Friday, 19 July 2013

A Joyous Summer in Neoliberal Britain

W here we have to wait years to assess the "impact" of no-brand cigarette packets in Australia, but can't wait at all to see whether fracking for shale gas in the United States pollutes the water table.

Just to stress: that's CIGARETTES, about which everyone has personal choice anyway, and THE WATER TABLE, which, if screwed, will be screw a sizeable part of the population with it, whether or not they chose to go the way of fracking. Ideas about where the water will come from if the water table is polluted? Here, the wizened captains of industry are silent.[1]

Of course, they'll be dead, the short-term profits from fracking having been salted away offshore in their family accounts, and why would they care anyway about the children of the lumpen consumerati, the milch cows of trickle-up capitalism, of whom they know little and care less?

 For guidance in this weird logic, follow the money.[2]


The inventor of fracking, George Mitchell died at 94 in July 2013. According to his granddaughter, and others interviewed for BBC Radio 4's 'Last Word'  he was very concerned about the roll-out of possibly imperfect extraction technologies. [3]

In the UK, we've had a decade or two of whinging about wind turbines, often from folk who happen to be used to having a nice view, whose electricity and gas nevertheless originates in places where other people live with the filthy air and the shitty view resulting from energy production. That whinging has affected the complexion of debate; limited what's deemed possible. Perhaps communities who prefer their nice view (so to speak) should propose means of meeting their energy needs which don't impact on other communities... or initiate a wider move towards a post-industrial living, whatever that may mean.

Personally, I love the "natural" environment, to the extent that I find needless despoilment quite painful, but I also think that we're now in a balance-of-evils situation. If it's a choice between having wind farms in my favourite places and possibly damaging a basic resource (clean water), I'll go for the wind farms; thousands of them, please.

Fracking obviously seems easy to politicians habituated to short-termism, and an easy way to create  a bit of capital churn. This explains why other arguments for it - officially at least - are so weakly made.



[3] (Friday, 9 August 2013)

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