Finally..the truth about the brutality at Barton Moss

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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.
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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

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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
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#PublicInquiryNow

Fracking slave traders chased out of Cheshire village

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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

APPEAL

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…

CLICKITY CLICK ☺

That Lancashire Fracking Victory..oh yes it was

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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

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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….
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….and the message is being sent loud and clear to the men in grey suits in the building behind….
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….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…
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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 🙂
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Tuesday 23rd June 1.30pm

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

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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…
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Wednesday 24th June 1.00pm

THERE’S A FLAG ON THE PLAY!!!!

….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…
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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?
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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…
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…academics tried to step in and tell Lancashire County Councillors not to be so bloody stupid…
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…the atmosphere was often tense outside of County Hall with the pressure etched on peoples faces…
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…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…
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…don’t allow yourself to feel sorry for the back scuttler though, he’s upsetting our senior citizens and that’s just not on…
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…local support was fantastic with a non stop cavalcade of honking car support…
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…and in typical British style what could have been a sombre day was turned into a carnival…
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…and would you believe it?!? Even the Police couldn’t resist the carnival of life mood forming into an impromptu drum corps…
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…because they were obviously feeling the love…
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…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…
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Monday 29th June 11.15am

BREAKING NEWS….FRACKING REFUSED IN LANCASHIRE!!!!

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 🙂
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Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton
Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring

Pope confirms fracking is the devils work and that it’s facilitators are evil

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Who knew?

Whilst it’s suddenly become “the glorious 12th” when it comes to shooting the messenger you’ve got to take your hat off to Pope Francis. I don’t care that its kinda in the same ball park as Sepp Blatter telling you how to run your local FA, Frankie has so far played a solid innings and he nails it, the further mining of fossil fuels is morally repugnant, eco system trashing and must end now unless we’re hell bent on subjecting countless more people to turmoil and death.

It’s a moral paradigm shifter.

The game is up for the fossil fuel freaks, they can carry on doing what they’re doing but they’ve had whatever thread bare moral rug they had pulled out from under them. The Pope in his encyclical has clearly painted the battle lines between “inspiring Earth protectors” and mindless Planet plunderers so folk now have to decide which camp they’re in, this is why he aimed his canonical canon at the whole World’s populace rather than just his flock.

So that’s both the moral and the fiscal argument against fracking won then. You have to be economically and markets illiterate to invest in the fossil fuel bubble when even Mark Carney of the Bank of England is screaming out that 80% of known fossil fuel reserves have to stay in the ground to avoid climate meltdown. You’d have to show a whole new level of steaming ignorance to back massively expensive energy extraction methods that will take years to implement just when the cost of producing cheap and unlimited renewable energy is coming crashing down and getting ever more efficient and widespread with every passing day.

These fossil fuel flunkys are like shore wandering Neanderthals risking life and limb collecting shellfish on wave battered rocks when all they have to do is wait a while for the inevitable tide to go out.

Talking of species that no longer walk this land Lancashire County Council meet next week to decide whether the sea level areas of the County Palatine should dig up more fossil fuels to contribute to climate meltdown and inexorably rising sea levels.

You really can’t make this shit up. It’s the nearest that you’ll ever get to a Lemming town hall meeting.

Here’s something else that you can’t make up. Officials at the Council have already concluded that having fracking rigs all over the joint won’t have a detrimental effect on tourism to the area. This is most likely because they’ve discovered that families include on their tick list of holiday “must haves”..must have sweeping views of the HGV filled toxic emission belching frackfields or..must have ram jammed traffic jams that include radio active water pissing tankers. There’d be every likelihood that social services would get involved if you started camping with your kids in an industrial estate but officials at Lancashire County Council have conculded that in one of the most competitive tourist markets on the Planet, having a routinely banned and globally controversial process sited on the Fylde won’t adversely affect tourism.

Preston where the Council is seated can be looney tunes though and next week it won’t be just a place that you go through to get somewhere nice (East Lancs author 🙂 )…the World and his Wife would appear to be descending upon the historic City, there’s even a rumour sweeping the hills of the red rose County that the Pope’s going to put in an appearance….
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***possible sighting of Pope***

….told you it was looney tunes.

With the collapse of the ecological, fiscal and moral arguments for fracking and it having been generally demonstrated to be really rather shyte and eminently ban worthy we find out next week whether the system is that morally and democratically bankrupt that approval for the abhorrent activity of extreme mining in our communities sails through anyway.

Regardless, Pope Frankie thinks that we’re inspirational and gets the “rich road” that we’ve travelled and that’s really bloody nice of the lad 🙂

See you at Preston Tuesday 23rd & Wednesday 24th

“Ohhhh Francis of Assisi,
He is the fookin Pope,
He is an Argentinian,
He fills us all with hope,
He loves renewables,
Thinks fossil fuels are lame,
And when we stop the frackers,
We’ll sing this song again!!!”

Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton

Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring

#DontFrackLancs #WeAreAllLancashire #FrackStopsHere

The fracking Elephant in the #GE2015 room will crush your property value

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It’s FINALLY been figured out that folk don’t really fancy living with a frackpad cranking away at the bottom of their garden 24/7. It’s basic common sense that property prices in frackfields will collapse with balancing price increases on the safe periphery of said frackfields, even more so in the compact housing market of the UK where an equally desirable million pound property can be found just 30 miles away from a place where a poor besieged vendor is having to declare that the frackers have just rocked up. The vendor will also have to explain to his prospective purchaser that due to the passing of the Infrastructure Bill in January an Englishman’s home is no longer his castle. The government now has a legal right to frack right under your property, dispose of what it wants into the workings under your property, with you having no legal recourse to object whatsoever. Who in their right mind would take a life shaping million pound punt on something like that?

FINALLY the nations Estate Agents are figuring this out. The prestigious and well read Mortgage Finance Gazette has just headlined that “Fracking Will Hit House Values” having FINALLY surveyed Estate Agents in the frackfields…some property marketers state house value crashes of up to 70% and they hardly even touched upon the blighted people who will simply NOT be able to sell their property until the frackers go in 15/20 years and that’s IF the place isn’t a toxic wasteland with an enormous clean up bill dumped on the locals.

The market never lies.

If given a choice of a million pound dream home in the idyllic Lancastrian countryside are you going to live in North West Lancashire in the fresh air stream of the Cumbrian mountains or 25 miles South in the Fylde that’s littered with a fouling toxic industry that’s banned for being highly hazardous to human health in multiple legislatures, that will fill the quiet country lanes with chemical dripping HGV’s, cause seismic events, poison groundwater and generally not look very nice. Put it really simply, would you move your Children and family into a house built in an industrial estate?

How those like Dave, so all out for shale or like Ed, thinking that the poisonous nonsense can be regulated didn’t see the inevitable affects on house prices is astonishing especially in a land so rampantly obsessed with location location location but then again, we know that they did know don’t we.

Rewind to the laughably redacted DEFRA report into the impacts of fracking in the UK…
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…the parts that they redacted like a kid let loose with a can of Coke and a black crayon were later said to have been CENSORED so as not to instantly shut down all further “debate” regarding fracking in the UK (not that there was any debate). What would provoke such a car crash response to the further debate and promotion of fracking to the average Englishman? A legally enforceable collapse in property value with no recourse whatsoever would do that so it was probably best not to stress the poor little loves about it.

If you still feel that you’re not having the wool pulled over your eyes consider just two things.

Mortgage Finance Gazette… “The Department for Energy and Climate Change is expected to auction off licence blocks to fracking firms over an area covering more than half of Britain just after the general election”…these PEDL license blocks were due to be auctioned before the election but were put back much to the laughter of the anti fracking community. One has to assume that the round was put back so as not to alarm the natives, which leads to point two.

Regardless of your opinion on whether fracking should proceed or not there can’t be any doubt that the process is highly contentious. Full scale fracking will also be nation changing for huge swathes of our land mass and perhaps most pertinently, fracking will have major consequences upon millions of English families in huge scale property value fluctuations and life changing sales disruptions. Yet fracking has barely featured in the general election #GE2015 discourse. A policy that may affect a percentage of child benefit is endlessly chewed over by the parties and main stream media whilst a policy that could wipe countless thousands if not millions from people’s property values barely gets a mention.

The reason that fracking just isn’t being talked about on a national basis by the Lib/Lab/Con UKIP establishment parties is because the process has been so thoroughly discredited on so many different levels that they know that they can’t defend the indefensible or sell a bag o shyte. You can tell just as much by what these people will talk about as by what they steer well clear of like a public space or a leader debate and they’re not talking about fracking because they know that only 19% of DEFRA poll respondents would even consider living next to a frackpad and that was before this confirmation that fracking will hammer your house value. They will definitely not want to talk about that and the proof of that pudding now has an election build up of fracking silence to clearly demonstrate it.

There’s still time to make these people accountable for their gross and intolerable decisions or at least be forced to discuss their justification for entering millions of English folk into some sickening form of post code frackfield lottery. The good people of Scotland showed us that with social media power and a awful lot of grassroots organisation, that a people can get an issue such as Trident onto the election agenda whereas it probably wouldn’t have even featured.

We’ve got just a handful of days to ask #WhereTheFrack because you can guarantee one thing. After the election every single fracking party will claim that they now have a mandate from the British people to frack and it’ll be time for you to go eyes down and look in for the great UK PEDL bingo lottery.

Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton

Follow on Twitter @MancunianSpring

MancunianSpring recommends a vote for any anti austerity/anti fracking party such as the Green Party, SNP, Plaid, Northern Party, Yorkshire First, North East Party, TUSC, Left Unity, Reality Party and all anti fracking Independents

🙂 Peace

Saving your sacred land from fracking…the Salford way

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It’s very hard not to declare our Salford Mosses safe from fracking today on this Earth Day as something quite remarkable and pivotal has happened on the last 3% of British Lowland Mossland in existence. A fantastic Salfordian Gentleman is dedicating a substantial building on his Mosses business complex as a Mossland education centre. This may not sound like much but it’s a part of the journey in a battle to save Salford Mosses that began when the despicable frackers iGas first concreted over land that our forefathers sweated blood over to reclaim from bog.

The first part of that journey involved Salfordians and dear friends from around the UK routinely putting their lives and liberty on the line in the daily battering through of the fracking convoys replete with their gnarly and brutally impatient riot cop escort. Folk weren’t enduring freezing forced marches and impromptu facial grinding into wintery wet concrete for financial reward or kudos but because they had a love for a land so precious that few could understand it. Folk were fighting for a land where they saw their first Barn Owl quartering a moss field or where they took endless Summer bike rides as a kid or perhaps disappeared into the embrace of a Mossland lane to avoid a spot of bother with the authorities…there were myriad reasons why Salford Mosses held a place in people’s hearts.

The second part of our fight back against fracking was the vehement assertion that there WAS a better way, not even focusing on the simple basic fact that fracking makes no economic sense whatsoever, what with it essentially being a Ponzi scheme. Rather, those opposed to fracking argued the value of what fracking would inevitably destroy. Not only are the Salford & Manchester Mosses a postage stamp piece of the last 3% of British Lowland Mossland in existence (yes, I know I’m repeating myself but that probably warrants repeating) they also contain some of our most endangered bird and wildlife species. You could at this point put a J R Ewing accent on and say “how purdy, but that ain’t oil money baby” but you’d be overlooking the distinct possibility that the Mosses could very easily qualify for a UNESCO listing on its historical value alone with Stephensons miracle railway sailing through her to the North and the engineering wonder of the Manchester Ship Canal gliding through to the South. Lancashire Wildlife Trust have recently bought pretty much the entire South West corner of the mosses and are building what will become the new Martin Mere of the North….
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….in fact it will be better. Walking across its ancient dark soil today a Yellow Wagtail freshly returned from Africa almost blinded me with its sunflower dazzling yellow….
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….and when Common Cranes fully return to our mosses to perform their graceful mating dance for the first time since the era of Henry VIII we’ll be beating folk away from visiting our land with a stick. Our mosses, if treated in a less Neanderthal way could be a source of sustainable income generation, local jobs forever and a unique carbon sink of an area treasured by the folk of Lancashire for generations to come rather than the toxic crime scene of a modern day 15 year “Harrying of the North” by incompetent and corrupt buffoons. Even the Normans whilst pillaging the North for 20 years raising everything to the ground would have probably baulked at destroying a Mossland carbon sink at a time when carbon in the atmosphere is a bit of a problem…they just wanted to kill EVERYTHING not kill themselves?!?

“The Natural Beauty of the Salford & Manchester Mosses”

Our Salfordian lad’s premises of which I bring you news is just half a mile along from the Lancashire Wildlife Trusts site at Little Woolden Moss. From there he’ll be running his new Mosses Community Centre to stage mosses nature walks to the Lancs Wildlife site and all over the mosses. He’ll be reaching out to the other Farmers in the area to build bird hides on their land to watch the enormous flocks of Lapwings pee wit and acrobatically display their affection for each other, to set aside wild flower borders to encourage farmland birds, bees and butterflies. He’ll be looking to run sessions for local Children to pond dip in his many pools and just generally get out and about on the moss nurturing a whole new generation of Salfordians with a love and appreciation of the natural beauty on their doorstep. Who knows what else could happen from there, community farming perhaps, renewable energy projects, maybe even Bez of the Reality Party filling the joint full of bees after we’ve completed part three of our journey in the Salfordian way to fight fracking…take their power away from them 🙂

There’s every possibility that Bez will take Hazel Blears safe Labour seat of Salford & Eccles, in fact, if you’ve got a spare Tony Benner I’d put it on the Bezster because thanks to Labours attempts to frack the living crap out of us they’ll most likely be losing a seat thought safer than Robert Mugabes ZANU PF seat in his hometown constituency. On a wider front, Lancashire and the Fylde Coast in particular are currently in open revolt over fracking, just don’t expect to see it being reported on the main stream national media. Being assaulted by fracking has also lead to a new form of politics in the North West typified by Frack Free Lancashire member and The Northern Party’s candidate MP for Blackpool North & Cleveleys planting a tree along Barton Moss Road at the site of the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp on Earth Day 2015.
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Just over a year ago James was knocking around a grubby (although beautiful) anti fracking camp in a freezing field delivering pizzas asking what he could do to help…fast forward just over 12 months and he’s running for Parliament for a Northern secessionist party stating a clear cut and unequivocal case for a cleaner more environmentally friendly future for Lancashire.

This beautifully circuitous journey by James is also reflected by the owner of our new eco-hub on the mosses, a fella whose passion for the Salford Mosses has been proven and tested by the love, sweat and investment that he’s already put into his land. With his site becoming a kind of hippy version of the Normandy Beaches, from that “bridgehead”, combined with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust site, and in conjunction with a reinvigorated local love for the land we’ve got the complete recipe for any British community to beat the frackers. If you can just inspire a complete reconnection with your local land that may have been lost within some folk whilst harnessing the love and passion of the folk that never did lose it there’s no way on Earth that your land is getting fracked just as our land in Salford is now never ever going to get fracked……

Author: Smokin’ Joe Brotherton

“The welfare of the people is the highest law”….Salford