Thursday, 3 August 2017

Writing - How things don't change

I have heard it said that the signing of the Magna Carta was the beginning of Democracy. That may or may not be true for what sort of democracy do we have?

Image result for aristocracy

The purpose of the historical document was to limit the power of the monarch and was put together by the aristocracy. It purportedly introduced a legal system whereby people could be tried by their peers. Of course in the 13th century that didn't include women or the lower classes.

So how is it different today? 

Things are much more complicated nowadays but the underlying aristocratic structure is still driving the so-called 'civilised world'.

An example:

Fracking - there is a committee of 4 people put together by the House of Lords to examine the benefits or otherwise of this controversial process. Each one of those 4 have vested interests in fracking companies!

That is fairly typical of the Tory dictatorship under which we are currently suffering. The slightly worrying aspect is the sudden appearance of the following expert submission that popped up when I was looking for the make-up of the Lord's Select Committee.

House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee  The economic impact on UK energy policy of shale gas and oil  
Written evidence submitted by  
David K. Smythe BSc, PhD  Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow  
Address : La Fontenille, 1, rue du Couchant, 11120 Ventenac en Minervois, France  
 The geology of the US shale basins is fundamentally different from western Europe. 
 The UK shale basins are heavily faulted, from the shale layer right to the surface, in contrast to those of the USA. 
 Pre-existing faults provide a potential fast-track pathway for fracking fluid and produced gas to escape upwards into drinking water aquifers and even to the surface 
 This fault-leak problem associated with fracking has been recognised in France and Germany, but not in the UK.  
 The current UK regulatory regime is ill-equipped to deal with this problem.  
 Fracking for gas or oil should be banned in areas of complex faulted geology; in effect this means an overall ban in the UK. 
 There will be no 'shale gas revolution' in the UK because in complex geology the production process is uneconomic. 

A damning report in itself but even more worrying when it seems not to have been published for public consumption.

Image result for Lord's fracking committee

Just to clarify

Baron Hollick - Shares in a US company with shale gas investments.

Lord Skidelsky - Holds interest in a venture capital company that has shares in oil and gas firms.

Lord McFall - holds investments in FTI consulting who are fracking industry advisors.

Baroness Noakes - Has shares in at least 3 companies with investments in shale gas.

I'm not complaining about the fact that these four are peers, they are members of the upper house of government. However, they cannot claim no vested interest.

This blog did not come about because of objection to fracking but rather because of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele. 

Image result for Passchendaele#
Passchendaele 1917

It is a battle that probably should never have taken place. It was at a point in the 'war to end all wars' when the UK and its allies changed from being the defenders to becoming the aggressors. There have been many criticisms over the last century as to why this war continued and for whom. As is often the case, it happened with the first Iraq war in the early nineties, the reason then was oil and probably arms and not the undemocratic suppression of ordinary people as we were led to believe.

Although I'm a self-confessed conspiracy theorist it is because I have a deep suspicion of the media which is controlled by corporate business with vested interests. Every time confidential documents pass the 30 year rule and become public there are shocking revelations of 'the truth'.

Don't believe everything you read but in the case of WWI read Seigfried Sassoon.

Image result for siegfried sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon


At dawn the ridge emerges massed and dun 
In the wild purple of the glow'ring sun, 
Smouldering through spouts of drifting smoke that shroud 
The menacing scarred slope; and, one by one, 
Tanks creep and topple forward to the wire. 
The barrage roars and lifts. Then, clumsily bowed 
With bombs and guns and shovels and battle-gear, 
Men jostle and climb to, meet the bristling fire. 
Lines of grey, muttering faces, masked with fear, 
They leave their trenches, going over the top, 
While time ticks blank and busy on their wrists, 
And hope, with furtive eyes and grappling fists, 
Flounders in mud. O Jesus, make it stop! 

God Bless