If one thing emerged from last night’s farcical debate on fracking at Ryedale District Council its this: some counsellors are listening to and are voting in the interests of their constituents. Therefore, its absolutely vital we now all make our views known on fracking in general and KM8 in particular to councillors (and MPs) at all levels in the next five days.

Ryedale may have voted (or not, as the case may be) for a five year moratorium on fracking but that has not put an end to Ryedale’s first frack well in Kirkby Misperton (KM8). The application will still be considered by North Yorkshire County Council, which will give little if any weight to the moratorium vote. The only thing that will stop KM8 is the voice of the people, so its really important (especially as some in positions of power are now listening) that as many of us as are able make our voice known by submitting objections. We all know what happens when good men and women do nothing.

All the information you need to do this is on the Frack Free Ryedale website at http://frackfreeryedale.org/km8/. The deadline is this coming Wednesday, 14th October.

Last night’s council meeting would have been funny if it was not so sad. If this is local democracy in action than God help us all. As an exercise in obfuscation, backsliding and cowardice it would be difficult to beat. The disgraceful answer by the Chair to a question from a member of the public on air pollution in Malton just showed how little interest the Council has in the welfare of residents. Instead of standing up and talking from the heart about the risk to the health of Malton’s children and the elderly in particular, the Chair simply hid behind two pages of pre-prepared legalese which provided absolutely no comfort to the querent. For Malton residents it won’t be death by air pollution, it will be death by bureaucracy.

Given this backdrop, its important to salute those few councillors and spectators who had the courage to stand up and argue their cases (both for and against fracking) from the heart and with their constituents and the District in mind.

As for the anti fracking lobby, they really need to get their act together. A strategy of fighting for a frack free policy as well as fighting fracking applications on a case by case basis makes sense, and if they are going to go down that route then it needs to be done professionally and with professional help. None of that was evident yesterday. Instead an important attempt to introduce a policy on fracking in the District was amateurish, incompetent and of questionable success. It was led by a councillor with minimal presentation skills who made little attempt to win the argument and instead dominated the meeting in a way that did nothing except antagonise everyone else. It was actually a real surprise when the vote came in in favour of a moratorium.

The power of ordinary people to take control of their lives is rising by the day, helped not least by the power of the internet to publicise causes and build communities. Communities with a cause are well on the way to making conventional politics redundant. If we deploy the power of the pen today, we may not have to resort to having to use the power of boots on the ground tomorrow.