This meme is wheeled out all the time by staunch SNP supporters, to on the one hand prove that the SNP are against UGE and on the other prove that they can’t do anything because it is someone else’s fault, that they can’t or more to the point wont, do anything other than plow their own furrow.
Firstly I hope (and if I prayed, I would) that the information on this meme, is the real reason the SNP are insisting on going down this tack and abstaining in Holyrood and adding a get out of jail free, clause in Fife Council.
There is a lot of politicking going on here and by all sides, which is only to be expected. On the SNP side you have the SMAUG members (but I am not sure how large it is) grouping within the SNP that actually do want a complete ban, but were stifled at their party conference. Even though there was a campaign within the SNP membership for UGE to be discussed, the Party leadership blocked all attempts at getting this onto the conference timetable.
On the Scottish Labour side, there was a huge amount of campaigning by anti UGE groupings and my own Union, Unite, to get an anti UGE motion passed at their last conference. Hence their stance on calling for a complete ban now, as it is in fact, party policy. Not as some lunatic Nationalists insist, that it is because they are pro-UGE, so they call for a ban to make sure fracking takes place. Go figure that one. Aluminium foil hats needed here I think.
Although I fully welcomed the moratoriums, one negative they have resulted in, is to dull everyone to the inherent dangers. It is getting harder to get people to engage on the topic. There are still people who still actually think it is banned in Scotland.
So to the facts as I understand them.
1. There are actually 2 moratoriums one on Fracking and then the one on UCG, that one was only implemented as a result of the Hands over oor Forth protest.
2. Coal Bed Methane is always missing from everyones radar. This is one process that they have actually drilled test wells in Airth and other areas.
3. Section 46 of the Scotland Act, grants Scotland the power to issue licences for companies to search and bore for on-shore petroleum. So that put’s payed to the myth that the Scottish Government has no control over UGE.
4. The moratoriums actually allows for test drilling, (they will call it core sampling). This is a huge danger that we in the anti-UGE movement recognise, as it actually allows infrastructure to be put in place.
5. Almost every anti-UGE group in the country is calling for an outright ban now, nothing less. They do not trust the moratorium, unless of course they are staunch SNP supporters, then the meme comes out. There is even a meme that clearly states that Fracking can’t be banned unless Scotland is independent. More Aluminium foil hats required for that one.
6. The First Minister has only ever said she is “highly sceptical” about Fracking, and no decision on whether it should be banned will be taken before next year. She always states that Fracking will not take place unless it is proven to be safe. (I must admit that I am highly sceptical about her statement, but again, hope I am proven wrong)
In the recent election how many SNP candidates stood with this on their leaflets? Vowing to say no to fracking and then abstaining on a ban.
Another worrying fact is that the public consultations on UGE are not due to be completed until after next years local elections. Co-incidence or conspiracy, you decide? (Maybe I need a foil hat 🙂 )
Both INEOUS and Cluff have held many public information days throughout the central belt, to prove how safe Fracking and UCG is and to spread their own biased propaganda. I have attended all of them here in Fife. They are slick, well financed and very convincing, if you do not understand the topic. In reality how many people actually understand all the implications? This slick campaign along with the monetary bribes to local communities will sway a huge amount of people.
We also have to consider the fact that companies like INEOUS, will do everything within their power to make sure they get their own way. I would not be surprised if Ratcliffe once again threatens to close Grangemouth, if indeed the Scottish Government ever actually bans UGE. INEOUS have already started recruiting Engineers, Geologists etc, for work in Scotland, why would that be I wonder?
Quote from INEOS Upsteam; “Further to the vote in Scotland last night we have been clear on our view, which has not changed. A process remains in place in Scotland to further assess scientific, evidence based research before a decision is taken on fracking.
This has important implications for the people of Scotland and its economy and should not be prejudged before it has reached its conclusion.
INEOS has been clear that it believes shale gas can be extracted safely and that Scotland is losing out as the centre of excellence moves south.
We remain focused on England where we believe that shale can provide much needed jobs, investment and energy security.”
The Scottish Government had no problem banning Nuclear Power by altering the National Planning Framework, to ensure that no Nuclear power stations can be built. There seemed to be no worry about being dragged through the courts here. They banned GMO crops with the existing powers. This was even before the new powers they now have. Why can’t this same thinking and approach not be used now? Or is it because they were totally opposed to Nuclear, but are in reality pro-UGE?
France, Germany and now some states in America, have all banned Fracking, with no apparent worries about being taken to court. Of course if TTiP or CETA are ratified before a ban is in place then that will be a different matter. Then of course we would be subject to the ISDS system and could then be subject to legal challenges.
The key question is this; do you actually believe in the Scottish Governments commitment to banning UGE?
When the public consultations are not to be completed until after next years local elections. When CETA and possibly TTiP will in all likelihood be ratified. When the SNP are in reality pro TTiP, including the ISDS clause.
I do question all this timing of all this. This would once again give the SNP the old, “it’s not our fault, there is nothing we can do”, it’s this CETA/TTiP thing, we have no choice.
I hope I am proved wrong. I hope that waiting until after the local elections for a decision is not to have SNP majorities in all councils and therefore have the planning process under their control. I hope that waiting until next year is not so CETA and TTiP are both ratified, so they will have the old “ a big boy done it and ran away” excuse.
I also hope that the Scottish Governments public and scientific consultations return the only viable answers that UGE is not safe in Scotland and is an environmental time bomb.
I hope that the First Minister is moved to being more than just a sceptical and very non-committal stance.
I hope upon hope that I am seeing conspiracies where none exists. Go on SNP prove me wrong on this one, I implore you.