That Lancashire Fracking Victory..oh yes it was


This vague contextualiser hasn’t reported back from the glorious anti fracking victory at Preston as I’ve been parading through the streets of Lancashire on horse back spreading the glad tidings. I’ve considered the possibility of going door to door and collecting £10 in tribute from folk for stopping fracking whilst they were on their arse watching “Corrie” but I’d either get punched in the face or they’d most likely not have the first clue what fracking was.

Fact of the matter is though that 3 weeks ago I was a scaremongering tree hugging agent of Vladimir Putin looking to freeze Grannys to death. Today I stand on the summit of Mount Vindication planting the flag of told you so.

Some folk are bleating on about how “it won’t stop ‘em” and “they’ll appeal it, we haven’t won”.

Get stuffed. We smashed ‘em!!!

We somehow managed to persuade a load of Councilors under the most unbelievable pressure to vote to shitcan fracking when the easiest thing in the World for them to do would have been to let it sail through. The pressure that those Councillors were under is difficult to imagine, something akin to the Dentist scene in Marathon Man meets Alexis Tsipras stuck in a lift with Christine Lagarde.

They’ve been building entire fracking colleges and laying serious amounts of infrastructure. Dave and his fossil fuel deranged government are all out for shale. That Preston decision was like someone rocking up on the starting grid of the British Grand Prix in front of all the dignitaries and saying that the race was being canceled for safety reasons.

The decision to halt fracking in Lancashire was beyond enormous.

The other massive victory was a victory of people power.

How many times did we hear, “oh you won’t change owt..the government will do what the government will do”..the usual response from folk so beaten down that the status quo seems like an insurmountable wall that can never be overcome. The reality of the situation is that the phenomenal decision at Preston was brought about by a tiny percentage of the populace who would be directly affected by fracking.

A small committed group of highly motivated individuals took on and beat the multi billion dollar oil & gas industry and whipped them on a shoe string budget. When the main stream media attempted to smear anti fracking campaigners as being in the pay of Moscow the general cry went up..if only and where’s our rubles?!?

Future social historians will pour over how such an improbable victory could have possibly been pulled off but I can save them the bother. We won because right was so obviously and firmly on our side and the horrific results of not winning were unthinkable. As was proven, we really didn’t need the whole County to be mobilised against fracking but the frackers must surely be factoring in what they would be facing if they really start to stir folk up or what would have happened if we hadn’t had their nonsense stopped.

Subsequently, and to prove us completely right the Netherlands has now banned fracking for being highly dodgy and the even dodgier Defra have finally released that report that somebody with raging OCD and a black marker pen got hold off and went all 1950’s East Berlin on. It turns out that fracking is a bag of shyte and will crush your property value if situated near you. A figure of a 7% drop was randomly tossed out there for any idiot who truly believes that “must have a frackpad at the bottom of the drive” is a feature of anyones family home purchasing criteria. I’d strongly recommend biting the hand off anyone that’ll discount your property by under 25% for it now being in a radon soaked lorry filled toxic industrial zone.

So, will Cuadrilla just pack up and go away? (*Written prior to news of the appeal) You’ve got to think of these frackers as the modern day equivalent of the Luftwaffe. They won’t just go away. They’ll regroup and try and pick on an easier prey. The media campaign has already begun about how the good folk of North Yorkshire welcome fracking and thats no doubt where they will next try and tear communities apart.

There remains the possibility that the filthy frackers will have Westminster bypass the Lancashire decision* but that would raise the fracking issue to a whole new level and we would be in completely uncharted waters. International human rights lawyers are now investigating the mass human rights abuses that go hand in hand with fracking and the appalling lack of democracy surrounding the imposition of such a dodgy industry are there for all to see. Sure, they can appeal the Lancashire decision but exactly what kind of look is that?

In the meantime the frackers have taken a fearsome blow in Lancashire, a place that they entered being confident in gaining their “social license” and now stand on the precipice of being driven out of the County Palatine and possibly out of business completely.


Lancashire Fracking Decision…live blog


In a pivotal moment in British history, Lancashire County Council will tomorrow start the decision process in which they’ll decide whether to get on board the Planet ravaging collapsing Ponzi scheme known as fracking and go all chips in on the game of fossil fuel stranded assets roulette.

This half arsed conduit of tomfruitery will provide a live rolling blog of correspondents, characters and reportage from the very heart of what will most likely resemble a mash up of Woodstock, Carry on Anti Fracking and a Barnum & Baileys three ringed Circus.

Tomorrow a panel of local politicians who rule over a land, much of it at sea level, will decide whether to proceed with a process that will directly lead to a huge increase in sea levels. To find out about more stuff that you just can’t make up keep in touch all week via this blog or on Twitter following the hashtags #DontFrackLancs and #FrackStopsHere

In the meantime in the true spirit of how any Northern live blog should be launched…I’m off to bed…big day tomorrow 🙂

Tuesday 23rd June 10.00am

Gloriously beautiful day in Lancashire today where the sun is truly shining on the righteous as a tasty crowd of Earth protectors gather outside of the County Hall. The legendary Anne Power is on point today….

….and the message is being sent loud and clear to the men in grey suits in the building behind….


….MancunianSpring managed to snag a word with a lad giving evidence to the Council regarding the huge risk that fracking presents to the incredible ecology of the Fylde. He said that by the time he’s finished there won’t be a dry eye in the house and that if indeed the Councillors do approve fracking they’ll feel like they’ve agreed to have a Zoo napalmed.

The differences are clear. Inside County Hall are a set of crusty old men chewing over the imposition of a dirty technology from an age we’re fast moving beyond. Outside are, as Owen Patterson put it, people in exciting clothing demanding and fighting for a cleaner brighter future…happy days……

Tuesday 23rd June 12.00pm

Mr Frack is now rampaging around the streets of Preston spreading fear panic and generally clunking folk on the back of the head with his extraordinarily huge fracking arms…

All quiet on the County Hall front, no white smoke from the roof or Cuadrilla execs jumping from the windows but the bagpipes have turned up 🙂

Tuesday 23rd June 1.30pm

The beautiful people have formed a human chain around the entirety of County Hall…

…and something completely Lancastrian has just happened. A bridal party emerged from the hall. The bride was given a Lancashire Nannas feather duster “honour guard”. The bride completed her procession under the guard, turned around, hoiked up her wedding dress to reveal a dazzling set of black and yellow “Frack Off” undertrolleys!?! The entire bridesmaid posse were also rocking black and yellow hair ribbons. Never been more proud to be Lancastrian than today 🙂

23rd June Evening

It all went quiet post 1.30pm cos my phone battery went dead just after and I was having such a great time at NanaFest that I couldn’t be arsed chugging back to Nero’s for my 6th cup of coffee and a bit of leccie.

What an inspirationally beautiful day. Lancashire County Hall hasn’t rocked to a drum beat like that since the Scottish invading armies rolled through in the 1700’s and funnily enough the saltire and pipes were both present amongst a kilt clad crew of Scots anti frackers.

I keep prattling on about the contrast between the men in grey suits and corporate lawyers inside County Hall and the people in “exciting clothing” outside partly due to it being starkly apparent but mostly because this shows the fundamental difference between the “all out for shale” system and the folk wanting an cleaner alternative future.

Outside were the young and the old, the suited and the fairy dust booted, cool as you like kids scootering around doing drive by shirt front stickering, smiling Nanas asking if you were alright chuck and high fiving honking car drivers, babes in pushchairs, old fellas in mobility scooters and a lad with a sparkler flaring fracking derrick on his bonce?!?

Inside the building were old men in suits listening to nonsensical arguments from the corporatocracy as to why the folk outside should be poisoned in a whole variety of ways purely for greed when there are a million better ways of doing things as being demanded by those about to be poisoned outside. Inside the building were corporate stooges repeating the same old lies and having their 4 minute diatribes drift off into the surreal at times due to the complete lack of belief and conviction in their own nonsense. Outside were people so utterly convinced and passionate about their case that many have dedicated large portions of their lives to stopping the scandal that is fracking and 95% of them could out debate Francis Egan on fracking including most of the kids.

There’s another huge gulf between the crusty old folk in County Hall and the true “Lancastrians” outside and that’s their perception of who anti fracking folk are and the reality of who we are.

Lancashire cops were extremely courteous and well mannered as you’d expect from any true Lancastrian but there were so many of them around that you’d have thought that the West Ham “Inter City Firm” were about to arrive in Preston. There were perhaps 100 police to stand around and try not to dance essentially babysitting the Lancashire Nanas and their Children. Whilst not wanting to cry at such a waste of money it also shows the mindset of the folk behind the ordering of such a ridiculous level of over policing. After all of these years they still don’t get anti frackers.

After the countless solidarity event gatherings of thousands of anti fracking folk most often with zero police presence they still don’t get how peaceful we are. Go through hour after hour of YouTube video from Barton Moss and you won’t find a single instance of any form of aggression towards the police or indeed any conviction for assault in the hundreds of pointless court cases after the hundreds of pointless arrests. There’s no need to resort to violence when the strength of your case is so compelling and thoroughly proven. The only violence ever used is by the frackers and as they say, if you have to use violence to push an idea then your ideas are crap.

To complete an inspirational day outside County Hall, and as if the Gods of exciting clothing had made it so, Vivienne Westwood quite literally swanned in and declared all politicians criminals until the people say that they’re not and there was not a Lancashire Nana in sight not in agreement with that and as they say, your Nana knows best.


This is the happy bride who found out just days before her County Hall wedding that the joint was being cuddled by anti frackers and decided to theme her wedding as anti fracking…

Wednesday 24th June 1.00pm


….submitted to the Council……

Dear Mr Perigo

Cuadrilla Bowland Ltd: Planning applications:
LCC/2014/0096 (Preston New Road)
LCC/2014/0101 (Roseacre Wood)

LCC has received three commentaries from expert witnesses, myself included, which are at least in part critical of your Officer Report published on Monday 15 June 2015. The two others (that I am aware of) are from Professor Stuart Haszeldine (Edinburgh University) and Dr Damien Short (London University).

Professor Haszeldine’s report is especially significant in that he backs up what I have been saying for some time about the risks to groundwater. It may also go some way to counterbalancing, with solid evidence from an internationally known expert, the outrageous ad hominem attack on myself that you permitted the DCC to be subjected to yesterday, in the four-minute diatribe from Dr Nick Riley.

These three reports (which, for the avoidance of doubt, I attach herewith) have missed your arbitrary deadline of Friday 19 June, but are too important to be omitted from the body of information put to the Development Control Committee. In any case my own report was submitted on the Sunday evening of 21 June, and was therefore available for you at the start of the working week on Monday morning. I know of other instances where late submissions have been made in good faith in such circumstances, and they have always been accepted.

As you will be aware these three reports are critical of the LCC planning process. If you choose not to include them for DCC’s consideration you may open yourself further to the risk of Judicial Review. If you feel that the DCC has too much on its plate already then the appropriate measure to be taken is to adjourn or postpone the debate. You have already extended the time available to the applicant for consideration of late information. Not to do so for objectors, particularly expert witnesses, would be further evidence of prejudice in favour of the applicant.

I would be grateful if you could confirm that my request for these documents to be included will be carried out.

Yours sincerely

David Smythe
[Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Glasgow]
Ventenac en Minervois, France

The Council is currently considering the implications of this gargantuan Professor off……

Wednesday 24th June 3.00pm

The Councillors have yet to return from lunch..there’s speculation that they may have gone to Manchester for it. In the meantime a list of the harmed of Pennsylvania has appeared on the wall at the entrance to County Hall…

Thursday 25th June 2.00pm

As predicted its utter chaos in Preston 😦

The decision whether to collapse the property prices around the Preston New Road site has been postponed until next Monday. Did I say collapse the property prices rather than fracking? That’s in order to balance out the absolute nonsense coming out of the Council chamber that toxic fume belching frackpads will have a minimal impact regarding sightliness?!?

Perhaps estate agents have given evidence that one of the first things that buyers of family homes demand are sweeping views of the local frackfield. Stooges and the ill informed can lay claim to whatever they want but the market never ever lies. The impact regarding sightliness of frackpads will not only NOT be minimal, it will be measured in the millions of pounds in collapsed property values. Dear oh dear what Planet do these people live on?

The County Hall hoo ha gets even worse. There have been secret meetings, Councilors almost breaking down and more “power brokers” leaning on people than a Greek/EU debt meeting. This is exactly the kind of rodeo clown show that will be coming to 60% of the UK and with 18,126 written objections to fracking submitted to LCC with only 217 in support you can understand why the term “social license” doesn’t even get a mention any more. The dirty frackers would embarrass themselves even more than they already have if they were to ever mention social license again

With one of the themes of the week having been folk from areas that have been fracked pleading on their knees not to accept fracking in the UK the heroic Ian Crane will be Preston premiering his film about the misery that good honest Queensland folk have had to endure in Australia. You know, if I had a former car owner telling me that the thing was a death trap I’d probably be quiet wary but then can you ever imagine an automobile manufacturer trying to sell any vehicle in the UK with a highly questionable safety record…wouldn’t happen would it?

Thursday 25th June 5.00pm

This just in…it looks is if a decision on the dark fate of pretty little Roseacre may be made today…

Thursday 25th June 5.20pm

Godzilla’s application to turn Roseacre into an HGV filled industrial zone has been unanimously voted against because fracking in the heart of English communities is a really really stupid idea…more details on just how stupid an idea it was later…

Friday 26th June

Nowt happened today. I’m guessing because if things had carried on any longer folk my have started to faint.

To sum up the week..a huge crowd turned up, some from as far afield as the Isle of Wight..enough folk to completely surround the huge County Hall building…

…academics tried to step in and tell Lancashire County Councillors not to be so bloody stupid…

…the atmosphere was often tense outside of County Hall with the pressure etched on peoples faces…

…but the pressure was just as much inside the building with Godzilla CEO Francis Egan wishing that he’d joined a different Circus when he was a kid…

…don’t allow yourself to feel sorry for the back scuttler though, he’s upsetting our senior citizens and that’s just not on…

…local support was fantastic with a non stop cavalcade of honking car support…

…and in typical British style what could have been a sombre day was turned into a carnival…

…and would you believe it?!? Even the Police couldn’t resist the carnival of life mood forming into an impromptu drum corps…

…because they were obviously feeling the love…

…and so on we roll to Monday when the Preston New Road decision is due to be made. This rotten corrupt “government” of ours wants Lancashire to lead the way with fracking and we most certainly are. We’re showing the rest of Britain how to protest against it, how to fight it tooth and nail and how to make it perfectly clear that it’s completely unacceptable and unwanted in our communities.

See you Monday 🙂

Monday 29th June 10.00am

…and the sickening terrorising beat goes on as another perfectly idyllic British community finds out today whether their lives are going to be turned upside down.

In the meantime, as is the way with fracking, the bad news just continues to drip out of America.

Yet another study has found an increase in birth defects and a whole array of infant abnormalities including spikes in cancer rates. There are many abhorrent things about the imposition of fracking in the UK but probably the most perverse is the fact that the precautionary principle just doesn’t seem to apply even though the process will be situated directly in our communities among our loved ones. Referring back to the car analogy, Its inconceivable that a foreign automobile model with a proven dangerous history would ever be allowed to be sold in the UK market let alone families being forced to drive it.

In a week when political incompetence and stupidity could well bring down the whole of the eurozone, UK citizens are yet again having to battle to stop the political elites from harming them. Thankfully another huge crowd has turned out in Preston and even if the grey old men in County Hall do decide to poison their own communities the fighting folk of Lancashire continue to show the 60% of our Country slated for fracking just how to fight it…

Monday 29th June 11.15am


They even got told to stuff their seismic arrays where the fracking flares don’t shine. More to follow…obviously…including loads of crowing and raucous rounds of LANCASHIRE LA LA LA LANCASHIRE LA LA LA 🙂

Monday 29th June 12.30pm

You’d think that it was a no brainer that a local authority had decided not to poison its citizens, befoul their countryside, flatten them with HGV’s and crash their property prices but that doesn’t take into account the immense pressure that Lancashire County Councilors were under from a totally corrupt industry and morally bankrupt government. Fracking in Lancashire was considered such a “done deal” that vast amounts of money have already been spent on infrastructure even including the building of a dedicated fracking college. Then the people stepped in.

This VICTORY really needs to be put into context.

On the one side we have an industry with a long history of getting exactly what it wants, with bottomless pockets and the full unadulterated backing of the UK govt to the extent that Dave consistently repeated that he’s “all out for shale”. The industry was working from a proven playbook operated countless times over many years in Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio etc and they ran every play in the book. They lied about how fracking had been going on in the UK for decades, they lied about jobs, they lied about “cheap gas”, raised the false spectre of the “nasty Russians” and downplayed every single fracking application as “just a test well” and that they “wouldn’t be fracking”. Some of the lies were so pernicious and so thoroughly media pimped that they were still being repeated in the Lancashire County Hall last week?!? This is because the frackers had a completely uncritical and compliant media (especially the odious BBC) to do their bidding. They employed an army of shill Professors/Frackademics whose University names will now go down in history with a stain that will be very hard to remove. They employed legions of internet stooges to flood online newspaper comments sections with how wonderful fracking was and to attack and smear anyone opposed to it. They funded astroturf (fake grassroots) organisations to try and fool local folk into thinking that there was a degree of local support for the industry and finally they poured thousands upon thousands of pounds of bribe money into local community projects/groups in order to ingratiate themselves with the citizenry.

In opposition to all of this was a tiny amateur army of what was to become known as “Crusties and Colonels” operating on a shoe string budget and the truth and as it should be, the truth won.

Don’t for one second think that this is over because fracking has never been about democracy, especially local democracy. There’s the Infrastructure Act to consider where I’ve yet to have it confirmed to me that it’s not actually now against the law to oppose fracking being as the maximisation of the extraction of our nations fossil fuel reserves is now enshrined in law. Eric Pickles had a right to overturn any local decisions made regarding the rejection of fracking and I’m assuming that once they’ve scoured the galaxy and located Jabba the Hut to step into his shoes the situation will remain the same.

So where do we go from here?

Well first of all us Lancastrians thank from the very bottom of our red rose hearts every single person throughout the UK and way way beyond for anything that you’ve done to help us in our hour of need whether you’re a Scottish Highlands tweeter, an Isle of Wight Preston demo attender or a New York State Congressman writing letters of appeal to our County Council. The support at times has been overwhelming and will never be forgotten. Standing against the above mentioned forces was near impossible. Standing against them alone would most likely have been impossible xoxo

As for the next step, I’m not entirely sure myself, but I do know that we are now unstoppable and that a complete UK wide ban on fracking brought about by us is inevitable 🙂


Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton
Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring

Something brutal this way comes…


So it’s game on for fracking 60% of the UK then, the Tories are obviously “all out for shale”, Labour believe that you can regulate the unregulate’able and unless the Greens go for a violent but carbon neutral takeover of Government there’s a high likelihood that you’ll have a fracking rig suddenly rock up in your life straight after the election.

If you’re wondering why fracking is the Elephant in the room when it comes to election issues it’s because it’s a repeatedly banned, ground shaking, toxic shitting, water polluting giant of a fracking Elephant that WILL routinely run your Children over and trash your countryside but way way more than that, fracking won’t be talked about as an election issue because of the extreme violence that will soon be visited upon poor unsuspecting English communities in order to enforce it.

Fracking won’t become part of the national election discourse even though the story of the political maelstrom that it’s caused in a major part of Lancashire would set alight an election that’s gone down in political history as one of THE most bland and lifelessly moribund election run ups ever…but the system/political elites won’t allow the nation to fully engage with fracking as they know that not only would they have to defend the indefensible, they’d also be acknowledging that you can’t fit a cigarette paper between the fracking establishment parties.

At this point what happened at Barton Moss, Salford needs revisiting not just because so few in our land actually know what happened there, but because the same will soon be happening all over England.

When the frackers attack your land somebody will resist. Somebody will get a tent out and park themselves at the fracking pad. Some places in England will have 100’s camping out with the whole of the local community getting involved….

Some places will be just be Mad Fred and his Jack Russell but to some extent or other every single frack site will be resisted in England.

It won’t matter though because you will be battered out of the way.

It won’t matter if you’re a heavily and clearly pregnant Woman, you will be dragged around and manhandled by bigass cops. It won’t matter if you’re an elderly Gent with a disability, you will be violently shoved into a ditch and have bones broken.

It won’t matter if you’re a slight, elegant, Nymph of a Lady you will be punched in the face and have your head ground into freezing concrete on a brutally cold Winter road.

It won’t matter that you are decorated in the defence of your Country and that you consider the anti fracking battle to be the most important battle you’ve ever fought in your life.

It won’t even matter if you’re a teenage girl doing a school project on fracking, you will be violently dragged away from your screaming Nan and slung in a van and treated like an animal for as long as they can possibly get away with it.

All of this will happen in front of livestreaming cameras but they just won’t care, they will brutalise you and arrest you for day after day after day. They’ll hold an “inquiry” into the reports of “police” brutality and find that no excessive force was used and that a few procedural things need tidying up even though all you have to do is go on YouTube and search “police brutality barton moss” and you can see hour after hour of police brutality towards the young and the old.

Surprisingly some local media outlets have taken an anti fracking stance however, mostly your local rag will take every opportunity to smear your community protection camp and the people there, calling them “out of towners”, threatening to the “locals”, drunks and folk with mental health issues……

……when in actual fact they’re the bravest of the brave living in medieval and barbaric conditions that you wouldn’t put a dog out in.

Your local BBC channel may well also put a “journalist” onto the multitude of complaints of “police” brutality and most likely he’ll also spend the day being chauffeured around by the “police” and given full access to the Rich Tea biscuits?!?! Yes, that really did happen…..

In reality and away from the main stream media families will be giving over pots and pans, linen and bedding, local handymen will be building roadside dwellings and dropping off pallets, families will be cutting back on meals so that they can give to the camp and all the time that awesome community spirit will be tempered by brutal arrest after brutal arrest and pointless court case after pointless court case.

With these deranged lunatics that “lead” us putting the Infrastructure Act into law (which by the way, legally enshrines the maximisation of fossil fuel extraction breaking their other “law” limiting our carbon emissions?!?) one has to assume that if it’s now “law” that fossil fuel extraction is maximised, that to protest against fracking is therefore against the law so this writers advice would be to just stand by the roadside and look immensely sad. Of course we all know that’s not going to happen, especially in Lancashire.

This writers best guess is that fracking will continue to blight the lives of community after community until the frackers hit the sweet spot and we get an English “Bentley”. Bentley, NSW Australia, was a classic case of the oil and gas industry getting it horribly wrong. Whereas you can frack pretty much where you want up in Queensland’s BIG Country where Queenslanders are a pretty laid back bunch, the New South Welsh are a different breed entirely. The Northern Rivers area is part of their dna, they fuken LOVE their land, they were never ever going to have her fracked and they turned out in HUGE numbers to just stop the frackers in their tracks. The NSW authorities were just about to send 800 fully kitted riot cops into the Bentley camp but someone figured that it would be such a PR horror show for them that they cancelled the cops at the last minute.

England will inevitably have its own Bentley, it’s inevitable that the frackers will sooner or later pick on a fully socially connected and fully mobilised community who will absolutely point blank refuse to be fracked and at that point it’ll get super fruity.

Until then, unless the Greens or an NGO seriously up their game don’t expect fracking to make any national election debate but do expect our thoroughly captured “politicians” to take this election as a mandate from the people to frack them and definitely expect horrors to be visited upon your otherwise peaceful communities……..

Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton

Follow on Twitter@MancunianSpring

Anti-Fracking Electoral Parties in England

The Green Party


Left Unity

The Reality Party

The Pirate Party

***Since publishing this article the State of Maryland has joined the ever growing list of legislatures that have banned fracking…..