YP Letters: Wrong to jail anti-fracking protesters

From: Natalie Bennett, Sheffield Green Party, Stafford Street, Sheffield.

Undated handout photo of Richard Roberts, who has been jailed for 16 months at Preston Crown Court for causing a public nuisance, after he climbed on to a lorry outside a fracking site. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday September 26, 2018. The disruption at energy firm Cuadrilla's base in Preston New Road in Little Plumpton, Lancashire, in July 2017 lasted just short of 100 hours as the campaigners refused to come down.

SHEFFIELD resident Simon Blevins was among those sent to jail last week for non-violent, direct action in Lancashire in opposition to fracking. The people of Lancashire, through their county council, have said “no” to fracking. The people of Britain are overwhelmingly opposed to fracking – it is already blocked in Wales and Scotland.

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It is 86 years since peaceful protesters were similarly jailed, for the Kinder Scout mass trespass. That action ultimately led to significant change and democratisation of our countryside. I have no doubt the injustice of these sentences will further galvanise the anti-fracking and pro-democracy movements around England.

It is clear that we have a government that does not reflect the will or wishes of the people, and laws that place the profits of the few over the wellbeing of us all in a world where climate change and levels of poverty and inequality threaten our futures.

Sheffield is surrounded by sites of anti-fracking protest, at Marsh Lane, Tinker Lane and Misson. I urge everyone who can to visit one of them to show their support for this struggle. The brave action of Simon and his co-accused highlights a lack of fairness and democracy. They will be celebrated in the future as the Kinder trespassers are celebrated today.

From: Michael Farman, Willow Grove, Beverley.

THE imprisonment of fracking protesters shows how far this country has retreated from democratic freedoms.

The right to peaceful protest is one of the liberties people have struggled for centuries to win.

We are supposed to be a democracy that accommodates dissenting voices.

It is unacceptable that these rights are being taken away from us in order to support a dirty industry that, if it is allowed to 
go ahead, will cause untold damage to our health and countryside and exacerbate climate change.

The sentencing is clearly intended as a deterrent to further peaceful protest, but it will achieve the opposite, as so many people will see how far our minority government is prepared to go with authoritarian methods in support of an industry that is unwanted by the majority of people who would be forced to live with it.

PC madness to fell trees

From: David Ward, Hungate, Pickering.

RE the article headlined “Bishop to lead mediated talks over tree felling” (The Yorkshire Post, September 27).

May I say what good sense it is to engage the knowledge and mediation of the Bishop of Sheffield, in what appears to be absurd and unreasoning tree felling in Sheffield.

Where is the logic (or economic sense) in destroying a public asset of beauty and tranquillity (not to say a wonderful dispenser of oxygen, and absorber of carbon dioxide) to be replaced with saplings, about half of which will die of dehydration (by my observations) before they reach the maturity of those felled?

This is surely another case of “political correctness” gone berserk.

Arresting call from ‘taxman’

From: ME Wright, Harrogate.

HAVE we not been told many times that “they” are doing something about nuisance phone calls, but when?

I ask, following receipt of a threatening answerphone message. In strident tones, some male informed me that HMRC have issued a warrant for my arrest and I am to ring 020 3239 4484 (confirmed by 1471). It concludes with an authoritative “do not ignore”. Needless to say, I have, but how many have been scared into action?

Profit drive cost banks

From: Rodney Binks, Holmfirth.

I WRITE as someone who had an enjoyable and rewarding career spanning 38 years with one of the clearing banks.

It saddens me to say that Greg Wright’s latest column (The Yorkshire Post, September 26) 
is spot on.

Moreover you could have identified the banks’ apparent disregard for the value of the long-term banker/customer relationship and the banks’ complete neglect of their long- established reputation for trust, integrity and honesty in pursuit of the quick profit.

Similarly I suggest the well-tested principles applied to lending proposals were either abandoned or severely diluted in pursuit of targets, leading to a severely weakened asset base.

MPs should leave London

From: Coun Tim Mickleburgh (Lab), Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.

DID they decide what they were doing about refurbishing Parliament and where MPs would go when the work was in process?

I’d like to see them meet at a much more central location, and in a building more for the 21st century with space for papers, laptops etc.

And away from London, perhaps they’d realise what an unfair deal we get when it comes to transport and other spending.

Views in brief

From: Philip Taylor, Milner Street, Lockwood, Huddersfield.

I REFER to my partner’s comment about my recently published letter in The Yorkshire Post. She said that was a bit of a short letter. I said to her that I am not a politician –their philosophy is why use two words when 20 will do.