And so it came to pass that Boris the Populist, observing the extreme unpopularity of fracking in many northern parliamentary constituencies of a Conservative bent, decided to call an end to the experiment.
This, I believe, is part of what the sage Lynton Crosby calls scraping the barnacles off the boat before an election, in stark contrast to the imbecile May who danced into the 2017 gig allowing people to think she was about to offer (inter alia) a free vote on foxhunting. FFS
And who's to say Boris is wrong? One can of course always work up a righteous lather over points of principle and U-turns etc: but does it really matter? No. The moment has passed. It had become abundantly evident that, despite the epic quantities of natural gas the frackies reckon they've identified within these shores, it would have been a very long time indeed - if ever - before it could be turned into a windfall for the economy. The primary beneficiaries thus far have been PR companies and the serried ranks of Plods on overtime.
Maybe things could have been done differently and better, but they weren't. Meanwhile there's a global glut of gas anyway, which will continue unless the Chinese accelerate their usage beyond what Russia can easily supply from entirely new eastern gasfields. The Chinese don't show much sign of this (nor India, for that matter), despite a great deal of wishful thinking in all the great gas producing centres around the globe.
But if the glut dries up a bit, there are any number of faraway places with equally epic resources of shale gas that will be much easier to develop than hereabouts - because there are no people in the vicinity to object; and/or no democracy. Algeria springs quickly to mind.
And, of course, if things change utterly, well, that UK shale gas ain't going anywhere ...
Here endeth the UK shale gas saga, for the next short while at least.