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



Fella lives in tree…Mum hates on Nicola Sturgeon?!?


We’ve currently got an Englishman living up a tree to save his land from extreme energy and my dear old Mum’s got her hate on for our kid Nicola Sturgeon and both of those things need to stop right now!!!

Being part Jute upon a recent trip down South to my Southern heimat I found my sweet hearted Ma bad mouthing the female Ghandi of our time, Nicola Sturgeon?!?

Here’s what’s happened.

My Pops is an ex Shop Steward. He was left wing. He always bought the Mirror and the Mail to get a balanced view. A while back, for whatever reason, he stopped buying the Mirror, he’s in his mid 70’s now and perhaps it’s right what they say about “the older you get the more right wing you become”. So the old fella has had nothing but reading the Mail for a few years now. Factor in also that my folks are of that generation who believe that the BBC is some form of sanctified distributor of truth and you have what’s been happening to millions of my fellow Engerlanders. They really have done the full job on these people and I think that it’s important that our Scottish brothers and sisters understand that. I know that you ken anyway because you obviously had the whole BBC/msm “Project Fear” experience and are fully wise to the corruption of it all but it’s so vitally important that we properly address this idiotic nose lead mind set and challenge the crap out of it. If I use that experience with my folks as a litmus test I think that we’ve got our work cut out but descending into any more cross border fear and loathing nonsense isn’t an option. Anyone with even a brief understanding of the violent past relationship between England and Scotland would stow that idiocy immediately but we live in times of a beast in its death throes and it’ll spit poison and take down whoever it can with it.

Now the good news. Many many English have been through a 5 year boot camp with these Tory weirdos. There are a MULTITUDE of battling grassroots organisations all over the place.

This brings me back to our lad up a tree.

We’ve fought fracking to a virtual standstill in England and have been doing for a number of years now. Frack Free Lancashire is one of the most successful grassroots organisations that the North West has probably seen since the days of The Chartists or Suffragettes and organisations like Frack Free Ryedale and Frack Free Nottinghamshire are just about to come into their own. We’ve always opposed fracking because, well, it’s really crap..but we’ve always also championed a better way and most importantly loads of English young’ins are involved in what is essentially family based community resistance so the future’s very bright.


Frack Free Notts this past weekend

There are indeed many of my fellow English that will swallow any old bilge, there always will be in any land, and we haven’t had the two years intense political engagement that Scots have had but what we lack in over arching political organisation we make up for in young ballsy getting stuck in opposition to things that are patently wrong. Combine Scottish grassroots organisation with English community action networks and that’d be quite the brew.

In the meantime we’ve got Gary living up a tree at a site where the frackers iGas want to drill for coal bed methane..a handful of metres from the sacred River Mersey and a few hundred yards from Chris Packham’s fave Nature Reserve, Woolston Eyes. Our Gary’s not having that, or at least he’s not having that until he’s gained more local awareness of what’s happening at Warrington or laid a couple of eggs in his tree nest. Gary doesn’t want to live in a tree, he’s not a bird, he’s got a perfectly nice home just down the road that doesn’t sway like HMS Victory’s mast in a gale. He doesn’t want camera crews filming him with food being hoisted up to him, he’s not some form of weird human addition to Springwatch, although he wouldn’t turn down a visit from Michaela Strachan. What Gary wants to do is to be able to tell his story…to anyone that will listen…he’s up a tree…there’s not a lot on up there….

This story will be subject to the usual national hush hush main stream media blackout that we’ve always had with the nationally significant process called fracking but we’ve got our own media now haven’t we……

DM @MancunianSpring on Twitter for a chinwag with our lad up a tree…he’s given us his phone number hehe #SaveWoolstonEyes

Author: Manciavelli

Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring


I did sit my folks down and over a 3 hour period put them right on Nicola and how the Scots don’t really want to fashion cabers out of Westminster Hall woodwork and toss them around Parliament Green..just yet 🙂

Bentley on Mersey…where fracking ends in England?



Like a beautiful, blessed, but somewhat unruly child an anti extreme energy camp has just this second sprung into life in the most surreal place that the disgusting foul frackweirdos could have ever possibly dreamed of padding up…its at Woolston Eyes on the banks of the River Mersey right on the border between Warrington and Salford just yards away from Chris Packhams favourite SSSI Nature Reserve at?..yep, thats right…Woolston Eyes?!?, OK, so right now you’re saying WTF?!? ..get used to it baby..this is fracking..they frack exactly where they fracking want, “nature reserve”?!? frack off, who gives a duck? “pretty little birds”?!? frack them, they’re getting fracked, “Otters just returned to the water there”?!? screw those furry little frackers..they will quite literally frack anywhere…here’s the proof…they’ve opened up right next to Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve?!?

Some wholly detached freak in a suit somewhere has decided to extreme mine 2 miles down the road from Salford where iGas essentially got humiliated and drummed out of town just a year ago…pitching up next to Warrington who not only gave Salfordians unbelievably solid support at Barton Moss but who you also seriously wouldn’t want to frack with…next to the majestic River Mersey who most Scousers would want their ashes scattered into…yeah…thats exactly where I’d set up an extreme energy site just before an election where #fracking has been mentioned less than #janner and #csa

This is quite obviously going to get interesting…for further developments follow the Black Necked Grebe, one of the rare delights at #SaveWoolstonEyes <<<< can you believe this shit?!?

26th April

Popped down to the site and visited with some truly inspirational folk and properly met a former face across a Barton Moss convoy who turned out to be a year below me in my school in an obscure London overflow town that was like South Central LA without the shooters. Discovering this lead to a torrent of GTFO’s from me but I shouldn’t have been surprised, the first lad that I met at Barton Moss Community Protection Camp was born in the same hospital as me on the Isle of Wight?!? If I was on the Druid juice I’d be starting to think about guardian angels arriving on my Mosslands…everyone down at Woolston is a true guardian angel though.

So what looks like early preparations for a drill pad butts up against and borders The Mersey Way?!? Can you believe that? Imagine hiking along The Pennine Way and having to choke your way through a haze of Radon and drillpad emissions, flare stacks and roaring HGV engines. Imagine legging it all the way along The Mersey Way from Liverpool and your journey ends at a frackpad? There’s a family pub 200 yards away from the site with an outdoor kiddies play area?!? You seriously have to question what is wrong with these people who place such inherently dangerous and proven unhealthy operations in the heart of our communities and recovering environments.

The spot is a nature treasure as well, even though its under the permanently roaring M6. This bit of the old Mersey is the very first stretch after it departs the mighty Manchester Ship Canal. Its isolated, cut off almost and chock full of nest building Great Crested Grebes displaying to each other in full Summer plummage, hordes of Tufted Ducks and most importantly..recently returned Otters..this is what I mean by recovering environment.

To think that they’re even considering an extreme energy operation in such an area shows these people up for the wrong headed ecocidal maniacs that they are.

It was a gloriously sunny Spring day and some sweet video footage was taken which will be uploaded tomorrow………..


27th April
Woolston Eyes is at a point close to many Lancastrians/Northern folks hearts. Its where the graceful slopes of the West Pennines first come into view on the M6 Northbound. The first point where you 100% know that you’re in the North….

The watery sight of Woolston Eyes may well also be a familiar sight to Northland travellers as the unusual slithers of surprise wetland seem suspended in mid air above the Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal….


The iGas/Peel workings themselves are what looks like a standard set of bunds…

And turning directly around from that shot is the old Mersey herself…

Its an absolutely gorgeous spot flush full of wildlife. Just in a half hour stroll/filming session we recorded multiple wild fowl species including Garganey, a nest building pair of Great Crested Grebes and a whole host of chicks…

In the following film clip you’ll notice a footpath. Thats the Mersey Way. Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve is just along the Mersey up and above the fierce bank in view…


The beautiful altruistic and truly heroic folk on site are an inspirational set of characters, old friends from our huge victory at Barton Moss and new friends from struggles further afield. The ethos of the camp is to “do as you want” with a strong emphasis on “if you see a job, do it” but perhaps more importantly they want to put fracking on the #GE2015 agenda where so far its been completely missing.

They request the sacrifice of your finger skin cells alone in getting the word of #SaveWoolstonEyes out there….

Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring


The Northern Greenhouse – A New Vision Of The North

The North is a veritable garden of eden, The River Mersey, the Yorkshire Dales, Northumberland coast, Lake District, Fylde, North York Moors, the River Eden

The countryside of the North is beyond traditional left-wing/right-wing politics and Northerners have a deep, common sense appreciation of their environment

If managed and promoted with respect, a “Northern Greenhouse” can provide income and resources for many future generations

Recently, the Tory cabaret act “Dave n’ George” flounced into Manchester with little fanfare to announce a “Northern Powerhouse” to a non-plussed audience of suits – the concept of a new “Northern Powerhouse” is more dodgy than an HSBC Swiss bank account, and any reasonable critique should find it easy to dis-credit it as using the language and methodologies of a by-gone era ! We already have above EU law level pollution levels, so the last thing we need is more polluting industry, and the omnishambles of the recent Infrastructure Bill readings in the Houses of Parliament once again revealed how lost in a “corporate bubble” and out of touch Westminster is, times have changed – most of the world has moved on, but someone forgot to tell the ConDems !

Tourism for the North is worth around £20 billion per year and the pollution from a “Northern Powerhouse” (fracking rigs all over the place, radio-active material sloshing around, Underground Coal Gasification, stop, now!) would cause huge damage to the tourism industry, an industry that is reliant on the marketing of rolling hills and unique, unspoilt environments

Eco-Tourism is an industry on the rise, accounting for more and more of the tourism industry revenue as tourists look for wildlife and environmental learning experiences as part of holidays, and the North is placed in a superb position to experience positivity in this economic sector, if our land is managed with respect, wisdom and sustainable planning

The conservation movement has worked very hard for many years to turn the North into a patchwork of nature reserves that are experiencing high levels of visitors and at the same time we’re experiencing a renaissance in interest in farming and especially, community farming, people are becoming more connected to the land and to nature

So, rather than a “Northern Powerhouse”, a concept that seems to have never heard of climate change, shouldn’t we be embracing a much more viable alternative, one that takes into account the real challenges that we face for survival ? If we, and future generations are to survive, then we need to change our priorities, we have to get away from business for business sake, it’s got to be practical! Business and science, and the use of science, has to be sensible

At the heart of a “Northern Greenhouse” could be a full Eco-system services audit for the North (with a focalpoint on water, the elixir of life, including the gathering of rainwater and the conversion of salt water to freshwater), and reference to the Zero Carbon Britain Report

Manchester being the official European City of Science is a great opportunity for the North to embrace and promote green science and create ground-breaking scientific knowledge, in light of the launches of the One Million Climate Jobs campaign and Greater Manchester Community Renewables, that aim to bring renewables, sustainable growth, jobs and the democratisation of energy

The North needs to get its’ house in order now, especially with news of water shortages and fracking contamination issues hitting international headlines, and the United Nations Climate Change Conference approaching fast in December 2015 in Paris

“DevoManc” NHS Protest 29th March


Sunday 29th March 2015 will see the people of Greater Manchester rallying to the defence of the NHS and demanding a say in their own region’s devolution deal. It is perhaps worth repeating that again, because at first it sounds quite unbelievable…demanding a say in their own region’s devolution deal!?!

We have already covered the lack of public consultation endemic within the “DevoManc” #dodgydeal and that would be enough to exercise the most politically moribund folk but now George Osborne and his troupe of performing local Councillors have gone and supremely pissed off legions of NHS protectors?!?

Dr David Wrigley as well as remarking on the mind melting lack of democracy involved within “DevoManc” said“Local patient groups, local GPs, local NHS staff, local MPs, national medical organisations and patient groups need to be all over this deal like a rash”…the breaking up of the NHS…in the birthplace of the NHS?!…you’d think so….

Herr Osborne seems to have just raised the border barrier of the NHS Sudetenland and marched his Panzer army of Labour apparatchiks straight into Czechoslovakia. This bizarre throwback move will be complete when we have our new fat little Oberbürgermeister installed who will no doubt be sporting jodhpurs and semi ironic lisp.

The people of Manchester are still coming to terms with the new realpolitik of how things are done these days, how pet projects are just dreamt up amongst yer mates and arbitrarily imposed upon 2.7 million people with no consultation. It’s lead to a renaissance of ideas within Greater Manchesters 10 boroughs such as Potty Pete of Levenshulme declaring the joint an independent Saxon fiefdom with tribute to be paid by all passengers on the 192 who shall journey forth through the boundaries. You are now no longer allowed to enter Bolton unless you are dressed as a Pirate, and according to a pronouncement by Lord Hosepipe Fran of Wigan the NHS won’t just be devolved to the region, each house will be allocated a Doctor with a crash team stationed in every corner shop. The Greater Manchester populace are currently spiralling off into new realms of “they’re makin’ it up as they go along’isms”.

So the folk of Greater Manchester are faced with two choices in this situation. To either shout yourself half crazy in your own car or to fight.

Manchester is the same city that recently hosted the largest protest in its illustrious and rebellious history in defence of the NHS so it was only ever going to be FIGHT!!!

Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton

Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring



PETITION demanding that the people of Greater Manchester have a say on “DevoManc”

“DevoManc” explained to a space visitor


Picture the scene. You open your Sunday newspaper to discover that a cabal of Westminster MP’s have decided that from now on the UK will be run on a Presidential system, that an interim President chosen from the “political elites” would be installed any day now but we might be able to vote on a President in 2017.  After choking on your Cornflakes and passing on to the sports section you could reflect that this is not dissimilar to what has happened to the 2.7 million inhabitants of Greater Manchester. The situation becomes even more democratically surreal when you consider that Mancunians were polled about having a Mayor in 2012 and said ta very much but you’re all right.

The background to this rather bizarre situation is as follows. In a moment of back of a fag packet policy panic George Osbourne blew into Manchester all full of jobs, growth and “Northern Powerhouse” soon after the Scottish independence vote in November of last year and he herded together a group of local Labour Party council bigwigs to sign off on a package conjured up by their right wing think tank, ResPublica, as “Devo Manc”.

We were told that Greater Manchester was to become some form of post renaissance neo City state rather like Venice with less canals but with a Doge installed. This was presented as such a done deal that George pre-empted calls for a referendum on the matter by saying that there would be no referendum on the matter. One could also consider this deal as more than done as the powers that be are obviously fully aware that we have a general election just around the corner and yet they’re not even prepared to allow the matter space on a ballot paper that will already be being printed.

So why the fait a compli and perhaps more importantly why is this being done with zero public consultation or indeed any referral to the people whatsoever? The simple answer is that following the Scottish referendum “NOT YET” vote the political establishment fully understand that the break up of the Union is an inescapable inevitability and they want the break up to be on their terms, what you might refer to as a controlled demolition. Following David Cameron’s rather odd dash to become a separatist the very next morning after the Scottish vote by inexplicably killing the Union by announcing “English votes for English laws” he fired the starting pistol for devolution right into his own foot.

So where do we go from here and how do we escape the clutches of an establishment devolution model attempting to maintain as much of the status quo as possible with the illusion of more local powers?

In Greater Manchester people have been organising since very early December. Folk from the broadest church of political affiliations gathered in central Manchester to establish The Greater Manchester Referendum Campaign to demand that the people of Greater Manchester have a say on whether they want a Mayor or not. An online petition has been set up but more importantly, “pile in” petition signings have been organised in all of Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs since early January. On Sunday 15th February GMRC members conducted a mass poll and survey of Sir Richard Leese’s Crumpsall constituency in North Manchester, Leese being one of the main architects of “Devo Manc” and the leader of Manchester City Council.

It wasn’t surprising that the vast majority of Crumpsall citizens had no idea that “Devo Manc” was happening let alone the fact that they are soon to have a Mayor enforced upon them but perhaps what was surprising and somewhat heartening was that in answer to the question, “would you prefer a wider devolution incorporating the North West” the answer was an almost 80% YES.

Probably the most interesting development in this fast moving story is the arrangement of “Assemblies for Democracy” with one being held in Manchester Friends Meeting House 18th April. Momentum is fast growing for not only a rejection of “Devo Manc” but the securing of devolution on the peoples terms rather than the establishments. Another extremely interesting twist to this story are the contacts that are being made between North West advocates of a people lead devolution and Scottish independence groups and other devolution/independence groups from around the UK such as Yorkshire, Wales and Cornwall.
It is also interesting that the drive for regional devolution is becoming a common purpose at a variety of levels within society with groups as diverse as Campaign for the North, the CBI and grassroots organisations all pulling in a similar direction and when you combine this with the burgeoning independent media scene and citizen use of social media the future looks intriguing.

It is noteworthy that Paul Salveson is calling for a Northern Assembly fed by assemblies from across the region which is no doubt urgently needed. Perhaps the bigger question is, should there not be a call for a UK wide peoples assembly to settle this matter on a national basis and attempt to forge a new way for us all to live together on these islands? Doesn’t it just happen to be the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta this June?

Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton

Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring

From an article published in The Chartist Magazine and since publication in this fast moving story an announcement has been made that all NHS spending will be devolved to Greater Manchester

“DevoManc” NHS chaos

It started with a leak, led to blind panic in the BBC news studio and now interest in “DevoManc” is hitting new levels as folk discover that the nationally cherished NHS is no longer national.

The shock announcement, leaked on Tuesday 24th February in the Manchester Evening News, was that the £6 billion NHS budget for Greater Manchester is to be handed over by George Osborne to the new, as yet unnamed, “interim” Mayor, perhaps in the form of a huge charidee-style plastic cheque or banknotes stuffed inside a nice card?

This deal has more than a soupcon of dodginess about it so, the question is why are Greater Manchesters’ Labour Council leaders cosying up to Gideon, having “all in it together” photos in what any intelligent observer might see as lining up to be Westminster fall guys and, metaphorically, punching themselves in the face, especially when Labours’ NHS Tzar, Andy Burnham appears to be completely opposed to this dodgy deal?

On Wednesday 25th February when the BBC finally caught up with the story there was a hurried accoutrement of establishment propaganda served up, complete with a guest cheer-leading appearance from, none other than, you guessed it? The un-elected, unrepresentative, Respublica gobshyte who has no authority to speak on behalf of the people of Greater Manchester and who no Mancunian has ever heard of, Phil Blond.

All of this took place on the same day that £45 million of cuts were voted through by “DevoManc” signatory, highly unpopular Salford Mayor, Ian Stewart, and Salford Labour Council, who, paradoxically, sat under a sign that read “salus populi suprema lex” – the welfare of the people is the highest law!

The announcement about the NHS budget drew swift responses with Twitter lighting up with bemused and angry NHS advocates, the most prescient comment coming from a Greater Manchester Consultant Surgeon…


After the initial post leak chaos it was no great shock that the main stream media inevitably swung in behind the deal as the entire “Devo Manc” package has been subject to the usual full court press of positive media propaganda. It was therefore not surprising, but no less disturbing, that writers such as Simon Jenkins of The Guardian completely ignored the appalling lack of democracy in the situation?! Indeed, even academics such as Manchester University’s Iain Deas paid scant regard to the fact that major decisions regarding the lives of over 2.5 million Greater Manchester residents have been subject to zero public consultation.

Credible analysis came from The Spectator and New Statesman, and then, somewhat bizarrely a statement came from Andy Burnham about “Swiss cheese”?!

Salford Lad, a local, commented “when Andy Burnham started going on with himself about Swiss cheese, I thought it was the top tax dodging bank account offered at HSBC! Us Salfordians are fed up with smoke and mirrors, cuts and dodgy deals, what we need in Greater Manchester is a real deal for the people”

With “DevoManc” looking more and more like a leaky rudderless ship with the hapless Captain Gideon causing chaos at every tack it will be fascinating to see if the Good Ship Mancunian Freedom overtakes it with a true people led this space…

Author: Karl Sparks

Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring


Petition demanding that the people of Greater Manchester have a say on “Devo Manc”

Statement from National Health Action Party co-leader Dr Clive Peedell on NHS Devolution in Manchester

Campaign For The North blog, “Trust Osborne At Your Peril”