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The road from fundamental rights to protest to the attempted corporate takeover of British law in a 21st-Century struggle for democracy

 

Just over four years ago, in late 2013 at the Anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss (BM) in Salford, Greater Manchester, I realised first-hand that our civil and fundamental rights to protest was under threat in the UK. But what was to happen on the 27th July 2017 in a secret High Court hearing in London was way beyond even that, this I will come to later.

Policing of those protests at Barton Moss between November 2013 and May 2014 was so profoundly troubling, only corruption and collusion through an economic system driven by neoliberal ideology could possibly be the reason, it had to be coming straight from the highest ranks of the state.

When that protests memorandum of understanding came out shortly before the end, it confirmed for the first time links between police, industry and local councils, it was evident that the people’s voices would not be allowed to be heard.

This collusion continues across the UK today and it became more evident at a High Court injunction hearing on the 12th September 2017. The court was told that a secret meeting in London on the 10th May 2017 between the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and Counter-Terrorism and Policing National Operations Centre (CTP-NOC) advised INEOS and its security team Eclipse Strategic Security Services, to apply for an injunction. Eclipse, an oil and gas protection unit, is more used to responding to insurgent threats in the oil fields of Asia. This alarming revelation showed how British campaigners were being treated as insurgents, a truly remarkable situation and one we thought was banished after the inclusion of anti-fracking campaigners in the controversial Prevent strategies in 2015 alongside terrorist organisations.

Social licence

Historically, discussions on the future of a UK shale gas industry focused on the notion of a ‘social license’, a term used at the EU’s Horizon 2020 Shale Gas World Conference, in Brussels in early 2014, a conference I attended personally on behalf of the UK Anti fracking community. At that time, social license was seen as the basis for any legitimacy of the shale gas industry in Europe, including here in the UK. Public acceptance was vital, they said.

But social licence took on a new meaning when the UK Government overturned a decision by Lancashire County Council to refuse Cuadrilla Resources’ plans. The voices of the people, through a democratic system, became irrelevant and social licence became a discourse of neo-liberalism, giving people an illusion of democracy.

It turned out that people in UK towns and villages would have to stand up for themselves and protect their communities from an ideology, driven by neoliberalism, which considers people worthless in favour of multinational corporations, foreign private companies and lobbyists with close links to the government. These actions would have to be by any peaceful means possible, including non-violent direct action in true British spirit. This was and is the only option if people are to establish the true principle of no social license.

Corporate takeover and the illusion of democracy went one step further on the 24th November 2017, one day after a judge further granted an injunction against ‘persons unknown’ to the Swiss petrochemicals company INEOS at the Business High Court in London.

In the name of national security, INEOS – the largest of the shale gas companies – said it was asking the planning inspectorate to intervene in planning applications for two drill sites in the East Midlands because there had been no decisions in reasonable time periods (their words, not mine).

With huge opposition to their plans to industrialise the area, some might think INEOS is avoiding local democracy, as it did when it went acquired an ex-parte injunction against ‘persons unknown’ back in July. The clues, to what might soon become a national security issue, lie later in the company’s statement: “These are nationally important issues being made at a local level”.

If the government fast-tracks these highly controversial plans, we can safely say, we are living in a totalitarian state a recent development which is now under the neoliberal fallacy of consultation.

Has the British media been compromised locally as well as nationally?

After almost seven years, 48% of the UK public neither support nor oppose fracking.

The question I often ask myself is ‘If it is really safe, for people and planet, why aren’t the industry and media overloading the UK population with evidence?’

The conclusion I come to from my analysis links to the biggest media discourses so far. Firstly, from Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake, who decided to go to Pennsylvania to see for himself the US industry? He gives a very different account to local people in Pennsylvania, and the many countries and states who have put a halt to the process globally because of the industries negative impacts.

In recent months, we have seen how media in the East Midlands is also using framing in their articles (just like the mainstream media), with the approach used by Hollinrake too. Bigger discourses from local media than ever before lie ahead though, this in an attempt to silence the population and brainwash local communities with ‘dangling carrots’. Last summer, INEOS paid for an all expenses trip for local journalists throughout Northern England to Pennsylvania. Here we start to get a better picture of the infiltration by a large Swiss petrochemical company into the very fabric of our local societies and media, in what was inevitably ‘the next oncoming wave of media discourse.

The discourse became much more apparent in June 2016, when approximately 52% of the UK population chose to leave the EU and take back control of the future of the UK, a perfect division for those driving the system  to utilise and give these companies the opportunity to use, the discourse and framing of our time, ‘energy independence’. The most notable discourse used by industry is that of ‘using the energy below our feet to heat our homes’.

It is our job of campaigners to get this evidence out behind a ‘veil of discourse’ in the media but if you look closely at this ‘Gas for feedstock’ versus ‘Gas for homes’ argument, you will see a very different picture. You soon realise the shale gas is certainly not for UK homes, how the industry, media and those driving the corporate neoliberal cogs, like to portray it. For example, twelve months ago when the Scottish parliament decided to end the hopes of the shale gas industry north of the border, three quotes from the Industry were given.

Firstly, Backing Fracking said “Putting the future of the Grangemouth petrochemicals plant in doubt by denying it access to more affordable local feedstocks”. Secondly, Ken Cronin of UKOOG, said “it’s better for the planet to be producing our gas here rather than shipping it in across oceans from elsewhere, especially when Scotland has a petrochemicals industry so ‘reliant’ on natural gas” https://drillordrop.com/2017/10/03/scottish-fracking-ban-beggars-belief-ineos/ INEOS said they “see shale gas a potential solution to the decline of North Sea resources needed to provide the base ingredients to make its products”.

The second comment from Ken Cronin of UKOOG when balanced with INEOS’s latest announcement of INEOS shipping Natural Gas to China from the US seems very hypocritical indeed, some might prefer ‘scaremongering PR’. Do we really need to put further pressures on our communities in the name of shale gas to supply feedstock for a petrochemicals plant, to make more plastics when the oceans are already awash with plastics?! This is certainly a ‘tragedy of the commons’ that is generally hidden by the industry but is of equal importance to any debates.

This is where strong environmental discussions are taking place right now, not in those Natural Gas filled dragon ships heading to China in the near future.

Personally, one of the most worrying thoughts of the fracking industry getting a foothold in the UK is something which needs speaking about more. How many people actually look forward and see the future in a societal sense and the possible causal factors related to in-country migration that this industry can cause, that’s if people are able to sell and get out, which is very doubtful.

During the early years of an attempt to establish a UK fracking industry the company with the biggest threat to our communities, environment and democracy, INEOS was back in Switzerland, staying out of any limelight amid growing opposition to this technology. INEOS a leading petrochemicals company had, in fact, moved back to Switzerland in 2010 from the UK to save 350 million in Taxes. Six years later and they were back after huge Corporation Tax breaks.

Northern England, if INEOS and Jim Ratcliffe get their way, will see the industrialisation of the land like not seen in recent times, and with it will come, the breakdown of towns and cities. They have licenses to drill in over 1.2 million acres of land which could rise to 2 million if they acquire further purchases from other prospector companies like Third Energy and Rathlin Energy.

Migration to cities

Overcrowded urbanized areas of Northern Cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds et al, could very possibly in the near future, see an influx of even more people, as people protecting their families migrate from the deep countryside in attempt to protect their families from the pollution and change in their peaceful way of life.

When seen through this lens, the industry has the potential to cause a ‘Public Health Emergency’. In a conveyor belt-like migration of people to the City, those at the very bottom already struggling to cope will disconnect from society further, those hanging on to their sanity from many years of ideological austerity will inevitably join them and not only will we have a deepening mental health crisis but we will also have a deepening housing crisis.

The outcome of this migration of people within the UK will cause deepening health inequalities within our society, a truly worrying perspective. One thing we should all be concerned about is these further ‘health inequalities’ which could materialise, regardless of our political allegiances and views. From the Black Report (1980), Acheson Report (1998) through to the Marmot Review (2010) health inequalities is already a crisis, a pressing issue of our time, one that needs no extra burdens. The ‘social determinants of health’ are at the heart of 21st-century health ambitions and the shale industry if given a foothold renders the real possibility of diminishing all possibilities of narrowing inequalities in health and in fact widening them.

Draconian injunction

So now, just over 29 months after the June 2016 EU referendum we have a raft of draconian injunctions throughout England.

On the 23rd November 2017, we failed to overturn the injunction in the High Court, but we mustn’t stop there, too much is at stake.  British laws by foreign companies to block our future could turn out to be ‘profoundly one of the most troubling decisions of our time’. These  injunctions allows for an unprecedented restriction on our fundamental rights, which has forever played an important part in political struggles.

Social and environmentally minded figures at the top of the Green Party (Caroline Lucas, Jonathon Bartley, Keith Taylor and Natalie Bennet) have collectively led the way politically and must be commended for their determined work in opposing this injunction, so far. However, as the Labour Party moves away from the neoliberal direction of the past few decades, we can hope to see more of its members involved with this political and corporate struggles. Yet, citizens, campaigners, activists and guardians of this land need more support from them. We are certainly not seeing enough as we attempt to overturn this injunction or put a halt to these companies’ oppressive invasion. Even some Conservatives are now raising questions but until the right-wing of the party shows its concerns at this attempted Swiss takeover of our law the troubles will continue.

All this attention and exposure of collusion was made possible by determined campaigners for over six years now.

The campaign must be allowed to continue in the same vein, which is why I call on them all to question this judgement, which unless we are successful on Appeal in March 2019 will shut down a functioning society’s aspirations.  These injunctions could be the start of a slippery slope that will be remembered in decades ahead, as a dark time in our country. Even if the Labour Party take office and ban fracking the legacy could linger on long after the shale industry has banished from these shores, by setting in UK law a precedent for other companies to ride roughshod over our way of life and fundamental rights to challenge injustices in a fallacy of a democratic society in an increasingly corporate takeover.  These democratic issues are real and go to the heart of  the biggest troubles of our times.

The injunction itself will be heard at the Court of Appeal on the 5 and 6 March 2018 cannot and will not be left unchallenged; I and Joe Corre will be filing an application for permission to appeal. Like many before who have endured many struggles to earn these rights, including two world wars, we must do the same. The support of everyone concerned with the future and direction of our country can support the case

Joe Boyd BA (Honours) International Studies. MSc Public Health

Anti-Fracking Campaigner.

Admin: Frack Free Liverpool and Sefton.

Kill the Bill

Interview with UK column about my book The Road to Kill the Bill. A decade of protest denial orchestrated by change agents masquerading as environmentalists under the climate banner, from climate Camp to Extinction rebellion.

TOP 500

Joe Boyd

************Two Number ONE’S in Hot New Release categories on Amazon Book Charts**********

My Book on the corruption behind the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021, has just moved into the TOP 500 in all books worldwide on Amazon. A little help from my marketing, all you lovely people who have bought the book and supported our friendship and work, the skills of my editor Emily Anderson the amazing work of the team at https://www.ukcolumn.org/, for giving me a voice and importantly the universe for giving me this opportunity.

One thing this does show is the tide is turning in the media world, where more and more of us are turning to news outlets like UK Column for our news rather than the corrupt mainstream media outlets like the BBC. It has also hit a new high of 27 in Bestsellers in the Government and Politics Category on Amazon…

View original post 96 more words

TOP 500

************Two Number ONE’S in Hot New Release categories on Amazon Book Charts**********

My Book on the corruption behind the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021, has just moved into the TOP 500 in all books worldwide on Amazon. A little help from my marketing, all you lovely people who have bought the book and supported our friendship and work, the skills of my editor Emily Anderson the amazing work of the team at https://www.ukcolumn.org/, for giving me a voice and importantly the universe for giving me this opportunity.

One thing this does show is the tide is turning in the media world, where more and more of us are turning to news outlets like UK Column for our news rather than the corrupt mainstream media outlets like the BBC. It has also hit a new high of 27 in Bestsellers in the Government and Politics Category on Amazon. This whilst only being on sale in the UK until 10pm tonight. Now that it’s on sale worldwide, kindle and independent booksellers who knows what heights it can reach.

Much love to you all, but still much work to do, so let’s keep sharing and getting the message out, future generations are relying on us to #KillTheBill for our and their #RightToProtestI hope our friend Ian R Crane is looking down with a smile and my brother John XX

Print on Demand with publisher: https://www.youcaxton.co.uk/the-road-to-kill-the…/

Amazon Link for Book and Kindle version: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B096H2XDHB/ref=sr_1_1…

The Road to Kill the Bill

STANDING UP FOR OUR RIGHTS TO PROTEST Newly-published book by environmental campaigner Joseph Boyd shares compelling insights, research and evidence of state agents working through campaign groups to eradicate protest rights in the UK. The Road to Kill the Bill: Standing up for our rights to protest: Amazon.co.uk: Boyd, Joseph: 9781914424113: Books With only weeks […]

The Road to Kill the Bill

The Road to Kill the Bill

STANDING UP FOR OUR RIGHTS TO PROTEST

Newly-published book by environmental campaigner Joseph Boyd shares compelling insights, research and evidence of state agents working through campaign groups to eradicate protest rights in the UK.

The Road to Kill the Bill: Standing up for our rights to protest: Amazon.co.uk: Boyd, Joseph: 9781914424113: Books

With only weeks to go before the House of Commons hears its third reading on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021, the importance and timing of this book couldn’t be more vital.
Through the remarkable true-life story of Joe Boyd, environmental campaigner from Liverpool who joined the anti-fracking frontlines across Northern England from 2013, we gain a fresh perspective and clear, substantial evidence of a war on protest rights.
In David and Goliath style, Joe took this fight to the High Court in 2017 and Court of Appeal, London, in 2019, to defeat the richest man in Britain at the time, Sir Jim Ratcliffe. https://www.leighday.co.uk/latest-updates/news/2019-news/anti-fracking-campaigners-win-appeal-on-the-right-to-protest/


At the same time as studying two university degrees, Joe spent the last eight years uncovering the truth about the erosion of our protest rights by social change agents masquerading as climate change campaigners in groups including Occupy, Reclaim the Power and now Extinction Rebellion (XR).


Following on from the recent Spy Cops investigation, Joe shares his own and many others’ experiences of agents at work within the movement and gaslighting from those positioning themselves as leaders.

The Story


In Spring 2019, less than two weeks after his successful Court of Appeal ruling protecting our rights to protest, XR brought the city of London to a standstill. Bizarrely, the Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said it “caught them off-guard.”

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/met-chief-cressida-dick-extinction-rebellion-protesters-in-london-caught-us-out-a4142231.html


However, had Joe not been successful at the Court of Appeal, Cressida Dick or the City of London could/would have obtained a city-wide injunction on unmanaged protests, setting a precedent for every local authority across England and Wales to be able to limit protest. This would have been in line, using the previous INEOS precedent of a ‘real and imminent threat’ after XR publicly announced the blockade of bridges one week before, giving lawyers time to apply for an injunction.
Weeks later, Dick began raising the question of tougher laws to deter similar demonstrations, saying in the Evening Standard, “Although they caused major disruption, the offences committed were not serious and therefore the deterrent is not significant.” Cue XR with an even bigger, ten-day shut-down of London that autumn.


Later that year, the Met Police Chief wrote to Home Secretary Priti Patel saying that the XR protests of that year, “provided a much-needed opportunity for powers to curb protest.” On top of that, in a letter released to the organisation Open Democracy, Dick told Patel that “British laws should be changed to make it easier for police to ban” protest.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/met-police-chief-urged-priti-patel-to-use-extinction-rebellion/


The Road to Kill the Bill is an essential read at this crucial time when our human rights to protest are hanging in the balance. As the book progresses the evidence is clear and needs to be investigated further. Are you up to the urgent task? -ENDS-

PLEASE SHARE WIDELY. MANY THANKS

Contact the author for further information and a full pdf of the book for extracts:
Joseph Boyd
Email: Josephboyd73.jb@gmail.com

Please see attached book jacket for more information.
The Road to Kill the Bill is currently available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Road-Kill-Bill-Standing-protest/dp/1914424115/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1

Notes to editors:

  1. Joe Boyd, 47, lived on protection camps, slow walked and undertook direct action outside oil and gas drilling sites and their suppliers at Barton Moss, Salford, Upton, Chester, Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire, Crawberry Hill, East Yorkshire, Marriot Drilling Company, North East Derbyshire and Preston New Road, Lancashire from November 2013 until late 2017 (chapters 2 – chapter 21 ). He was arrested eight times, but only twice convicted, one of aggravated tresspass on a public footpath at Barton Moss and obstruction of the highway in Lancashire, being bailed from four counties in the process
  2. At the same time as being on the frontline of the anti-fracking protests, he gained a degree in International Studies with the OU, then a Masters in Public Health at John Moore’s University Liverpool. His thesis on pollution levels around schools in Merseryside won him and other environmental professionals the Healthy Living Award at the Echo Environment Awards in 2019.
  3. Chapter 08 – chapter 23 goes into more detail of the state involvement and manipulation of key people in the Preson New Road, Lancashire campaign. Chapter 25 and 27 highlights Extinction Rebellion.

The Assange precedent: Journalists in Britain threatened with Official Secrets Act By Robert Stevens and Laura Tiernan

Interesting read, what has happened to press freedom. That’s neoliberalism for ye!

The New Dark Age

16 July 2019 — WSWS

London’s Metropolitan Police threatened journalists with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act last Friday in an unprecedented attack on media freedom.

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