Do Ken Wilkinson and Lorraine Allanson have no shame?
In our last post we raised the issue of the courage and dignity that was manifestly lacking in the decision made by Lorraine Allanson and Ken Wilkinson to renege on a promise to take part in a debate on fracking in Harrogate.
There is no doubt about the reason they gave (although we believe it has more to do with Ken Wilkinson having been exposed as a vindictive if ineffectual serial complainer who tried to ruin an anti-fracking engineer’s career. )
It was published on the Friends of Ryedale Gas Facebook page yesterday and stated :
On the 6th of October Ken Wilkinson and Lorraine Allanson were booked to address the Harrogate Debate group. Unfortunately they both decided to cancel. They have released this statement (the spelling and grammar errors are left as is) :
” We were initially booked to be involved in the debate at Harrogate and the organisers led us to believe it would be a genuine debate about fracking in front of their core supporters which we would have expected to have open minds.
Once Ian R Crane was brought in to oppose us we were disapointed and surprised that no one more credible could be found. The open selling of the tickets would also ensure that the audience would no longer be open minded.
We do not wish to share a stage with someone with such ‘perverse views’ about 9/11 out of respect for those who died.
We wanted a ‘real debate’, but all they could put up was a 9/11 denier who thought a secrect world government was manipulating North Yorks local council into the genocide of 90% of Yorkshires population. This sadly shows what extremists they really are and we are extremely disappointed with Friends of the Earth for being willing to share the stage with him.
Apart from being rather ludicrous as a rationale for wimping out, it makes no sense whatsoever given that once their cowardice was exposed in public they immediately changed their minds, realising what a PR fail their behaviour was.
The debate is now back on.
So how did they explain their spectacular volte-face? Well if the organisers are to be believed it was because they were scared for their own safety – presumably because of the nasty anti-frackers.
Here is what the debate website says today:
Harrogate Debate is pleased to confirm that the debate on fracking on 6 October 2016 at 7pm in the Wesley Chapel is now back on. Some of the speakers had concerns about security. These concerns have been alleviated. Harrogate Debate is liaising with the police who will be present at the debate.
It would seem that they are saying that the organisers are suggesting that Lorraine and Ken are so scared of Ian Crane that they felt they needed police protection. Here’s a thing though Ken and Lorraine. No policeman in the world could safeguard your arguments, or protect you from making fools of yourself. An open audience won’t cheer Lorraine for standing up and mouthing PR platitudes like she can expect to happen at the upcoming shale gas conference, and an open audience won’t blithely accept Ken’s protestations that the scientific debate on fracking is over and that all of the regulations needed are in place.
However, the implication being presented by the organisers that they pulled out because they had fears for their own safety is quite demeaning – to them. I have seen police attending many many events, where their presence was clearly a massive overkill – most notably the inquiry at BFC. Although I have personally witnessed police observing and recording peaceful and happy anti-fracking gatherings and meetings I have never ever seen any need for them to do so. The only conflicts I am aware of have happened at on-site protests where it would appear tensions have been running high on both sides. To suggest that a debate just down the road from Betty’s tea rooms requires police to protect people’s security is as nutty as Lorraine and Ken put together.
They really do need to do better – it will surely be a horrible feeling for both of them to have to stand up in front of a room full of people who already know they are cowardly dissemblers before they even start talking.
Even one of their own supporters claimed after they initially fled from the debate that :
Ken W is too smart to be caught in a no-win “debate” like that
which rather ignored the fact that he clearly wasn’t too smart, as he was already involved , and it would appear he isn’t too smart as he is still caught in it.
I do agree that it will be a “no-win debate” for them. I really can’t wait to hear the result.
Post Script: Writing on the FORGEY face book page Ken seems oblivious to the fact that we all saw the first reason given for chickening out of the debate and posted this:
Of course in answer to his second question, I wonder if he has considered that “the anti lot” know how little respect and credibility he and Lorraine have, and have deployed their resources accordingly.
If it were my debate I wouldn’t have arranged this conspiracy theorist upon conspiracy theorist death match (Crane v Wilkinson).
I would have put Mike Hill up against Ineos or Cuadrilla (although we all know of course that the fracking companies would never agree to that, so we get left with this amusing little sideshow.)