. Fracktured Britain | London Progressive Journal
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Fracktured Britain

Fri 22nd Jul 2016

Snap, crackle, pop! Hear that?

Yep, the old bones are cracking. The national skeleton can't hobble its way to the osteopath quickly enough. But if you reckon I'm just talking politics, that ain't the half of it.

None of Team May's departmental policies bodes worse than the degradation of our planet. To state the obvious straightaway, any chance we had of cross-border pull-back on the reins of eco-destroyers has been sacrificed on the Brexit altar.

Taking a more holistic peek at the nation's health, the recent cabinet musings and choosings threaten us all. May can bleat her Corbyn-esque coronation promises, but Cameron & Co's Tory legacy is already being implemented by her privileged team. Not even a sniff of socialism among 'em. What they reek of is repression of populist protest.

Theresa not only may, she did! Yep, she waved her magic wand and presto-changeo, the Department for Energy and Climate Change has morphed into the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Perfect cover to sweep away those who fear for our poorly Earth.

And now we learn that such concerned protesters are to be branded as "terrorists."

Predicated on the recent UK go-ahead to allow fracking, presided over by none other than Andrea Tiresom, there are already rumours about criminalising those against the decision. There is precedence, initially borrowed from North America.

As reported by the Guardian on 21 January 2014, cooperative efforts between the CIA, MI6 and its Canadian equivalent under former PM Stephen Harper, have not only been collecting personal info on protesters, but passing it along to Enbridge, the company supervising the entire shale gas project. And, in a no-surprise revelation, only one member of Canada's oversight committee - all appointed by Harper - only one member is free from vested-interest connections to Enbridge.

Such tactics, both covert and publicly leaked, can be laid at the door of Scotland Yard's National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit. While there may be justification for the Unit to investigate potential dangers from alleged domestic extremism, it has been the demonisation of so-called single-issue protests that has characterised the targets. These include public anger at some of the appalling conditions of animals for consumption and sports, worries about GM crops, and the more ruthless practices of global capitalism.

The magnifying glass of our recent record reveals the Treasury-backed Committee on Climate Change, the government's go-to bunch pledged to provide "independent, evidence-based policy advice." Good luck with that! Its Chair is Lord Deben, who, as John Selwyn Gummer, was the Minister for Agriculture, Fish and Food between 1989-1993, and the longest serving Secretary of State for the Environment. Remember that adjective, independent.

Among those nearly 9000 British citizens branded by police as political radicals, particular attention focused on environmental activists. The 2014 Cambridge University Police action thwarting student demos against fracking, was characterised by that same Lord Deben as a bulwark against the students' "extremist and nonsensical views" allied with "Trotskyite dogma." Only those protests sanctioned by mainstream parties were to be tolerated, he opined.

And guess which committee was tasked with drafting the UK's energy policy? Could it be Lord Deben and his hand-picked cronies seconded from the UK's gas industry? No wonder his new acolyte Andrea Loathsom has set in train a succession of deep-well drilling to stimulate the shale gas supply as a panacea for fuel security. Her background in the city, wheeling and dealing with those nice guys who run hedge funds, makes her a conviction politician who remains unconvinced that climate change is real.

And that puts her in a slightly uneasy alliance with fellow appointees Amber Rudd and Boris Johnson, all of whom are learning to juggle policies falsely presented as safe and rational, with the reality of global warming. Even as chunks twice the size of Manhattan sheer off the Antarctic ice shelf, messing with the Gulf Stream and raising water levels, these clowns seem to regard the devastation as an entertainment.

Johnson's views on the environment are extracted from the Jolly Nursery Book of Climate Change Deniers. Rudd may be slightly saner but she had a major veracity malfunction when she failed to disclose that her brother works for Finsbury, the powerful energy lobby organisation whose clients include Shell and British Nuclear Fuels.

What do you reckon? Can May and her minions truly be so short-sighted, blinded by lucrative deals with their City chums? Can they not compute the simple equation that a destroyed planet will not be able to sustain them, their kids, and all of our futures?

Perhaps they believe they'll escape droughts and tornados, an atmosphere full of carcinogenic particulates, and the extinction of thousands of species, weakening the chain of biodiversity. Perhaps they think they'll be able to buy a seat on a space flight away from the chaos and climate catastrophe.

Just this past week the BBC's Science Correspondent Robert Thompson quoted from Science magazine's report on the fatally falling levels of the world's biodiversity. Quite simply, once global ecosystems fall below the tipping point of sustainability, we're all on a collision course. The report documents a remarkably comprehensive analysis of data, and was specifically addressed to those making policy affecting these bigger picture claims.

Are they listening?

As an example of a person of global influence whose credentials and rhetoric belie the true agenda of Lord Debden's Committee, look no further than his founding of Sancroft. That promotes itself as an international sustainability advisor to multi-nationals, presumably keeping them on their toes in areas of ethical responsibility, human rights, environmentally positive property development, dealing with regulatory restrictions and opportunities, and responsible supply chain sourcing.

Sounds great, right? Then you drill down to their client boasts. Aha! Primark - remember Rana Plaza, and how those garment victims are still involved in legal tangles to get compensation and some significant change to their basic wage. Then there's Coca Cola - a company well-practiced in fielding eco-questions with calming PR pronouncements. Its inching progress in meeting just half of its ethical and sustainability targets has been sorely tainted by extremely controversial investments, such as set-ups in occupied Israeli territories.

And, lest we forget, Nestlé. This corporate ogre is the biggest food company in the world. It has yet to live down the shocking baby milk scandal in the 1970s, when thousands of new African mothers were not only conned into buying formula powder as a health-benefit over breast milk, but failed to properly introduce the product with comprehensible instructions as well as to monitor mixing it with polluted water.

Despite an international boycott, Nestlé’s bite-back switched focus for greater profits. Only a couple of years ago, Nestlé was up to its old tricks, sending out sales reps dressed as nurses, not only to push the product, but to advocate buying expensive branded bottled water to those least able to afford either. And they are the world's largest producer of bottled water.

Before he was urged to renege, Nestlé chair Peter Brabeck was quoted as saying that human beings had no universal right to water. But investigative critics have shown the company was still failing to practice what it reluctantly preaches, as late as last year. So that's clear!

And tainted water brings us back to the UK government's hardening attitudes in favour of eco-destructive policies. Climate change is the eyepiece, and fracking is the focus. Lost amid the specious claims about fracking safety are some watery facts. Two are particularly worrying.

First is the amount of water required to frack each well, reliably estimated at between two and eight million gallons, some far more, and others which are fracked more than once. The process, for those who don't know, involves drilling down about 1.6 km (or a mile) below the earth. It's called hydraulic fracturing, because in order to extract the trapped gas, those millions of gallons of water are forced into the rock fissures, fracturing them open. The same process is used to extract trapped petroleum.

But it's not only water that gets forced into the rocks. Sand and toxic chemicals are also used. And that's the second huge concern, because the chemicals leak out, creating a dangerous source of pollution and contamination of land, water, and ultimately rivers and oceans. Another insidious side-effect is the stimulation of earthquakes, and the appearance of sink holes.

Would you be surprised to learn that government advisors have ventured the opinion that such dangers are unlikely, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary in the US and Canada. The advisors dismiss protests against spending more precious resources on extracting the very fossil fuels that the UK has pledged to reduce, especially under the global climate change targets and proposals.

In the realpolitik of legislative repression, be on the look-out for new restrictions, more aggressive police powers, and further human rights violations. And, of course, the kind of PR palliatives so cunningly crafted by the tobacco industry. Smoking? Harmful? Surely not!

We all know how Cameron's first Parliamentary promises about a green agenda were steadily trashed as sneakily as the pollution of the world's oceans. Now, the rush to make Brexit mean Brexit without seriously considering the Parliamentary means to re-think a more democratic alternative, means that the destructive agendas of the new poisonous cabinet postings will provide free rein to defy even the modest restraints of the EU.

But Cameron was clear on his fracking embrace: "I want us to get on board this change that is doing so much good and bringing so much benefit to North America. I want us to benefit from it here as well." Oh, and look! Who's that parroting her party piece, why it's Andrea Leadballoon, as completely misinformed as her former leader.

In short, the planet's screwed. Yep, that's you and me, folks. Whatever our income, ethnicity, politics, class or age. Because unless we're all encouraged to be eco-warriors, to risk being branded as eco-terrorists, we will allow ourselves to be duped by the Oval Office and Number 10 in concert with those who put profit before planet.

The mainstream media has a lot to answer for in making the public believe that politics is a game, a gossip fest. Such fun to mock Corbyn's beard or BoJo's hair. Yo momma's so fat ... well your mater was unwed. Ya-boo to you on the left, and right back atcha to you on the right. If only there weren't so many whose policies make it as hard to tell who's who as choosing between chips and fries.

Except in one glaring area. The one that's the most serious of all; the one the media refuses to place in pole position. However much those in power want to shut them up, only the Green Party and their gadfly advocates have consistently warned about the past and present policies that are literally killing us.

By downplaying all the issues that adversely affect the environment, the politicos have been mutually assuring our own demise - and theirs! Talk about weapons of mass destruction!

Snap. Crackle. We all go POP!
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