Saturday, December 9, 2023

If We Only Had a Heart: Petitions and Meetings and Protests. Oh My!

If We Only Had a Heart is a new occassional column which I  am introducing to enable people to mobilise and oppose cuts, austerity, rights abuses, excessive and inappropriate building, ecological damage, removal of green belt protections, fracking, sale of assets, and the entire pantheon of progress reversal which we are now fighting our own government to stop.

Here is what I know about what you can do to try to stand in the way of the Midas Men in their supermarket dash to grab as much as possible from the regular people and shovel it uphill to the rich; to impede the destruction, defunding and privatisation of the NHS; to protect the environment from lazy planners and poisoning polluters; and to be the heart our nation so keenly lacks in its governance.

Not all of the entries will be local, some are national, but all of them affect you, your families, and your home, as well as the strangers and neighbours who need our support.

I don’t know everything that is cracking off, so if you know of a protest, petition, meeting, or cause which could use feet on the ground and names in the list, please send them to me at, and they will go in the next If We Only Had a Heart column.

Fracking – Petition

When: Now
Petition title: “Hold an enquiry into the declining space for civil society to oppose the UK fracking industry.”
Where: 38 Degrees
Advertised wording; “The ability of communities to organise, provide critical voices and offer something more than symbolic opposition to the fracking industry is essential.

But there are increasingly severe outcomes and restrictions on protesters involved in protest actions against the fracking industry. These sentences are disproportionate to the acts that they have committed.

We should all be treated equally under the law, no matter what we’re protesting about. And the UK government needs to protect the right to protest, starting with commissioning the Joint Committee on Human Rights to conduct a thematic inquiry into the declining space for civil society to effectively oppose the fracking industry in the UK.

Why is this important?

On 26 September 2018, four protesters received lengthy custodial sentences for their part in blocking fracking trucks from entering Preston New Road site.

The civil space for local communities to protest against the shale oil and gas industry in the UK is becoming more and more restricted and this represents a growing threat to fundamental rights to freedom of expression and assembly. This is exemplified by:

– The granting of sweeping civil injunctions to private companies, giving them special legal treatment in the face of widespread public protests.

– Central government proposals to bypass local councils by making exploratory drilling a ‘permitted development’ – removing the need for planning permission and for local communities to raise their objections through their local representative body.”


People’s Assembly Against Austerity March

Reason: Opposition of Austerity
Meeting: None – Day before Conservative Party Conference
Location: Victoria Square, Birmingham
Date: Saturday 29th September
Time: from 11:00-15:00
Advertised wording:
“Join us ahead of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham as we march to call time on failed austerity, and demand a new deal that will give us all the rise in living standards we so desperately need.

We’ll demand:

  • A £10 an hour minimum wage
  • Ban zero hour contracts
  • Properly fund our NHS and Public Services
  • End privatisation & bring public services back into public control
  • Retract the trade union act
  • Stop tax avoidance”

Facebook Event Page
People’s Assembly Information Page

NHS – Protest and Meeting

Reason: NHS Funding Cuts in Derbyshire
Meeting: Derbyshire County Council Health Scrutiny Committee

Location: County Hall, Matlock, DE4 3AG
Date: Monday 1st October
Time of Protest: 1.30pm
Time of Meeting: 2pm
Advertised wording:
“Further questioning of Dr. Chris Clayton over NHS funding cuts in Derbyshire, especially how it affects voluntary organisations. A decision will be taken at this meeting on whether to refer Council concerns to the Secretary of State for Health. Come along to protest outside the meeting at 1.30pm then join the meeting at 2pm, which is open to the public. Please email Cllr David Taylor (Chair of DCC Health Scrutiny Committee) and tell him you, as a  resident, are concerned about the cuts.”
Mental Health Care Crisis – Meeting

Reason: Crisis in Mental Health Care
Meeting: Derbyshire Mental Health Crisis Public Meeting
Location: St. Peter’s Church Conference Centre, Derby, DE1 1NN
Date: Wednesday 3rd October
Time of Meeting: 7pm
Advertised wording: “This meeting is organised by the Derby Unite Community branch in partnership with 38 Degrees, and SOS NHS Derbyshire. Speakers include the Derbyshire Police commissioner (Hardyal Dhindsa), representatives from Derbyshire Psychotherapy (Talking Therapy) Service unit, Mental Health Together and the Padley centre.
If you can come, please let us know by clicking on this 38 Degrees link. It helps us enormously if we know who is coming and how to keep you ‘in the loop’.”

Clare Washbrook

Current Editor-in-Chief News and magazine editor since 1995 Post-grads: Literature; Theatre; Journalism, Ethics & Law Community Affiliations: Belper Goes Green, Belper's WW1 Poppies, Amber Valley Solidarity No political party memberships/affiliations.

Leave a Reply

GDPR, Your Data and Us:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.