The common bond between all the towns and villages under threat of fracking in England is their powerful sense of identity and community through the campaigns. Fracking is an imposition, an invasion by big government and corporate power. To represent this common bond, the threatened communities have banded together to produce a Commonweal wheel. It’s inspired by Parliamentary ideas from the Civil War period that power should be invested as close to the people as possible to manage the environment suitably for their sustenance, overriding the interests of the crown and royal decree.
Westminster is failing to represent the will of the people, with government polling showing that support for fracking has reached an all-time low of just 13%. The government overruled Lancashire County Council’s decision not to allow fracking and is sending police from all over the UK at the tax payer’s expense to force this industry onto a hostile public. The additional costs (overtime and paying for outside assistance) to Lancashire police is £3.1m, but a FoI answer I received from Lancashire Police indicates that the full cost is likely to be over £8m.
The wheel’s creator, Tom Cousins, traveled around all the country’s anti-fracking campaigns, with eight of them contributing a spoke for the wheel. This wheel is a representation of the old idea of the commonweal and he wanted to present it to the ancient institution it forged – Westminster, to remind MPs and Lords of the institutions’ original purpose. The wheel is not a traditional representational device of the commonweal, but if all the spokes hold their position and stay of equal lengths then society can effectively roll.