The U.K. Tories annual conference this week heard Theresa May emphasise her government’s determination to ‘bring Britain together’, and be a government that recognises the problems of its people and works towards solving them.
Just one day following the conclusion of the Tory conference there’s an announcement from the government she heads stating fracking has been approved in the U.K., in particular a part of Lancashire where the local authority and the residents have already thrown out an application by the company involved:
Environmentalists and local campaign groups reacted angrily, saying it was a denial of local democracy.
It means, for the first time, UK shale rock will be fracked horizontally, which is expected to yield more gas.
A second site, Roseacre Wood, has not yet been given the green light amid concerns over the impact on the area.
Lancashire County Council (LCC) refused permission to extract shale gas at both sites last year on the grounds of noise and traffic impact, but Cuadrilla appealed.
In response to the decision, LCC has called on the government to do more to address people’s concerns about fracking.
“It is clear the government supports the development of a shale gas industry, but I would ask them to do more to address the concerns of local communities and the councillors who represent them by supporting the best environmental controls,” it said.
Responding to the ruling Councillor Judith Blake, from the Local Government Association, said: “It should be up to local communities to decide, through their locally democratic planning systems, whether or not to host fracking operations in their areas.”
She said residents’ safety concerns should be “adequately addressed”.
“People living near fracking sites – who are most affected by them – have a right to be heard,” said Councillor Blake.
Cuadrilla, the company concerned, is a subsidiary of L1 Energy. Its Executive Chairman is Edmund John Philip Browne, Baron Browne of Madingley. Okay, it’s a mouthful and you’ve probably never heard of him, but he was Group Chief Executive of BP from 1995 to 2007, and, according to investigative journalist, Tom Bower:
[Browne] was responsible for a “ruthless” programme of cost-cutting at BP that compromised safety, and thus the man most responsible for a string of major accidents including the Texas City Refinery explosion (2005) and the Deepwater Horizon explosion (2010). Bower also accuses Browne of tolerating only “sycophants” in his “corporate court”, said to include Tony Hayward who succeeded him as BP Chief Executive…
All of which leaves one feeling concerned for the welfare of the good people of Lancashire.
It’s always worth seeking a government link to companies, or their executives, when such approvals are forthcoming, and sure enough:
Lord Browne was the UK Government Lead Non-Executive Director until January 2015. His remit was to work with Secretaries of State to appoint non-executives to the board of each government department…
Did wads of money change hands, or was it just a cosy chat over brandies with some government minister who, perhaps, owed Browne a favour? We’ll probably never know for sure.
So much for Theresa May’s caring about people’s problems. It’s obviously ‘government as usual’ under her leadership.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is displaying its true colours in Brussels, where a fight broke out between UKIP Members of the European Parliament (MEP) that put their would-be new leader in hospital with a suspected fractured skull:
UKIP leadership hopeful Steven Woolfe says he is recovering in hospital after a reported fight at a meeting of the party’s MEPs.
The party released a statement from Mr Woolfe from his Strasbourg hospital bed saying he was sitting up having undergone a precautionary brain scan.
UKIP sources said “punches were exchanged” during the row at a party meeting and Mr Woolfe banged his head.
He was taken to hospital two hours later after collapsing, sources said.
UKIP sources said “a rumbustious argument” had taken place at the MEPs’ meeting at the European Parliament over whether Mr Woolfe had been talking to the Conservative Party.
Even the possibility of him talking to the Conservatives had been seen by some as a betrayal and some MEPs were very angry, the sources said.
The BBC was told Mr Woolfe went outside with another MEP where “punches were exchanged” and it is believed that Mr Woolfe banged his head against a window or a wall but then got up.
To add insult to injury, Diane James the new leader of UKIP resigned after only three weeks on the job, citing a lack of colleague support:
Ms James took over UKIP at a time when it was beset by rifts and infighting.
There were different factions within the party that were struggling to come together and agree on its future direction…She wanted to make some changes about the way the party was governed, how its ruling body, the national executive committee, ran things.
Reading between the lines of her statement, it seems she does not feel she can continue do that…She was the clear frontrunner and yet has decided she cannot continue so this now will throw UKIP back into a state of turmoil and division.
Turmoil and division within UKIP! Fist-fighting in the Brussels Parliament building!
One can only wonder how they’d behave if they’d lost the E.U. referendum.
There were many who prophesied turmoil and division within the country following such a close decision. It seems they were right. Theresa May announced her intention to bring Britain together. As 90% of the country is totally opposed to fracking, bowing the knee to the fossil-fuel industry doesn’t indicate she’s off to a very good start.
It would seem U.K. politics is following the lead of its American counterparts and descending into chaos.
 “Fracking in Lancashire given go-ahead by government” BBC, October 6th 2016
 “John Browne, Baron Browne of Madingley” Wikipedia
 “UKIP’s Steven Woolfe says he’s ‘fine’ after altercation” BBC, October 6th 2016
 “UKIP turmoil returns after Diane James resignation” BBC, October 5th 2016