An economy which has to give welfare to those in work effectively subsidies rich corporate companies who refuse to pay their employees enough to live upon.

If you feel that our economy is failing the poorest in our society and underinvestinging in our vital public services then read on and have a look at the link below to a video from the Tax Justice Network:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcWr3Yad2WY&feature=youtu.be

If you think our economy reasonably and fairly distributes wealth, provides excellent public services and looks after those who are less fortunate then surely you’ll not have read this far. But if you hold such views and have got this far and even looked at the video you’ll probably be spitting feathers by now!

Now you may be not be surprised to learn that this old Social Liberal and former trade union officer thinks the video actually hits a very important nail squarely on the head.

The fault-line in our economy is oft pointed at as starting with Thatcherism and has been developed by every government since. To quote a phrase from the video we have been on ‘a race to the bottom’, in my view, for 40 years or more. In that time the poor in comparison with the super-rich have been progressively getting poorer as the economic gap has widened as a direct consequence of governmental policy.

I don’t expect you to agree with me if you have done well out of an economic system designed to do what it has done unless of course you have a social conscience as well as wealth that is.

What I like about the video is that it paints a picture which makes it very clear that our political classes across all the major parties have bought into the economic structures which have delivered the the state we are in. The capitalist model is now being run globally in an extreme form which only benefits massive corporations and our politicians, across the political spectrum, have made it happen. It’s no use jumping up and down about the evils of Thatcherism as many are prone to do when we have have been voting for alternative supposedly progressive parties which have effectively been delivering versions of the same thing!

What the video does not address though is that moving forward our capitalist system is going to have to change fundamentally to combat climate change and the our climate crisis. Investing in oil and coal for example will have to stop in favour of renewable energy and it will require governmental action to make this happen. Just look at Australia, a country literally on fire but which mines massive amounts of coal on which its economy is very much reliant and which is the direct cause of its present and indeed future environmental crisis!

In my view the economic/social model which works well is that used in differing ways across the Scandinavian countries.

Liberalism and socialism go their separate ways in two specific areas I might add. Liberals believe in individual freedom (with responsibilities of course) whilst socialists believe in the collective/authoritarian model with policy being decided centrally and handed down to people. We also promote very different economic models as Liberals will back individual freedom to invest and innovate whereas socialists will want to centralise economic policy controlling most if not all aspects of investment and innovation. What we seem to have under our present economic model is actually too much freedom to invest irresponsibly and against our wider environmental and social interests with too little governmental guidance and direction especially when it comes to the environment and the distribution of wealth.

If you are comfortably off you may well be spluttering into your coffee having got to the end of this posting!

My thanks to Stephen Hesketh for the lead to this posting.

How to object to fracking on Altcar Moss

If like me you want to oppose fracking on Altcar Moss then you can do so by using the website of Lancashire County Council (LCC) who will determine the planning application before it’s Planning Committee to either agree to or oppose the fracking.

The LCC planning representations form is available via this link:-

lancashire-self.achieveservice.com/service/Development_Control_Have_Your_Say_Process?F.Name=jqTfXn9isB4&HideToolbar=1

The planning application number is LCC/2019/0037 and the site is ALTCAR MOSS WELLSITE, SUTTON’S LANE, GREAT ALTCAR. You’ll need to put this information on the generic form that the link takes you to

Lydiate Parish Council, of which I’m a member, has already objected to fracking on this site, which while it’s in Lancashire is situated between Formby, Ince Blundell and Lydiate.

My own submission to LCC via the link above is:- I have grave reservations about fracking taking place at this site, which whilst being in Lancashire is likely to also have detrimental effects on the surrounding Sefton Borough communities of Lydiate, Formby and Ince Blundell. Earth tremors are to be expected from this site if the other one in Lancashire at Preston new Road is anything to go by. I hope that LCC will stand firm against fracking so the political tide can be turned against further fossil fuel extraction.

Lydiate – Parish Council gets insight into Fracking

I’ve blogged about fracking previously and indeed mentioned The Moss Alliance who are organising the opposition to it locally.

Lydiate’s Park Ward Independent Sefton Councillor Pat O’Hanlon is a leading light within The Moss Alliance and she together with two other members of this voluntary campaigning group were at the last Lydiate Parish Council meeting. The group is trying to raise a significant amount of money to enable them to employ planning experts who will help the group effectively campaign against fracking. Here’s some details of their present Crowdfunder appeal:-

They were at the Parish Council meeting on 25th September to brief the Council on the current situation and the threats, as they see them, being faced by local communities in Sefton Borough should fracking go ahead in neighbouring Great Altcar Civil Parish.

Here’s a map showing where the well site will be situated in Great Altcar:-

And here’s the area covered by the license the fracking company holds for our part of the world:-

My apologies for the poor quality graphics which are caused by me copying handouts from The Moss Alliance.

As you can see a large area is covered by licence PEDL 164 so it is reasonable to expect that should the fracking go ahead locally that at some point it could well be underneath any or all of the communities within in it.

I’m firmly against fracking and I’m hopeful that Lydiate Parish Council will make a financial contribution towards The Moss Alliance at its next meeting. Here are some contact details for the campaign group:-

Renewables have to be the way forward, not more fossil fuels for our future energy requirements

Click on any of the photos to enlarge them

Coal – 24 hours without it – A step in the right direction

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39675418

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

Aintree Coal sidings – April 1911

This is an historic moment in time and I say that despite hailing from a Nottinghamshire mining community, where of course mining is no more.

I have blogged previously about coal mining and my connection with it. Here’s a link to a previous posting on this subject.

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/12/03/deep-coal-mining-has-come-to-an-end-in-the-uk-should-we-miss-it/

Bentinck Colliery – Nottinghamshire (Photographer unknown)

But as environmental campaigner who thinks that global warming and climate change are the biggest challenges we have just about ever faced I really do welcome our reducing reliance on fossil fuels that damage the very environment that we depend on for life.

Deep coal mining has come to an end in the UK – Should we miss it?

Watching the recent TV programme about the closure of Kellingley Colliery (the UK’s last deep mine) which ceased cutting coal in December 2015 was a odd moment for me as I come from a coal mining family.

Bentinck Colliery - Photographer unknown

Bentinck Colliery – Photographer unknown

Two of my uncles were miners; one long dead (Henry Wright was a winding man at Bentinck Colliery in Kirkby In Ashfield) but the other only passed on in the last couple of weeks. That was my Uncle Doug Depledge* who was a Banksman at Sherwood Colliery in Mansfield until he took what was in effect early retirement as the pits were being run down in the 1980’s.

Sherwood Colliery - Photographer unknown

Sherwood Colliery – Photographer unknown

To see the miners facing the closure of their colliery on TV was sobering. They were losing what generations living in their community had worked for and indeed why their community existed. Of course this closure process has gone on in mining communities across the UK’s coalfields for 30+ years now and as a consequence those communities have had to try to reinvent themselves. It is probably fair to say that few if any of the former mining communities have really prospered since their pits were closed, indeed many have clearly struggled greatly.

UK coal production was effectively ended/replaced by the importation of cheap foreign coal but of course we also now know that burning fossil fuels like coal is very bad for our environment and a contributor to global warming problems.

I moved away from the Nottinghamshire coalfield when I was 6 in the mid 1960’s but recall only too well how the demise of the industry was discussed when we went back home to visit family.

As a trade unionist I remember only too well the miners strike and the hugely divisive political differences between the NUM and UDM which was particularly the case in Nottinghamshire. I honestly don’t know whether my uncles were NUM or UDM, I never asked.

But the other aspect of the closure of the pits that struck me from watching the programme about the closure of Kellingley was what a hugely challenging job it must have been to have spent your working life 800 feet underground. I know I would not want to do it and I suspect that goes for many people these days. But when it’s pretty much all you know about working it must be gut wrenching to loose what is clearly a most dangerous of employments.

* It was Doug’s funeral I failed to get to last Thursday because of a huge traffic jam on the M6

UK will run out of fossil fuels in 5 years – A sobering thought indeed!

Research from the Global Sustainability Institute, based at Anglia Ruskin University, claims the UK will run out of fossil fuels in just over 5 years. France is reportedly even worse off, with less than a year’s worth of fossil fuels in reserve, while Italy has less than a year of gas and coal and a single year of oil. The UK has 5.2 years of oil remaining, 4.5 years of coal and three years of gas before completely running out of fossil fuels. Russia, by contrast, has more than 500 years of coal, 100 years of gas and 50 years of oil. Dr Aled Jones, the director of the institute, said: “It is vital that those shaping Europe’s future political agenda understand our existing economic fragility.”

The Independent has the story:-

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/uk-to-run-out-of-fossil-fuels-in-five-years-9385415.html

Personally, I think the fossil fuels may last longer than 5 years in the UK but using them will simply contribute to global warming, climate change and extremes of weather. If this is not a call to arms for sustainable energy I don’t know what is. This could well be the next really big political crisis across Europe.

With thanks to the LGiU for this story