You can’t lock up an idea, Francis
This Friday, December 9th, one of the people we love the most in the whole world for her bravery, her wisdom and her enormous heart and soul is going to be faced with the threat of being sent to jail for fighting fracking.
Ostensibly, Tina Rothery faces a jail sentence for contempt of court for not paying legal costs of over £55,000 relating to the August 2014 occupation of a field earmarked for fracking by Cuadrilla.
In reality, a grandmother is being sent to the wall for caring about how we leave this land for future generations.
A sister could be put behind bars for standing up for her community.
A mother Is being held up as a bad example for standing in the way of harm to her young.
And an activist is being bullied, singled out and harangued by a company that refuses to relinquish its grip on her community even after the people of Lancashire roared a loud and united NO.
It’s amazing what money can buy, isn’t it? A license to run roughshod over local democracy, a license to flout UK climate change pledges, and the right to mercilessly bully a Nana using the judicial system as a blunt weapon.
Cuadrilla have never been subtle in their single-minded persecution of Tina. They’ve sent thuggish looking blokes in stab vests to stalk her to serve papers on her. That was a bit of a PR own goal. They had her address. She is Nana. It’s highly unlikely you can stab someone with a cupcake.
They lumped ridiculous costs on Tina, for an eviction that never happened. When the Nanas took the field they promised their temporary protest camp would be gone in three weeks. It was. There was a fingertip search of said field. It was filmed. There wasn’t even a cupcake wrapper left to tell they had been there.
Yet, the eviction of the invisible Nanas and the even more invisible damage, apparently caused £55,000 worth of costs. Apparently the farmer was distressed.
Well I’m distressed whenever I see Sajid Javid trying to make a point about democracy on Question Time straight after overruling Lancashire County Council’s decision to tell Cuadrilla to sling their fracking hook.
I’m distressed when I see clinical reports that show proof of harm to children, unborn babies and animals from fracking.
I’m distressed that Oklahoma has turned into the earthquake capital of the world after the fracking industry moved in on it.
I’m distressed that when a bunch of absolutely brilliant people occupied a field that the farmer had sold out to the fracking industry, the farmer didn’t turn around and give them all medals for making him realise that water coming up from the depths that Cuadrilla will be sloshing all over his field will be radioactive, the gas they’re trying to get out of the ground we can’t actually afford to burn, and the water that they’re about to mix with a whole host of really nasty chemicals might actually come in more handy if we didn’t irrevocably contaminate it.
If the farmer had actually looked at the evidence, he probably would have pitched his tent with Tina. Instead he took the money from Cuadrilla and sold out his community to the fracking industry, condemning his neighbours to a future of uncertainty, relentless legal appeals, fear for their children’s health, fear for their land, home and, now, the liberty of those who stand up for them.
Tina has already said she cannot pay the erroneous £55,000 costs. Cuadrilla have nothing to gain from pursuing her. In terms of the PR campaign they are attempting to wage, the warning shot they are firing at Tina is likely to end up in their own foot.
Having tried and failed to convince the local council their plans are safe, with 87% of the UK against fracking, with their cheap community bribe thrown back in their faces, are Cuadrilla really trying to curry favour with a community who has well and truly shown them the hand by locking up the person who is voicing their genuine concerns, which are backed up by a wealth of peer-reviewed evidence of harm caused by fracking? Apparently so.
Whilst the rest of the UK are singing about peace and goodwill. Cuadrilla are pegging their money on ‘Jailing Your Nan for Xmas’ for Christmas No.1. Even if Chris Rea sings it, no one is buying that. They should have gone with Francis Egan singing ‘Mistletoe and Swines’ that might have stood a chance.
This desperate attempt to use Tina to bully those opposed to fracking will fail because when your government has failed you, your democracy has failed you, protecting your land, standing in the way of harm to those you love, being the change that you rationally, peacefully and wholeheartedly want to see in the world is all you have left. And when we say #IamTinaToo we are saying we are all this extraordinary, remarkable brave woman. We will not waiver. We will not give in until the day that Cuadrilla, Third Energy, iGas, INEOS, Aurora and their ilk are sent packing from the UK.
We are the many. They are the few and together we will win. We are all #IAmTinaToo
Show your solidarity with Tina on December 9th by assembling at the Flag Market, 4 Cheapside, Preston PR1 for 10:30am
Together, united, we will walk as one to Preston Combined Court, Openshaw Place, Ringway, Preston, PR1 2LL for 11am.
Tina’s case is expected to be called at 12midday and 90 minutes have been assigned to her case.
If you are unable to join us on the day, and if Tina is sent to jail, please take part in Compassionate Revolution’s action against Cuadrilla (here) and take part in the vigil being organized outside of Styal Women’s Prison over the course of Tina’s two-week sentence (here).
Pls share solidarity photos with the hashtag #IAmTinaToo and help us make some noise in support of this incredible activist who is an inspiration to us all.