As a B Double tanker truck rumbles through the once quaint town of Dickinson, North Dakota, en route to collect the spoils of the earth below, the debate about fracking Lancashire rumbles through the newspapers and council chambers of home; although debate may be a strong word.
As I write this column, pro and anti-fracking protestors are gathered outside Blackpool Football Club where Cuadrilla, a company seemingly named by a Bond villain, look to over turn a planning rejection by Lancashire County Council – but it may not matter, because these people can’t be trusted, apparently.
Suffolk MP James Cartlidge questioned if the councils and communities of Lancashire could come to a rational conclusion, given the ‘hysteria’ surrounding the issue and an apparent lack of clear knowledge on behalf of the protestors – allowing his energy minister a free pass to take the decision out of the hands of those on the frontline in towns and villages. He isn’t wrong, though, is he?
Imagine having to make a decision on whether or not to contaminate your water, risk cancer rate increases and birth defects as well as having your community torn apart by trucks and oil wells to assist in making somebody exceptionally rich.
They probably won’t go for that, will they James? Just imagine if we’d listened to those hysterical, grass-roots movements of the past. Groups of people clouded by the ridiculous notion that they, in fact, know what’s best for them.
God forbid we’d allowed the suffragettes a say. The manic Emmeline Pankhurst and her band of ill-informed women, no doubt lost in the hysteria of democracy,
carried away by the idea that her female counterparts should be extended the franchise and allowed choices.
Remember when Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks attempted to think for themselves?
Caught up in the idea of civil rights, foolishly thinking that their say was equal to others. I’m glad we didn’t let them get absorbed in the moment, eh?
And what of the Stonewall protestors? If we’d trusted their judgment, we might be legalising gay marriage and allowing LGBT families a peaceful and happy life together.
Thank goodness the protestors in Tunisia, who attempted the revolution of 2010, weren’t heard. Who knows what sort of civil liberties and democracy the Tunisian people might be enjoying today?
It remains to be seen if Lancashire will be drilled, but there’s a drilling taking place right now – through the heart of our democracy. To so much as suggest that people can’t be trusted to make their own decisions is as alarming as it is bafflingly wrong – this, too, in an age of devolution, when letting people make their own choices is quite the fashionable stance. This is a decision about the communities in which we live, the lives we lead, our health and wellbeing and the world we are leaving for our children and grandchildren. I’d argue, James, the people of Lancashire are better placed than any.
• Darryl Morris is a 25-year-old broadcaster and writer and host of ‘Darryl Morris in the Morning’ on 97.4 Rock FM, waking Lancashire weekdays from 6am-10am. His broadcasting career has taken in shows on XFM, Galaxy FM, The Hits Radio and the BBC before joining Rock FM in January 2015. TV credits include Sky News, CBBC’s Newsround and he was the face of Chicago Town Pizza’s TV adverts.