Lost in Transit – A Sad Tale

Today 250 anti-fracking protestors welcomed 40 or 50 of the fracking industry’s hopefuls and a smattering of refugees from Yorkshire to Bloomfield Road.

The Police were very complimentary about the exemplary behaviour of all of those present – it was largely a good humoured event, helped along by the hilarity occasioned by the bumbling attempts of the Backing Fracking contingent to look like a cross section  of normal people (hint – having a few females apart from Ellie and Lorraine along might help a little next time).

We couldn’t help noticing that their organisation seemed to fall apart completely in the face of such a large contingent of people opposing fracking – mind you we did understand that it would be very hard for them to run that gauntlet with their heads held high, talking to one another and smiling at people as per their instructions.

The promised “branded Transit type tipper” was conspicuous by its absence and certainly didn’t feature in their photo call, so we mocked one up for them.


The event was supposed to be being run by their very own “Parade Commander” which sounds rather grand and frightfully well organised. It seems that this Parade Commander, Colin Johnson, may be the film extra we can see on this website.


How appropriate that a group pretending to be something it is not should be being organised by somebody who appears to make a living by playing a part! We think he may have been worried about being upstaged by all the coverage of Mark Ruffalo though as he wasn’t much in evidence and to say the “parade” was shambolic is an understatement.

Sadly Colin may not impress all of the Backing Fracking followers –


so maybe that’s another reason it all fell apart – we know what Backing Fracking’s Rob thinks of “actorvists” after all!

actual route

This plan above shows their original planned route and the purple line shows how they shambled towards their allocated space. They tried hard to compete with the happy noise from the anti-frackers but it was clear that their hearts weren’t really in it. A fact that was confirmed when after 30 minutes or so they all shuffled off again, with one of the many men there being overheard saying that he was only being paid to be there until 10:00. We have no idea who he works for, but it made us all laugh.

According to their Facebook page they also planned to deliver some coal to the Football Club. We didn’t see any evidence of that so maybe the whipround didn’t raise enough, or maybe they took it up the tradesman’s entrance.

Anyway – here is the email they sent out.

If you are attending, please remember to smile a lot!”  oops #fail – we’ve never seen a more grumpy glowery looking shame-faced lot. Here’s a still taken from their own video:

It really is now or never” – well if that’s the case on the basis of this morning’s showing it looks like never.

The best laid plans of mice and men eh..?


Hi everyone,

Further to our earlier email, we wanted to firm up some of the details for next weeks’ pro-fracking supporter’s (sic) rally.


Please join us if you can, for what we intend to be a pleasant, friendly and good-natured demonstration of support.

Event Plan

The group will assemble at the Form Up Point (FUP) in the car park South West of the crossroads of Bloomfield Road and Seasiders way at approximately 8:45am – 9:00am (point 1 on the map). Placards and banners will be available to collect here, but do please feel free to make and bring your own!

Once the participants are all in attendance and have been briefed, the group will move North crossing Bloomfield Road and enter the car park opposite the ground. The group will halt and wait adjacent to the road in preparation for the arrival of some vehicles that will be joining the demo (point 2 on the map). This is also the Line Of Departure / Step Off Point.

At some time between 9:00am and 9:15am the vehicles which are being formed up at Aldi car park will be called forward. As the first vehicle arrives at point 2 it will be held while the group assembles behind it and the second vehicle, a branded Transit type tipper, will position itself behind the group. All will set off North along Seasiders way to the roundabout, go around and make their way back to the original Step Off Point (position 2 on the map) where all vehicles will disperse immediately, with the exception of the Transit tipper, which the group will gather around.

The group will pause here while a spokesperson makes a short public address, and for the gathered media to take photographs and conduct interviews with the spokesperson and others.

After this, the Transit tipper will depart and the group will mingle around in the area specified by the Police, to show continued support.


Assemble 8:45am – 9:00am

Step Off (start the procession) between 9:15am and 9:30am (TBC)

Who’s in charge on the day?

Colin Johnson will be our “parade commander” for the day, and will be on hand to explain the plan in detail as well as any important “dos and dont’s” as far as local police are concerned.

Colin’s word is the law, and he will make all the decisions on the day.


We already have some key spokespeople lined up to talk to the media, but we’d like to nominate some more.

It would also be helpful if we could designate some of you as marshals to help Colin and make sure the demo runs smoothly.

If you’d like to assist in either way, please let us know!


If you are attending, please remember to smile a lot!

During the short march past the entrance to the Blackpool FC ground, keep your heads held high, talk to one another and smile at people.

When the march past ends back at the Step Off Point (position 2 on the map) the Transit tipper will park so that the football ground is visible behind it, and we need you to gather around in front of it in small groups of 3, 4 and 5 people with your placards and banners.

Phil will make a short address to our group using a portable PA system, thanking you all for your support and to also explain more about just why it is we’re Backing Fracking and so should everyone else, and will give you some ideas on other things you could do to keep showing support for Lancashire shale gas.

This is a visual representation of what we want to try and achieve, so that when local journalists take photos or film this part, we want supporters in the foreground in clusters, Phil and the tipper in the middle ground, and the football stadium visible in the background (see – this is why we need marshals!)

Forming up for the media in Blackpool 9th Feb


We’d really appreciate it if you could RSVP to this email so that we can get a handle on likely numbers, something our police liaison have asked for.

It really is now or never. If we, as ordinarly (sic) citizens of Lancashire don’t stand up to be counted, people will simply assume shale has no support – and we can’t let that happen.

Kind regards,

The Backing Fracking team

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