Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Does FOE attack signal move towards authoritarianim in the UK?

Freedom of activity and expression for green causes is under attack in the UK. That's the message we get from the various laws being enacted about what NGOs can or cannot do, and what organisations can or cannot do if they are charities. The latest piece of right wing attack on our freedoms comes with the attempt by the fracking industry to curb opposition to its activities by mobilising the regulations on what charities can do. This was given a platform by the Times newspaper today. You can see some commentary at http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/governance/news/content/21264/friends_of_the_earth_criticises_times_after_front_page_attack
Since the 1980s the trade unions rights to strike have been curbed by a thousand cuts. Now the right wing are moving on to curb mere criticism by green groups. Bit by bit the laws are being strengthened to make it ever more difficult for people to express opposition to government policies if they offend commercial interests which the government favours. Fracking companies claim that Friends of the Earth and anti-fracking campaigners are 'lying'. Well, that is a matter of opinion, I think.
But some energy companies have been, er, a little wayward from the truth for years. How much was nuclear power supposed to cost? A lot more than was claimed! When would the nuclear power stations be built?  A lot sooner than was said! We don't expect regulations to emerge to clamp down on what such companies say in their press releases, but apparently excuses are to be found to stop NGOs arguing against government policies. Apparently in this new world of only-business-supported by government knows-the-truth other people's rights to give their version are being gradually curtailed.
The Government are failing miserably to support fracking through democratic means. People just don't like the idea. So they are resorting to clamping down on councils who object to fracking proposals. In future, it is suggested, Councils won't even get to take any decisions on them! See http://drillordrop.com/2016/02/01/reaction-to-leaked-government-letter-on-boosting-fracking-industry/
Of course we're not like Russia yet, and that's because we are evolving much more subtle means to curb opposition to the Government. But in the ultimate objective of silencing NGOs our Government and Vladimir have a lot in common! See http://www.wsj.com/articles/russias-putin-signs-new-law-against-undesirable-ngos-1432567550

1 comment:

  1. DARAInternational tell us that 400,000 people a year are being killed by climate change and that 340,000 of these are infants under the age of 1 year (killed by the increased spread of disease in our rapidly warming world). The Fracking industry would increase that number exponentially. That is why we need the Transformation agenda: - http://www.jonfuller.org.uk/