Birthday honours for fracking opponent and supporter

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Emma Thompson, speaking to anti-fracking campaigners at Preston New Road in March 2018. Photo: Refracktion

People at opposite ends of the fracking debate have received leading honours in the Queen’s birthday list, announced today.

The Oscar-winning actor, Emma Thompson, who campaigns against fracking and shale gas, becomes a Dame.

The industrialist, Jim Ratcliffe, whose Ineos group includes the UK’s biggest shale gas licence holder, is knighted.

Environmental campaigner and actor

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Emma Thompson at Preston New Road, 21 March 2018. Photo: Refracktion

Dame Emma, who visited anti-fracking campaigners at the Preston New Road shale gas site, near Blackpool, earlier this year, was honoured for services to drama.

In April 2016, she ignored an injunction preventing access to the same site to take part in an “Bake-off” style anti-fracking protest. She and her sister, Sophie, were sprayed with manure by the landowner.


Photo: Greenpeace

She has also campaigned for Greenpeace on issues including climate change and drilling for oil in the arctic.

Dame Emma has been in 80 films and won two Oscars, along with 59 other awards.

Her work includes Saving Mr Banks, Howards End, Sense and Sensibility, Beauty and the Beast, Nanny McPhee, and several Harry Potter films

Industrialist and shale gas pioneer

Jim Ratcliffe, the chairman and chief executive of the Ineos chemicals group, received his honour for services to business and investment.

The Ineos group’s shale gas company, Ineos Upstream, holds more exploration licences than any other oil and gas company onshore in the UK.

Last week, it received planning permission for an exploration site at Harthill in South Yorkshire, following a planning inquiry (details). Another Ineos Upstream application, for the village of Marsh Lane in North East Derbyshire, goes before an inquiry in just over a week. And the company is expected to submit a second application for the village of Woodsetts later this month after the first was turned down by Rotherham councillors.

Last month, Sir James was named by the Sunday Times as the UK’s richest person, with a net worth of £21.05 billion.

He formed Ineos in 1998, buying up unwanted operations from groups such as ICI and BP. By 2006, the company had operations in Scotland, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium and Canada.

The head office moved to Switzerland in 2010 reducing the amount of tax paid by the company. But in 2015 Ineos opened the UK headquarters of its chemicals and energy group in Knightsbridge, London.

In an in-house interview, Sir James described 2017 as a record-breaking year for Ineos. In April 2018, the company sponsored Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup team to the tune of £110m. The company also sponsors the children’s running initiatives, Ineos Go Run for Fun and the Daily Mile.

14 replies »

  1. Sir Jim Ratcliffe? Wonder what kind of donation he had to make to the Conservative Party to buy this?

  2. Congratulations Dame Emma Thompson.

    I will resist the urge to dilute the announcement with silly comments à la MC, some of us at least have standards Dame Emma.

    Congratulations again and well done on your fight to end this fracking debacle..

  3. Go Run for Fun, Ellie! What sort of donation is Jim making towards that, especially in Scotland? What is your donation to the health of the young, in comparison?

    Did Emma “buy this” as well?

    Oh, so bitter.

  4. But oh so right Martin, you can’t convince me that Ratcliffe has not been rewarded for helping to impose Fracking on unwilling communities.

    • Ronin
      One thing is for sure, few on here are convinced by what those who hold a different opinion say.
      Re Jim, we shall see as he had yet to impose fracking on anyone.
      Well done both of them.

  5. Shouldn’t worry Kisheny. Such comments about how much people give to charities are based upon no knowledge and usually very little contributed from those who comment. You only have to read some previous comments from some people on DOD who claimed knowledge about INEOS but didn’t have a clue. Well, they can buy the book shortly and bring themselves up to date-but they won’t because they prefer fiction. The narrative doesn’t work when based upon facts.

    So, the guy makes significant contributions to charities and huge contributions to UK public services via taxation. He would like to actually increase that via UK fracking for gas he uses in UK. There are quite a number of individuals seen as “fat cats” who do similar eg. the Weston family, but the fat cat dogma is easier for some, even when they become ill and expect the NHS to treat them immediately and with all modern technology.

    But, remember, such comments defines the antis, but not the two thirds. The two thirds will read such, and remain within the two thirds. That’s what the data is showing so far, whilst fiction is being used to suggest differently.

    By the way Ronin, your logic is strange. Jim has yet to impose anything on anyone regarding fracking. You fired your poison arrow a year or two prematurely. But, will it achieve a UK vehicle factory?

  6. Martin, yes I have jumped the gun, I should have said he has been rewarded for his desire to impose fracking on unwilling communities, my apologies, i hope he fails.

  7. I suggest you read the book Ronin. I think it is published this week. I have previously supplied the reference.

    You may find plenty of reasons in there why he has received his knighthood that relate to the past and present.

    Any reward re fracking is some distance away-but I suspect may happen in the future.

    Saint Jim?

    (He may do, Ronin. But, that would be out of character.)

  8. Unfortunately the honours system is once again shown to be what it is, people get awards for next to nothing and others because they just happen to follow particular party lines! It is what it is but at least those who do charitable work without shouting about it and those in the NHS are very deserving.

  9. I agree Ronin.

    There were no antis, it appears, who knew what charitable work was done by Jim until he gained recent publicity regarding the success of INEOS and then he was brought more into the public domain. But, that’s understandable as they didn’t know the reason for the transfer to Switzerland, and the return.

    Or perhaps they did, and it didn’t fit the narrative?

    • Yes we all know the reasons for ‘transferring’ to a tax haven; strange that after saving so many millions he now has two yachts and a pipeline to guard from the Three Billy goats Gruff….
      …and after two attempts, ‘the Troll rushed at BIG Billy Goat Gruff who bent his head and bravely charged at the Troll, catching him up in his horns and tossing him into the stream below. The Troll disappeared under the rushing water, never to be seen again.

      From then on, ANYONE could cross the bridge and enjoy the sweet green grass with the Three Billy Goats Gruff.’ – way to go people!

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