The blame game

The pro-fracker’s latest PR stunt is to try to profit from the misfortune of a PR Marriott employee who has been made redundant by trying to lay the entire blame for this on Lancashire County Council (for having refused permission to Cuadrilla to sink exploration wells last July), and by extension onto those who oppose fracking.

The gentleman concerned, one Arthur Parson, wrote a heartfelt piece which began

“I’m Arthur Parson, a Lancashire resident that was lucky enough to get a well paying job with one of the main drilling contractors for Cuadrilla a few years ago, after several years of no work.

But here I am without a job again because, in the last two weeks, I’ve been made redundant.

My employer had been lined up to drill up to 8 new exploration wells on the Fylde. But then councillors refused planning permission for Cuadrilla’s proposed sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood, and everything changed.

The drilling firm that I was working for is an SME, and just couldn’t afford to carry my wages when the Cuadrilla work didn’t come off.

Sadly, I’m not the only one affected.

Another local lad, Neil Harrison, has also lost his job, along with 36 others.”

We are not sure about that “after several years of no work” as his LinkedIn profile shows that he was in fact employed by Leyland Trucks between 1999 and 2010, then set up his own plumbing business (Parson Plumbing and Property Repairs) for 1 year and 3 months, prior to joining Cuadrilla in November 2011. He actually joined “one of the main drilling contractors for Cuadrilla” not “a few years ago” but in October 2013 ( a bit less than 2 years ago), after having worked for Cuadrilla themselves for just under two years. Presumably the work with Cuadrilla came to an end after the problems they caused themselves at Anna’s Road in October 2013. That is hardly something that can be blamed on LCC is it?  So perhaps the “several years of no work” is just a bit of poetic licence .

Arthur Parsons - LinkedIn CV

Arthur Parsons – LinkedIn CV

But all that doesn’t really matter all that much does it? We have here a guy who has a family and is out of a job, and he is sore about it. Fair enough. But it seems that Mr Parson believes that the LCC decision is solely responsible for PR Marriott making 38 people redundant. I won’t suggest that he doesn’t genuinely believe that and I am sympathetic towards his plight as I too was made redundant in the early 90s with two young kids to support and no prospect of employment with an employer in the same industry in the middle of a recession when everyone was laying people off. I wish him well in his predicament, but it does need to be pointed out that he and his colleagues don’t actually have a right to a job doing something that has no social licence in this area, and they don’t have a right to jobs in an industry that may result in other people losing theirs.

If Mr Parson feels aggrieved he should be putting the blame where it really lies – his predicament is the result of a global situation, and the boom and bust nature of the industry he works in (which is one reason why, as he admits, the pay was good), not simply a Lancashire County  Council decision (although that may have been the last straw of course).

There is a global downturn in drilling activity, both conventional and shale, both oil and gas. Rigs are being mothballed worldwide.  LCC did not cause this downturn any more than they caused the current refugee crisis.

The bust in shale which has lead to drilling rigs being mothballed and drillers and associated crew being made redundant has been caused largely by the decrease in the oil price (which I don’t think LCC actually have much control over either) . It is clearly not just PR Marriott who have suffered, although the services sector has taken the largest hit. According to Forbes there have been 75,000 redundancies in the USA due to the oil bust of 2015.

Are we going to be told that LCC is responsible for these too?

If we look at PR Marriott on we can see that they had 108 employees at the end of 2014.

PR Marriott

PR Marriott

It seems we are expected to believe that 38 of those (over 1/3 of the entire company)  were only there in case LCC gave Cuadrilla permission to drill their 8 exploration wells and, as soon as the decision went against Cuadrilla, PR Marriott instantly made them all redundant.

Yet we see the Reverend Roberts on his ludicrous blog pontificating about morality and the 10 commandments with relation to this issue (even though he seems to think that ignoring the one about theft is just fine), and we have his pal Ken Wilkinson posting things like this

The Pious Mr Wilkinson

The Pious Mr Wilkinson

Yes he actually said to somebody brave enough to question his sad rhetoric “You are one of a small minority who are responsible for this sad story.”  I think that tells us a lot about Mr Wilkinson’s sense of perspective (or rather the lack of it). Perhaps he doesn’t know what has been going on out there in the real world for the last 9 months or so?

I wish Mr Parsons every success in finding a new job – it’s a shame the government is hell-bent on destroying the renewables industries or he might find something there. As according to Linked In he’s also an experienced plumber  and HGV fitter I genuinely hope he won’t find it too hard to find employment.

In the meantime I also hope the pro-fracking campaign won’t sink any further. This limbo PR (how low can you get) really isn’t doing them any good.

Sadly, the reaction to this piece from the new astroturfing retread of the Blackpool Fracking for a Better Future Group doesn’t give much cause for optimism does it?

Not Backing FrackingIt seems that whichever anonymous individual is behind this account really doesn’t get the reality of the boom and bust nature of the shale gas industry or how PR works.


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