Archives for posts with tag: fracking


Seeing the title of this piece, readers can be forgiven if their immediate reaction is that I am just being ridiculously naive.

Politicians and lying go together like a horse and carriage, fish and chips, Batman and Robin, Theresa May and Brexit cluster fuck. Surely everybody knows that!

When David Cameron became Prime Minister in 2010, he did so on the back of a whole series of manifesto lies and what prompted me to begin ‘A letter a Day to Number 10’ was the need to expose the truth of what the Tories were doing to Britain. Not least amongst all the destructive policies that the Tories unleashed was that we the people were forced to rescue the (too big to fail) banks and as a consequence were punished by the Tories with austerity. One of George Osborne’s most used expressions was that we, the bread and butter people of Britain, had to pay down the debt.

In his 2015 summer budget speech, Osborne said, “So those who oppose any savings to Tax Credits will have to explain how on earth they propose to eliminate the deficit, let alone run a surplus and pay down debt.” He very specifically laid the responsibility for eliminating the deficit and paying down the debt on low income families, who, as we all know, had gambled away and crashed the global economy.

You couldn’t make it up, but George Osborne did.

Year on year the lies kept coming until Theresa May became Prime Minister at which point the lies became much more sinister and cynical, she promised the Earth and gave us hell, not least to the survivors of the Grenfell Tower catastrophe to whom she promised, “Residents of Grenfell Tower will be rehoused at the earliest possible opportunity, within three weeks at the latest.” They are still waiting six months later.

Poor, sick and disabled people are being brutally punished under Universal Credit (UC) and despite calls to pause or scrap the rollout of UC, the government are having none of it, claiming the system is working.

But something else has risen up and grown since 2010. Those familiar with my letters, are probably also aware of the incredible artwork of Stew Art’s postcards to David Cameron, the biting humour of Katy Anchant’s letters to her unwitting paramour, Dave, her ‘little pink flip-flop’, and the postcards of Linda Strickler. There were also the beautifully illustrated ‘Dear Dave and Nick’ letters of Bern O’Donoghue.

Also rising and now dominating the political landscape, we have Vox Political, Skwawkbox, The Canary, Another Angry Voice, Pride’s Purge, The Poor Side of Life, Dorset Eye, SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites), Evolve Politics, Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC), Samuel Miller (a tireless campaigner for social justice), Taxpayers Against Poverty (TAP), Rachael @Rachael_Swindon on Twitter, Sue Jones – Politics and Insights, Welfare Weekly and many others who have slipped my mind. There are also individual campaigners like Paula Peters and protector groups against fracking and ecocide, amongst many others.

What we all have in common is speaking the truth to power and exposing the lies, deceit and corruption of the Tories and holding government to account and demanding justice.

In 2010, David Cameron promised, “Greater transparency across Government is at the heart of our shared commitment to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account.” He lied.

It should not be down to us as individuals or for organisations to dedicate our precious time to exposing government corruption and lies, that is a travesty of justice. We need much more stringent powers to hold government to account, not a bung happy free for all amongst over privileged career politicians who think and behave as if they are above the law and sneer at court judgements and, of course, the many and diverse ordinary people who make up this once functioning nation.

Is truth in politics really such an outlandish thing to demand from our supposed representatives in government? Are they not just glorified (mostly in their own sight) managers of the nations laws, finances, social services, infrastructure and our international interests? The Queen calls them ‘her government’, if so, why isn’t she paying for them and not us and why isn’t she demanding that they do their damned jobs with honesty, integrity and due diligence and if they don’t, and they aren’t, why is she not kicking their worthless hides out onto the streets or putting them behind bars?

In 21st century Britain can we not do better than a bunch of lying, corrupt, self serving criminals in the, so called, mother of all parliaments?

Truth in politics should be the very least of our demands and expectations.

It is time for a new, honest, accountable, politics, it is time for Labour headed by Jeremy Corbyn and a manifesto for the many, not the few. The challenges he faces are immense, from a corrupt right wing media, a dirty opposition, opposition within the Labour party, a country in Tory induced chaos, corporate self interest and greed, to name the more obvious ones, but above all he must be true to the people in an institution steeped in historic elitism and privilege and the insidious corrupting influences of wealth and power. Personally, I think Jeremy Corbyn, the team of people around him and we, are ready, and most especially those whose lives are most at risk every day under the Tories.

I am 66 years old, first generation NHS, and I never imagined that I’d see the country, and the world, so betrayed by corruption, self interest and greed or such a rise in informed opposition to it. It is very much time for change. Decency, honesty and integrity are, and always have been, powerful, and the politics of our time demands them for the present and for any kind of humane, sustainable, future. The generation that survived WWII built a Britain fit for all and we can do it again.

KOG. 02 January 2018



I missed a doctors appointment this week, it was entirely down to an oversight on my part for reasons that don’t matter. The next day I visited the health centre to apologise and to make another appointment. The receptionist was very gracious, not a trace of impatience or frustration that my oversight had put unnecessary strain on a practice which I know is stretched to the limit.

I felt strongly enough about this that I asked the receptionist if I could make a donation to the practice to at least put something back for the time and expertise, cost and inconvenience, I had unintentionally caused both them and my fellow patients.

The receptionist said that they had no facility to accept donations, but suggested I talk to my GP about it, which I will do, but what astonished me was as she said this she teared up.

I also spoke to friend yesterday who had called me for some advice. In the course of the conversation he told me about a recent visit to A&E and how under stress the medical staff were and yet how amazing they were. As he left the hospital he thanked the nurse who had looked after him and he was taken aback when her eyes filled up. She was grateful for a kind word, something which she said was rare and often quite the reverse.

These are just two on the hoof moments but they say something to me. Both these situations bespeak of people working hard under pressure and wanting of simple kindness and understanding.

In a world being torn apart by people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing, it would seem that this is a world in want of kindness, thought and consideration, and, here’s the rub, these are within everyone’s power to give for free.

Governments are selling out to the economic forces of greed, the so called free markets, and far too many of us are feeling the strain of heartless economics that are creating an ever expanding underclass of impoverished people living precariously. Is it any wonder that people who are forced to go to food banks for the basics of survival are often reduced to tears, not just in gratitude for a bite of food to eat, but by the kindness they encounter?

When ‘I, Daniel Blake’ was shown at the Cannes festival audiences were reduced to tears. These were not the tears of goofed out sentimentality, but tears of empathy, anger, identification, of being moved by the suffering of others and unnecessary cruelty.

Ken Loach’s film is not a Hollywood blockbuster dripping in sentimental romance and tear jerking lurv, it is a documentary which hits hard. That said, what also comes across is the care with which it has been written, performed and made. I have not yet seen the film, but its impact is clear.

Readers may be aware that I have just begun therapy to help me break my self imposed isolation of over 20 years and deal with issues I have struggled with all my life. I have elected to pay for this therapy because I want a therapy that is compatible and sympathetic to me and my circumstances. That is going to involve some fancy belt tightening on my part, but I am happy to do that because being isolated has ceased to be a haven of safety and become an intolerable burden to me. I’ll come to why in a moment, but what I must say is that the money I pay for this is to cover the obvious needs we all have as a perfectly reasonable contribution towards the material needs of my therapist. What that money does not pay for, other in the most tangential sense, is the expertise, care, kindness, consideration and the focused intention and attention of my therapist to work with me towards achieving my aims and desires in life.

The money I pay her is not a reflection of her dedication or years of study and practice which have given her the skills she has today. To me, her skills are priceless. Only in the most simplistic sense am I paying for her time, what I am getting is a whole lot more on which it would be hard (if not impossible) to place a value in mere monetary terms.

I recall a story of a woman watching an artist finishing a sketch of seagulls flying. She was awed by the skill with which he captured their movement and grace in simple pencil lines and she asked him how long it had taken him, to which he replied, ’35 years’. The story may or may not be true, but how much is a picture worth if we think in terms of the skills acquired over such a length of time and the love he has for his craft?

So why am I in therapy? What is it about? Whether I want to join a fracking crew of protectors or get active in protecting our NHS I want to free myself to do that. Right now I am not free.

But I have something else weighing on me. I want to either join or start a kindness project. We need many kinds of revolution in many areas of life, but it seems to me that we also need a revolution of kindness and, for me, that is a big fucking deal! That is something worth living for and doing.

We are up against intractable and implacable enemies and I’ve lived with the anguish and pain they cause. I may not know how to tear them down, as much as they richly deserve it, but starting at our ordinary level of life and living, I can be part of something that lifts people up and it is the freedom to do that that I want. To engage.

All the people who have truly impacted my life and made me who I am today have been people of extraordinary kindness. I could say they’ve branded my soul with it, it’s something I cannot ignore, it is so powerful in me and the love I have for them is for all the inspiration that lives inside me now that has been their gift to me in life. These are people who have helped me deal with the hardest things in my life, whatever skills I have learnt have been learnt under the umbrella of incredible kindness and gentleness of others in dealing with, what was for me, life threatening trauma.

Above all, kindness is a gift, it can’t be bought, it is a bottomless well innate in all of us, although it may need some help in learning to share it when people are trapped in fear and the best help is being on the receiving end of it. It has certainly helped this soul to heal from the terrors that bound me.

A world without kindness is not fit for life.

KOG. 25 January 2017



A letter a day to number 10. No 1,528

Saturday 20 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

There is one great big reason that fracking is an issue that we must face and deal with. It is the last gasp of a dinosaur that refuses to evolve or die; an industrial behemoth that doesn’t care how much devastation it causes in its death throes as long as it can strangle the last penny out of the Earth in its rapacious greed for profit.

Peak oil is something that the petrochemical industry has never wanted to acknowledge or talk about and yet fracking is the embodiment of the exploitation of last gasp resources. It is nothing like the discovery of oil, great underground oceans of black gold ready to gush up out of the ground. That stuff is running out and petrochemical companies are desperate, why else would Shell want to undertake vastly expensive and high risk arctic drilling which would devastate the world’s last pristine environment?

The great oil and gas bonanza is over, oil is on the way out and what’s left is desperation and governments and corporations are prepared to rip the Earth apart in that desperation regardless of the consequences to the environment and life itself.

The only viable future is in renewables, but right now the future is looking more like an extinction event if the greed for oil and natural resources is not constrained and contained. Is there anyone left on Earth who seriously believes that Bush and Blair wanted to bring democracy to the Middle East? America is the most militarised resource hungry nation on earth which has amply demonstrated its willingness to embark on corporate colonialism and terrorism to feed its greed even whilst abandoning its own people. America is a nation divided, corporations and the people, and it is increasingly militarising against its own people as well as the world. Even whilst Bush was chanting his newly found mantra of ‘Terrorist’ he was The Terrorist in Chief aided and abetted by Blair and look at the world now.

If people want to understand fracking and its devastating consequences, they need look no further than America. The only future we can have is if we keep dirty fuel in the ground and stop the resource wars before some fool presses the nuclear button and commits the ultimate act of ecocide and genocide. Nature is very forgiving, it’s the very thing that gives us life, but unless we learn to know our place in nature and do something about it and clean up our act, the best thing that we can do is carve our epitaph now with the words, ‘An object lesson in greed and futility’, as a warning to any space travellers who might happen by one day.

List of Bans Worldwide


A letter a day to number 10. No 1,517

Tuesday 09 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

It has come to my attention that depleted uranium (DU) is used in fracking in what are called Perforation Guns. Perforation guns are small explosive devices which when detonated fracture the surrounding rock formation prior to the high pressure injection of fracking fluid. Depleted uranium is 60% as radioactive as naturally occurring Uranium and has a radioactive half-life of 4.5bn years (which is the current age of the Earth). Whilst it is accepted that DU is toxic, just how toxic and how dangerous is a matter of ongoing study and dispute.

The use of DU weapons in Iraq has been widely condemned and official Iraqi government statistics show that cancers in Iraq have increased from 40 out of 100,000 people prior to the Iraq wars to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people in 2005. It is estimated that ‘350 tons of DU munitions (was used) in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation’. So far as fracking is concerned it is clear that such concentrations would not occur nor spread so violently as in the insanity of war.

However, fracking involves the use of fracking fluid with is a toxic mix of chemicals and millions of gallons of water. It’s extraction rate from wells is between 20% to 40% leaving a significant toxic brew underground at each site (to go who knows where?), plus millions of gallons of toxic waste about which not a single informative word has been said by government about it’s safe disposal. Ineos, which holds 21 shale licences in the UK, has said that after ‘treatment’ the waste water could be dumped in the sea. Remind me, when was the last time anyone cleaned up nuclear waste via some kind of chemical treatment plant? I am sure the nuclear industry would like to hear from them.

In 2014 ‘radioactive water from Cuadrilla’s fracking operations was handled at United Utilities treatment works in Davyhulme’ and subsequently dumped in the Manchester Ship Canal leading to questions being asked by MP for Stretford and Urmston, Kate Green, demanding to know why.

The Independent newspaper guesstimates that families could receive between £5,000 and £20,000 in bribes to allow fracking in their areas, yet fracking is increasingly being banned across the globe. The hazards are legion. The UK has already had two earthquakes near Blackpool confirmed by Cuadrilla as being caused by their drilling site at Preese Hall. Families need to ask themselves what a potential environmental and human disaster is worth and what undisclosed motive you have for offering bribes? It is an unprecedented step and one that should be treated with the gravest suspicion. How much are our communities worth and how much is the future of our children worth? If anyone thinks they are worth putting at risk for £5,000 to £20,000 they need their heads examined. The Sun might be telling its readers that the bribes are worth it, but when did Rupert Murdoch and his rag ever give a damn about its readership? Fracking in the UK should be banned not foisted on us through corrupt bribes.

Depleted Uranium And The Iraq War’s Legacy Of Cancer

List of Bans Worldwide

The benefits of fracking to the UK are well worth PM Theresa May’s £10,000 ‘bribe’


A letter a day to number 10. No 1,516

Monday 08 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

According to the BBC you want to compensate residents whose communities are affected by fracking with a proportion of the proceeds from shale gas projects.

If the BBC are to be believed, which these days is tricky, you have apparently said that your government wants to help “ordinary families for whom life is harder than many people in politics realise. This announcement is an example of putting those principles into action, It’s about making sure people personally benefit from economic decisions that are taken – not just councils – and putting them back in control over their lives.”

For the purposes of this letter I shall have to assume these are your words and you are right many of our lives are harder than many people in politics realise and one of them is you, because from there on, things start to fall apart.

The idea of private industry compensating communities for the adverse effects upon them is a novel one and I wonder if communities in the once (pre Thatcherite) industrial areas of Britain might retrospectively claim compensation? I may write to the National Union Of Mineworkers (NUM) to get their take on this. The BBC reported in 2012 that the historic damage from mining has left landscapes devastated with estimated repair costs running into hundreds of millions of pounds.

Pre-emptive offers of compensation, or bribes as I prefer to call them, to communities and residents for the disruption, and possible destruction, of their quality of life is an admission, before the fact, that people and communities will be adversely affected making life for ordinary people harder in ways for which bribes can never compensate.

In what way then are you putting people back in control of their lives when you are clearly removing control from their lives by allowing fracking in their communities which they may well be opposed to both in principle and practice? As the good people of Balcombe discovered, where the police, far from protecting the public interest, were deployed as corporate police at a cost of £4 million to protect the interests of Cuadrilla Resources with horrifying brutality and mass arrests of peaceful protesters, the majority of whom were later acquitted, the real concerns of the people are ignored.

To be blunt and as the late great Douglas Adams put it so aptly, you are talking cross-eyed badger spit, just as your predecessor did. Let’s hope that people resist this Judas money because when the lorries start rolling in they’ll live to regret it.

10_february_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,338

Wednesday 10 February 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

It has been necessary for me to take a few days off from writing these letters. There is a price to be paid for engaging with the cesspool of Tory lies and corruption and the brutality of you and the rest of your party of social carrion feeders. But it is more than that because this is more than an impersonal ideological attack for those of us who struggle with everyday life, because we are also the ones on the receiving end of your brutality.

I keep no record of the number of calls I receive from people who are ravaged and distraught by confusion, fear and an overwhelming sense of helplessness in the face of the uncaring brutality of the DWP in particular, but what I can tell you is that each and every one of them is sick and/or disabled and terrorised.

In almost every case I have to tell them that in order to understand what is happening to them they have to grasp that this is entirely deliberate, they are not going to be treated sympathetically or caringly, they are under attack and that demands an entirely different approach in how they think about it and in how they deal with it. Once they grasp that what they are going through is Tory policy there is a palpable relief in realising that they are not going mad, they are not at fault, they are the victims of Tory brutality.

Of course, that’s far from the end of it because they, like me, are managing the real life struggle to manage their daily life, whatever their particular circumstances are, be it cancer and invasive treatments, physical disability, fibromyalgia, ME, partial sightedness, mental health problems, the physical limitations of age and so on, on top of which is added the terrorisation of politically driven and wilful, malicious, attack.

We are at war, you are not just dismantling the state, you are dismantling people’s lives and people are dying in droves, giving up in despair.

Offering cheap bribes as sweeteners for cuts, fracking, stealing people’s Motability vehicles, crisis payments, flood damage, bribes for care and support in the community being offered to predominantly Conservative councils, only serve to highlight the fundamental betrayals being heaped on our lives by cheap chisellers whose only interest is dismantling the state for private profit.

However, it is refreshing to see, at last, the lies unravelling on a daily basis.

Money talks as Cameron buys the silence of Tory MPs threatening council cuts rebellion

Money talks as Cameron buys the silence of Tory MPs threatening council cuts rebellion

11_january_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,312

Monday 11 January 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I think you need to have a word with UK insurance companies. It seems they do not share your confidence that fracking is safe. Two thirds of UK insurers will not insure against fracking damage which could include contaminated water in areas prone to flooding and groundwater contamination. Fracking in areas prone to flood? The very idea is insane.

Whatever evidence you have on how safe fracking is, clearly insurance companies have either not seen it or they don’t believe it and consider fracking a considerable risk. I appreciate that insurance companies are risk averse, they are, after all, not in the business to lose money, but if fracking is so safe, why is the insurance money market not accepting that fracking is low risk?

The amount of fracking fluid left in the ground varies, reportedly it can be from 5 and 90 percent. It should hardly need saying that flood victims do not want fracking toxic waste added to the toxicity of flood waters.

Of course if insurance companies are not prepared to cover fracking risks there are no prizes for guessing who will have to pick up the bill for the clean-up operations – the great British public cash cow.

Given the cuts in flood defences it is looking more and more cynically as if flooding is just another transfer of public wealth into private hands thus adding to the shrinking state, money that would have benefited all were it invested in flood protection is siphoned into massively expensive clean up operations in areas where flooding could have been entirely prevented.

And, of course, no amount of money can begin to cover the personal trauma and distress of those whose lives are devastated by flooding, including the loss of any very personal and precious family mementos.

There have already been earthquakes related to fracking in the UK, and whilst they were fairly low magnitude, typical of earthquakes in the UK, that does not excuse exposing people to such additional risks. Oklahoma, a major fracking area in the US, which historically experiences 2 earthquakes a year above level 3 on the Richter scale, experienced 585 such quakes in 2014 and 842 in 2015.

It was Franklin D. Roosevelt who said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” That very much has to include preventable disasters from flooding and fracking.

18_december_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,289

Friday 18 December 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Your 2015 manifesto pledged: “Over the next five years, we will put in place stronger protections for our natural landscapes… Our plan is to conserve and enhance our natural environment so that this remains the most beautiful country in the world.”

In January this year Amber Rudd, the parliamentary undersecretary of state for climate change at that time, told MPs: “We have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks [and] sites of special scientific interest.”

Two days ago your government used a statutory instrument – a form of secondary legislation – to push through new rules, which means legislation can pass into law without a debate in the House of Commons’, which therefore meant, by a vote of 298 to 261, Britain’s National Parks can now be fracked as long as the drilling takes place outside the protected areas. That hardly means putting in place stronger protections for natural landscapes, does it? In fact surrounding areas will be subject to all the disruption and destruction that fracking causes with millions of gallons of toxic fluid pumped under areas of outstanding beauty and sites of special scientific interest and the underlying geology blasted apart to extract gas.

It’s curious that one area that was reported as protected back in July was your constituency of Witney. Any news on that or does Witney remain protected, even from fracking outside the area?

I very much hope that protectors, lots and lots of them, will make much of your broken manifesto pledge when the police are moved in to protect the corporate interests of the fracking companies against the will of the people.

It seems the only people left in Britain to protect the interests of ordinary people are ordinary people themselves because no other bugger will, least of all you, because a man who breaks his word is a curse upon the land.

13_december_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,284

Sunday 13 December 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I have to say that the move in Britain from a putative liberal democracy to a dictatorship has been impressive. I grant you that, and the money and interests that you serve. After all what does a dictatorship look like? It looks just like us but we imagine it would look very different, visibly oppressive, long shopping queues, oppressed peasants and all the visual images we have been subjected to of oppressed societies under oppressive regimes.

But such images belie the reality of people living just as usual, no matter where they are. People still have to shop, eat, live. They watch television and ‘the news’. People still go to work, life in general looks ‘normal’ and people react and live in ‘normal’ ways. What they can’t see, don’t see, refuse to see, is that in a dictatorship we all become progressively less free, starting at the bottom but moving slowly, but progressively, upwards. Just like Britain right now.

The shrinking of the welfare state, bringing in forced labour for people seeking jobs and forcing people into onerous Claimant Commitment Contracts and the routine use of sanctions denying people the means of survival. Punishing people with the hideous bedroom tax instead of building houses. Attacking disabled people and denying them support and care, ending the Independent Living Fund. Creating a crisis in the NHS and forcing top down reorganisation (attacking junior doctors for work they already do) that increases health insecurity and creeping privatisation. Attacking the unions and the rights to strike and to peacefully protest. Attacking our social and employment rights and even planning to scrap the Human Rights Act. Cutting front line services and putting people’s lives at risk. Corporatising the state and, for example, pursuing fracking against the will of the people and communities. Manipulating voting and Gerrymandering to rig elections. Undermining democracy and fast tracking laws and now working to neuter the House of Lords. Engaging in wars of aggression. Putting military troops on our streets. And so much more.

Your latest bid to undermine working class communities by ending life time contracts in social housing, claiming it will increase social mobility, is right up there in the despicable stakes. It will not increase social mobility, it will increase social insecurity undermining family and community life and social identity. You do not create any meaningful social mobility by enforcing social insecurity. It doesn’t matter that right now existing tenancy agreements are secure, that is just a smokescreen for an inevitable future of insecurity for (but not exclusive to) working class people.

This is what a dictatorship looks like.–ekox_1SdBx

23_september_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,209

Wednesday 23 September 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I wasn’t going to mention #piggate but something came up and I feel I must. I’m not going to make any jokes about it, what I want to talk about is treachery, which is what the whole thing with Ashcroft is all about. Isn’t it amazing that he would spend so much time on a book just to get his own back because he didn’t get the rewards he felt were his due after giving your party such generous donations? It doesn’t matter what he wanted, he didn’t get it and now he wants his pound of flesh, not justice, vengeance.

The reason I mention treachery is because Ashcroft isn’t alone in falling victim to your treachery, it’s a speciality of yours. Do you remember your 2010 election promises of ‘no top down reorganisation of the NHS’,  ‘No cuts to front-line services’, ‘absolutely no plans to raise VAT’, on Education Maintenance Allowances -‘we don’t have any plans to get rid of them’, to name but a few? Perhaps you also remember telling parliament regarding the bedroom tax, ‘Obviously, what we have done is to exempt disabled people who need an extra room?’

Let’s spread the net a little wider and draw the time a little closer. Do you recall in January when energy secretary, Amber Rudd, told MPs: ‘We have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks [and] sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs)’? Just to remind you, SSSI’s are unique habitats for rare wildlife and plants and among the 159 licences issued last month to explore for oil and gas onshore, and therefore likely to be sites for fracking, are 293 sites of special scientific interest.

Do you also recall when I said on the 21st that ‘it seems your own constituency of Witney seems to have remained mysteriously fracking application free even whist the surrounding areas have not’, leading Anne McIntosh MP to remark that fracking would ‘not be coming to Witney anytime soon’? I wonder if you would tell me what makes Witney such a special, special place that of all the country it is being preserved? Is there something rare and precious there and could it perhaps be that it is the home of the most treacherous man in Britain?

I am afraid I am going to be unkind, perhaps a little treacherous myself, now, I really wish that, whether the story is true or not, you had remained with the pig, or any pig, as long as it was dead, because I certainly wouldn’t wish you on a live one. We could all have slept a great deal more soundly than we currently do or are likely to do for some time once the frackers start tearing the country apart. I am not one for vengeance, but I can quite understand why Ashcroft did what he did.