With Friends Like These …
We are quite used to sparring with the industry’s front groups. It is a rather obvious strategy for them to set up astroturf groups claiming to be organised by local residents who can then say and do things that the companies themselves might prefer not to be seen saying and doing.
Recently though we had a group called Reclaim the Road brought to our attention, because they were trying to discredit the vast number of local citizens who demonstrate peacefully outside Cuadrilla’s site at Preston New Road in the press.
We took a look at their Facebook page, and frankly we were shocked. The fact that pro and anti-frackers trade insults is nothing new but the level of vitriol shown on this page is shocking. Indeed it is probably bordering on the illegal as it includes hate speech, misogyny and obscenity. (None of that will breach Facebook’s community standards of course 😂)
But upstanding citizens’ groups like Reclaim the Road wouldn’t condone such comments of course would they? Or would they?
Here is what Jim O’Neil (a Blackpool resident who for some reason is an admin on the Kirby Misperton debate Facebook page) had to say when questioned about the awful content.
However, 2 weeks later all of the posts are still there. Clearly if the admin had been alerted to the posts and chosen to allow them to stay and then more to be posted then the group must condone the content.
Jim’s claim that he’s not convinced that some of these people are actually members of the main group rings a bit hollow when a number of the offenders are frequent posters on the Backing Fracking page that he also frequents, and some (such as Darren “stop being a brainwashed retard” Mennel, also post on Backing Fracking and the Kirby Misperton group he admins, so they are presumably known to him. The worst offender, the predictably anonymous “Jagtoss Wagtoss”, used to post his insults on the Backing Fracking Facebook Page but his output seems to have been removed. It seems even they have some standards. He has been banned from most anti-fracking Facebook pages for his obscene trolling, but Reclaim the Road appear to find his output quite acceptable.
We’ll leave you to decide whether you feel this content is what you expect from a group who see it as their role to criticise legitimate protest. It looks more like the kind of content you might expect from a Tommy Robinson fan club to us.
Warning extremely unpleasant and explicit content!
Post script – evidence we have and comments from others lead us to believe that JagToss Wagtoss is none other than Blackpool local Darren Taylor. Way to go Darren!