Open letter to Rt Hon John Bercow MP

With Piers Corbyn

With Piers Corbyn

Dear Rt Hon John Bercow MP,

Climate Meeting: House of Commons: Nov 5th

On Wednesday November 5th I travelled from Brussels to London, where I had been invited to speak at a meeting on climate and energy issues which was scheduled to take place in the House of Commons in Meeting Room Nine.  The Room had been booked by Mr. Sammy Wilson MP.  Press releases had been issued, as well as 45 formal invitations, though attendance was expected to be close to double that figure.

On arrival, I was advised that the relevant parliamentary office had peremptorily cancelled the booking the previous day, despite the prior arrangements and advance publicity.  The organisers managed to find a new venue at the John Harvard Library in Southwark, but naturally it was difficult to ensure that all attendees were advised.

To add injury to insult, visitors arriving at the House of Commons and enquiring for the meeting were variously told that “it had been cancelled”, or that staff knew nothing about it.  As a result, the meeting in Southwark was poorly attended.

Attendees included distinguished figures from the climate debate, including Piers Corbyn of Weather Action (the brother of your member Jeremy Corbyn MP), Professor Peter Gill of the Institute of Physics, and blogger Derek Tipp – as well, of course, as myself, the Energy Spokesman for a major political party.

It seems to me that this action by your administration was reprehensible, and reflects very poorly on your House.  I have never before had occasion to compare the House of Commons unfavourably with the European parliament, but I cannot believe that such a peremptory cancellation would have taken place in Brussels.

This was a deliberate attempt to frustrate public debate on a major political issue, and it was a calculated snub to the Party which won the European elections in May this year, and which is now represented in your House.

I should be grateful for your explanation of these circumstances, and I believe that a formal public apology would be in order.

Yours faithfully.

Roger Helmer

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57 Responses to Open letter to Rt Hon John Bercow MP

  1. Brin Jenkins says:

    This behavior is more like petulant school children, holding differing views they would stifle rather than engage in the debate.

    We expect better of those elected to leadership, what went wrong with the Conservative party we once had, and I belonged too?

  2. tapestry says:

    I would love to support you Roger as Energy Spokesman for a major political party. Yet you are stating in your energy spiel, that there is no example from anywhere in the world of gas drilling/fracking contaminating an aquifer. That is so plainly not true. What’s the point in having any political party, major, minor or otherwise, when such blatant nonsense is trotted out. You really need to do some serious digging of your own, and not take your narrative from energy companies keen to decimate Britain’s water as they already have the US’ and Australia’s.

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      I’m sure Roger can survive without your blessings. Facts rather than guidance by your bowels might further the debate.

    • Jane Davies says:

      This is a subject I have commented on many times on Roger’s blogs. We have a case here in BC (Canada) at the moment about the chemicals used in fracking contaminating a well used for drinking water in an outlying community and there are many such cases not only here but also in the USA. It is a subject that I disagree with Roger on, who for some reason dismisses these cases as not being relevant.

      • Brin Jenkins says:

        Hi Jane, My friend’s son is horizontal drilling and fracking in Australia for a Chinese company. I understand that there is little disturbance or problems in his operation. I take his opinion seriously that done correctly there are few problems. He has been involved for about 12 years.

        Here in the UK Dorset has been fracking for years, with no known problems. Some coal areas suffered from subsidence, but to have banned coal mining would have kept us in the mediaeval ages.

        Water table contamination is a serious matter however, does it clear up in a short time perhaps. Here in Cornwall when tin mines were closed we saw some toxic leaching, but 30 years on there is no sign. Whilst the mines operated it seemed clear, it was the flooding after the pumps were turned off. Most folk here would love to see the mines re-open for the employment, and put up with some mess which nature always corrects in time. I live within the old mining areas and since the 1960’s the old spoil tips are growing trees and grass. I drink water from my own bore hole, its high in iron with traces of some heavy metals, a one micron carbon filter removes all nasties leaving a good water for both tea and whisky.

      • tapestry says:

        1 micron filters do not remove all toxic metals, and certainly don’t remove chemical pollutants or methane contamination. Enjoy the whiskey and tea while your brain clogs up or worse. Fracking is very different in its effects on the aquifer to mining, which doesn’t fracture the rock between the coal seam and the aquifer. It’s not surprising someone working in fracking has to convince themselves they’re not an environmental criminal.

      • Brin Jenkins says:

        There are two primary varieties of carbon filters. Carbon block filters use a densely packed piece of activated charcoal to attract heavy metals out of the water. Granular-activated carbon filters use sand-sized carbon granules that have more overall surface area than a carbon block. Carbon filters are highly effective at removing metals due to the high surface area of the charcoal portions of the filter, and the carbon molecules themselves, which have a large molecular structure with which to contain free-floating metals.

        Read more :

      • tapestry says:

        I use half micron filters as described. They take out more heavy metals than 1 micron, although 1 micron’s not bad. You don’t take out chemical pollution, which with fracking is the key issue.

      • Brin Jenkins says:

        Carbon is such a lovely material, not the vile pollutant claimed by many greenies.

      • tapestry says:

        So poisoned water is fine as long as it’s passed through a carbon filter. Will you agree to drink a pint of water a day polluted with methane gas after it’s passed through your filter, Brin? You won’t live long.

      • Brin Jenkins says:

        You know, I don’t recall saying that? But then I’ve lived for 78 years so I must have got something right.

        You hardly make a point just harping on that you know best! Convince us with proven cases and statistics, not emotion.

      • Adam Gallon says:

        Methane’s a non-toxic gas, with low solubility in water.
        It’s what your farts are predominantly composed of.
        I’ll happily drink a pint of water a day that’s had methane bubbled through it.

      • tapestry says:

        Methane’s known as the ‘silent killer’, odourless, colourless and deadly. Canaries. Humphrey Davey. Etc. Millions of victims worldwide. The gas in your kitchen is methane with a stenching agent. The fastest way to end a life that’s available. Also a neuro-inhibitor, an endocrine-inhibitor and not a wise move to drink.

        I love the idea of ‘little’ earthquakes, and really responsible gas-drilling companies who are going to have a different result in Britain to the mayhem they’ve caused using the same equipment and techniques in the US, Australia, Canada and many others. Just a little bit of casing around the drill bits and all will be well. Bollocks!

      • Nial says:

        Jane, was that because of the fracking process or sloppy handling of the waste fracking water? Regulations on the storage of that waste are much tighter here in the UK than they are in the USA, I’m not sure about Canada, but accidental contamination of drinking water is unlikely. We also have many fewer deep wells for drinking water, most water is supplied from reservoirs etc.
        Having said that there is a small chance of it happening, so fracking needs to be properly regulated. We should also bear in mind _no_ form of energy generation is _completely_ environmentally clean, it’s a matter or weighing up the pros and cons.

      • Roger Helmer MEP says:

        Tapestry, You say “Fracking is very different in its effects on the aquifer to mining, which doesn’t fracture the rock between the coal seam and the aquifer”. But there is no example at all of fracking fracturing the rock between the oil or gas shales and the aquifer. Fracking is much deeper. Any cases of contamination (and there have been a few) have resulted from cracks or fractures in the shaft casing. The industry has responded with greatly improved materials, cement outside the casing, and so on. There will be small incidents with any energy extraction technology, but shale gas is much cleaner and safer than most. By the way, geothermal (which the Greens love — it’s “renewable”) also involves shafts, fracking, and liquid injected under pressure.

      • Jane Davies says:

        Nial, the contamination is from the toxic water used in fracking escaping and ending up in the water table. Millions of gallons are used and it’s impossible to contain it all. The risk of this happening is undeniable and anyone who say’s this can’t happen in the UK is being delusional.

      • Nial says:

        > Nial, the contamination is from the toxic water used in fracking
        > escaping and ending up in the water table.

        Yes, but as I asked above, was it from the fracking process or poor waste management at the surface? UK regulations force the water to be held in double skinned tanks etc. I’ve seen pictures of water pools in the states of single plastic sheet lined open colection ponds. The risk of contamination is _much_ less here.

        > Millions of gallons are used and it’s impossible to contain it all.

        Current on-shore oil and gas drilling operators use a lot of water and manage to contain it. 1 Million gallons is ~ 1.5 * olympic sized swimming pool’s worth of water, so a lot but not un-manageable.

        > The risk of this happening is undeniable and anyone who say’s this
        > can’t happen in the UK is being delusional.

        The small risk is undeniable but as I said above there has to be a balanced assessment of the worth of the energy extracted against the possible small amount of enviromental damage caused.

        As above, no power production method is completely clean (have you seen how much reinforcing steel and concrete goes into the base of a wind turbine?).

      • eddie coke says:

        Just to clarify, here’s a pdf of the MSDS for methane (“toxicity” is a misnomer; suffocation occurs due to lower oxygen-content in confined spaces, whether that be a head-in-an-oven or a canary in an enclosed mine. Explosive methane-oxygen mixtures ignite if sparked by, for example, switching on a light – hence the use of an odorant to warn people):

        Click to access methane.pdf

        Here’s the MSDS for a typical odorant – not certain, but seem to remember being taught that tert-butyl mercaptan was the one we use (and the odorant is far more toxic than the methane! But organosulfur compounds are detected by our noses at ppb levels, so only a miniscule amount used):

        Click to access 100000013356_SDS_JP_EN.PDF

        (I knew that PhD in organosulfur chemistry would finally come in useful for something, other than having the bus to myself on the way back from uni all those years ago!)

      • tapestry says:

        Methane kills only by suffocation? wrong. It’s an endocrine disruptor and a nerve disruptor and is highly toxic to all living things, responsible for the two great extinction events millions of years ago. Paid for science is no help to you here. If you wish to believe the output of such a report, you should go the whole way and offer to drink three pints of water polluted with pure methane a day for a week. Any offers please? Thought not.

        Re shale gas drilling not consuming the world’s water, what destroyed California’s and Texas’s water then? Clean for millions of years, the aquifers suddenly poisoned themselves?
        As for the disappearing Great Lakes, that’s evaporation is it? The Australian Great Artesian Basin’s depletion must be being caused by excessively thirsty sheep. I get it. Deny. Deny. Deny. Water is being destroyed by the gas-drilling industry, water the most precious resource known to man. Try some independent thought, please, and stop reading scripts provided by oil corporations that want to pay off politicians.

      • Roger Helmer MEP says:

        It’s easy to say “No water contamination is acceptable, ever. End of story”. But get real. Many industries have cause small incidents of water contamination — not least coal, where the run-off from slag heaps is an issue. I used to run a textile manufacturing business, and effluent from the dye-house was an issue. There’s disposal of spent oil from internal combustion engines. There have been small incidents with shale gas. If we were to ban every industry which has ever created a minor contamination incident, we could close down our economy.

    • Katie says:

      Never mind shale gas and contamination of water etc of which I am not convinced anyway. What about what is going on already with water being contaminated in Scotland in various locations through wind farm development? I note nobody is saying anything about this even though one of the people affected is going to sue SSE for this. The Green party (Patrick Harvey) in Scotland have completely ignored this fact as have all the usual loud mouthed yobs calling themselves Friends of the Earth and WWWF. All a bunch of hypocrites. The Scottish government is no better. They have also ignored the fact that many water samples in Scotland are being seriously contaminated by high concentrations of cancer causing chemicals. Give me fracking any day because at least it has the possibility of keeping businesses alive and real jobs going and will have some of the most strict legislation in the world governing its development unlike wind which seems to get away with anything. Another bonus is that shale gas will actually keep our lights on!

      • Jane Davies says:

        Contaminated water is contaminated water whatever the cause. Neither of the options you comment on is acceptable and favouring one over the other is a little strange. The bonus of poisoned water from fracking is that it’s keeping the lights on is not a good enough reason to risk being made very ill or dying in my opinion.

  3. omanuel says:

    The 2009 Climategate emails and five years of dishonest responses helped me decipher and complete a research assignment received in 1960 from a nuclear geo-chemist who secretly took possession of Japan’s atomic bomb plans [1] during unreported CHAOS & FEAR of nuclear annihilation in AUG – SEPT 1945 [2].

    Discover reality from inside a social matrix controlled by FEAR of reality.

    I believe that also explains the strange behavior you encountered.

    The survival of humanity now depends on our success in escaping the fear-based matrix of reality that frightened world leaders created sixty-nine years (2014 – 1945 = 69 yrs) ago to save the world from nuclear annihilation! [2]

    Nations were united in OCT 1945 to hide this reality [3] from the public from the public:

    1. BBC News, “Atomic plans returned to Japan,” News Front Page, World Edition (3 Aug 2002)

    2. “Aston’s Promise & Warning (1922); CHAOS and FEAR (Aug-Sept 1945)”.

    3. “Solar energy,” Advances in Astronomy (submitted 1 Sept 2014)

  4. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Never got that on the cr*p UK news did we……terrible !!

  5. Jane Davies says:

    This is just another example of the contempt that politicians have for the right of free speech. This right must be thwarted if the outcome had the remotest chance of having a negative affect on the current policy makers. To do it in this underhand way just shows the mental age of these people who need a lesson in behaving like grown ups. To not have the intelligence to foresee the fall out this action would generate is lamentable, these people are in power and we should be very afraid.

  6. Anne Palmer says:

    A little advice from someone a little older than you Sir, and because of that age thing, a little wiser as to what others have prepared for you. Be Prepared-and yes I was a Guide Captain for a number of years-served me well too-always be prepared for the nasty dirty tricks from those that do not like your success, and understand WHY they do such things. It is because YOU Sir, are winning the argument-you say the right things, and what is more-you are doing what my Generation fought for in World WAR Two-fighting for this Country’s FREEDOM FROM FOREIGN RULE. ‘They’ even PAY-plus expenses- for foreigners to make LAWS/Legislation/Directives that even THEY in that once Wonderful Houses of Parliament have to obey. Your really coudn’t make it up! They need to visit the Graves of all those that gave their lives for our freedom.

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      May I especially commend Thiepval on the Somme, the Lutyens memorial “for those to whom the fortunes of war denied a known and honoured resting place”. Awesome.

  7. catalanbrian says:

    “…….a major political party” I can only assume that you have a sharp sense of humour.

  8. Pingback: House of Commons Cancels Sceptics’ Climate Meeting | NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

  9. Anne Palmer says:

    Well, we truly did have one very famous clown in our family. Stragly. many paid money to go and see him too.

  10. Bill Esslemont says:

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for a reply from ‘the short(and short tempered) one’

    • omanuel says:

      False, consensus models of reality after WWII generated the illusion of a conflict between science and religion.

      Physical reality, as defined by precise measurements and observations, is in fact compatible with the historical spiritual understanding of the force of life:

      Click to access The_FORCE.pdf

  11. Richard111 says:

    Well said Anne Palmer. That war made me an orphan. I did nine years in the army, mostly in over seas service. From personal experience in my travels around Europe I have reached a low opinion of socialism. I find the so called EU is based entirely on socialist lines and I want nothing to do with it.

  12. DevonshireDozer says:

    I came here via a link from Bishop Hill’s excellent blog. As one of those who also travelled a long way at my own expense to attend the meeting (from South Devon), only to be told at the gate that the meeting had been cancelled, I am pleased to see that a formal protest has been lodged. It wasted a day of my time and cost me quite a bit of money.

    In former times I might have written to my MP to make the point, but I’ve given up bothering because of experience. Previously, responses have been some form of standard letter from the party HQ’s PR department, or something passed along from a Whitehall trougher, so it’s pointless.

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      Let me add my personal apology, Devonshire. It wasn’t actually my fault, but as the main speaker I feel kind of responsible for it.

  13. Mike Stallard says:

    This is, so it appears, the most reprehensible behaviour by the Speaker’s team. I look forward to hearing his reply.

    What is screamingly obvious (do you remember Parkinson’s Law?) is that the Parliament is getting past its sell-by date. A number of things point to this. First of all, there are the buildings which (Newsnight yesterday) are in shocking disrepair. Secondly there are the announcements made by the Prime Minister anywhere but in the House of Commons. Then there is the scandal of the House of Lords rapidly filling up with Count Arthur Strong and Pantomime characters like Baron Hardup. Then there is the Educational Outreach Project (cp the Anglican church now run almost entirely by Grannies). Then there is the lack of attendance. Power is quite obviously gone elsewhere.
    We all know that the EU Commission orders the Directives which pass seamlessly into statutory instruments and then become (once gold plated) English Law. Parliament is a place to debate trivia.

    • Jane Davies says:

      We all know why of course, the real decisions are made by the unelected trough feeders in Brussels. The buildings can then be turned in overpriced apartments for the meg rich to snap up because if the UK stays in the EU the British parliament will eventually be irrelevant anyway and will disappear and the likes of Cameron and all the other useless individuals who lead the other parties who insist on staying in the EU will be hung by their own petard. Turkeys voting for Christmas springs to mind!
      What would follow on the list of the irrelevant, the Royal family? Who needs a Queen when we have a bunch of bureaucrats in another country dictating how we live.

      The UK will be just a star on someone else’s flag.

  14. tapestry says:

    As for gas being clean, Roger, coal burns much cleaner than gas with modern carbon-capture techniques (half as much release as methane) applied at the moment of combustion, not post-combustion as practised currently in the UK, costing hundreds of millions wasted pounds. The carbon captured from coal can be converted to methanol by adding a hydrogen molecule and bingo road fuels as well as electricity and all the chemicals you need for industry are available in Britain, and real fuel independence would be ours. Coal could be hugely profitable, but the oil majors won’t permit the competition, so they’ve sold you on this gas-drilling nonsense, which you appear to still believe in. Such a pity as it will not only be another catastrophic waste of money (see crashing share prices of I-Gas etc). It will also destroy our nation’s water reserves. Nothing is more valuable than our water. That little bit of extra concrete casing around the drill bit won’t make a blind bit of difference. It’s hogwash. UKIP simply has to get up to speed on energy and soon.

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      Some have argued that the chemical components make coal far too valuable to burn. We must use what resources we have sensibly, and economically, that means all of them. Emotion can blind one to pragmatism.

    • Katie says:

      I’ve never heard such cods wallop.

    • Katie says:

      My last comments were meant for you tapestry!

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      Sorry, Tapestry, but as UKIP Energy Spokesman I can tell you we are well up to speed on energy. Shale gas is not a significant threat to our water, either in terms of aquifers or in terms of consumption. W agree about the benefits of coal, but we are opposed to CCS as it merely adds cost for no benefit. We’re keen to reduce real pollutants like SOx, NOx and particulates. But there’s no reason to capture CO2. Raised atmospheric CO2 promotes plant growth, biomass formation and crop yields. What’s not to like?

      • tapestry says:

        CCS is the current policy of the government costing hundreds of wasted millions. On that point we agree. The rest of the world captures carbon at the point of combustion, (not subsequent to it as we are wastefully doing in Britain) and then adds the carbon to hydrogen producing methanol at little extra cost to the production of the power, enabling road fuel independence as well as energy independence.

        That’s where coal wins out. South Africa’s been doing this for decades. China too. Carbon release is minimal, at half that from gas.

        The notion that fracking and gas-drilling aren’t a threat to the aquifers isn’t born out anywhere in the world. That’s why France and Germany have banned fracking, and China. California has lost its underground water as has Texas and many other States. The consumption of water by the millions of gallons to supply the drills is draining The Great Lakes. It’s emptying The Great Artesian Basin in Australia. Anybody would think that water is the target of the gas-drilling industry.

        In my opinion, anybody would be right. It is known that water is the next big business planned for the world. Why should we cooperate with the destruction of our water supplies? The radiation ends up in rivers making them unuseable. The Age of Aquarius seems to be starting with a determined push to destroy all the accessible water supplies of the world.

  15. Latimer Alder says:

    I, too, was one of those who arrived at the HoC to be turned away at the door of Meeting Room 9.

    The whole affair was a complete shambles, coasting time, money and aggravation to all concerned.

    Speaker Bercow and his staff have a lot of explaining to do.

  16. Richard111 says:

    Apologies Roger, a bit OT this; mentioned UKIP’s recent success to neighbours who are adamant they will not vote UKIP because of NHS changes touted by UKIP in the past. I mentioned that UKIP have changed their policy on the NHS and told them about last nights broadcast that confirmed it. Being retired pensioners they had not stayed up for the broadcast. Seems like the elder generation may not be getting the full message.

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      Thanks for this Richard. It’s tough clarifying the message, especially with Labour telling downright lies about our position. But we’re clear: the NHS remains free at the point of use, and we will firmly oppose any aspects of TTIP (the transatlantic trade deal under negotiation) that might jeopardise it.

      • Jane Davies says:

        Good to have that opinion confirmed Roger…..shout it from the roof tops and stop the lies.
        I hope to hear soon that UKIP will end the frozen pension scandal and increase the pittance of a state pension so that seniors can have a decent standard of living.

      • Brin Jenkins says:

        Here here Jane. A small point but a reference by some that it’s a benefit is wrong, we locals paid our National Insurance and Pension contributions for years. It is not, a non means tested benefit.

      • Jane Davies says:

        Yes Brin….the vile George Osborn is constantly referring to the state pension as a benefit in the hope that if it is heard enough times then it must be true. We have all paid for our state pension over a lifetime of contributions and it is not a ‘gift’ that we should be grateful to have and we should be thankful to have it, however small. The theft of annual increases that just 4% are victims of is an absolute disgrace. ALL have paid into the NI scheme under the same terms and conditions ALL are entitled to the same rights when it comes to the payment of said pension. This is an election issue but I’m hearing nothing about this scandal from any politician. There are many votes to be had for the party who not only pledges to end this but will also actually do something about it. Sorry a bit of a rant, but I’m so bloody angry at the blatant discrimination which affects this group of seniors.

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