After a week in which fracking became a political football in the post-indyref constitutional fallout, Friends of the Earth Scotland have stepped out of the politics to ask people to email their MSP demanding that Holyrood use its existing, sufficient, powers to ban fracking in Scotland outright. You can participate here.
I know I have a rainbow readership of nationalists and internationalists, devolutionists, independents and British-constitution-revivers, environmentalists and business people; but I can think of few of you who would disagree on this issue, for the reasons I allude to below. There are few of you who would fail to join the opposition to fracking for any reason other than a apathetic sense that it probably wouldn't work.
If you all think that, it won't. But you won't, because that's not how people are thinking any more.
The Friends of the Earth Scotland action page automatically addresses your email to your MSPs when you put in your postcode; but I decided their draft text read a bit like those intercessions we have at church which explain the issues to God as if he didn't know, so I wrote my own, with a bit more stirring rhetoric. Feel free to pinch any of it.
Dear Jim Eadie/ Neil Findlay/ Cameron Buchanan/ Sarah Boyack/ Alison Johnstone/ Kezia Dugdale/ Gavin Brown,
You are well aware of the complex issues surrounding shale gas extraction: of the imperative need to eliminate climate-changing carbon emissions from all kinds of fossil fuel, of the profound and unclear local environmental impact of this new technology, of the potential for an easy solution to badly pressing financial and energy supply problems, of the extent to which fracking has become a political football in UK constitutional debates, and of the overwhelming public opposition to fracking.
I cannot urge you strongly enough to set aside the pressures from all sides and to do what I'm sure you, like the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland, know what is right: to use the powers Holyrood already has to ban this destructive, short-term, cynical practice outright. There are other, better solutions to energy shortages and budget deficits, and I, for one, will do all I can to support realistic solutions to these real problems.
A ban on fracking will reflect well on the Scottish government, will cause Scotland to be celebrated around the world, and will have tremendous popularity amongst the Scottish people from across the political spectrum. I believe it will also be good for the Scottish economy in guaranteeing the integrity, literally, of the central belt, and in generating demand for creative renewable energy generation, which tends to create local jobs.
I look forward to your response, and to hearing of your participation in cross-party legislation that will ensure no-one in Scotland need ever be frightened of fracking again.