As I write this Caroline Lucas MP is being detained in the back of a police van and likely making her way to a charge desk for her part in the anti-fracking protests in the sleepy English village of Balcombe. If you’re in any doubt as to the pros and cons of fracking, this piece by the Northern Irish green researcher Ross Brown should set you straight

Caroline will be the first MP arrested this year for reasons other than fraud, sexual assault and perjury. This alone is a feat to be applauded. What will be interesting is how the rest of the Commons reacts to one of their own being detained when they have previously shuffled uncomfortably in their shoes and looked the other way.

Caroline Lucas is no George Galloway, and bundling one of Britain’s more popular MPs into the back of a police van is unlikely to make the government’s support for fracking any less dubious than it already is.

The reason that Caroline was the only MP at the protest is that she is, at present, the only English Green MP. That may well change at the next election if people suddenly find gas wells popping up at the ends of their gardens and draw a blank when writing to their local parliamentarian. Rather shamefully, every single other English party has refused to properly assess the risks of the technology. The Lib Dems and Conservatives are all on board because their energy policy is such a woefully inept compromise of ill-informed dogma and private interest, and Labour have offered some typically non-committal assurances that they will look at the impact of fracking once it is underway. They tried the same with PFI ventures and we all know how that ended.

So it has been left to Westminster’s solitary Green to stand up for what any right-thinking MP should be and protect the energy bills, water supplies and integrity of the English public’s landscape.

How and where fracking might happen in Scotland is less clear cut. The Scottish Government currently exercises control over planning but not over energy. What’s more, the Scotland Act means that the Westminster government could feasibly overrule Holyrood if push came to shove. This might sound unlikely, but the dash for gas is so great that speculators will be looking longingly north. As we all know, there is pretty much nobody in Scotland to complain anyway. It was at least easier in the old days when you could just force people off of their land if you fancied using the natural resources.

Neither should we rely on the benevolence of the SNP in safeguarding Scotland’s communities and natural resources. As Trumpgate has shown, the modern-day SNP behemoth is no more a friend of the small man than Labour or the Conservatives when money is being waved about. The biggest challenge will be to appeal to Alex Salmond’s past as an oil economist – hopefully even black-eyed Alex will see that the sums don’t quite add up.

If the SNP or, in the future, Scottish Labour decide that fracking is a good idea they’ll be met with all sorts of opposition from Greens and non-Greens alike. As the German Green Party have shown in Stuttgart and elsewhere, riding roughshod over the rights of communities and public opinion does not make those pesky environmentalists go away. It instead leads to them having a workable majority in the local state parliament. MPs and MSPs all across the central belt would be wise to do a bit of research before they do as much as invite Dart Energy and the rest of Scotland’s fossil lobby around for a cup of tea and a slice of Dundee cake.

Caroline Lucas’ arrest is a sign of the seriousness with which we should be taking Britain’s worrying energy politics, but also a concrete illustration of the commitment which Greens across the board have to doing as much as talking. You can pass as many climate change acts as you like, but when push comes to shove there is apparently only one group of parties in the British Isles and across Europe that has the courage to stand up and be counted. Hopefully there’ll soon be a lot more of them to count.

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