Monthly Archives: September 2013

Flash Gag protest in Bridgend on Saturday 12th October

Event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/747687065257232/

Inspired by a successful event organised by my fractivist friend Gayzer Frackman, from the Fylde, Lancashire, this is all about the Tories crude and ugly Transparency of Lobbying, non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill aka the Gagging Bill.

If the Governments new gagging order is implemented it will crush the right to freedom of speech of every man, woman and child in the country. If you already feel that the coalition is turning on the people it has sworn to protect, unite in silent protest.
Peaceful protest and lawful objection have been our biggest strength. It is clear the government will stop at nothing to pursue their own agenda. Pandering to big business and the oil and gas industry. Aggressively stifling the protectors in Balcombe. It is not now just about fracking! It is much bigger than that.
In a show of unity gag yourself and join us outside Oxfam in Bridgend town centre (close to the Bus Station) between 11am and 1pm on Saturday 12th October. Make placards and banners if you wish. Fancy dress is optional. But you cannot speak. You have been silenced! Let our silence scream this is wrong!We will be armed with petitions to gather support from the people of Bridgend against this insidious attack on what is left of our democracy.

This short film explains what the government’s gagging law is all about and why it’s bad for democracy. It features 38 Degrees, Guido Fawkes, Friend of the Earth, Baston Legal & HOPE not hate.

Shadow Commons leader Angela Eagle called the bill “one of the worst pieces of legislation I’ve seen any government produce in a very long time”. And that is really saying something when you look back at the last few years!

I hope to see you with you placards and gags on – but do not obliged to go quite as far as Gayzer:

Frack Free Wales / Corporate Greed / Government Collusion – a video documentary by Fritz O’Skennick

Published on 27 Sep 2013
A video account of the anti-fracking demonstration by Frack Free Wales at the Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff… Tuesday 24th September 2013… Plus clips from Balcombe, Texas, Government, Protests & general info on fracking from various Youtube sources…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GGtukvmcvI4#t=422

Fabulous effort by Fritz O’Skennick

The first 10 minutes mixes up clips of the speeches from the Senedd steps.

There then follows a selection of clips from various sources in an informative and entertaining review of the associated issues and the appalling attitudes of the Cameron government.
Watch to the end for a fantastic impassioned speech from Vanessa Vine and the coming threat of the ‘gagging bill’ – proof positive that we have truth on our side, and they know that they cannot win by fair means.

Thank you Fritz.

License to drill beneath your feet – a photographic record by Nigel Pugh

http://www.flickr.com/photos/65365631@N04/sets/72157635856207646/

Many thanks to Nigel Pugh for his fantastic photo essay of the Frack-Free Wales demo outside the Senedd in Cardiff Bay on Tuesday.

It is a fabulous record and you can even click on some of the pictures of the speakers and get the texts of their speeches. There are 79 photos over 2 pages.

Gareth Clubb’s speech outside the Senedd on Tuesday

Gareth Clubb
Director – Cymru at Friends of the Earth www.foe.co.uk/cymru/english/cymru_about_us.html

Gareth Clubb – Director of Friends Of The Earth Cymru.

Speech:

Friends.

This Friday, in Stockholm, the foremost climate scientists of the world will gather to reveal their latest findings about climate change.

I’m not expecting good news on Friday.

Because despite all the efforts of those countries that have committed to rein in climate change, and the greenhouse gases that cause it, the statistics are going in just one direction, more rapidly than ever before.

Up and up, with more and more greenhouse gases being produced.

Climate change: the biggest problem facing humanity. No, not my words. As far back as 2006, people like Tony Blair, Sir Nicholas Stern, and even Arnold Schwartzenneger all understood the threat.

So when we’re talking about unconventional gas, we need to frame the debate in terms of this monumental challenge of climate change. And under those circumstances, we come to the conclusion that these are immoral industries. Immoral because they all know the threat that climate change poses to people right around the planet. They know that wrenching more and more fossil fuels out of the planet can only make things worse. But the thirst for profit drives them nonetheless.

Friends, we have, here in Wales, the power to put a stop to these immoral industries.

How? I hear you ask.

By putting in place a moratorium, so that the Welsh Government can examine all the evidence and come to a decision:
can unconventional gas sit side-by-side with our commitments to future generations;
can unconventional gas be extracted without damage to our environment and our communities; and
is it possible to use unconventional gas and keep our climate promises to the global community.

We’ll see how these dirty, polluting industries stack up when they’re pitted against the will of every single community that has had the misfortune to attract their interest.

A moratorium, as Bulgaria has done, as France has done, as Ireland has done, and as the Czech Republic is intending to do as from next month.

And that’s why we’ve gathered here today, to ask of our Assembly Members:
Act on our behalf, execute a moratorium on fracking in Wales.

Ffracio Senedd

Cyfeillion.

Ddydd Gwener yma, fe fydd gwyddonwyr pennaf hinsawdd yn datgelu eu canfyddiadau ynghylch newid hinsawdd.

Dydw i ddim yn disgwyl newyddion da ddydd Gwener yma.

Er gwaethaf ymdrechion oll y gwledydd hynny sydd wedi ymrwymo i ffrwyno newid hinsawdd, a’r allyriadau tŷ gwydr sy’n ei achosi, dim ond i un cyfeiriad mae’r ystadegau yn mynd, a hynny yn gyflymach nag erioed o’r blaen.

I fyny ac i fyny, mwy a mwy o allyriadau nwyon tŷ gwydr.

Newid hinsawdd: problem mwyaf sy’n wynebu dynolryw. Na, nid fy ngeiriau i. Mor bell yn ôl â 2006, roedd Tony Blair, Sir Nicholas Stern, a hyd yn oed Arnold Schwartzenegger i gyd yn deall y bygythiad.

Felly mae’n rhaid trafod y diwydiannau nwy anghonfensiynol yng nghyd-destun y broblem enfawr yma: newid hinsawdd. Ac o dan yr amgylchiadau hyn, rydyn ni’n dod i’r casgliad mai diwydiannau anfoesol ydynt. Anfoesol oherwydd maent yn ymwybodol mai newid hinsawdd yw problem mwyaf dynolryw. Maent yn ymwybodol nid trwy echdynnu mwy fyth o danwydd ffosil o’r ddaear yw’r ffordd i fynd i’r afael â newid hinsawdd. Ond dyna a wnânt.

Cyfeillion, mae gyda ni y grym yng Nghymru i roi terfyn ar y diwydiannau anfoesol hyn sydd ac un diben yn unig – elw iddynt hwy eu hunain a naw wfft i’r blaned.

Sut? dwi’n clywed rhai yn gofyn.

Trwy osod moratoriwm, fel bod Llywodraeth Cymru yn gallu archwilio’r holl dystiolaeth a dod i gasglaid:
a ydy nwy anghonfensiynol yn cyd-fynd â’n hymrwymiadau i’r cenhedloedd i ddod;
a ydy nwy anghonfensiynol yn gallu cael ei echdynnu heb niwed i’r amgylchedd a’n cymunedau; a
a ydy hi’n bosib i ni ddefnyddio nwy anghonfensiynol a chadw ein haddewidion i bobloedd y byd o ran newid hinsawdd.

Cawn weld sut gall y diwydiannau brwnt, llwgr yma gyfiawnhau eu bodolaeth yn erbyn ewyllys pob un gymuned sydd wedi codi i fyny yn eu herbyn.

Moratoriwm, fel mae Bwlgaria wedi gwneud, fel mae Ffrainc wedi gwneud, fel mae Iwerddon wedi gwneud, a fel mae gweriniaeth Tsiec yn bwriadu gwneud mis nesaf.

A dyna pam rydyn ni wedi ymgasglu yma heddiw, i ymofyn i’n Haelodau Cynulliad:
Gweithredwch drosom ni, a mynnwch foratoriwm ffracio yng Nghymru.

A coalition calling for a cross party motion on Shale Gas extraction Fracking in Wales.

Tues 24 Sept 2013, Y Senedd Cardiff Bay.

Inspiration from the Manic Street Preachers

Wales’ finest, the Manic Street Preachers have a new album that I keep playing constantly.

It is arguably their most reflective and most Welsh album to date with many a track that touches a nerve.
The back cover of the lyric booklet features a classic Albert Camus quote that I would like to adopt as my campaigning motto:

REAL GENEROSITY
TOWARDS THE FUTURE
LIES IN GIVING ALL
TO THE PRESENT

The title track, REWIND THE FILM, and its video is full of nostalgia for a past, in the Welsh Valleys, that was not so great, but better than the present:

“I want to feel small , lying in my mothers arms,
Playing my old old records, hoping that they’ll never stop,
There is too much heartbreak in the nothing of the now.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwwtOd3pMlk

As a campaign hymn, however, the closing track, 30-YEAR WAR, is even more pertinent:

“It’s the longest running joke in history,
To kill the working classes in the name of liberty,
The lies of Hillsborough, the blood of Orgreave,
All the evasion at the BBC.”

“So you hide all Lowry’s paintings, for 30 years more,
Cos he turned down a knighthood, and you must now settle the score,
And the endless parade of Old Etonian scum, line the front benches,
“So what is to be done”, all part of the same establishment,
I ask you again “What is to be done?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIF0_31QbhQ

 

Bridgend CBC school dinner shame highlighted by the Sunday Times

LETTER TO GLAMORGAN GAZETTE

THE Sunday Times (22/09/13) is running a “Better School Meals” campaign, and as part of this, they have highlighted the very worst councils in terms of the the money spent on ingredients, and also the percentage of the price charged that goes on ingredients. Their findings thoroughly shame Labour-controlled Bridgend CBC.

Of all the councils in England & Wales, only 10 were found to spend less than 60p on ingredients for a school meal. Bridgend was next to worst in the entire country, spending just 57p. Northumberland is the only one to spend less at 56p. This is against a national average that, in itself, is poor at 75p.

And it gets worse. Bridgend was highlighted as the very worst in the entire country in what could be called its ‘rip-off’ league table, as only 27% of the £2.10 charge is spent on ingredients. Northumberland charges £1.90. Compare these disgraceful figures with what happens in other parts of the country. Wallsall, East Yorkshire, Bradford, Cheshire West and Chester all spend over 95p on ingredients for meals that they charge for no more than the £2.10 Bridgend charges.

Bridgend CBC apparently claims that they shave secured ‘competitive deals with suppliers’. I bet they have! But we all know that ultimately quality food is not the cheapest food. And this not explain why Bridgend CBC rips parents off by charging £1.53 over the ingredient costs – more than any where else in England & Wales. If they are getting such a good deal on the ingredients, why are they getting such a bad deal on the the other cost factors? Or are they simply profiteering at hard pressed parents expense?

It leaves a very bad taste in the mouth, doesn’t it? But it is what we have come to expect from the Red Tories in Bridgend.

Andy Chyba
Bridgend Green Party

 

PS – We are seeking disclosure of exactly where BCBC gets its ingredients from and, given how little it spends on them, why parents/pupils are being charged such high prices.

Text of Andy Chyba’s speech at the Frack-Free Wales demo in Cardiff Bay

As requested by several people. Thank you for the many supportive comments I have received.

This campaign has dominated my life for the last 3 years and for long periods of that I wondered whether we had any chance of prevailing against the power and influence of the oil & gas lobby and their allies in Government, but I am here today to tell you that I am now totally convinced that we will prevail and prevent the devastation that this industry brings.

 

Why am I so confident? What has become clear in recent months is that this issue resonates with people, with voters, across the political spectrum in a way that issues like climate change have singularly failed to manage.

 

Despite the fact that climate change science is established and only challenged by the loony right-wing fringe; despite the fact that the arguments have been won and just about every world leader now acknowledges that we are well on course for catastrophic climate change, within the lifetimes of most people alive today; despite this no major country has found it politically possible to do anything like enough to avert the impending calamities.

 

We have been preaching about climate change for decades and instead of weeing in the wind, we look destined to be pissing in the coming gales for all we seem capable of achieving on this issue. The threat simply does not seem obvious, immediate or personal enough to influence people’s votes.

 

But fracking is different. It does, of course have a critical climate change dimension, but voters of all persuasions are beginning to realize what is at stake, especially when it pitches up in their back yards.

 

Witness the reaction in the Tory heartland around Balcombe. Fracking was fine when it was up in the desolate North, as the profits being made would boost their dividend payouts and pensions funds. But bring it to their doorstep and all of a sudden it is their water turning shades of green and black, it is their health being threatened, it is their leisure and tourism and agriculture being ruined, and perhaps most tellingly of all for fans of capitalism, it  is the value of their prized capital assets, their property, that is being decimated and made unsellable.

 

This is why they have welcomed us with open arms when we visit the Balcombe camp and recognize the sacrifices being made by people like Frances Crack and Caroline Lucas in risking their liberty for the cause.

 

We don’t fight for these people though. As ecosocialists, we in the Green Party and Plaid Cymru have long recognized that any environmental threat tends to be a socialist issue. Who is it that disregards the environmental consequences beyond ensuring they have a big enough compensation kitties for when it goes tits up?

 

BP were able to establish a $20 billion compensation fund straight after the Deepwater Horizon disaster (a disaster they had insisted could never happen) and it barely caused them a moments inconvenience. Meanwhile thousands of fishermen have lost their livelihoods and way of life forever; the tourism and hospitality industries, and the poorly paid people within it, have taken massive hits, while those with lawyers and accountants milk the compensation pot.

You see, it always the little guys that are ultimately made to pay for the mistakes of the big guys. Sound familiar? Here in austerity Britain?

 

So, we have voters from the left and the right finding common ground in opposing fracking, and we even have Conservative AMs championing the precautionary principle if we are to believe Suzy Davies. What a pity they are in opposition, I bet she hopes we think.

 

Which leaves us to consider the middle ground of the political landscape. And for that we need look no further than over my shoulder. This is, of course, crediting Carwyn and his mates with not quite being the Red Tories we see in Westminster, but where has been the leadership the Welsh people deserve on this issue?

 

Many of us here today have written to Carwyn, he is after all my AM in Bridgend, and what do we get? We get him peddling the ultimate myth of the fracking apologist,  regarding, and I quote his letter directly: the role that gas will have as a key transitional fuel as we move to a low carbon energy system”.  

This only ever had any traction if we were to burn gas instead of coal, but there is absolutely no evidence of this happening – coal production has continued apace in the USA and a drop in coal consumption, in the capitalist world, only means a drop in price and greater demand and consumption in other, poorer, parts of the world.

The latest research coming out of the London School of Economics tells us that we have to leave between 60 and 80% of current known reserves in the ground if we are to stand a chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change. Wake up Carwyn – the very last thing we need is to keep looking for ever more extreme forms of fossil fuels.

 

If we had proper leadership here in Wales, we could be at the very forefront of the worlds low carbon economies given the staggering potential for renewable energy we have here in Wales – not just wind and solar, but ground source heating and biogas potential that would allow us to heat our homes a lot cheaper and safer than using shale gas – and not forgetting the near criminal waste of the second highest tidal range in the entire world rushing past our doors as regular as clockwork, just over there!  

The latest multi-technology proposals suggest a readily available 14GW is going to waste everyday in the Bristol Channel – the equivalent of 4 Wylfa sized nuclear power stations, at least 10 Gas-fired power stations, or put another way – more than enough to meet the average consumption level of the whole of Wales today.

So what doe we need? We need Carwyn to get his backside off the fence, get out here and listen to the hard cold facts of the matter rather than keep looking for a lead from the red Tories in Westminster that only ever give us slightly tamer versions of whatever the blue Tories say, and for him to recognize that we are not going away until we get the environmental and social justice of a ban on fracking in Wales.

Let’s hear you Carwyn!    Thank you!

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 22.01.41

Andy Chyba