All residents of the North, especially green business people, political activists and environmentalists should research the so-called “Northern Powerhouse” Conference in Manchester, scheduled to take place on Wednesday 24th-Friday 26th February 2016 at Manchester Central (formerly known as G-Mex)
The slogan of the Conference is “Leveraging the assets of the North” ie: “Flogging Off Whatever We Can”
People have laughed and not taken the “Northern Powerhouse” seriously, but let’s be honest here, the throwback vision, cobbled together by politicians who seem to be living in the wrong century, for a “Northern Powerhouse” is an extremely dangerous one that aims to send the North of England back to the 1950’s, the 1920’s, or even the 1800’s!
If the “architects” Cameron, Osborne, Peel Holdings, etc, etc get their way then the North is going to be full of fracking rigs, Nuclear Power, Coal Bed Methane mining, Underground Coal Gasification, High Speed Rail and Biomass Incinerators that is going to cause increased pollution in a Beijing-style, there might even be a market for “Northern Powerhouse” branded gas masks! The North is likely to look like some gentrified, giant dodgy sixth form science experiment!
The language of the “Northern Powerhouse” is nu-capitalist, nouveau double-speak, the Conservative Party say they have a “long-term economic plan” and Peel Holdings slogan is “long-term horizon”, but they do not have a long-term economic plan, they have a short-term economic plan to make them and their chums a few quid at the expense of the people and the environment, a long-term economic plan would take the environment into consideration, especially as the North has just seen the worst flooding in many a year as a result of extreme weather events that are connected to climate change that is connected to pollution levels!
Some of the more throwback, rogue elements of the Labour Party, understandably given the Labour Partys’ industrial roots, have been complicit in the “Northern Powerhouse” project, however, recently Jim McMahon used the Oldham Labour Party election win in November 2015 to say what many Northerners feel, that it is actually a “Northern Poorhouse” project, designed to force your average Northerner into poverty and therefore accept any old crappy industry on t’doorstep because it might bring a few short-term dirty jobs t’area
You have only to look at Tory Trafford, located right on the southern margins of the “Northern Powerhouse” to see what is being planned for the North – capitalism attempting to force in declining industry into urban and suburban areas, Karl Marx is likely to be laughing in the big Crescent boozer in the sky!
The Conservative Party run Trafford Council, in collusion with Peel and some Labour Party politicians, have quietly waved through planning applications for huge amounts of polluting industry in Trafford and it now means that the big plan for the so-called “Trafford City” is a BioMass Incinerator, Coal Bed Methane mining, fracking, and huge gas terminal all within yards of one of the busiest shopping centres in Europe, the Trafford Centa! Trafford, an area that was once the preserve of the south Manchester/Cheshire elite, is now set to be the “Springfield” of the North!
So, you might be getting the impression that the “Northern Powerhouse” is wrong on so many different levels ? But, in addition, it is also hopelessly uncool, so much so that the “architects” are designing a venue called “The Factory”, to any Northerner who knows their musical culture opening a new venue called “The Factory” is an ironic, post-modern cringer!
It is not much of a surprise that the vast majority of speakers at the Conference are male, stale and pale, and you have to hope that Frances O’Grady can go round knocking some sense into the suits who have paid up to £500 per ticket to be part of this charade
Let’s be completely clear about this, we have already had a “Northern Powerhouse”, if you do your research and know your history, we have had the Industrial Revolution, we have had the British Empire, we have had peak industry on Salford Docks and we have had incredible levels of pollution, when we didn’t know any better and climate change meant that it went a bit colder in the winter and a bit hotter in the summer
However, subsequent to this, we have cleaned up our rivers, nature has reclaimed many former industrial Northern sites, we have science telling us to keep fossil fuels firmly in the ground, we have renewable energy technology, we are living in the post-COP 21 world and it is time to move on
Simultaneously, the “Northern Powerhouse”, at this early stage, offers the people a window of opportunity to grasp the initiative and create a new North
Enlightened minds are meeting at an alternative Northern Greenhouse Conference on Saturday 5th March 2016 at the Green Fish Conference Centre on Oldham Street in the Northern Quarter in Manchester