What the frack!? (Robin Hood’s Lament)

Fracking is the controversial process of blasting a mixture of water and other chemicals into subterranean rocks in order to open up fissures, thus releasing oil or gas.

When I see definitions of fracking it’s always the “and other chemicals” bit that worries me. I can imagine the fracking PR man saying “we inject water into the ground,” and then adding under his breath “and other chemicals,” as verbal small-print. Actually, the fracking companies don’t disclose the exact mixture they use to frack due to the special recipe being a “trade secret”, but samples have concluded that benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene are amongst the lovely substances that are used.

I’ve always been morally against fracking anywhere, but a few months ago my NIMBY reflex was activated when I heard that the fracking company ‘INEOS’ wanted to test Sherwood Forest for its fracking potential. Sherwood Forest, the home of Robin Hood, is internationally famous and is a 15-minute drive away from where I live. The tests would involve seismic surveys just a few hundred yards from the Major Oak (Robin Hood’s tree). Obviously, when I heard about this I was outraged. I went to a demonstration in January organised by Frack Free Nottinghamshire and Friends of the Earth, as well as other activist groups (see the picture I took at the top of this article and this BBC story ).

The seismic surveys, a pre-cursor to fracking, are damaging in themselves (explosives are often used, vehicles need access, and detectors and cables need to be laid down over a wide area), but they are also a clear indicator that a company wants to frack the area. An INEOS spokesperson said, in response to the Sherwood Forest demonstration, that INEOS were only trying to get permission for test surveys and that there was no need to cause any alarm for the general public…which tells me there would be cause for alarm if the fracking actually went ahead! My advice, if there are plans for fracking in your area, is to be active early, and show your defiance at an early stage. Don’t let them get a foot in the door!

There are obvious environmental concerns about fracking, but the social side is also very worrying. I live in a former coal mining community, so I have experienced the after-effects of Margaret Thatcher’s brutal attack on the miners in the 80s. Sure, fracking would provide jobs in the area, but I know the government would have no qualms about unceremoniously taking them away on a whim and turning the area into a run-down ruin that would take 30 years or more to recover.

Wouldn’t it be better to invest in clean energy? Solar power, wind power, hydroelectricity? We should learn from Portugal who, last year, ran 4-days straight on renewable energy alone (why this wasn’t leading news all over the world is beyond me!) – read about Portugal HERE.

Looking at all the money-spinning schemes of the past, including the use of asbestos, tells me that it’s always the bigwigs that benefit financially, and it’s always the little people who are left with the long-term shit that it produces. INEOS doesn’t care if they poison our water, kill our habitat, destroy our communities as long as they get a short-term financial boost. In the case of Sherwood Forest they would also be attacking a world-renowned socialist icon in Robin Hood. What would he say about all this?

Robin Hood is long dead, so we have to fire his arrows for him. If there are plans for fracking in your area I urge you to get active, get organised, and refuse to let it happen!

10 Glastonbury questions newbies want the answer to

If you’re going to Glastonbury check out this blog. Very useful for beginners (and even veterans). I’ll see you there!!!!

Plan, Pack, Travel

This time in 28 days where will you be? If you are like me, you will be at the greatest festival on earth, Glastonbury.

Here’s 10 questions Glastonbury newcomers often want answered:

1/ When should I arrive?

The car parks for Glastonbury open at 9pm on the Tuesday night so you can arrive anytime from then onwards. Be warned – if you arrive on the Tuesday, you will be sleeping (or partying!) in the car park until the following morning when the gates open.

If you are planning on arriving later than Wednesday afternoon, bear in mind that the popular campsites do fill up quickly. Pennards in particular, seems to be a very popular camping spot due to its reputation of being the ‘party field’. Other fields are just as fun so don’t blindly head there, especially if you are arriving a wee bit later.

2/ What’s it like camping…

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Meatless Monday

The meat industry is very damaging to the environment. Meatless Monday is a great idea. Or, even better, extend it right through to Sunday and cut meat out of your diet altogether!

Spice And Petal


I read recently, (and I can’t remember where) that Australians should have a day a week where they don’t it meat. It’s a holistic idea that encourages people to think about the environmental effects of eating so much meet and the consequences on our health.

The reality is, we eat three times as much meat as the world average. In addition, meat production uses a huge amount of resources. So much in fact, that leading world scientists have called on wealthy nations to halve their meat intake in order to reduce the negative impact on the planet. And, meat is comparatively more expensive then vegetables too!

I know what you’re thinking, and don’t worry, I thought it too! I was hesitant to do this. I like my red meat and I only know 1 good vegetarian recipe! That was until I looked into it. Simply by ‘googling’ “Vegetarian dinners” hundreds if…

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No more cuts, Tory councils tell George Osborne



“In a letter to the Observer, council bosses representing every type of local authority in England and Wales, as part of the Tory-controlled Local Government Association (LGA) say they have already had to impose cuts of 40% since 2010 and cannot find more savings without serious consequences for community life and social care, and knock-on effects for the NHS.” http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/may/16/tory-councils-osborne-no-further-austerity

Mirror Poll 2

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Where to look for the ‘politics of hope’?

It seems like the government wants to take away our hope. That’s because people with no hope don’t fight back. Check out this article.


Written by Alex Jackson; @TheReal_McCoy69

Waking up to the confirmation of a Tory majority on the morning of the 8th of May, hope was quite possibly the least suitable emotion to describe my state of mind. Where was the hope from this election outcome? Silver linings such as they were; Caroline Lucas smashing the competition in Brighton Pavilion, Labour MP Clive Efford increasing his majority over the Conservatives in my own constituency, and the satisfying defeat of Nigel Farage in Thanet South were hardly compensatory for the overall shock of the crushing defeat. Owen Jones’ calls in the days following the election to stop mourning and organise in continuing the fight for the ‘politics of hope’ has left me at somewhat of a crossroads.

Having originally planned to vote for the Green Party I eventually switched to Labour due to a mixture of the reasoned arguments of friends, yet another…

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