Desolation Row

Agreeing with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is becoming a bit of a habit. But, after his Wonga versus credit unions comments, this was what he tweeted in response to Lord Howell’s view that the ‘desolate’ North East would be a good place to start ‘fracking’: “North-east England very beautiful, rugged, welcoming, inspiring, historic, advancing, not ‘desolate’ as was said in House of Lords today.”

Former Leader of Newcastle City Council Lord Beecham, now a Labour peer, said: “Neville Chamberlain spoke of pre-war Czechoslovakia as ‘a faraway country of which we know nothing’. Lord Howell clearly has a similar view on the north-east and his comments once again highlight the Tories’ problem with the north.”

I am as uncertain about fracking as the next person, but I am certain that I wouldn’t trust Tories like Howell to get it right. So here are some of my favourite scenes of desolation to help us to sit and reflect on the issues.

Bamburgh Castle

Scorland & Newcastle summer 2010 155

Some iconic bridges


Sunset over very desolate South Shields

s shields sunset 07

High Force, Co Durham


Lindisfarne. Aidan found it tranquil, or was it desolate.  More on Lindisfarne here.


Dunstanburgh Castle – old ruin suitable for fracking


St James’ Park. Don’t tell Mike Ashley about fracking. It will just give him ideas.


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One Response to Desolation Row

  1. paul calland says:

    I am not sure about fracking either, but the tone of the comments by Lord Howell reflect the lack of one nation thinking/we are very much not all in this together, which is so evident today. The message was its ok up there but inappropriate in rural areas like Surrey where I live. The sceptic in me defines “desolate” as meaning not having Tory voters that can make a difference. Sadly it’s also exactly the same thinking about new housing development and in particular social housing development…”not around here good sir”. It reflects a very divided nation, by class, by wealth and by geography. Very sad!

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