the industry is planning to ride roughshod over individual rights in the dash to recover oil and gas
Now this is an argument I can support. As I said before Fracking, though valuable, could well be impossible in a society that respects individual property rights, but stands a chance if the proper incentives are allowed to work.
The current mess of nationalised mineral rights places a huge incentive on the Government to force Fracking projects onto individuals. Individuals, on the other hand, get a share of poultry incentives offered to the community as a whole, and all the downsides and risks seem to be lumbered onto them.
I get that the science is against many problems occurring (not least because the gas is likely to be below the water table) but I have complete sympathy with the farmer who has a decent business providing milk for 3,000 homes and jobs for 16. Men like this use their property to their own advantage and create value that we should all appreciate, because milk and jobs are a value to us all. Yet, it is not us that dedicated our lives to this pursuit. It was not the hours of our days that that farmer freely chose to dedicate to it. That farmer has a right of control that we should respect. If that respect extends to asking Cuadrilla to negotiate with that individual farmer, and ensuring there is a sufficient insurance policy and arrangements in place that satisfy him and that he gets a cut that he is happy with, then so be it. That is the moral thing to do.
What is amazing about this story is that a group of watermelons and their friends at the lefty Independent will need to rely on exactly this argument, that the farmer’s individual rights trump those of “society” (represented by the small elite in Government) in order to get their way. If the left are willing to strengthen individual sovereignty and property rights to achieve their ends, then I don’t plan to oppose them.