Saving your sacred land from fracking…the Salford way

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….

….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….

….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.

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


An autonomous North England takes a huge step forward


A seismic shift in Northern politics is taking place and fast gaining momentum with the formation of the brand new Northern Party. The party has been formed by folk from across the political spectrum which is probably the best reflection that the old politics just isn’t working for the North and the party will be trying to rectify this by pushing for autonomy for the region including a complete reboot of democratic systems.

There’s a saying that you either do politics or you have politics done to you and it would appear that many people in the North are over having politics done to them. The most pertinent example of this is fracking with vast swathes of the trans Pennine Bowland shale formation due to be turned into a toxic frackfield with no mandate from the people whatsoever and in most cases completely against their will. The Northern Party’s policy on fracking is that it should only proceed if the people of the North want it to. This only sounds eminently simplistic and obvious because of the huge democratic deficit that people currently suffer under and is the perfect example of why there is a demand for such decisions to be taken locally rather than have a cabal of oil and gas industry captured politicians impose an “ultrahazardous” industry upon the North from a thoroughly detached Westminster even though we have Doctors screaming out for the “inherently risky” process to be banned.

This isn’t the only ongoing example of such an appalling lack of democracy bordering on totalitarianism. In November of last year Chancellor George Osborne flounced into town to inform the people of Greater Manchester that we are going to have a Mayor imposed upon us even though we decisively voted against having a Mayor in 2012 and that we would have absolutely no say in the matter this time around?!? It didn’t end there. Earlier this year we were subsequently told that the Greater Manchester NHS budget would be devolved as part of the “deal” effectively ending the “national” part of the health service. All of this has been arranged behind closed doors with minimal to no public consultation. This is precisely the kind of situation that the new Northern Party will be fighting to put an end to.

We could spend pages remarking upon the unconscionable and never ending disparities between the North and the South but they are already throughly well documented. The fact that if you happen to be born 300 miles to the South you will most likely live an extra 10 years, experience a much lesser degree of infant mortality and have orders of magnitude more infrastructure spending on your behalf. The fact that we don’t have to repeat these things is thoroughly depressing, the fact that nothing has ever been done about such a morally repugnant state of affairs, more so.

The North is now fighting back and when viewed in the context of a mass political awakening sweeping down from the Scottish highlands it could be time to flush the Xanax down the toilet as the people of the North are finally starting to “do politics”. The Scots have been asked the question regarding the Union and the answer is that it will inevitably be breaking up on the basis of Scottish voter demographics alone with older Unionists dying off every day being replaced by younger advocates of independence. Perhaps more importantly than this almost half of an entire nation who we are supposed to be in partnership and harmony with have openly and forcefully declared that they are sick and tired of the current broken model of Westminster politics…and its not just the Scots that think this.

Both Yorkshire and the North East are currently experiencing a boom in devolution movements. Now Lancashire has finally joined the party and although there will be some who may have concerns over the splitting of Northern devolution votes the most important thing is that the people of the region are now eminently more politically active and will no doubt be bright enough and definitely motivated enough to be able to thrash out a way forward and as Westminster quite literally crumbles into the Thames a new form of politics is already taking its place.

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