Scotland’s opposition to fracking puts SNP on spot
As the dust refuses to settle after the Scottish referendum, activists are using the links forged in the grassroots campaign to build a movement against fracking.
Fracking is an environmentally dangerous method of extracting gas that other methods can’t reach.
Anti-fracking groups are springing up across Scotland.
They are led and organised by activists who felt their power during the transformative Yes campaign.
But we need to make sure that we reach out to No voters too or people who don’t vote at all.
We need the widest possible movement if we are going to win the fight.
The front line of the fight will be in Falkirk where Jim Ratcliffe’s firm Ineos is buying up fracking rights in a 127 square mile area around the Firth of Forth to feed the Grangemouth refinery.
The experience of the Grangemouth dispute last year shows us how dirty Ineos will fight—and how unwilling a Scottish National Party (SNP) government is to intervene.
Many activists who recently joined the SNP are looking for their party to take a stand against fracking.
Existing council planning powers could be used to ensure a 200-metre buffer zone around residences—this exists in Australia.
Due to the population density in the central belt of Scotland, where the Coal Bed Methane resources mainly lie, this would make fracking uneconomical and effectively kill it off in Scotland.
And it could lend a huge boost to the common fight in the rest of Britain and further afield.
But we can’t wait for the politicians to stop this, we need to use the tactics of the Yes movement. We need to continue setting up local, community led groups in every town and district.
We need to use social media to combat misinformation widely published in the media, hold town hall meetings and street stalls.
It’s the people that have the real power to win the fight.
Gordon and Zohra Leggate, Lanarkshire
Panic room cut shows cruelty of bedroom tax
The case of a single parent mother who is a victim of extreme domestic violence and the hated bedroom tax was challenged in a judicial review last week.
This woman has a panic room in place provided by womens’ refuge charities.
Her lawyers argued that the Tory policy is discriminatory against her and other vulnerable groups in society including disabled people.
Labour Party leader Ed Miliband raised this at prime minister’s questions two weeks ago. Minister Iain Duncan Smith and other Tories laughed at the suggestion that the bedroom tax is unfair and unworkable.
We need to redouble our efforts in every area and organise against the war waged by these despicable Tories’ on working class people.
Liz Kitching, Leeds
We don’t want your patronising charity
I’d like to tell Bob Geldof, Bono and others of their ilk to read what their fellow Irishman Oscar Wilde had to say about charity. He said it had a patronising and corroding influence on poor people worldwide.
Wilde’s central premise that charity neutralises the ability of the poor to rise up has merit.
It destroys the myth peddled by the rich and their allies in organised religion that “the poor will always be with us”.
Charity allows the rich to rain down their philanthropy upon the poor in the knowledge that they will be remembered for it.
But those heroic millions who survive each day on less than a dollar remain nameless and unknown.
So, Bob and Bono, perhaps Wilde’s essay will prick your self-righteous, hypocritical and priggish pomposity once and for all.
Read Oscar Wilde’s essay The Soul of Man Under Socialism at bit.ly/1tOb6s1
Dave Clinch, Devon
Care needs abandoned
Not for profit care provider Anchor has said it will no longer offer nursing care at several of its west Yorkshire care homes.
This means elderly vulnerable residents have to find new homes in areas that are already short of nursing care facilities.
There has been no consultation and nursing staff face an insecure future when the changes are implemented.
I have a vested interest. My mother is reliant on nursing care at one of the homes in Leeds.
It appears that Anchor are abandoning people with nursing needs.
John Appleyard, West Yorkshire
A bridge too far?
London’s new “Garden Bridge” is another example of the tendency to privatise public space for means of profit and control.
Groups larger than eight need a “ticket” to cross together. Protest and cycling are prohibited.
It begins to reveal itself as another mechanism to enhance the level of control within our cities.
By allowing these pseudo public spaces to exist and relinquishing power to often unregulated private investors, the rights to the city streets are becoming vastly compromised.
Lizzie Godfrey, South London
Reject Ukip’s weasel words
Last week Nigel Farage said that Ukip supported NHS treatment “free at the point of delivery”.
I first heard these weasel words from the former vice chancellor of Leeds University when he argued for bringing in student fees.
He said that higher education would continue to be “free at the point of delivery”.
Malcolm Povey, Huddersfield
Shift work shouldn’t kill
A decent minimum wage and a working week of 30 hours would mean people wouldn’t need to kill themselves with work (Socialist Worker, 22 November).
More disposable income and leisure time would boost the economy and the only people to lose out would be the super rich. They have fed off our labour for far too long already.
Darrell Hall, on Facebook
Murdering Tories, really?
I’m sorry, but the allegations in Simon Basketter’s article about Tory MPs murdering abuse victims are really far fetched (Socialist Worker, 22 November).
It reminds me of the urban myths of snuff movies in the 1990s.
David Micallef, by email
Devolution for the regions?
“Yorkshire First” are standing a general election candidate in west Yorkshire.
I am uncertain about this. Will regional devolution be good for the working class?
June Jones, Huddersfield
Is a vote for ever and ever?
I tire of the Unionists bleating that there should be no further votes on Scottish independence because they see a No vote as a “forever” decision.
Should we also see the next general election result as the “settled will of the people” forever?
John Hein, Edinburgh