9 March 2014

Anti Fracking Protest in Manchester Today

You can read the report from the Manchester Evening News here. What I planned to say is reproduced below, but as with these things, I forgot a couple of parts while speaking without notes. It was a great atmosphere today and I was privileged to speak with so many good people.

"You heard from my fellow euro candidate at the beginning of today's protest. There have been many greens who have been willing to risk arrest. Caroline Lucas, Laura bannister and the incredible Anne power among them.

Why? Because carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are reaching and exceeding 400 parts per million this year, when we know that the safe limit was 350.

There actions give us hope. Hope that the idiocy of extracting further fossil fuels out of the ground can be halted. Hope that the neo-liberal consensus can be broken. Hope that it will be us, not corporate interests that will prevail, for the sake of my children's future. So to protectors at barton moss, Balcombe and in the other sites set to become the fracking frontline, I say thank you. You give us hope. You are our heroes.

So we march today. What else can be done? At every level of government there is space for opposition. A local council can come out against fracking. An individual MP can oppose it in their local area. Euro MPs in the north west can come from either a pro-fracking or anti-fracking perspective, and vote accordingly on environmental impact assessments.

UKIP and the Tories want to frack until the countryside is awash with pollution and well heads. The Liberal Democrats voted in favour at their last conference and Labour, with individual exceptions, is still a pro-fracking party.

The Green Party is in favour of energy efficiency, we are in favour of renewable energy and we are and will be a consistent voice of opposition to fracking, now and for however long it takes. That is why the greens across the country have already stood as GP stop fracking now candidates.

We need your support in May. We missed out on a seat in the European Parliament by just 0.3 percent last time. So instead of an anti fracking green, you've had Nick Griffin of the bnp representing you. Just 5 votes more per council ward will be enough to elect an anti fracking euro mp.

Finally. We need candidates. At local elections, many people may only get a choice between 3 or 4 pro fracking parties. We want to change that. Even if every single green member stood, we would need more people to give very voter that anti fracking option. With your help, we can do it, so please get involved."

I must have got it at least partly right, as we had two volunteers to stand as candidates and get involved, who gave their details to NW Green members at the end of the speech.

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