Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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Powerful Institutions & Total Contempt

Mick Hall @ Organized Rage writes that:

Today powerful institutions, whether Central Government or Multinational Corporations, treat local people with absolute contempt

Tucked away in my corner of the River Thames rim, I recently came up against two prime examples of how powerful institutions, whether government or corporations treat local people with absolute contempt. Both examples show when it comes to planning law and infrastructure development, local people's objections are with monotonous regularity steam rolled aside.

Last year Organized Rage carried a piece about the multinational Procter and Gamble which has its headquarters in far off Cincinnati, Ohio, after they announced there were building an unproven Biomass Gasifier power plant at Fiddlers Reach, Thurrock, which happens to be just at the end of my road.

According to Biofuel Watch this would not be a conventional power plant but a gasifier. A biomass gasifier exposes wood to high temperatures with limited oxygen, which produces a gas and that gas is then burned.

Local people mounted a campaign to stop what is an unproven and risky technology:

Biomass gasification for electricity production remains an unproven, experimental technology. So far, Nexterra has built three such gasifiers worldwide, all of them in North America: One of them was closed after a ‘potentially lethal’ explosion, another one failed soon after it opened and the third does not appear to have started working successfully. Although there are risks of fires and explosions associated with storing and handling large quantities of wood-chips for any power plant, there are special fire and explosion risks associated with gasifiers.

To make matters worse the plant proposed by P&G at Fiddlers Reach is to burn chemically treated waste-­wood which would result in many different toxins being emitted into what is already a highly toxic atmosphere. This area already suffers from above average levels of the toxic No2, emitted from the congested traffic passing through the Dartford crossing which is situated nearby.

While Thurrock council officers recommended the application be approved, when it was put to councillors it was turned down, not least because they understood the depth of hostility to it from local people who would have to live alongside it. One would have thought P&G, along with partners Balfour Beatty and Nexterra would have accepted the will of the people and their local representatives but no. They now intend to side step planning laws and appeal directly to the Secretary of State over a proposal.

Never mind campaigners successfully argued the plant would have detrimental effects on the health of those who live in the area, as well being an eyesore, and would increase traffic on an already busy road. As far as these corporate louts are concerned, the will of the people means diddly squat when you have pliable politicians within the Tory government like Thurrock's Conservative MP Jackie Doyle Price.

The words of P&G PR man are very revealing, when asked for a statement by the local paper:

We strongly believe in making our operations as sustainable as possible. If successful, the appeal for a renewable energy plant will help us to protect the environment we operate in.

Never mind the toxic environment the local people will have to live in if this Biomass Gasifier power plant is built, all P&G are interested in is the financial environment.

Given P&G is a major contributor to Super Pacs in the US which have enabled big business to all but buy US politicians. It will be interesting to find out if they're one of the many overseas corporations who have contributed to the Tory Party coffers and selected Tory MP's.

New Thames Crossing

Earlier this month I wrote by building the new Thames crossing in Thurrock the Tory government have decided the health of the borough's children is expendable. This followed a decision by the Tory Government to situate the new crossing east of the soon to be demolished Tilbury power station.

They also announced what most local people regard as a sham consultation about the route of the new highway. Whatever option is chosen it will destroy much of the borough's last green spaces, and fenland. Understandably, people are furious about the siting of the crossing in Thurrock when the borough already has two Thames crossing tunnels, the Queen Elizabeth Bridge and a Eurostar tunnel.

In the same week as the new crossing was announced by the government, the Port of Tilbury CEO announced it would be building a new dock on the Tilbury power station site. "The 152-acre site provides the equivalent of a 25% expansion of the port and includes a deepwater jetty with potential for other berthing," said Charles Hammond, chief executive of Forth Ports.

If anyone believes this announcement is not connected to the government's decision to situate the new crossing alongside the power station site, they must live in cloud cuckoo land. Hammond said the cost of construction would be around £100m, how much the taxpayer would be contributing he did not say.

By the way in 2011 Forth Ports was bought for $1.22 billion by Arcus European Infrastructure Fund a private equity hedge fund. It's based in that thieves kitchen known as the City of London. Whether it pays its fair share of tax is anyone's guess as it's reluctant to say.

What both of the above show's in today's world government and corporate interest rides roughshod over the will of local people. If today's ruling elite make a decision they will get it implemented by fair means or foul having placed their people within the heart of government. The British system of government is corrupt to the core. When senior politicians leave office they effortlessly slip into million pound no show jobs within the very multi national corporations they were dealing with whilst in office.

Between Westminster and the city of London there is a revolving door. Britain has it's very own Augean stables which are deep in filth and corruption. The EU referendum is little more than a sham, as whether we vote to stay in or out, the same people will remain in control. Only a changing of the guard will bring about sustainable change, Power and wealth is in the hands of a tiny percentage of the population, we need a democratic revolution from the ground up, which will place in power folk who come from homes like ours, act like us, talk like us and have our values. Let the struggle begin.

Unlike this bunch of silver spoon freeloaders.

More photos and who they are here