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From Paul Rance's 2018 book, Being St. Francis. Available now from Amazon in paperback. Additional info here


Chapter 15 - The Kirby Misperton Effect

I've been following environmental campaigns since the late 1970s, and it's fair to say that there have been many lows. The State is an emotionless machine, and we should never forget that the system only really cares about the system.

More and more these days it is corporations calling the shots, and politicians are too often linked to corporations that will stop at seemingly nothing in the pursuit of money. One very disturbing aspect of environmental protests is the way that the police are clearly on the side of corporations. They may claim to be impartial, but, in my opinion, that is clearly not the case when you look at the evidence. It's also interesting that assaults by companies private security are rarely  dealt with with the same alacrity as those alleged assaults by protestors on security. Consequently, there are people who respected authority, and the police in particular, whose views have now been tipped upside down.

Most governments, big corporations and some councils only care about power and money. Then they hire soulless security and police to do their dirty work. Let's get this straight. Not all cops are bad. My experience of the police is mixed - some good people, some unpleasant. But you've got to have a low opinion of yourself if you think dragging female protestors across a road is a good day's work, so I suspect being completely unthinking makes it easier to sleep at night - and the overtime helps I guess.

At Kirby Misperton a few minutes of watching police removing peaceful people singing Jerusalem made me feel sick. A right to peaceful protest in this country? Really? Maybe when peaceful protest is dictated to by the police, such as protestors slow walking vehicles from the Kirby Misperton frack site for an agreed period of time. That is not a right to peaceful protest being upheld. In other words it is peaceful protest  being tolerated, if it is not seen as too much of an inconvenience - and meets the conditions laid down by the police.

Up against Third Energy, those opposed to fracking at Kirby Misperton saw the rig built, and large lorries trundling in on a daily basis. Despite determined and inventive efforts to stop it, it looked like fracking was gonna be attempted soon. Then, equipment started being removed from the site. Requests to look into Third Energy's financial position had obviously unnerved the Government, i.e. who pays if anything goes wrong... Third Energy's plans had been scuppered by the hard working team of individuals on the ground and behind their keyboards. It was ironic that it all came down to money in the end, as, for money, frackers will put at risk people, animals and the environment.

Fracking may take place in the North York Moors area at some later stage, but the victory of local residents and environmentalists at Kirby Misperton will be a shot in the arm for not only people opposed to fracking in the UK and beyond. It will inspire people fighting against seemingly invincible big corporations for decades to come. What was achieved at Kirby Misperton cannot be underestimated. It was Britain's Bentley Effect.

Being St. Francis by Paul Rance Front Cover
 



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