These are not happy times for James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole, who has discovered that the Middle England he so loudly claims to represent is not at all in tune with his enthusiasm for shale gas to be extracted from beneath the earth by means of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. This has led to Del Boy having to face both ways on the issue of protesting.
Definitely not Fair and Balanced
On the one hand, when folks protest at proposals to install wind turbines anywhere near their houses – or just when the things might interrupt their vista – this is to be encouraged, especially in areas where Del Boy either lives or frequents when on holiday. He is even prepared to risk ridicule by association with such figures of fun as Donald “king of the combover” Trump.
So the right to protest is A Good Thing. Or maybe not, when those pesky middle classes in the East Sussex village of Balcombe – it’s just inland from Brighton – take exception to Cuadrilla fetching up and proposing to frack in the vicinity. At this point, that right to protest becomes signally suspect, and Del Boy has detected the presence of rotten lefties behind the scenes.
“The green lobby is trying to spin the protests at Balcombe in East Sussex as Middle England in revolt against fracking” he observes, before whining “some of the protestors were seen sitting in comfy middle-class-style camping chairs and drinking tea out of actual china cups”. Yes Dellers, this is because it’s an authentic middle class protest, just like the ones against wind power that you so love.
But, instead of realising and accepting that many of the protestors are inherently small-c conservatives who are worried about what fracking might do to their environment, he goes completely gaga: this is “part of a well-orchestrated campaign by the usual suspects of the green-stained hard left to close down Western industrial civilisation by whatever means they can”. Wibble.
As Del Boy’s colleague at the Maily Telegraph, Geoffrey Lean, has pointed out, the shires are protesting about a whole host of issues right now: if it isn’t wind turbines, fracking and HS2, it’s road-building and attempts to slip the odd 95,000 houses on to the Green Belt without anyone noticing. Politicians and their cheerleaders should stop sneering and listen – that’s their job.
As J K Galbraith put it, the common characteristic of all great leaders “was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time”. Right now, that major anxiety is not playing yah-boo over party funding, pretending the EU is an alien spaceship coming to get you, or that legitimate protest is something to allow at the whim of self-appointed loudmouths.
Your world and reality are not the same thing, Delingpole. Time to wake up.