Sometimes we need to put politics aside and offer support (this is one of those occasions)

Sometimes we need to put politics aside…

This is one of those occasions.

Since the first Police Crime Commissioner elections, I have, over Twitter, had many discussions with  Rachel Rogers, who was at that time Labour’s Dorset PCC candidate. She has also been a parliamentary candidate and case worker for the South Dorset Labour MP during his tenure (she is also anti Corbyn). We wont always agree on political decisions but have discussed them amicably.

But as I said this is one of those occasions when politics takes a back seat and other matters hold more importance (yes that situation does exist, dear reader).

Rachel (@DorsetRachel) announced that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I can’t put it any better than her so here is the transcript of her Twitter feed:

Pollyanna Rogers ‏@DorsetRachel  Sep 1
So this morning I said I had something other than #LabourLeadership to talk about so now I’m going to come clean with what it is. 1/3

In May I was diagnosed w breast cancer & start chemo soon so before I lose my hair I’m going to #BraveTheShave: https://bravetheshave.org.uk/shavers/rachel-rogers/ … 2/3

I’ve received fabulous support since my diagnosis & in return I’m supporting #BraveTheShave – you can too! https://bravetheshave.org.uk/shavers/rachel-rogers/ … 3/3Rachel Rogers bts

The address for Rachel’s Brave the Shave is: https://bravetheshave.org.uk/shavers/rachel-rogers/

I wish Rachel and all those with similar diagnoses a speedy recovery and send all best wishes.

Please help Rachel, help others…

I try and look at both sides of an argument/discussion but sometimes I struggle, sometimes…

I think that I have an open mind, I try and look at both sides of an argument/discussion but sometimes I struggle, sometimes…

On Twitter yesterday was one of those occasions. My open mind says that everyone is Christian Voice on Twitterentitled to an opinion, even if it is one I don’t agree with, but sometimes others opinions are just wrong, on so many levels (from my point of view).

I used to regularly attend church, I can see the point of the sermons, understand the lessons that are preached. These days I am a latter day agnostic, I believe that there is something, but too many unanswered questions for me to follow any faith, or religion. I am happy to attend and listen but that’s as far as it goes. I cast no stones and have no problem with others following their beliefs, to me that is a personal choice (no comments required, I am comfortable in my stance).

For me the sermons and lessons would be of peace and happiness, right from wrong as a general rule. What I read yesterday doesn’t fit that in any sense. If two people love each other, want to be with each other etc. what does it matter that they are of the same gender, or not, and to be frank is none of our business. How does the writer know that it isn’t the Lord’s will? (for those who want to quote the Bible, that is open to interpretation too). As for ‘turning’ gay, which century are we in…?

Others will have stronger words, I just have pity. They are as I’ve said entitled to their opinion, I don’t have to agree.

A question of fracking…

When it comes to fracking, not knowing very much about it I have tended to sit on the fence, but some headlines across the Sunday papers today piqued my interest.

So what I learned (abridged version):EIA fracking diagram

  • Fracking involves pumping copious amount, including sand and un-named chemicals down a drill hole 2 to 4 km down and then 3 km horizontal. Apparently the composition is a ‘trade secret’ but is thought to contain carcinogenic substances and hydrochloric acid.
  • The drill hole is lined with a steel liner and then outer filled with concrete
  • Gases released include methane and could include Radon
  • The ‘flowback water’ is contaminated and needs treating. It is stored uncovered in U.S, covered in UK.
  • Fracking sites are noisy places, and also have truck movement to and from site.
  • In the U.S there are over half a million natural fracking wells.
  • In the UK more than 100 licenses have been issued.
  • There is apparently 1300 trillion cubic feet of gas available of which we use 2.5 trillion a year (520 years supply)
  • Fracking may cause earthquakes if dormant faults are disturbed
  • Fracking goes through the water table so contamination a possibility if drill holes not secure.

References:

Facts About Fracking (LiveScience)

What is fracking and why is it controversial? (BBC)

Extraction (naturalgas.org)

Also seen Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and lots of other sites with fracking info…

I then compared fracking with natural gas as we know it at present. Apparently this too has methane and radon association. As you can see from diagram though, it doesn’t involve going quite so deep.

What piqued my interest?

Articles in Observer, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, Mail on Sunday and The Sun regarding a decision shortly to be announced by Theresa May to give households money from the profits of fracking, rather than communities as was previously suggested.

The Mail references the West Sussex village of Balcombe and suggests what they could get (13k per household) even though the fracking company concerned, Cuadrilla withdrew from fracking there in 2014. Interestingly (and ironically) the residents of Balcombe started a solar farm project instead, which then had to be scrapped due to the Government policy changes (Solar farm in Balcombe ‘fracking village’ shelved due to Tory policies).

So what is this ‘sweetner’ of up to £10k, or more depending on which article you read, actually supposed to achieve?

Is it a bribe, or an inconvenience payment? (I do subscribe to the fact that there is no free ride and that you aren’t given money for free).

As for me, I can see why 520 years of gas supply would be a huge carrot, but what is the long term impact on the environment and the earth beneath our feet and at what cost?

The cynic in me wants to know why the fracking companies won’t tell us what is in the ‘slickwater’ that is pumped into the hole, rather than being a trade secret. I guess i’m still on that fence, but the splinters are beginning to hurt…

for references here are some of the articles from today:

Local people to get cash payments from fracking (Observer/Guardian)

Families may be in line for share of fracking tax (Times)

Families affected by fracking to get share of money earned under new Theresa May plan (Telegraph)

Will you hit the Frackpot? Theresa May’s stunning cash payouts to families, with households offered up to £13,000 in the great shale bonanza (Mail)

Frack-hander Theresa May unveils plan for £10,000 handouts to fracking town families in huge profit-sharing plan (The Sun)

Households could get fracking payments under government plans (BBC)

 

Introducing @LibdemNewbiesUK on Twitter (and Lib Dem Newbies UK Facebook Group)

LDnewbies (1)

Introducing @LibdemNewbiesUK on Twitter (and Lib Dem Newbies UK Facebook Group)

Are you new to the Libdem’s, have you returned to the Libdem’s or are you interested in the promotion of the Libdem’s ?

You are then please follow @LibdemNewbiesUK on Twitter.

@LibdemNewbiesUK would also like photos of #libdempints and other newbies meetings, 140 character notes of why you joined the Libdem’s and any other relevant articles to interest anyone joining the Party.LDnewbies

@LibdemNewbiesUK is an unofficial group of volunteer members set up to welcome new members, any views are of individuals not the party. #LibDemFightBack#NewbieSquad

LDnewbies (2)

 

 

Also available on Facebook Group – Lib Dem Newbies UK

Why not follow today…?

A Party on the rise…

Things we’ve heard before: The Libdem’s are finished, heading for extinction…

You won’t be surprised to hear, but I disagree. Far from it, wounded from the battering taken at the last General Election, maybe, but still here and rebuilding slowly under the #libdemfightback banner.

Since the EU referendum Libdems have GAINED 8 council seats and held 2. Apart from independents ‘gaining’ from independents (3 seats) and conservatives gaining one seat, we are the only party making such a positive headway. We even increased our vote share in an Islington council by-election (Corbyn’s back yard). (stats from @britainelects).post EU election wins

Also since the referendum our membership has risen by 17,500 (in just a month!!).

I have read lots of comments, recent and in the past, that are derogatory, distasteful, deceitful and just wrong about our party. Instead of believing a slanted, tainted populist view, if people took the time to see exactly what the party stands for (and against) they may take a different view and join the fightback as well.

A tweet from Catherine Bearder:

constitution CB

In coalition, as is now becoming obvious, especially on green agenda, LD was instrumental in ensuring the Conservatives were checked from going too far in their right leaning agenda. A quick Google check will tell you what was LD involvement in policy. We now see the Department for Energy and Climate Change being merged, and the name disappearing in Theresa May’s first government. “Abolition of Decc ‘major setback for UK’s climate change efforts’ (Guardian)”

That as they say, is the past… Though as Ian Hislop recently said, you don’t just give up because you lost an election.

The EU referendum took place, the Labour Party is ineffective due to internal strife and behind closed doors, the Conservative party with new leader in place are trying to reunite and Brexit (or not) with all the anxiety that holds. UKIP are looking for a new leader (we read in the Sun paper/online that Farage is off to I’m a Celebrity as Celebrity Big Brother wouldn’t pay his £750k demand), as are the Greens. Will there, won’t there be a General Election speculation. The uncertainty goes on…

Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ :

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies…

So here we are the Liberal Democrats, on the rise, steady, growing again and there to speak to and represent any of the 48% that voted against leaving the EU. Whilst also recognising there are those in the party for whom the EU isn’t the main focus as well, though obviously with the referendum being so much in the recent past it is the focus of the moment.

Regarding the EU, I note the quotes from Tim Farron in a Guardian Article outlining our stance on the subject :

guardian articleFarron revealed that Liberal Democrat policy would now not only offer a referendum on the Brexit deal when it is hammered out, but also promise that on the ballot would be the option of “remaining in the EU”.

But he insisted the position was not about disrespecting the outcome of the referendum.

“Any MP who talks about frustrating the will of the electorate by blocking Brexit in the House of Commons – that would be wrong … we shouldn’t be sticking two fingers up at the people, that would be a disgrace,” he said.

“Calling for an immediate second referendum because you don’t like the result of the first, I can understand the temptation, [but] that is wrong.”

But he argued while the 52% had voted clearly against something, they had not been given anything to vote for, pointing out that Britain’s relationship with the EU could be modelled on a large number of possibilities “ranging from Norway, to North Korea, and all the points in between”.

So far from being washed up has-been’s we are here being progressive, winning seats, rebuilding, offering a voice that would otherwise be lost in the void that is the turmoil of present day UK politics. We even have Nick Clegg scrutinising Brexit!liberal-democrats-logo-libby-bird

Like the phoenix from the ashes Libby rises again

#libdemfightback? that is happening, now!!

 

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

I’ll stick with the Libdems thanks, look at Labour…

Labour’s internal problems are their problem to sort, not mine although indirectly it affects us all.

Labour whether we like it, or not is the Official Opposition. It is their role to hold the Government of the day to account.

I can’t, shouldn’t and won’t take sides with their internal struggle, that is a matter for their Party, NEC, members etc. but the situation as I see it is a stalemate of calamatous proportions.

Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader by the membership and has a mandate for the role. His, and thus the members who elected him, believe in the politics of the Labour roots (subjective) and not in the centralist politics of say Blair. As I have previously written, I believe Blair took the New Labour to the centre ground as he saw that was the only way to unseat the Tories in the 90’s, and won. It appears that the majority of PLP and some members believe that the Blair type model is what would be required still to make Labour appeal to the electorate (it could also be a factor that most of those MP’s joined Labour in the Blair years) and that the direction of Corbyn is not condusive to that and hence have lost confidence. Corbyn is sticking to his principles that he believes in, as do the members etc. that back him and believe that as Labour MP’s the PLP should do too. They obviously don’t agree.

The problem for them, is that both sides are probably right, or wrong. What the Labour Party needs to decide is which is the right course for itself to take, it can’t be both. It will either have to split, or one side will have to cede, whichever way it may be messy.

The problem for the country is that whilst they have their internal struggles there is no effective Official Opposition. Yes Jeremy Corbyn can stand at the dispatch box at PMQ’s etc. but with the PLP in tatters it is hardly holding the Government to account. The Tories appeared to have split, had a leadership contest, such as it was, reformed together again and didn’t take any damage from Labour at all. That is not a criticism of Corbyn, but of the Labour Party as a whole.

Some may scoff and point to me as a Liberal Democrat, using the usual line of being finished, only having 8 MP’s etc. (Actually the Party is on the rise thanks, 4 by-election wins this week alone and a rising membership, up 17,500+ since referendum). The LD’s is the party of my choice. I don’t agree with everything, who does, but on the whole the Party fits my political beliefs. I have stuck with them (initially Liberal) since the 70’s as a follower, not as a member, or activist at that time and watched it grow and suffer over the years. What I do have is pride, I am proud to be part of the Liberal Democrat family.

Why Liberal Democrat I am often asked? 

Many reasons actually. My parents always voted that way, though that was actually not a major factor. Whilst in my teens I observed the area I lived in changing between Labour and Tory with all the swings that brought with it. The labourites always seemed (this was a long time ago) to be brash and bullish, the Tories above their station and acting as if they were above everyone else’s too, the Liberals seemed to be willing to listen and had their feet on the ground (may be because of the size of the party). On this basis and the fact that I was never one to do populist I opted for Liberal. Labour was too far left for me. I remember once starting to read Arguments for Socialism by Tony Benn. I read two chapters and stopped, I didn’t agree with his views, so wasn’t for me. The Conservatives too far right. I did look interestingly at the SDP in the early 80’s and guess I got best of both when the parties merged. The more I looked at what LD’s and the other party’s stood, and still stand for, the more I knew I had chosen right for me. This is true especially today when I see what is happening in all the other parties. I’m glad I made the right choice and would encourage others to join the Liberal Democrats too.

Back to the present situation, I can understand why Labour members on both sides are positioning themselves as they are, in no way condone the bullying and violence, but understand. I hope they find their Karma and soon for the good of the Country.

p.s At the next General Election, remember this year, remember that the Coalition wasn’t bad after all (look what the Tories did when left to their own devices), remember what Labour is like at present and vote Liberal Democrat, I will.