intensive process that profit driven corporations may become less motivated to remain involved with.

But all of this pales into insignificance compared with the long term dangers of pumping vast amounts of chemicals (which continue to remain a mystery) into the ground and their re-emergence at some time in the future. Although no scientist, I believe this re-emergence has to happen because of the sheer volume of chemicals being pumped into the ground through across the country. As these chemicals rise to the surface our food and water will become contaminated on an unimaginable scale, making us incapable of providing for our very survival.

Vested interests will argue that this won’t happen . . . BUT THEY DON’T KNOW . . . none of us do, and that is the honest truth – was climate change an issue 25 years ago!

Overall therefore it is essential for the necessary regulatory regimes needed to protect us and the environment to be put in place by government and rigidly adhered to. Here, worryingly, governments of every political hue have a poor track record of regulation, with the banking crisis still fresh in our minds, plus their ongoing relationship with corporate sponsors.

Driven by a government whose seriously depleted treasury coffers would benefit from 40% of corporate profits, (if they are kept in this country), the ability to apply responsible regulation of this industry is, I would suggest, a pipe dream.

How can any government contemplate handing over two thirds of the country to this type of commercial activity when official government figures for 2012 stated that 70% of Britain is used for farming. This is not thinking from visionary leadership but rather the short term thinking of ‘professional’ politicians seeking the means to repay massive debt they have incurred without seeking our authority so to do.

I’m not arguing we shouldn’t explore the possibilities of fracking, but we must do it responsibly over a period of years, to gain greater insight and experience before committing our country to a course of action that could become irreversibly destructive . . . climate change is quite enough for the moment!

Greenpeace are getting in the governments face with this issue and have a petition with nearly 250,000 signatures. I am writing independently of them but know they are the experts at making things happen and so you might like to add your name, if you haven’t already done so, or not, it’s up to you . . . I did. https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/frack-free-uk

Until the next time . . .

Fracking is Here – Now We Must Control It!

Fracking water pumps

Water Tanks preparing from a Fracking job

By Joshua Doubek (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Queens Speech on 4th June is the worst case scenario for the people of this country. Our Prime Minister has sided with big business, over the electorate, by allowing vast volumes of chemicals to be injected into the ground under our homes without our permission. With over 70% of people against this invasion, how could he simply change established trespass laws by driving a coach and horses through the democratic process?

In his desperate attempt to rectify the Treasury’s budgets, after submersing this country in unprecedented levels of debt we have not authorised, he has sold out to pressures from the big corporations and turned over two thirds of our country to exploration. And it has all been done without reference to the electorate, relegating them to obscurity in the negotiations about a hazardous and toxic industry that could turn this countryside into something resembling a lunar landscape.

The stories now coming out of America are truly frightening as law suits begin to be settled for compensation to abused residents. Abused from toxic gas leaks, toxic water leaks and air pollution from the fracking equipment. And that does not include the need to endure the army of heavy lorries needed to move millions of gallons of water on to each site and remove the oil and gas as well as the toxic waste generated by the process.

One retired senior executive within the industry has gone on record by stating that current technology is not capable of making fracking safe at present. This, coupled with inadequate regulations are the reason for the escalating cases of human misery that the industry and media are trying to suppress. Already in this country we have experienced problems in Lancashire, where small earthquakes were experienced and which the resident fracking company accepted were down to their operations.

To add insult to injury our government are accepting only limited responsibility from the fracking industry to clear up afterwards and deal with any leaks of adverse effects from their operations. It’s the banking scandal all over again, where lose regulation led to corporate abuse which taxpayers are having to pay an obscenely high price for . . . and will do so for some time to come!

We are talking about the risk of chemicals that still remain a secret, being pumped in to the ground, only to resurface at some time in the future and poison our crops and animals . . . our food supply in other words. And don’t let anyone tell you it won’t happen BECAUSE NOBODY KNOWS.

Climate change and rising sea levels are shifting the very structure of our earth’s surface. The tectonic plates are moving and already causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and that is just for starters! What may appear encased in rock now may not be the case in the future . . . and do we want to gamble with our countryside on this one. You decide!

For my money introducing fracking into this country in the manner it has been done is the most irresponsible action by any government since parliament was introduce in 1296. If they really are this irresponsible then we have no option but to now take control before the whole matter gets out of hand. I am not arguing for the banning of Fracking, it could well prove a useful provider of some of our energy needs BUT we have to do it responsibly, and this government has proved conclusively that it is not interested in ‘responsible’ but rather gaining better polling figures by next year with a generous flow of income from a currently dubious source.

What I am advocating as responsible is a 5 year probationary period in which a total of 100 square miles of land, decided by business and with our approval, is designated for the sort of intense fracking procedures the government currently has in mind for the majority of the countryside.

During this time we would gain a valuable insight into what is entailed. What road infrastructures are needed, the effect upon our water supplies and what health risks manifest. It took less time than this in America for the reality of fracking to appear, but nothing is controlled over there and so compensation is the simple name of the game. We don’t have to follow like sheep but rather learn and take greater precautions. We are a small island that is incapable of surviving a mistake of this nature to two thirds of its countryside.

Fracking is not a national issue but international. We are currently in an unbalanced fight as electorates come up against the power of global conglomerates. It seems to me that the electorate must fight globally as well, by supporting voters in other countries with similar issues. It increases numbers on petitions, thereby worrying governments, and redresses the imbalance causing so much of the abuse today.

We have to make a stand now or corporate needs will become a dominant and permanent feature of a seriously weakened democratic process that is now leading to our own self destruction (the Planet will survive because it can fight back!).

Until the next time

If you would like to sign my petition demanding a more responsible approach to Fracking please follow this link https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/fracking-limited-and-responsible-testing