frackBy Mike Small

Victory is sweet.

We need to complete the nailing process but basically Fracking is Dead in Scotland and it represents a huge victory for all of us in protection of our communities and our environment.

Where does this leave Ineo and their 729 sq miles of fracking exploration licences? Hopefully in an expensive shambles.

It’s not done yet but we now we can  finish the job.

Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“Fergus Ewing’s announcement today is huge victory for the communities, individuals and groups who have been campaigning to stop this dirty industry in Scotland. This moratorium is a very big nail in the coffin for the unconventional gas and fracking industry in Scotland. Any serious examination of the mounting evidence will inevitably lead to a ban. The Scottish Government has acted decisively today to protect communities across the country and the environment from this unnecessary industry. It is great news that Dart Energy’s plans for commercial coalbed methane at Airth are included in this moratorium. The Government’s decision today is testament to the perseverance of people and communities around the country who have tirelessly fought this industry in recent years.”

I’m frankly bored of the tribal claims and counter-claims about who backed what and when. It’s all spin. But who really who cares? This is a victory for us all and I’m not convinced at any party had a complete picture or a homogenous view on this, other than the Greens, who were totally against, and the Tories, who were totally for it.

Joan McAlpine from the SNP said:

“The SNP Government has acted where Labour has failed nationally and locally. Their local councillors did not speak up for the Canonbie villagers and attacked me when I asked for a council review into the circumstances surrounding the granting of planning permission for boreholes, a matter now being considered by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

 I particularly welcome news that the Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod will issue an instruction to SEPA to desist from granting any further CAR licences.  This is something I called for in advance of the statement. These licenses, issued by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, are required for every borehole. A moratorium on them was the only way to stop drilling in Canonbie, where council planning permission has already been given and an exploration licence already awarded by the UK government.”

So how did we win it? Here are four reasons:

1) In the post-indyref phase the reality that there’s still a live, vibrant, fully-networked movement out there communicating and mobilising terrifies politicians. Even if people aren’t going to vote Green at the General Election they’re going to ACT Green when such a spectacularly stupid ideas as fracking comes along.

2) If we had focus in the referendum campaign they have focus as the General Election looms. What else can we get them to concede in the next few weeks?

3) As the world becomes more and more chaotic and complex politicians know less and less what to do. In a post-ideological world we’re all becoming Kaospilots. Most of the time they don’t know what to do till we tell them. As Uffe Elbæk has written:

“The old icebergs of state and corporation are dissolving into a fluid sea where action only becomes meaningful in concert with others. The waves of change demand interconnections, because we know all of us together are smarter than any one of us on our own. Today the world and our ability to shape it is literally in our hands. We can criticise, disrupt, collaborate and share at the touch of a few keys. Transparency and accountability rule. We rule; but only if politics changes too. For the new rules of this epochal shift go with the grain of a good society precisely because in a flattened world, we talk and participate as equals. That’s why the post-1945 social settlement could never hold, because it was built on well-meaning but hierarchical institutions.”

Uffe Elbæk is a Danish MP, initiator of the green party, the Alternative, and former culture minister. He founded the school for innovative leadership,  Kaospiloterne, (KaosPilots) in 1991 and will be speaking at the next Nordic Horizons (5 March). Book here.

4) Conviction politics is back. “Hope over fear” actually makes sense.

As George Monbiot wrote today:

“Perhaps there was a time when this counsel of despair made sense. No longer. The lamps are coming on all over Europe. As in South America, political shifts that seemed impossible a few years earlier are now shaking the continent. We knew that another world was possible. Now, it seems, another world is here: the sudden death of the neoliberal consensus. Any party that claims to belong to the left but does not grasp this is finished.

SyrizaPodemos, Sinn Féin, the SNP; now a bright light is shining in England too, as the Green party stokes the radical flame that Labour left to gutter. On Tuesday morning, its membership in England and Wales passed 50,000; a year ago it was fewer than 15,000.”

Change can happen. How do we know? We just saw it today. The infectious nature of our democratic revival is sealing south. That is a great thing but it shouldn’t be allowed to slow or dilute the nature of real change we know is needed here.