Monday, December 31, 2007

Review of 2007

Even though this blog hasn't actually been publishing material for all of 2007, we thought it was worth taking time to have a look back at the year and the articles on the blog, even if only to keep the sentimental(ist) types happy.


We kicked thing off at the end of March, right at the close of the objection period (which now seems so long ago), and followed that up with an attack on one Andrew Byford, a local nutter who was calling for a Glossop Bypass - & we've thankfully heard nothing from him since then.


April was a time to get serious, and although there was no all fools day blog, there were plenty of fools featured throughout the month. We published our take on the various (pointless) petitions that fly around, both pro and anti-bypass, and tried (and failed) to establish a dialog with Gamesley Councillor Anthony McKeown. We also thanked the Peak District National Park Authority for coming out against the bypass.

April was the month that saw the initial information about the Public Inquiry (PI) published, and there was much mirth to be had in the choice of the Inspector as one John Watson.

We published an analysis on the uneasy bedfellows that are the Glossop Spur and Longdendale Bypass, along with articles on Rossington Park.

We also published our first pops at politicians, national & local - in this case, James Purnell and the one and only Roy Oldham. The latter article - about Oldham's very public support for the campaign to keep the Woodhead line open in 1980 - seems especially apposite now given a new local campaign.

Amongst all the April Fools we blogged about, one still reigns supreme. Longdendale Councillor Sean Parker-Perry was still then masquerading as the blogger 'Roadmunkey', and had begun to shadow our blog with a series of ridiculous posts. At the time, despite accumulating evidence, we decided to keep this under wraps (only to have our thunder stolen later). But the blogs that followed were a good example of how to silence annoying little twerps, be they mere mortals or fuckwit councillors.

This was also the month to look back at a true hero, Benny Rothman, and the Ramblers who took part in the Kinder Mass Trespass of 1932 whose 75th anniversary was being celebrated. We focused on the fact that amongst the celebrants were those whose views would be an anathema to Benny and his comrades. In the 1990s, Benny had made common cause with anti-road protesters, and had joined a trespass walk at Twyford Down in 1994. No-one else made the connections.


May 1st was the date of the Pre-Inquiry Meeting, and our content this month reflected that, with the first of our video news features (ripped off, or liberated according to your POV).

We also looked at Glossop Councillor Ivan Bell and his attempts to keep everyone happy by opposing Rossington Park and wanting a bypass and the fate of Tintwistle Councillor Joyce Brocklehurst for doing the same thing. Bell lives on the margins of the issue in Old Glossop, whilst Brocklehurst lives on the frontline, and was a huge casualty for the pro-bypass cause.

We also pointed out how, unsurprisingly, we weren't (and still aren't) featured on the PI links page.


...was the month the Public Inquiry properly opened, and most of our content this month reflected that.

We also presented more evidence that Roadmunkey was Councillor Parker-Perry, and he duly vanished later in the month. The most damning evidence was not presented - we believe in keeping our powder dry - but what we had done was enough to shut him up.


As the PI continued, so did our reports, with a fair few this month devoted to the farce that was the evidence presented by members of the Longdendale Siege Committee, along with partner-in-crime Joyce Brocklehurst.

We also had time for a Beatrix Potter pastiche regarding planning decisions made by Mr Adrian Fisher of High Peak Borough Council's PLanning Dept.

Our biggest scoop this month was our revelation that the Bronze Plaque of Mottram-in-Longdendale erected by TMBC contained a homage to Roy Oldham, a scoop that was soon to become taken up by all kinds of media.

And we also asked the question 'who owns Roy's house'? It's still unanswered, but it's one of those things that may someday be revealed. But not online, because the Land Registry have since removed the online search facility from their website.

And whilst we regard many campaigning against the Congestion Charge in Manchester as Clarkson-esque cretins, some of us made it clear that we have reservations that it's not the 'white knight' it is being presented as in pseudo-environmental circles.


August saw us doing one of the things we do best - talking shit about Longdendale Siege, though let's face it, they make it easy. This time it was Brian (Darth) Butler's turn.

We also reported on a nature walk at Swallows Wood, attended by an ecologist who gave his view of the importance of the wood.

We also attended Climate Camp, where we led a discussion abut roads policy and made many important contacts.

And our final post this month featured a former soap star turned journalist, Nigel Pivaro, who is now ingratiating himself with the local mafia ahem council nicely.


We opened this month with a post about the fact that the champions of the bypass have not appeared at the PI to defend their pet project, and will not now be doing so.

And we looked at how Tameside leads the way in terms of the country's traffic congestion and is in the middle ages in terms of how it intends to 'solve' the problem.

We also had the scoop about the PI being cancelled on two occasions this month (the first here, and the second here).

And we carried news of Glossop and Longdendale's first Critical Mass, the subject of a lot of press attention this month. We also carried the video report.

And in the later days of the month, we carried very early reports about James Purnell's fake photo scandal and the possible links to good old Sean Parker-Perry.


This month, we carried on milking the Purnell story, with some humorous 'Photoshops' of our own, and looked at the thorny issue of development in Glossop. There were other things too, but this was a pretty quiet month.


Early in the month, we encouraged people to give a 'toot and wave' when venturing past Roy Oldham's house. We've absolutely no idea how successful this has been, and don't really care that much, but we hope he's wondered why people have been so friendly this past few weeks.

We also looked at the Government's new transport policy and revisited our post on development in Glossop, as well as kicking off our focus on local businessman Trevor Mooney, who seemingly has plans to 'develop' the Dinting area of Glossopdale.

We also looked at the trials and tribulations of the PI process, now descending into farce (after the 'tragedy' of the first cancellation, uncle Karl Marx is right in his dictum that history can only repeat itself thus from now on).

We also lent a certain amount of focus on the developing threat to the Woodhead Tunnel, something we'd looked at briefly over the months prior to November.


Following on from November, we devoted a fair amount of space to the Woodhead campaign, which formally launched later in the month. At this stage, National Grid were content to announce their plans semi-publicly to parish councils and the Glossop Chronicle was carrying reports of these meetings. But then midway through the month, MPs were getting on board, with Tom Levitt - going through his political death throes - eager to look like he was leading it. He can only wish...

We focused on the quiet role of United Utilities, and how this silent partner in the campaign for the bypass may really be a key accomplice after all.

It was hard to resist another pop at Trevor Mooney - and let's face it, he makes it so easy - with his campaign for a Golf driving range on Dinting. This time he painted himself in Greenwash by making out he was saving us all from dreaded knotweed, and that a load Argyle-clad bourgeois tossers would be preferable. Fore!(koff).

And of course, there was more delays with the PI, and we had a couple of posts about that (here and here). We think we now know what the delays are about, and we will have a huge scoop about that next month.

We also devoted a few posts to a lightning-fast local campaign to save a green space in Broadbottom - Temperance Green - was hugely successful. It would have been a good note to end the year on, but small fry when one considers the environmental disaster that High Peak Borough Council has promised the residents of Hadfield & Tintwistle by allowing SCC to throw up more unwanted warehouses near to Rossington Park.

And that's it for now. So, until next year (i.e. sometime this week), thanks for reading. Here's to another year of muck raking and shit-talking...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

SCC - defeat?

The worst news this past week has been that SCC seem to have won this round of their fight to erect yet more buildings at Bridge Mills, near to Rossington Park. These will be two huge buildings, between 37 & 46 feet high and 48,000 & 41,000 square feet in area. The best they can offer is that they will be 'sympathetically coloured' to blend in with the environment: it seems they've listened to Ivan Bell if no-one else.

There's been a lot of activity by the Residents Association to oppose any new construction, and hundreds of local people have signed petitions against any new plans. But this has predictably been ignored by SCC and High Peak Borough Council. The familiar justifying cry of 'bringing jobs to the area' is irrelevant since High Peak has full employment.

Glossop Advertiser and the Glossop Chronicle have both had articles this week about the planning meeting where the decision was ratified. The latter seems to have had use of a Crystal Ball and is headed 'villagers lose fight', and the Chronicle has a fatalistic 'Watchman' column (always written by David Jones, natch). Well, we'll see won't we? Because it's now clear that the authorities do not pay attention to polite objections, and this is clearly the time for new tactics. Either that, or this situation can only get worse for the area.

We'll be interested to see what happens from now on.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Temperance Green - victory?

We're pleased to report that the villagers of Broadbottom appear to have won their fight to keep Temperance Green from being tarmacked. At least for now.

Their blog reports that the Longdendale District Assembly has rejected the suggestions from their own planning officers, with that well known Eco-warrior Sean Parker-Perry taking it upon himself to write to residents.

This is something to celebrate. RAGE kicked off a swift campaign, utilising similar techniques to ours to get this issue out into the open. It's now nipped in the bud.

Our suggestion to them would be to go for formal Village Green status - if possible - to ensure TMBC can't change their mind again too soon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Public Inquiry cancellation - TV news item

Here we are again with Channel M news: to illustrate their news items, they love to use a traffic jam which is actually along the A57 going into Glossop at Brookfield, and in the opposite direction to the A628. They've done this before.

And they've got Mike Flynn to stand not far from his house again too. Our spies tell us there was no sign of him at the PI yesterday, as is usual. He's obviously not that outraged, or he'd be there telling the Inspector.

But the best bit is when he says "'s like this all day, every day for 24 hours...". Yes Mike, that's because it's a main road. But it's simply not true to say the traffic is the same all the time "24 hours a day". It's at it's worst at Peak times, and significantly less during school holidays.

You can always get the other side of the story here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hostages to fortune

Day 15 of the Public Inquiry (PI) - amazing isn't it? it's been running for more than 6 months, yet it's only just managed to have a fortnight of 'sitting days'.

The Highways Agency have managed to go one better than at the last hearing on November 6th. For now, they have managed to get the PI postponed indefinitely.

Stephen Greenhalgh (for the Highways Agency) was unable to say when their evidence would be sufficiently in order to present to the PI, but promised to return 'after Easter' to give an update. The Inspector, John Watson, wanted him to be more specific:

JW - There is an awful lot of time, I hope, after Easter 2008. How long after Easter 2008 do you have in mind?

SG - I don't know at this stage, sir.

For once, the Peak District National Park looked like they had some bite. Their Barrister, Mr Cannock, set out a perfectly reasonable possible order of events:
  • The Highways Agency withdraw the Line Orders
  • They produce new traffic forecasts
  • They introduce a consultation on a Peak Park-wide HGV ban and how route restraints measures will be secured
  • If the bypass still remains the optimum solution, their new evidence can be produced
These are serious points. Anti-bypass campaigners have always asked that a HGV ban be trialled, then that part of the argument can be dealt with. The promoters have always said 'it won't work', but there's no harm in trying, and it could have been running in the interim, during all this wasted time. Most reasonable people would surely agree.

Mr Cannock stressed that, as things stand at present, there is no valid evidence in support of the road proposal from either the Highways Agency or TMBC that is actually in existence. This left any future scheme approved by the Secretary of State under a real risk of a future legal challenge.

John Watson seemed to echo the latter point when he said even if he agreed that the proposals should go forward, he would have to explain to the Secretary of State why he had confidence in the 5th version of the HA's proposals (as things stand currently - it could be 6th soon!).

Predictably, Charles Calvert announced that the HA had no intention of withdrawing. So the show goes on.

John Watson insists that he is bound by the procedures - his beloved 'rules' that he referred to last time. He increasingly comes across as someone who wishes he could be put out of his misery. In our view - and probably his - the PI is being held hostage by the Highways Agency: they know that the rules mean this charade can go on and on.

It's in these circumstances that John Watson has decided to adjourn indefinitely or an 'unspecified date' as he put it. And to cap it all, objectors will only have 3 weeks notice of any future hearing when the HA has got it's act together.

So that's all for 2007. Who knows when we will meet again...

(Today's transcript can be read here - opens PDF)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Now everyone wants to save Woodhead...

We've had some good news this week. A new group - Save the Woodhead Tunnel has emerged to oppose National Grid's plans to vandalise the Woodhead Tunnel. There's a website, and there's an inaugural meeting in Glossop next Tuesday to which anyone interested in opposing the effective destruction of this vital resource is invited to attend.

But they're not the only ones. The Campaign for Better Transport is highlighting the tunnel as part of a campaign to reinstate disused railways, and the Guardian were on the case earlier this week. The Save Woodhead site also points us to a petition to reopen the railway on

Rather predictably riding on the coat-tails of this are politicians. Is anyone surprised that Tom Levitt has an article in this week's Glossop Advertiser pledging his support (a regurgitation of his press release)? There's a deliciously ironic quote in there:

"As transport and climate change issues grow in importance and priority, the chance of taking thousands of tons of freight off our roads and putting it on rail on this important transpennine route must be preserved"

This is the same MP that fully supports the Longdendale Bypass, and has stated in the past that use of the Woodhead Line would not come fast enough for his liking, and that was why he preferred the bypass. A scan of his column from the Glossop Chronicle of 7th December 2006 - 'Bypass plan will come before rail' - is here. The irony is that it looks increasingly unlikely that the Bypass will not be delivered inside the 10 years that Levitt said the Woodhead proposal should deliver by in order to receive his support.

Returning to his press release, what the government said 5 weeks ago with the release of their 'sustainable transport system' paper is the opposite of what we want and what his quote says he wants. Levitt knows that he cannot afford to be silent locally on this issue since it arouses such strong feelings, and it looks like this is his last tenure in office in High Peak. Of course, it is quite possible that he and other politicians may want to see a revival of Woodhead as well as a bypass, in order to massively increase freight capacity through the area. This may explain why the sponsor of an Early Day Motion condemning National Grid's plans for Woodhead, is none other than Graham Stringer, a former Chair of Manchester Airport, a company who would be all for anything that increases their business opportunities at any cost.

Activists should be reminded that this campaign will only succeed in spite of politicians, not because of them. If predictions we have heard are true, then National Grid plan to move very soon, and an appropriately effective response should be considered, not one that dithers.

Meanwhile, we will watch developments with much interest...

Running scared?

Front page news in the local papers this week is the latest tactics in the raging battle being fought by the despoilers of Hadfield and the residents of Hadfield.

JD Williams, the mail order catalogue giant, seem to be running scared that local activists are kicking them where it hurts in acting against their crackpot scheme to make their unfeasibly ugly grey sheds even bigger. According to the Glossop Advertiser, the company is asking it's employees to write in to High Peak Borough Council's Planning Dept in support of their application whilst passing themselves off as residents. This all sounds like stories coming out of Russia during the recent election, where Vladimir Putin's party had made civil servants an offer they couldn't refuse: vote for us or get the sack.

It gets better - today, they landed on our site, searching Google with the words 'high-peak (sic) planning hadfield'. Even more ironic, they landed on our recent article about the local anti-Del Boy, Trevor Mooney.

The consultation date has already ended for this application, but the Committee date is 14th January 2008, and we hope that a charabanc will wend it's way to the Council Offices at Chinley to tell HPBC's grey shed-loving nutters where to stick it. There's a more recent opportunity for similar fun this coming Monday (17th December), when further applications for de(re)generation will be heard from Rossington Park and Bridge Mills.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Save Temperance Green!

We've become aware of a new environmental campaign in Longdendale over the weekend: Residents Against Green Erosion (RAGE) have set up a weblog in their campaign to protect Temperance Green, a small patch of green land in Broadbottom.

TMBC seem to have plans to turn it into a car park. Our posts about the progress of Trevor Mooney's car park in Dinting should alert those who believe local authority planning departments have scruples about where to build, even a tiny bit of land in the middle of a small village like Broadbottom.

What makes this one interesting are several factors. One is that many of arguments espoused by RAGE are the same as we use in the fight against the bypass. Another is that it is really a microcosm of the bypass issue: if you allow roads to grow, you end up having arguments about the tiniest bits of green land left - nothing satiates the appetite of the road monster.

But best of all is that this is taking place in Broadbottom, and that RAGE have been talking to the bypass supporting councillors Jonathan Reynolds and Sean Parker-Perry. How likely is it that politicians such as these will be against a car park? I suppose we'll find out.

We'd like to add our support to this campaign and will be reserving a space in the sidebar for a link. In the meantime, RAGE have a video about their campaign on YouTube:

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Shock - High Peak Planning Officer rejects crackpot scheme

You may remember our post some time back about local impresario Trevor Mooney's plan to build a golf driving range on Dinting. Well, he's been re-treading the boards with his 'Del Boy spurned by local authority' act once again, in both of last week's local papers (Glossop Chronicle & Glossop Advertiser).

In a bizarre change to High Peak Borough Council's usual policy of carving up the landscape through the area, his plan has been rejected by an officer. What is of interest is that both articles suggest that this is only because they'd want him to have floodlighting and buildings, and he makes it clear that - luckily - he isn't prepared to pay for that.

Another interesting point is Mooney's clear ignorance about what an understanding & care for the environment entails in this quote:

"They (HPBC) also say the area is a wildlife site and needs protecting yet the field next to us is mown every week. Our field is full of knotweed and we are prepared to eradicate that for the golf range"

In Mooney's world, a Golf Course is good because it's a green space. Anyone who knows more about the environment than this pleb is aware that they are entirely artificial and highly environmentally damaging. Since they consist largely of huge sections of turf they are ecological 'desert' requiring huge amounts of water to keep them alive.

Mooney also rather childishly seems to think that mowing grass will kill all the little insects and mice who live there, and that has to be bad for the environment.

In Mooney's world, there are good plants and bad plants. For him, the environment is something to be tamed and controlled (which may go someway to explaining his semi-conscious analogy of his being a stranger in the 'Wild West' that the Chronicle article suggests). Of course, this could well be because he's a keen gardener, a leisure activity originally promoted in the nineteenth century by a ruling class very keen on social control in a time of huge social upheavals and class conflict. The Bourgeoisie do so like their little boxes with labels where everything will fit neatly, and the world can simply be divided into good and bad, and knotweed is clearly bad (despite being an important food source for butterflies and moths).

So it's golf or moths. I know which I prefer.

But Mooney does ask an important question which requires an answer:

"if is open countryside and designated, then why did they let me turn the field right next to it into a car park?"

Indeed, why did they?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny

Remember our last post about the Public Inquiry? We'd predicted a war of attrition, and there's some news today which bears that out.

The PI website contains a new Highways Agency document (opens PDF) which sets out their timescale for the republication of their Proofs of Evidence, the Environmental Statement and other relevant documents. They don't expect to have these ready until after Easter 2008.

Nice to have the advance warning for the next scheduled PI day of December 18th. On that day, does anyone expect Inspector Watson to do anything other than allow them to carry on with this farce?

In the meantime, the Easter Bunny is bunkered down and ready for war...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Greenwash the United Utilities way

It seems the institutions that are for this road are really now stepping up their efforts to marginalise the public from the facts.

United Utilities (UU) have now brought themselves into the firing line. An article in this week's Advertiser - which is clearly a press release from UU - waxes lyrical about how the Longdendale Trail really is a wildlife haven. This is the same week that has seen an article in the Glossop Chronicle trying to demolish hope for any plans to reopen the Woodhead Tunnel to rail traffic. Is all of this press coverage a coincidence?

The position of United Utilities in this one is very curious indeed. Their links with TMBC are not that well know, but the most direct and undeniable one is the fact that they enrol their employees into the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, a fund that is administered by TMBC, with Roy Oldham as Chairman. We've heard mutterings about shady financial deals done between TMBC & UU over The Kingswater/Waterside Park development years ago, in which TMBC paid millions to UU via a front company, in order the buy their land, despite the fact that the project was subject to tens of thousands of objections from the public.

Why have UU been keeping silent about the implications for their assets that the bypass will bring? As one of the largest landowners in the area, acres of their assets will be detrimentally affected by this road. Isn't it strange that they have not objected? But by the same token, they haven't supported the proposal. Is that because they don't want to be asked tricky questions at the PI?

Interestingly, they have objected to the alternatives to the bypass. And this info is in the public domain.

If one looks at their objection, one is immediately struck by the fact it is in the language of a less than worldly or literate individual - the use of the word LOTS in block capitals is almost laughable. What's more, since alternative 1 envisages the construction of only a small bit of road from the Showground roundabout, we're at a loss to understand why this is more destructive than a dirty great dual carriageway across the North of Longdendale - i.e. the bypass. And we could go on about the fact that this objection amounts to 1 side of A4, but that's surely too obvious.

UU's website has a page for the Longdendale Trail, but not Swallow's Wood. Visitors to Swallow's Wood will know that the reserve is not exactly actively managed by UU. Has another deal taken place, whereby UU's silence has been bought? Has someone 'sweetened the deal' to make the compulsory purchase of thousands of acres of their land more palatable?

Keep that in mind while reading the article about the Longdendale Trail. Any 'neglected' area stands a good chance of 'returning to nature', but equally any plans to re-use an existing trackbed for trains are in no way as grievous as the plans to destroy Swallows Wood with a brand new road. UU's silence over the devastation of their asset, Swallows Wood, is both conspicuous and deafening. I for one smell a huge cagney-esque rat.


13 days after we posted this story, this week David Jones of the Glossop Chronicle has spilled the beans on the details of the vandalism proposed for the Woodhead Tunnel. National Grid have apparently been keeping Charlesworth Parish Council informed of their plans - and nobody else.

In the article, David Jones is eager to point out that the plans of National Grid will put beyond use any rail option, and especially that of Translink, an alternative to the bypass.

But the key here is the stated purpose of the Electricity lines:

The new power lines will connect Greater Manchester with Yorkshire to meet the rising demand for electricity from the conurbation from power stations.

Given this government's stated commitment to reducing CO2 emissions, fostering smaller-scale, local & sustainable power generation projects is the way forward, not a continued reliance on old-style projects. Despite Steven Knight-Gregson's comments that "we have to replace these cables - we can't switch the lights off in Manchester", National Grid's advocacy of dirty, unsustainable power will surely result in that outcome happening much sooner unless unrealistic expectations about energy consumption are discouraged and micro-generation is not developed much more widely.

We'd be interested to know if anyone can enlighten us whether or not the power stations David Jones mentions include Drax near Selby in Yorkshire, site of the 2006 Climate Camp - targeted because this power plant alone emits more CO2 than 103 small unindustrialised nations.

But the most absurd part of this article is reserved to the last. Knight-Gregson comments that any future railway could use the Victorian tunnels - that is rather than the purpose-built, relatively modern tunnel that they want to vandalise.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Who are our David Abrahams?

We've run a whole series of posts where we've asked questions about things that just don't seem to fit right.

The national news at the moment features a whole host of - speaking frankly - shady, bent bastards who are prepared to open almost any door upon which money knocks.

But buried in the story of Labour's relationship with David Abrahams is the matter of planning permission for a retail park he wanted built in County Durham, alongside the A1. Initially, the Highways Agency had blocked the scheme on the grounds it would cause congestion (!). In October 2006, they changed tack and removed their objection. The excellent Paul Mason touched on it briefly in last night's Newsnight.

We are sure there are local similarities to this situation, some of which we've touched upon, some of which we've yet to look at. We've always smalled a rat, and eventually we will corner it and shine a light on it. You're welcome to help us.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Forewarned is forearmed

Are our suspicions about Trevor Mooney's plans for Dinting Road being confirmed? A visitor to the blog today is worth taking notice of.

Regus provide 'commercial real estate' for companies. In other words, if you're a business and want to rent an office and facilities, they provide it. Let their own words tell you a bit more of what they're about:

Companies of all sizes use Regus solutions to reduce costs and remove the burden of property ownership and management and to have a workplace to suit however they want to work.

Today, more than half of the Fortune 500, along with thousands of small- and medium-sized companies, are outsourcing some part of their office requirements to Regus.

Regus office space, meeting rooms, training rooms and conference rooms are located at premier addresses in city centers, central business districts or business parks with convenient access to major airports or public transportation.

Regus...maintains an aggressive growth strategy.

Regus Group plc is registered in England with company number 4868977 and its registered office is at 3000 Hillswood Drive, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 0RS, UK.

And the latter address confirms it's our visitor, if you look at the detailed search engine results. Their search term in Google? - "brownfield site in Dinting". Trevor Mooney must be licking his lips.

With all this local hostility to SCC, Rossington Park and the Bypass, we wonder if they know what they're letting themselves in for?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sacrificing all the glories of nature

The letter below appeared in last week's Glossop Chronicle, and whilst it's a little twee in places and seems to be a little too overly-impressed with 'the great and the good' it's worth reading and then comparing with the picture above - an artist's impression of what the bypass will look like, crashing through Swallows Wood.

As a walker/rambler for over 60 years, my favourite location is Swallows Woods, the 60 acre nature reserve at Hollingworth, on the edge of the Peak National Park.

Every year I have visited this lovely area in all the seasons and just as I write, the leaves are just turning and falling, and I am left wondering will this be my last changing of the seasons at
Swallows Wood.

One of my favourite spots to start a ramble has always been at Roe Cross, at Mottram Cutting, and onwards towards Rabbit Lane Hamlet, near the Old Hall and via Thornsett Hall.

Around the area of Mottram Cutting we have the frog stone, an entombed amphibian, which is difficult to find.

It's very small, above head height in the east side of the wall cutting. On the A6018 road and almost nearby, stands 'The Elms', the last home of the great artist L S Lowry, and just 100 yards away, a life size bronze statue of Lowry can be found sitting on a bench.

At the Roe Cross Inn, a footpath public signpost on the right hand side, which leads to Rabbit Lane, we have a wild meadow and an old milestone with a plaque, also an avenue of 40 lime trees donated and planted in 1993 for Queen Elizabeth, by a local school.

On the Old Road near the Roe Cross Inn, the white stone can be found located within a private garden associated with the legendary Sir Ralph De Staveleigh of Stayley Hall.

On Dewsnap Lane can be found built in the wallside at the farmgate near No.1 Cottage, a very old milestone reading 13 or 10 miles to Manchester. You can just make out the lettering.

Soon all this lovely open space and countryside around Swallows Woods, which is very popular with local people and visitors, could soon vanish for ever.

Swallows Wood is a beautiful place for wildlife, and also a very important stopping off place for migrating birds on their epic flight from South Africa.

Also in the Longdendale Valley, Tameside Council is to install four new boundary stones, one in Hollingworth Woolley Lane, and Roe Cross Mottram, and we must not forget the blue plaque which is situated at Etherow Lodge in Longdendale, the former home of the gardener Mr Bill Sowerbutts, of Radio 4's Question Time fame, situated near Arnfield Towers, another one of Longdendale's famous buildings, on the Woodhead Road.

All the things I have mentioned could be lost forever once the bulldozers and earthmovers move in Swallows Woods must be saved for future generations.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Say Goodbye to Woodhead?

Regular readers will be aware that we've written several times over the past few months about the plans that National Grid have to move high voltage cables into the 1954 tunnel at Woodhead, thereby ending any possible future use for the purposes it was built for - train travel and freight on the rails.

Over the past couple of months, things have got worse. In July, a variety of organisations joined with the Peak District National Park Authority to make representations about the threat posed by National Grid's intentions.

But by September, the Government had indicated it had no intention to intervene in the issue. Whilst this was reported and lamented over the other side of the Pennines, the local press over this side has been silent, until prompted by local campaigners. Indeed, the only other reference we can find to this issue locally is on Councillor McKeown's blog (upon which we blogged pointing out the contradictions inherent in the argument the Councillors put forward).

You don't have to be as cynical as we are to see how these delays have conveniently coincided with the Highways Agency's successful attempts to stall the Bypass Public Inquiry. The delays have meant that the timetable for the discussion of alternatives like the Translink proposal has been set further and further back. To those following the PI, it has been clear that the Inspector is keen to hear all about Translink, and he has made a lot of room for them.

But the clincher lies in National Grid's timetable for the planned legal vandalism. Whilst the PDNPA hint that the work will begin within the next 5 to 10 years, we have it on good authority that they are in fact due to start in February 2008. With the latest PI delays, there is no chance that the case for the alternatives will be held before then.

What is at stake in this veritable game of chess should not be underestimated. There is an already existing transpennine route that would require little comparable effort and expense to resurrect, utilising a comparatively environmentally friendly and sustainable mode of transport - which is badly needed. All of which is under threat from a multinational corporation whose only concern and responsibility is returning profits to shareholders. All of which is based on promoting the growth of unsustainable energy use.

We've already pointed out that the Government has indicated that it wants more roads and is indifferent about Rail. The High Peak MP, Tom Levitt, is busy attaching himself to a green energy project that's a drop in the ocean as to what's required to turn things around. But at the same time, he fully backs one massively environmentally damaging project (the Bypass) and remains silent about environmental vandalism (the closure of the Tunnel). What is accrued through this 'business as usual' approach is a huge pile of bullshit that the State is inclined paint bright green. But it still smells like bullshit to us.

There should be a huge head of steam built up around this issue (pardon the pun), not just here, but throughout the North West of England. But time is short. Bold action and initiatives are needed to prevent the destruction of a badly needed form of sustainable transport. Will we show willing? If you want to help, please get in touch. And watch this space for more news.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Re-post: Do We Need More Housing?

We're consistently providing scoops for the press, so when the Glossop Advertiser today published an article on the disaster area that Glossop is becoming, we feel the need to remind them and our readers in the real world of a post by kirtlegreen from nearly 3 weeks ago. Before reading, take some time to look at High Peak Borough Council's new 'Core Strategy Consultation'. You might like to ponder how this 'strategy' will affect planning and consultation in the future, but bear in mind that this is the same Council that gave you Rossington Park, SCC and Trevor Mooney's car park (that no-one uses). And the same crew that will no doubt roll over and have their tummy tickled by Tesco...

At the moment Glossop is a construction site. Wherever the humble pedestrian ventures in this erstwhile quiet market town is impeded by building site fencing, dust clouds, and infill building sites which block their way. Not to mention the random removal of mature trees, followed by the obligatory desultory apology, and swift pinning of blame on other parties. Hitherto pleasant open areas to shop such as Smithy Fold and the Bulldog Shopping Precinct (coincidentally prey to an overnight robbery) are all probably being conducted in the name of Glossop Vision.

No doubt the similar vision which brought Glossop the visionary burnt out Wrens Nest apartment block, the pinnacle planning masterpiece that has brought High Peak Borough Council its flagship planning award.

No question what the vision for Glossop is: eradicate its heritage.

More worryingly this is part of a greater "vision", the strategy of that well known "visionary" and "conviction" politician Gordon Brown, to get rid of the country's rural heritage by abolition of the green belt.

There is an enormous threat to the greenbelt and rural beauty of Great Britain which will be detailed in future blogs.

In the meantime let us ruminate in what is happening in Glossop at present and draw this conclusion. The Council and its Planning Department want building and construction action. They are hooked on it more than any junkie on his daily fix. They do not care about pedestrians or the public, as long as they are able to set records for the most number of yellow clad safety jacket operatives in a single market town, and enhance their reputation for so called "regeneration". Currently frustrated by the Bypass impasse and the Green Built ring fence they are concentrating on making the town a pedestrian no go area with obstructive and burnt out flagship planning projects that do not take human factors into account and are therefore doomed from outset. Even their only other toy, Rossington Park is running into trouble, so they are really going for Glossop as the best place to play Meccano, though Rossington Park watchers need to be very alert as well.

But be warned. In our view like irritable children they will get tired with that game of Glossop as building site, and want further action outside the town before long.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The dangers of Dinting Road

Over the past few weeks, the Glossop Chronicle featured several articles by the pro-bypass journalist David Jones, both focusing on Dinting Road, between Glossop and Hadfield.

The first article was a feature about the latest instalment in the saga that is the 'Park & Ride' next to Dinting Railway Station. A businessman, Trevor Mooney, has blighted the area with this useless lump of tarmac and was moaning in the article that High Peak Borough Council have withdrawn permission to use it for Car Boot sales on Sundays. Apparently, he has had a premonition that the car park is doomed. There have been a succession of similar articles like this over the past few months - Mooney is eager to portray himself as an honest-to-goodness businessman (there's an oxymoron - as well as a moron - in there somewhere) hamstrung by bureaucracy. But the truth is more complex than that.

Firstly, prior to the construction of this park and ride, no one parked their cars halfway down Dinting Road. The mere fact that it was free to park on it for the first few weeks meant that the selfish idiots that now leave their vehicles down the road knew about it in the first place because of the car park (that they no longer use). Where do these people live? If it's near to Glossop - walk to the Railway station there and use it. The same for Hadfield. Surely if you live within 15 minutes of Dinting Station, you can walk? Is it really too much trouble?

That aside, these individuals are creating a very dangerous situation on Dinting Road. The vehicles are parked on one side of the road, from the top of a blind summit which snakes round a bend to nearly halfway down the road. If you're using the road in either direction, you have to hope that no-one is travelling at more than 40 mph (the speed limit on the road) and is paying a lot of attention to the route - it's even more precarious at night and in bad weather. With lorries from the nearby quarry travelling hell-for-leather (time is money) down the hill leaving mud all over the road surface, it is a dangerous route: and all the more so now for Mooney's useless car park.

But the fact his car park is not used suits his plans. Why? Well because after his development, it's now a brownfield site, so he can build on it. If his little venture fails, he'll move on to something else - either 'developing ' it himself or selling it on to someone else who will. As local people know, one of the great things about the Hadfield side of Dinting Road is the view from the Station across land which is unfarmed and uncultivated - and therefore very ecologically diverse. Mooney has done his bit to ruin it.

And over the last two weeks, we've seen Mooney in the Chronicle and the Glossop Advertiser again. His latest wheeze is to promote an idea to build a Golf Driving Range adjoining his car park. Jesus Christ! But hang on - didn't he once have the same wheeze about Wimberry Hill, above Hadfield? And there are rumours flying that there's a link up between Mooney and another businessman who made a Cemetery Road in Glossop a muddy deathtrap for weeks owing to earthworks they created for some ill-fated project a few years back.

Reading these articles, you could almost close your eyes and remember the time when Chris Woodward used to occupy the Chronicle virtually every other week. At one point, that charming individual plumbed the depths by using racism - he threatening to allow Gypsies to park on land he owned that HPBC had refused planning permission for. In a similar way, clad in his undertaker's jacket, Mooney is prone to portraying himself as the victim and using the local press at every opportunity. Who knows what depths he'll eventually plumb to keep his Slobodan Milošević-like fizzog in the local rag.

If anything, High Peak BC have not hindered this moron - they have in fact helped him to create this situation in the first place. Why did they allow his car park to be developed? This crew are continually making idiotic decisions about the environment in the area. Where will it end?

Another recent feature penned by David Jones highlights the hazardous nature of Dinting Road to schoolchildren who have to cross it to get to Hadfield School. They have for years - but now the road is recognised as being far more dangerous. All owing to Mooney - and High Peak BC.

But wait - one of those moaning about the road is Andrew Byford. Remember him? Is this the same guy that had his (best left in the loft) ideas for a Glossop Bypass and plugged them in the local papers earlier this year. So he wants less traffic now?

That's the trouble with the 'leading advocates' of this road, like Jones and to a much-lesser Byford (who is also a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator - thank god!) is that they live in a world full of contradictions. They want less traffic and less congestion, but more roads (is there such a thing as a new road that remains unused by traffic?). They want to shout about the special place that Glossop and the High Peak are (or increasingly were), but froth at the mouth with excitement about the plans of developers whose business plans bring nothing to the area that enhances the environment - and on the contrary makes it worse to inhabit.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"It seems to me it is, in the literal sense of the word, an extraordinary situation in which we find ourselves..."

Those of you that have been following this farce that calls itself a Public Inquiry know the drill by now. The Public Inquiry re-convened today. So, right on cue, the Highways Agency admit that even more of their figures are wrong. Over to the Inspector, John Watson:

Yesterday the Programme Officer had a telephone call from
Louise McCawley, who I understand works for the

Highways Agency. She told him and asked him to tell me, which
is why I am mentioning it now, that more errors had been
found in the traffic modelling and that there may be a delay
in presenting the Environmental Statement later than
30th November. I know nothing more about this. (p.3, line 22)

'lah-de-dah' Charles Calvert for the Highways Agency professed his client's complete incompetence (or wilful tactical ploys...):

it is nigh impossible for us to achieve the date that was set at the last meeting. (p.4, line 10)

And guess what? This also means that their amended evidence, submitted since the last adjournment, is now invalid. Great.

John Watson's view on this (and a priceless quote):

It seems to me it is, in the literal sense of the word, an extraordinary situation in which we find ourselves (p.9, line 21)

Do you think he's pissed off with this charade? He must be at least simmering. But he went on to say that 'the rules' can cope with this situation. The bourgeoisie will always cling to their 'rules' when all else is clearly lost.

The fact of the matter is that the State, represented here by the Highways Agency and their local manifestation TMBC, is playing a game to frustrate the Objector's case. They clearly do not want to the evidence to be heard, but the cold hard fact is that the longer this thing stretches on, the more diminished the resources of the 'official' opposition become.

This is now an all but official war of attrition.

Latest in the roll call of visitors

We love it when our enemies visit. So after our recent post in which we mentioned how 2 of the UK's biggest roadbuilding firms are looking to consolidate into one mega-company, Carillion (not to be confused with the 1980s prog-rockers, Marillion) popped by today.

The best bit is that they landed on the label 'cynical bastards', presumably to look at the good company they are keeping.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Does Ruth Kelly wear a hair shirt?

Perhaps more than any other in recent times, this government's attempts to resolve the inherent contradictions of capitalism through spin - if not concrete reality - are becoming less and less credible. Last week* saw the release of a discussion paper by the Department for Transport that is a perfect illustration of a new and what will prove to be intractable conundrum - how to expand road, rail and air networks whilst seeking to curb CO2 emissions.

The paper signals a disdain for the rail alternatives and sees a future where 'decarbonised' automobiles will need to be accommodated on an ever widening and expanding motorway and road network. Furthermore, they are seeking to fund this expansion through private investment - a logical conclusion to the 'Design Build Finance Operate' initiatives of the 1990s. It's perhaps not so coincidental that two of the largest private road building firms have been courting each other in recent weeks and now look like they will merge shortly: Carillion (contractors for the Longdendale Bypass) & McAlpine (whose 'Green' claim-to-fame is that they built the Eden Project).

Let's be clear: even if all motor vehicles became carbon neutral first thing tomorrow, we'd still be against the expansion of the road network. The motor industry has been a key staple of capitalism since the end of World War 2. Automobiles are the pre-eminent product in this economic system, and the motor industry itself is a key locus for the expansion of capital and the accumulation of surplus value (the primary preoccupation of capitalism). Nothing can stand in it's way, whether it is carbon emitting or carbon neutral, and it could quite conceivably be the latter within the foreseeable future.

The freedom that the car offers is an individual freedom only, and one that can only exist without taking away the freedoms of everyone else. In this way, the State makes a bargain that in return for the ability to go anywhere at any time you choose, unspoilt communal spaces will be increasingly tarmacked over. But now it seems the bargain is going to be even more bizarre than that - the State will guarantee both the freedom to travel and the freedom from anxiety that one will not be polluting the environment. As long as one closes one's eyes to the fact that the landscape around us is being destroyed, it will be possible to have a clean conscience about levels of CO2.

In this case, the empress who has no clothes is Ruth Kelly. In the recent past, she has had the gall to say she receives 'spiritual support' from an organisation that provided both spiritual & political support for the formerly Fascist governments of Spain and Chile. This presumably makes her well qualified to promote the cause of irrationality in the style of the Cosa Nostra, a hallmark of this government's authoritarian approach to almost any issue.

After all, if she has a pang of conscience, she'll no doubt just pull the cilice ever tighter.

*on no more a conspicuous date than All Hallows Eve!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Toot and a Wave for 'not so Sir' Oldham

Apologies, apologies, apologies - sorry for my absence over the latter part of our glorious summer. There's been 'trouble at mill', & I will inform comrades on a need-to-know basis - basically it's family problems, illness and it's impending doom. Seems to have been hanging over my dad's head like the Sword of Damocles. I only have one head and it has been needed elsewhere - a thousand apologies to all those who matter. I think you know who you are. Anyway, back to business.

On a recent visit to a certain drinking establishment I bumped into a friend of mine, and as is usual when we meet, he sold me a copy of the very excellent periodical NORTHERN VOICES. For those of you who are not familiar with this little literary gem, it tends to offer the reader good, honest, journalistic attempts at some home truths, as well as issues/stories that may be of interest to local people - something our local rags fail in the most miserable fashion (unless of course you are in the market to purchase a conservatory, house, or motor car).

I noticed this little story. I quote directly from source:


A regular reader of NV contacted us recently with a juicy bit of information. It seems that he had heard from a council employee that a certain councillor who leads a Greater Manchester Local Authority had gone ballistic when he had learned that the leader of Manchester City Council, Richard Lees, had been honoured with a knighthood. It seems that that the councillor - who covets a knighthood - was so incensed that he'd been overlooked in the honours list that he turned purple with rage and was seen to kick a door in at the council offices where he works. Our source told NV that he was seen 'kickin and a spitten' and shouting, "They're my knighthoods, the bastards"

I'll quote again from Northern Voices:

Next Knight Of Tameside

The voters of Tameside would do well to heed the words of American poet Walt Whitman who once said "rise at once at the never ending audacity of elected persons". That politicians are inclined to become brazen and arrogant the longer they are in office was recognised long ago by the ancient Greeks in Athens, who tended to exile those elected persons that they felt had got too big for their boots. In Tameside, the local Council has been Labour-controlled and led by its leader Roy Oldham since 1979. Mr Oldham, now aged 73, likes to boast that he holds the record for being the longest serving Council leader in the country. Indeed, he has now been in power longer than Robert Mugabe who leads the Zanu PF party in Zimbabwe and seems almost as difficult to get rid of as the ageing dictator. However, in spite of his political longevity, it seems that Councillor Oldham is becoming something of an embarrassment if the letters in the local press are anything to go by. It seems that some people feel that his ego has become almost as inflated as his council salary. This summer (August) he was accused by the leader of the Tory opposition, councillor John Bell, of being on a "massive ego trip" after it was discovered that his house on Back Moor had been etched into a bronze map showing places of historical interest in Mottram. The map, which shows the homes of L S Lowry and the old Post Office, is the first in a series of bronze maps which are intended to showcase the jewels of Tameside's cultural heritage.

Some members of the public have reacted angrily, accusing the council leader of arrogance, megalomania, and of being an embarrassment and a laughing stock. But councillor Oldham, who already has a bridge named after himself in Stalybridge, is unrepentant and insists that placing his house on the map was "just a bit of fun". He told a local newspaper "It's like when a carpenter works in a church and carves a little church mouse on the bottom of an emblem. I don't see why any one should make a problem but there are sad people in all walks of life". Some politicians on Tameside council are not impressed, believing that the leader's arrogance gives politicians a bad name and undermines local government politics. Councillor Bell said "Councillor Oldham's ego has run away with him ... a few years ago, he had CCTV installed at his home at tax payer's expense after a bomb hoax. Now he's drawing attention to himself by putting his home on a map".


How to deal WITH THE BIG O. No folks, I'm not talking about Roy Orbison, I'm talking the real BIG O. Our glorious leader, the 'not so Sir' Roy Oldham. In my humble opinion, the only rise Roy needs to hear (a rise sir Roy) is possibly in his trousers - I would not wish the alternative on man or beast, so I suppose that covers Roy in one way or another. Anyway, how can we as a group of like-minded individuals best draw attention to our glorious leader's plight? Well, one idea I've had is to contact all our friends, comrades, political alliances etc and start a campaign to get Mottram renamed Oldhamgrad (I quite fancy the bypass being called the Oldhamgrad/Tnitwistle Bypass). No, only joking - about the bypass, not the new name for Mottram though. I think we should start a campaign to help Roy obtain the accolade and the big 'thank you' he deserves. There it is, the name of our campaign - THE BIG THANK YOU. A campaign from the good and fair people of our land to pay homage and respect to a dedicated local politician who, through his selfless acts and betrayal of local communities, thinks that the needs of us green 'n common folk, are best served by the greed and backscratching of the grubby and vile speculators that follow the Highways Agency long after these middle pigs have concreted over another piece of our green 'n pleasant land.

At the very least I propose we adopt a new strategy: let's take our campaign to a new level, or different direction. Lets help the Big O. I propose at the very least a TOOT AND WAVE POLICY. Let me explain. Was it not Councillor Oldham who was BRASS faced enough to have his home address cast in the same, so that all and sundry will know where the 'not so Sir' Roy resides? Let's ask all our allies - everybody we know - let all campaigners be emailed with his home address and politely ask/invite them to take part in a campaign against this road scheme by tooting and waving as they pass by Roy's house . A cheap, effective campaign that fights on a different front. Lets hope it becomes a relentless barrage of noise and car horn blowing. He seems to like roads and the motor car so lets use them against him. In life you sometimes get what you wish for...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tricks of the light(s)

Those travelling through Longdendale along the A628 and A57 may well have experienced horrendous traffic jams so far this week. The roads have been packed at peak times, and two facts make us suspicious.

Firstly, it's half term for many schools in the area. Longdendale is noticeably much more pleasant and relatively free of traffic whenever the schools are shut.

Secondly, the jams are taking place as early as 6.30 a.m., which is usually much quieter than peak time.

Could it be anything to do with the fact that the Public Inquiry recommences next week? After all, it wouldn't be the first time that the traffic light sequences in Longdendale have been altered, most notoriously around the time of the ends of previous Bypass consultation periods. And in the past, roadworks also seem to have popped up at similarly coincidental moments.

Is it us that are the cynical ones? Or is it those who think they can manipulate the patience of local people and through-commutersin to back their road proposal which will only bring more of this misery to the area?

*UPDATE: things had returned to normal by Thursday 1st November. Someone must have thrown the switch...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Organ Grinder - or (Road)Munkey?

James Purnell MP is in the news again. It seems there were more fake photo ops, and a BBC Freedom of Information request has nailed his spin that he had no idea about the plans to fake the photos.

But let's read between the lines here. Here' s a quote to savour:

"A spokesman from Mr Purnell's office said it was sent to a general e-mail address used by the constituency office"

His office says he doesn't deal with those emails. So in that case, who does?

Who answers the phone and deals with all James' emails? Stalybridge & Hyde Constituents will know that it's none other than our friend the Parliamentary Political Operative to James Purnell MP - Councillor Sean Parker-Perry (aka Roadmunkey). Oh dear. So did he not tell his boss about the Hospital's plans?

Once again, Parker-Perry is proving himself to be a huge political liability for his MP, the Labour Party and the people of Longdendale. We welcome his further efforts to secure a bypass for Longdendale, because at this rate his 'Midas Touch in reverse' can only scupper any plans for it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Do We Need More Housing ?

At the moment Glossop is a construction site. Wherever the humble pedestrian ventures in this erstwhile quiet market town is impeded by building site fencing, dust clouds, and infill building sites which block their way. Not to mention the random removal of mature trees, followed by the obligatory desultory apology, and swift pinning of blame on other parties. Hitherto pleasant open areas to shop such as Smithy Fold and the Bulldog Shopping Precinct (coincidentally prey to an overnight robbery) are all probably being conducted in the name of Glossop Vision.

No doubt the similar vision which brought Glossop the visionary burnt out Wrens Nest apartment block, the pinnacle planning masterpiece that has brought High Peak Borough Council its flagship planning award.

No question what the vision for Glossop is: eradicate its heritage.

More worryingly this is part of a greater "vision", the strategy of that well known "visionary" and "conviction" politician Gordon Brown, to get rid of the country's rural heritage by abolition of the green belt.

There is an enormous threat to the greenbelt and rural beauty of Great Britain which will be detailed in future blogs.

In the meantime let us ruminate in what is happening in Glossop at present and draw this conclusion. The Council and its Planning Department want building and construction action. They are hooked on it more than any junkie on his daily fix. They do not care about pedestrians or the public, as long as they are able to set records for the most number of yellow clad safety jacket operatives in a single market town, and enhance their reputation for so called "regeneration". Currently frustrated by the Bypass impasse and the Green Built ring fence they are concentrating on making the town a pedestrian no go area with obstructive and burnt out flagship planning projects that do not take human factors into account and are therefore doomed from outset. Even their only other toy, Rossington Park is running into trouble, so they are really going for Glossop as the best place to play Meccano, though Rossington Park watchers need to be very alert as well.

But be warned. In our view like irritable children they will get tired with that game of Glossop as building site, and want further action outside the town before long.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Look who's looking...

Good old Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft clearly like to keep an eye on what's being said about them (click on image for full details).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Road Closure

Reason to celebrate? Well, not in this case, no. Yesterday saw the culmination of a case brought by the Ramblers Association against BMW and Oxfordshire County Council to prevent the closure of a bridleway. The 2,000 year old path (an old Roman Road) lies in the way of land BMW want to 'develop' (it's that word again).

You can guess the rest. BMW won. After all, nothing stands in the way of the car industry, at least as far as the legal system is concerned. BMW's defence was that the 400 people who used the path daily were mainly people who worked at the plant itself. I suppose in future, they'll all have to drive to work.

(Urban Guerrilla Notice: the BMW was the Red Army Faction's getaway car of choice - not because the RAF were flash gits, but because they used to be easy to hot wire. No doubt they'd have a rather more no-nonsense solution to this matter)

Blog action day

...was yesterday. And we missed it. Oh well.

But over on his blog, sharp-as-a-knife Gamesley Councillor Anthony McKeown reminded us what it's all about:

across the world bloggers are uniting to highlight environmental issues, and hopefully as the organisers say get the world talking towards a better future

And without a hint of irony (or punctuation if the above is anything to go by), Anthony urges us to join the Friends of the Earth's campaign "The Big Ask":

The way the campaign works is by asking you to contact your MP to make sure the Government does the right thing

So it's curtains for humanity then! (And we thought that FoE were only mooting what to do after being courted by Rupert Murdoch. Perhaps they've already made their mind up...)

Getting back to 'blogging about environmental issues', you may remember that Anthony only allows you to comment on his blog if you leave a name (rather than an obviously false name or 'anonymous' - me? I'm Mr Lewin's little boy!). And he's blocked comments critical of High Peak's stance on the bypass in the past. So given the environmental devastation and increase in pollution the bypass will entail, allied with the fact that Ant is for the bypass, what is his blog doing to highlight environmental issues exactly?

His right of reply is guaranteed here. Come on Ant, we'd like a debate!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Meet the new Boss? ...same as the old boss

With all this talk of elections, we thought we'd muse for a minute on that bloke Dave Cameron's speech the other day (let's not forget these are the new Green Tories, and good old Dave has got a wind turbine on his roof - as did one local pipsqueak/councillor at one time). Take this sample...

So, his mother dealt with "the likes of Swampy" did she? It's easy to mock people who are (seemingly) not as strong, but it's also better to choose those who were the least effective - Direct Action stopped the Tories road building programme dead in it's tracks in the 1990s, and it will do the same with Labour's - or even the Tories if they have their jackboot on our necks again in a few weeks time. We too "fight for what we believe in and the changes we want to make" despite "the likes of you". Bring it on Dave...

And as an antidote to all that guff, here's a rejoinder to this Toff's mocking tones from good old Dan Hooper himself...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Spot the fake...

After noticing that a weblog has popped up documenting James Purnell's fake photo album, here's a little gallery of clearly fake photos that can be added:

Purnell lurking around the rear entrance to the Stalybridge Civic Hall...

...lurking around the front....

...and joined by a few friends.

All of these people - James Purnell MP, Cllr Roy Oldham, Mike Flynn, Tom Levitt MP, Cllr Sean Parker-Perry & Cllr Jonathan Reynolds - have not and will not be appearing at the Public Inquiry (held at the Civic Hall) to defend their cause, the Longdendale Bypass...

What a bunch of fakes

Friday, September 28, 2007

'Fake Purnell' on the loose in Tameside

The media are all over the Stalybridge & Hyde MP James Purnell. It seems that the MP has been 'photoshopped' into a photo-opportunity at Tameside Hospital for this week's press that he didn't actually attend (dutifully carried by the Glossop Chronicle/Tameside Reporter).

And as we've been noting over the past few months, Purnell's staff love to mess with the internet. We chronicled how a member of Purnell's staff, Longdendale Councillor Sean Parker-Perry, had been behind the now dormant 'roadmunkey' weblog and was extremely active in altering wikipedia articles about his boss, as well as other articles like the Longdendale Bypass (some bright spark has begun to chronicle these edits here).

We wonder has this will all turn out for Purnell and his minions? We'll add more when time allows...

**10.30 p.m. update - the story's set to run, with Purnell employing the 'broken record' approach with Gordon Burns on tonight's North West Tonight (video below) - very reminiscent of Michael Howard vs Jeremy Paxman! Contradictions abound and Purnell is on the ropes. But will the media latch on to the equally dodgy meddlings of his underlings?