The Only Way Is Essex

James Walsh, aka The Mancunian Birder, is currently on tour in Southern England on a European Union & the Environment fact finding mission – the Environment is an issue that needs more mainstream coverage, what are the implications for the Environment if we #Bremain or #Brexit ?

All roads point to Essex at the moment, the quintessential English county, on our EU & the Environment fact-finding mission

I have family in Essex, there is a revolution happening at Wat Tyler Country Park and Respect to the Essex Wildlife Trust on Abberton Reservoir & Fingringhoe Wick

What a day in the South! Nice to see Avocets on the Old Hall Marshes RSPB and a joy to hear Cuckoos, Nightingales, Skylarks & Lesser Whitethroats

Perhaps the bird of the day, Marsh Harrier, and great to walk the famous sea-wall, featured on so many mega alerts! Recent rare bird sightings on the coast include Greenish Warbler and Kentish Plover 

Interesting to hear about the Red-breasted Goose situation, is this species beginning a new UK breeding population ? 

What does all this have to do with the EU vote on 23rd June 2016 ? I think it is fair to say that these conservation organisations, nature reserves and species listed here are about to have their fortunes’ changed on 24th June 2016

Would remaining in the EU, or leaving, be better for the protection of our coastlines and nature reserves, the management & success of our conservation organisations & native species ? How can we properly assess this ? With 18 days until the Peoples’ Vote and Paris flooded can the Environment make it onto the mainstream media as a theme of the EU vote ?

Mancunian Spring Exclusive: James Walsh Installed As New UK Prime Minister

Date: 1st April 2016

Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton


Ecologist, promoter and occasional politician James Walsh (also known as Walshy to some of his mates) has been installed as the new UK Prime Minister with instant effect

In a short, private ceremony at Buckingham Palace, early this morning, the 1st April 2016, the Queen gave Mr Walsh some papers to confirm the position

It was later confirmed that Noel Gallagher and Russell Brand had drafted up the text on the back of a cigarette packet on Thursday

The Queen said “James Walsh is a top geezer who got 53 votes in the General Election in Blackpool North – Walshy is the man to repair Broken Britain whether we Bremain or Brexit!!”

“I’m over that dodgy Dave Cameron, I even signed that petition not to let Dave back in to the UK!”

“That Mr Corbyn seems like a nice man, Jeza can help Walshy run the country and I also like those chicky babes Natalie, Nicola and Leanne, they seem like sensible gals”

When asked about Tim Farron, the Queen said “Tim who ?”

Mr Walsh gave a speech, clutching the papers, on the steps of Number 10, before mooching in the building to re-arrange the furniture, install a large sound-system and have a party with some shuttled in, slightly confused celebrities

The speech gave some indication of the new, radical, fresh direction the UK is now taking

“I shall be forming a unity government of people who completely agree with my politics”

“I shall be getting rid of the National Debt by telling our creditors to frack off! I shall be banning fracking, cancelling Hinckley nuclear power station and I’ll also be declaring the “Northern Powerhouse” a national joke and shall be asking all Northerners to move swiftly on from the debacle, including the ones that never heard of the “Northern Powerhouse” in the first place!”

“I’ll also be having a big sit-down with leaders from the Chinese business community to explain to them that George Osborne gets a bit carried away sometimes!”

“I also plan to meet with European Union top brass to tell them to sort themselves out and meet with the leaders of ISIS to introduce them to the music of Bob Marley”

“I shall also be saying to Donald Trump, “Give yer head a wobble”, actually I better not do that, the wig might fall off!”

“Finally, the Snoopers Charter is now to be the Snoop Lion charter, a charter for the people of the UK to encourage Mr Lion to continue producing phat, chilled, reggae-step, rather than that heavy gangsta rap”

A Reality Party spokesperson said “Hemp is the future man!”



Fracking still has NO SOCIAL LICENSE

A phrase that has dropped off the Conservative Party and fracking industry agenda recently is “Social License”, this was the phrase that the frackers used conjuring up imagery of fracking rigs and trucks being waved into towns and villages with locals putting up bunting and showering the frackers with flowers, as they cake-walked in to communities with appropriate pomp, ceremony and fanfare to provide us all with energy security for the next 30 years

However, it hasn’t worked out like that and we are giving out prizes to anyone who has heard the phrase social license in the last year

The Mancunian Spring Celebrates 1st Birthday

On 28th February 2015, the Mancunian Spring was launched with a trio of people power events, the Real Media launch, Peoples Assembly Question Time and Music Beats Austerity

The Mancunian Spring site has now attracted 25,000 views and @MancunianSpring has well over 1000 followers on Twitter.

We have highlighted the new peoples’ movement for social and environmental justice, including the Jeremy Corbyn inspired True Labour / Momentum movement, COP 21, the Peoples Assembly, Save the NHS, the peoples’ fight against fracking in the Manchester area (from Lancashire to Cheshire), the opposition, and alternatives, to the “Northern Powerhouse” and “Devo-Manc” and supported a free Scotland, an independent North and the balancing of the North-South divide

During our first year we were a part of the huge win, during the Summer Of Love 2015, at Lancashire County Council against the UK government, where the people, against all the odds, persuaded local councillors to vote against fracking, and we have provided a voice for the brave people of Barton Moss who were subjected to state violence and injustice (the conviction rate in the court cases was just 29%) whilst ridding Salford of the dreaded fracking industry

The alternatives to fracking were highlighted in the inaugural “Northern Greenhouse – A New Vision Of The North” article  and we look forward to putting some fine detail to this vision at the Northern Greenhouse Conference on Saturday 5th March in Manchester

Finally..the truth about the brutality at Barton Moss


The Salford Star on the community resistance to fracking in the Winter of 2013/14 at Barton Moss Salford Greater Manchester….

“About ten minutes into the slow lorry walk the regular officers who had been policing the peaceful protest were replaced by the Greater Manchester Police Tactical Aid Unit (TAU), which seemed determined to cause alarm and distress by forcing people to “walk” at a ridiculously fast pace, creating a stampede situation.

Carmel Shiels, who lives in Irlam and had come down to Barton Moss Lane to see what was happening, couldn’t believe what she was witnessing. She told The Salford Star:

“I’m a local resident, a peaceful person, I’ve never demonstrated before in my life, I’m not a politically aware person, just easy going, believe the Government, believe people, but do you know what? I am staggered by what I’ve seen. It breaks my heart. I came down, watched it go by stood on the side and just cried watching the police just pushing people down the footpath”.

This was just one account from one witness to the extreme brutality that was meted out on a daily basis to ordinary everyday people objecting to fracking in the heart of their community amongst their children and loved ones. It’s one of the most deplorable untold stories in the social history of these islands but the truth will finally be coming out this week.

This will not be the “truth” as told in one of the most shocking cover ups witnessed for many years when the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioners “independent panel” report into the policing at Barton Moss was slammed by Solicitor Simon Pook for declaring that “claims of police violence have not been substantiated” when all anybody has to do to this day is search YouTube “police brutality barton moss”.  The real truth will be told this week by a group of academics at the launch event of “Keep Moving!” to be held in Manchester on the 24th and Liverpool on the 25th. I personally have no idea who these people are but I don’t doubt that they are among the many thousands of people who witnessed the events at Barton Moss and having been sickened to the bottom of their stomachs decided that they couldn’t let such abhorrent behaviour go unchallenged. All I know is that “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” and it looks as though some “good men” are finally doing something. This is also on the back of District Judge Richard Sanders recent slating of the police conduct at Barton Moss in finding two defendants not guilty being “entitled to demonstrate, were entitled to walk along Barton Moss Road” them having been pointlessly dragged through the courts like many many others. Most of these pointless court cases have now collapsed, two years later, with folk having had that permanent weight on their minds throughout this time.

This isn’t a matter of historical record though, indeed, it’s even more relevant today than perhaps it was when this whole episode was subject to an insidious national media censorship as a multitude of British Isles communities are currently under attack from the evil fracking industry. From County Antrim in Northern Ireland to North Yorkshire on the mainland down to Surrey in deep England the drills are going in and brave folk will inevitably resist. The police will be using exactly the same tactics there as they did at Barton Moss which they imported from Balcombe as they only seem to have one gear, the no expense spared facilitating of a dangerous industry in the face of overwhelming opposition of the people who they are sworn to protect.

These brave British communities will now be able to see the full reality of what they are about to face. They will be dismissed as “campaigners” and “protesters” with the mainstream media doing its very best not to mention that in reality it will be local people trying to defend their land and loved ones. When they attempt to peacefully protest they will have their basic human right to do so trampled all over with violent arbitrary arrests, ridiculously prolonged police cell time and area banning orders in an attempt to thin the ranks of objectors at the fracking site. The police may even be accused of operating smear campaigns as at Barton Moss but worst of all the local Police and Crime Commissioner may instigate a whitewash inquiry into events.

Worst of all because that’s such a despicable and dismissive insult to the people who have clearly witnessed the most disturbing scenes and been through the kind of trauma that no peaceful British community should ever have to go through. But maybe in the fullness of time some angels will come along who will not be able to stomach such injustice and just like at the Friends Meeting House in Manchester this Wednesday where the truth will come out for the heroes of Barton Moss, the true story will also be openly told about all of the brave people who have put their bodies on the line to defend this land against the foul fracking industry.

Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton
Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring

Many of the heroes of Barton Moss have had swingeing fines imposed upon them. If you can help with these PLEASE DO


The main stream media’s first reportage on this by the Guardian on the sexualised violence used by the police on Women at Barton Moss

PDF of the full shocking report HERE


“Northern Poorhouse” Conference

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



Fracking slave traders chased out of Cheshire village


At the COP21 meeting last year David Attenborough quite rightly referred to fossil fuel proponents as the modern day moral equivalents of slave traders. I say quite rightly because disagreeing with whatever David Attenborough says would be the moral equivalent of punching the Dalai Lama in the face. Dave’s had a really good look around the World, he knows what he’s on about and he’s a bloody nice fella.

Like slave traders, oil and gas companies will descend upon a perfectly peaceful community and terrorise it.

This is precisely what happened for two whole years at a beautiful little spot in Cheshire by the name of Upton. That was until last week when frackers iGas announced that they will not now be drilling at the Upton site as it doesn’t meet the company’s “criteria for commercial development.” Now bear in mind that just a handful of days ago over £200,000 was spent on an immense 200 Police officer and high court bailiff operation to forcefully remove an Anti Fracking Community Protection Camp from the field that was due to host the dark satanic drills. You could accept that a highly indebted company with crippling upfront expenses and not a drop of gas so far exploited would go to extreme levels of expense just days before a report is due out determining that they don’t need to but that would be ascribing an eye watering level of incompetence to what our government keep telling us is a gold standard industry.

Of course an alternative possibility would be that iGas have finally understood that it wasn’t just a Community Protection Camp that they we’re dealing with but an entire highly organised and highly motivated local community and they just didn’t fancy all of the hassle. Add into the equation that the site is right next to Chester Zoo and the fact that the intended field is also possibly the equivalent of Mecca for highly protected Great Crested Newts and the excuse of commercial viability looks as likely as an excuse of not wanting to drill there for fear of awakening the Kraken.

No matter how humiliating and embarrassing the excuse may look the alternative would be even more devastating.  To admit that the local community had seen them off would be a cataclysmic blow to iGas and the industry as a whole. Long gone are the days of its former CEO Ian Austin testifying to a House of Lords committee that a social license would be required to operate in any community but it would indicate a complete sea change to say that they’re now going to only terrorise communities that put up little resistance to them. Now we really would be in the days of the slave traders picking on weak and easily exploitable communities.

Fracking was inevitably going to go this way in the UK and it was only the detached arrogance of the early industry planners that allowed them to even consider putting drill pads right next to housing estates. Some places will be easy pickings, others will resist the drills by any means possible. Some places will have minimal social cohesion such as where the drill has just strolled in at Horse Hill in the Surrey Stockbroker belt but if they try fracking anywhere near the Forest of Dean it will be like the siege of the Alamo.

Strong social cohesion is why the fracking industry is getting such a right royal shellacking in Lancashire where the next round of this monumental battle is due to be fought through the rest of February into March.

Lancashire is about to be beamed back into the 1950’s and the era of the Stalin show trials with a fracking inquiry the result of which has already been determined.

Even Jennifer Mein the leader of Lancashire County Council seems to be blissfully unaware that we now live in a back to the future fascist state appealing to stoney faced apparatchiks over a decision that’s already been made.

In poll after poll fracking proves to be as popular as a night stuck in a lift with Jeremy Hunt with a recent Manchester Evening News poll recording an astonishing 97% against fracking, one of the rare occasions when Mancs have agreed upon anything. Even the Government’s own regular DECC poll shows a tiny and ever declining level of support for fracking with the vast majority showing a preference for renewable forms of energy confirming that democracy and fracking were separated at birth and are unlikely to ever have a reunion.

All of this is in the face of ever worsening news for fracking which like our recent foreign military ventures is only going to be more damaging the longer that it goes on. Ironically, since the people of Lancashire decided that fracking was a really stupid idea it’s been either banned or halted in virtually every nation that surrounds us with the French courts recently dismissing the last American frackers plea of “but it’s SO unfair” and the Dutch Government deciding that it would be equally unfair to poison its own citizens. The State of Oklahoma is now going through a fracking earthquake epidemic usually suffering 2 a year, last year they suffered almost 1000 quakes with Oklahomans now living in fear of the big one! Worst of all is the unreported environmental catastrophe at Porter Ranch in the northern suburbs of the great global metropolis of Los Angeles where a gas leak has lead to a state of emergency being declared with thousands of people being evacuated and folk living in daily fear of a cataclysmic explosion. But of course fracking and gas storage is all perfectly safe according to the Tories.

The biggest change since Lancastrians ditched fracking was the global gathering at Paris for COP21 where the whole World decided that we should strive to keep global temperature rises to within 1.5°C of pre industrial levels. This included our government as part of what was called “The High Ambition Coalition” who to confirm new levels of doublespeak returned to the UK to announce a whole new tranche of fracking licences. Regardless of the band of Tory lunatics playing the kazoo on the deck of the Titanic the World has effectively agreed to ban any new forms of fracking, indeed only a small percentage of currently known fossil fuel reserves can be burned if we are to stand any chance of keeping under that 1.5°C target.

We the people of Lancashire will carry on doing our bit to fight climate meltdown especially as much of our County is at or near sea level and it would be highly lemming like not to. The sham inquiry that’s about to happen will be yet another huge recruiting sergeant bringing in hordes of folk who aren’t particularly bothered about fracking or climate change but will abhor the appalling lack of democracy involved. And more British families, like at Upton, will be overjoyed and celebrating as the fracking Wolf is kept away from their door in places as far wide as North Yorkshire and Dorset as the modern day slave traders are ruthlessly driven out of business in a soon to be frack free British Isles.

Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton
Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring


Ordinary everyday folk in Lancashire are fighting for their Children against the multi billion dollar Oil & Gas industry on the usual shoestring budget and could really do with our help…..

Preston New Road Group Appeal

Roseacre Awareness Group Appeal

Thank you ☺ x

***THIS just in…..

Tory Police & Crime Commish goes ballistic at iGas calling their nonsense out and askin’ for a coin…