My involvement with the resistance movement against fracking in the UK began really in 2015, although I did not become active in a physical sense until last spring (2017) when construction for commercial scale shale gas extraction began near Blackpool. In 2015 I began researching the subject in earnest. Now I am not an educated man, but I’m no idiot either. What became quickly apparent to me is that this process has neither the scientific base for being a safe industry, nor any public license. I became aware of a man called Paul Mobbs who had attempted to have the members of the cabinet arrested for misconduct in public office with relation to their policy decisions around fracking. He was arrested instead, and his case was dropped as being “not in the public interest”. I wondered why until I read his report, which formed part of his defence evidence, called “Fracktured Accountability”. In this report he explained in detail just how we came to the situation whereby our democratic processes had been corrupted and infiltrated by the interests of this industry, and he pointed towards the “revolving door” relationship between parliament and the executive world of the fossil fuel companies. I was mortified. I had a glimmer of faith left at this time in our democracy and I believed it worth fighting for still. I no longer have such faith. We are no longer a democratic nation but rather a nation being run by plutocrats, and the people on the TV who call themselves our “representatives” do not in truth represent anything except their own self interest and the interests of these corporate entities. I no longer owe them allegiance or obedience. I have seen now first hand just how unbalanced and biased the whole architecture of the state is in favour of these planet killers and how the whole discussion has been politicised and obfuscated by “special advisors” and “lobbyists” within the civil services as well as the ever present “shills” and cynics within the media. I have seen how the law is being used against the people as a tool for intimidating folk into compliance with a practice that will devastate this island and created a wasteland of poison for future generations. I have watched as police rough handle and abuse members of the public, old, young, disabled who are not trouble makers but simply concerned citizens, in a blatant effort to provoke an angry response from the protesters, and they have failed in almost every case to do so. I have seen first hand the collusion of provocation by police, the courts and the media in an attempt to create the illusion within the public consciousness that anyone opposed to fracking is either mad bad or dangerous to know. The reality is quite different and I know that within the community of “anti-frackers” are some of the most beautiful and peaceful and respectful people I have ever met. Yes it is a diverse community and has it’s fair share of rebels and anarchists among its ranks (of which I count myself one) but for the most part it is made up of intelligent, passionate and responsible folk who simply cannot sit by and allow the UK to be converted into a gas field that suffers from earthquakes and poisoned ground water, not to mention air it is not safe to breathe. In 2011 Caudrilla caused two earthquakes in the region after an exploratory frack at Preese Hall. They even admitted themselves that these were most likely triggered by their activities. I have been watching the effects of this new pad they have built. Campaigners in the local area have done amazing work creating a database of effects, capturing drone footage of the pad and surrounding countryside daily. It is monstrous what is happening there and the pollution they are causing is clear for anyone to see. They have hit an artesian well and flooded the area, run off from the pad is leeching into the surrounding waterways and fields, crops are failing and farmland is sinking under water. They have engaged in unsafe and illegal practices, they have hired local gangsters and thugs to intimidate campaigners, and in every instance within the courts that I have witnessed (with one exception) the lies and incompetence of the police have been overlooked and the protectors have been convicted when they should not have been so. I myself have been convicted for my part in a lock-on protest when the evidence clearly showed that the police acted improperly and gave false information in their statement. Tomorrow I am in court again for similar charges but this time they are using the Trade Union Act to convict us, a blatant abuse of that act and it’s power which was NEVER intended to be used to curb the human rights of concerned citizens to engage in peaceful but effective protest. I have neither the training, good name nor financial resources to fight this effectively and have little choice but to submit to their decisions even when I see clearly how biased those decisions are, but the struggle goes on up and down our country, being fought by folk with few resources and little money but a whole lot of heart and soul. We could use some help for sure! Even local councillors have joined the struggle after their planning decision was overturned and democracy made a fool of by these corporate lackeys that call themselves our Government. They are no Government and they have no mandate from the people to do this. They are thieves. They are stealing our freedoms, our rights and our children’s future from us for the sake of a boom and bust industry that surely knows it will cause harm and just as surely does not care. The supposed “Gold Standard Regulation” that has been touted as the big difference in the UK from elsewhere is a joke. This industry is self regulated and it is both reckless and inept. Reports to the Environment Agency are either dismissed, ignored or never followed through. Evidence that clearly proves the harms this will cause are not allowed to be submitted in the courts as a defence. It is a stitch up of massive proportions and the corruption is apparent on every level of the state architecture. As far as I can see this Government is guilty of a conspiracy to cause willfull harm on a massive scale and well as the crime of Mis-Conduct in Public Office. They have failed in their duty of care towards the people and if folk were to rise up in a full on revolution to oust them I could not blame them ( although I would never condone or take part in violence myself). I hope most strongly that this tribunal can impact on the industry and bring it to halt before the harms it will cause are irreversible and I will continue to place my body in it’s way regardless of what they will do to me, because that is all I have left that I can do.
Name: Alan Mitchell