Nanas Tea Party

Continuing yesterday’s theme (Strong Women) the following Tuesday I made a rare visit to Buckingham Palace, not to see the Queen but to meet with the ‘Nanas from Nanashire‘ who are leading the campaign against fracking the the UK.

At their head is a remarkable woman, Tina Louise Rothery, who as well as leading protests against fracking sites has also stood as a Green Party candidate in elections in Tatton in 2015 (against George Osborne) and in June 2017 for Fylde. Unfortunately JUne 8th wasn’t a good day for the Green Party nationally, and though Fylde is a pretty safe Tory seat, there was a large swing to Labour which probably included many who would have preferred a Green candidate. But until we get a decent proportional representation system, British democracy remains something of a sham.

One of the Green Party’s two co-leaders, Jonathan Bartley came with the Nanas (I think Caroline Lucas was busy in Parliament) but it was very much an occasion for the women. Tina Louise is only one of a number of remarkable Nanas.

Unfortunately, the Queen hadn’t replied to the Nana’s invitation to have tea with them, and hadn’t had the courtesy to invite them in onto her lawns around the back of the palace – probably one of the few sites in the country not under threat from fracking, so they had to have their tea party around the rather hideous Victoria Monument in front of Buck Palace.

Protests are definitely not allowed there, but this, the Nanas assured the police was not a protest but a tea party, and certainly it is a place where many tourists settle down to snacks watching the rather boring building and the daily changing of the guard. The police agreed they could sit there, but told them that they mustn’t display banners or posters.

So we had tea and coffee and scones with strawberry jam and cream and I think some cake I didn’t photograph but ate. And the Nanas being who they are, they did ignore the police orders and held up their banners so they could be seen from the palace and then posed with them for photographers with the palace behind – until a police officer climbed slowly up the steps to tell them to put them away.

With the Nanas was one eco-warrior whose disguise as a Nana was less than convincing – and someone like several of the Nanas I know from various protests over climate and other issues over the years.

I was sorry when I had to leave the group around the monument – where they stayed for over 24 hours. But I had to catch a train and my ticket was only valid before what the rail company designates as the rush hour.

Shortly after I left a man arrived to try to serve to serve a court order on Tina Louise Rothery.  Fracking company Cuadrilla are trying to end protests against their drilling by  bullying her “for camping in a field, doing no damage and exercising a right to protest peacefully”.  As the only named defendant she was ordered to pay an excessive bill for deliberately ramped up legal charges by Cuadrilla after she failed to submit her defence against their injunction by a deadline in what the legal firm who later gave her advice called a legal process many professional lawyers would have struggled with.

After Tina Louise refused to give the court details of her financial circumstances in June she was charged with contempt of court, but when she returned to court 3 months after this protest with details showing she was unable to pay the fees, the contempt charge was purged, with the court apparently showing some annoyance at Cuadrilla for pursuing the case.

And considerable adverse publicity – partly because protests like this one resulted in widespread coverage of the case – were probably behind Cuadrilla’s decision not to further pursue their claim – though they muttered about possibly doing so if her financial circumstances change. I suppose if she were to win the lottery they might get their money, though I suspect she has the sense not to waste her money on a ticket.

Nanas call on Queen to stop Fracking


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