Revealed: Fracking industry bosses at heart of coalition

It would be no surprise to anyone with an IQ of 1 or above that the Tories are embroiled in another conflict of interest, this time it’s fracking, only last week it was cigarette packaging. We are told it is safe but by the very businesses who will make profit from this.

Our politicians and peers know exactly what they are doing. Our politicians are simply service managers for the banks and corporations who now rule the world. We have been properly shafted. We weren’t given a choice, no-one ever put it in any party manifesto, we didn’t voted for it but we got it all the same. The bankrupt ideology of neo-liberalism and crony capitalism, with its dogma of economic liberalization, free trade, privatization and deregulation doesn’t work. Its mantra that all human activity is a market from which a profit can be made.

The ruling elite now own our land, gas, electricity, railways, water and media. They have corrupted our politicians and our police. They are now coming for our pensions, our NHS, our roads, our schools, our Post Office and our green spaces. They have systematically destroyed the unions, dismantled our protections, created mass unemployment and are dismembering the welfare state. They caused an economic crash, bankrupted our economy and have gotten away with it.

And what do we get in return? Austerity, recessions, huge debts and deficits. A government conducting a systematic assault upon the sick, the poor and the disabled while slashing welfare budgets and forcing people off benefits. Half a million of us Brits now use food banks. They make it easier to sack us, make us work longer hours for less pay, force our kids to work for nothing, raise the retirement age whilst cutting our pensions and weaken our health and safety laws. All so a handful of people can be immensely rich at the cost of everyone else. Frankly, it’s sickening and something has to change. If not, we are leaving our children with a future not worth living. The system has to change but only by shining a light on the current corrupt financial system and the people behind it can we move to a new, more equitable system.

Courtesy of the Independent:

The coalition may be promoting the controversial practice of fracking for gas because senior figures from that industry sit in the heart of Government, campaigners have warned.

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The former BP boss Lord Browne, Centrica chief executive Sam Laidlaw and BG Group director Baroness Hogg have all been accused of the potential for conflicts of interest, as they hold senior advisory roles at a time when the Government is heavily promoting fracking. This involves fracturing tightly packed shale rock with a high-pressure water and chemical mixture to release oil and gas.

Cuadrilla, which is chaired by Lord Browne, is searching for shale gas in Lancashire, but suspended operations there in 2011 after its drilling was found to be the likely cause of tremors in Blackpool.

The Government has signed up to the potential of shale gas after it transformed energy policy in the United States, despite severe criticism from environmentalists.

Last month, George Osborne spoke of “tax and planning changes which will put Britain at the forefront of exploiting shale gas”. A recent report by the British Geological Survey found that the UK could have trillions of cubic feet of the gas in the North-west alone, but critics argue that it would be difficult to extract from deep beneath the ground even with modern drilling techniques.

Anti-fracking campaigners and industry insiders are concerned that major energy-sector figures have roles that gives them access to ministers in Whitehall. Among those said to be worried is a top executive at EDF, who believes that the Government’s new-found commitment to shale has ended up hurting the French group’s negotiations over building a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

There are more than 60 “non-executives” (Neds) who sit across Whitehall departments, largely drawn from Britain’s most impressive corporate talent. Their job is to help ministries be run in a more business-like manner, and Lord Browne is the overall lead for this group.

Lord Browne sits within the Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude’s constituency includes Balcombe in West Sussex, another area where Cuadrilla is drilling. On his website, Mr Maude acknowledges that fracking “understandably rang alarm bells” after the tremors in Lancashire, but argues that “shale gas could help significantly by contributing both to improving our security and independence and to keeping prices down”.

Mr Laidlaw has been the lead non-executive at the Department for Transport. Centrica, which owns British Gas, recently bought a one-quarter stake in Cuadrilla’s most promising licence, which is the one in Lancashire.

Baroness Hogg sits in the Treasury, but she is also a non-executive director at BG Group, which has extensive shale gas interests in the US. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by any of these advisers.

Elsie Walker, a campaigner with the anti-fracking group Frack Off, said it is easy to argue that there is a “line blurred between the shale-gas lobby and Government”. She added that the Government is “littered” with people who have current or recent ties to the fracking industry.

Ms Walker argued: “It doesn’t take a genius or a cynic to realise that those who stand to make a serious amount of money from the success of a particular industry should be nowhere near those who will be making decisions that will influence the future health of that industry.”

A Government spokesman said: “All non-executive directors declare their interests to their departments to ensure there is no conflict of interest, and departments will make the necessary arrangements to manage any potential conflicts in the normal way. None of the Neds named sit on the board of the Department of Energy and Climate Change and therefore there is no conflict of interest.”

Conflicts of interest?

Lord Browne

The former BP boss is chairman of Cuadrilla, which is exploring for shale gas in Lancashire and West Sussex. He is lead “non-executive” across Government, meaning that he helps recruit other non-executives to Whitehall.

Baroness Hogg

The non-executive for the Treasury sits on the board of BG Group, which has significant shale gas assets in the United States.

Sam Laidlaw

The non-executive to the Transport Department is also chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica, which recently bought a 25 per cent stake in Cuadrilla’s most promising shale gas prospect.

Ben Moxham

A former executive at BP when Lord Browne was at the helm, he followed the peer to Riverstone Holdings, which owns 42 per cent of Cuadrilla. Moxham was energy adviser at No 10 but quit in May.

Lord Howell

George Osborne’s father-in-law is also president of the British Institute of Economics, whose backers include BP and BG Group.

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One thought on “Revealed: Fracking industry bosses at heart of coalition

  1. Pingback: UK defeats European bid for fracking regulations | SyesWorldView

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