THE BLOG

In Just 100 Days, Dave Has Undermined All His Green Policies

09/08/2015 19:14 BST | Updated 09/08/2016 10:59 BST

100dd

To mark 100 days of the first Conservative government in nearly 20 years, HuffPost UK is running 100 Days of Dave, a special series of blog posts from grassroots campaigners to government ministers, single parents to first-year students, reflecting on what's worked and what hasn't, whilst looking for solutions to the problems we still face.

Dave's first 100 days in office coincide with the two-year anniversary of my arrest in Balcombe. Back in 2013, fossil fuel prospecting firm, Cuadrilla, planned to frack for gas on the fringes of the Sussex village.

The villagers, having availed themselves of the facts, considered fracking might not be safe. Experience in America and Australia suggested fracking had the potential to poison water supplies. It could also provoke property-damaging earth tremors, pollute the air with toxins and fugitive green house gases (including methane), and harm property prices.

The seemingly mad dash for gas also focused investment and infrastructure on fossil fuels at a time when it would be more pertinent to build towards a carbon neutral economy.

Living nearby, and sharing their concerns, I heeded the Balcombe battle cry and went along to help. I was soon arrested and charged with obstruction of the highway with a non vehicle - in layman's terms, I used my bottom to sit in the road to prevent the frackers entering the site.

My charges were dropped before I could stand trial. Most of the 100 or so protesters who went to court were acquitted. Cuadrilla has still not managed to frack in Balcombe. Indeed despite the drillers' and the government's best efforts the UK has been frack-free now for four years. Direct action works. Sadly, ultimately, it's the only way.

It's estimated that were the world's shale gas deposits to be exploited we could see a 3.5 degree rise in global temperature. In December world leaders meet in Paris to thrash out a deal to maintain a global temperature rise of below two degrees.

It would be simply marvellous - a game changer - if the UK had a political leader possessed of a visceral intelligence and a vision to lead the charge. But we don't. We have Dave.

The trouble with Dave is this: mediocre men of his ilk thrive on expensive elite educations before cronyism eases these scions into established positions of power.

As the 19th occupant of No 10 to have attended Eton, Dave is just what the Establishment ordered: a grateful insider, trained for the job, unhindered by real-world life-experience and untramelled by social conscience.

Dave need only maintain the status quo for another couple of years, keeping the Neo-Liberal road show on the road, for the vested interests that elevated him to office. Then he will be gone, replaced by more or less of the same. That's politics.

In the meantime, the man who insisted back in 2013 that we have to "get rid of this green crap" is going for it. In three months he has undermined almost every scrap of policy that could conceivably be described as "green".

Here's a back-of-a-fag-packet precis of the list so far: Solar tariffs, slashed, onshore wind, shunned. Carbon neutral new-build homes, chucked. Financial help (grants and loans) for home insulation and micro-generation: forget it! Promises to ban fracking in National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Specific Scientific Interest: Um... look over there, the Queen is waving like a Nazi!... broken.

While taking his red crayon to the green line, Dave is more determined than ever to give shale gas the green light. He offers councils the chance to claim 100 % of business tax on fracking sites in the hopes it will keep planning committees looking the right way. He schmoozes his own with 50 % tax breaks on fracking investments. He wants to repeal the Human Rights Act which would effectively criminalise protesters like myself.

But the last three months haven't been all bad. Hurrah for Lancashire County Council's planning refusal for Cuadrilla, which had hoped to make Lancashire the fracking capital of the UK. County councillors believe there are sustainable grounds for politely declining not one but two applications. The people of Lancashire, and friends, led by the knitting nanas, working class local ladies who can remember the miners' strikes, are euphoric. Cuadrilla says it will appeal.

Whichever way the decision goes, due political process will inevitably grind on until democracy is over-ruled. Then it will be down to locals and their supporters to quite literally hold the front line.

There may be camping. Company HQs could be targets. Some have an eye to French strikers who seem to get the job done with nothing more than a modest pile of burning tyres.

In Balcombe the villagers, who might collectively be described as "Middle England" came marching down the road singing their own version of Jerusalem. "We will not cease from camp-ing here, Nor shall we rest till fracking's banned. Till we have kicked these frackers out, Of England's green-and pleasant land."

Can we beat Dave and chums? We can but try. If we want to beat climate change, we must.

How do you think Britain has changed since 7 May? Join the @HuffPostUK conversation on Twitter with #100DaysOfDave