While protesting about fracking there are some dark and dramatic moments which makes it all the more surreal when it all degenerates into farce.
I could hardly believe my eyes when I realised that Lancashire County Council, in its infinite wisdom has now positioned between 4 and 6 security guards (it seems to depend on the time of day) behind the fencing that they erected on the grass verge next to the Preston New Road site.
It looks for all the world like a comedy sketch about a human zoo.
What is so laughable here is that in order to stop protesters camping on the verge they have now got council employees setting up a makeshift holiday camp with garden chairs and awnings. Not only that but the fencing was ostensibly put there (as Paul Smith in the Highways Department told me) to protect the grass on the verge, but we now have bored employees pacing up and down behind bars like caged polar bears, and there is almost no grass at all left on the verge as a result. Well played Mr Smith.
As one of the police pointed out to me it is a total waste of time and money as there is a court order on the verge now and no protester is likely to want to bring on a world of pain for no tangible benefit or impact.
Talking of money though, how much is this costing? Well there seem to be at least 4, sometimes more, there 24/7. Assuming they are all getting £7.50 an hour that’s just more than £5,000 a week being wasted by LCC here. That might be peanuts compared to the unsustainable policing bill, but it is still a significant amount that could and should be spent on something far more worthwhile.
Who on earth makes these decisions which make the council such a laughing stock and who do they answer to?