MAYBE our own versions of Swampy, or whoever the fracking fraternity chooses as an icon, will be long gone from Woolston Eyes by the time this page hits the printers or cyberspace.

Eco-protests such as the one taking place underneath Thelwall Viaduct are notoriously difficult to predict.

I’ll defend people’s right to protest and kick up a stink. It’s the nearest I’m getting to having a principle after two decades in newspapers.

But simple obstruction is about as much use as, well, a row of 100-metre high wind turbines in a power-hungry world. Might look briefly impressive but it’s too reliant on airflow (hot or otherwise).

One of the elements which can always be mined however, at least in Podium’s eyes, is base irony. And a little trawl through the protesters’ Wordpress site Mancunian Spring soon hits paydirt.

Not for the arguments raised, as their misgivings on the ecological merits of fracking bear close examination.

There’s a strong sense of gold-rush fever in the air around the fracking industry and backers should be pinned down under a powerful microscope for months and years to come in order to convince the general populace that the landscape won’t resemble a Hieronymus Bosch cheese nightmare come 2030.

But it’s a blog folks. Fuelled by the megawatt-munching digital age, in all of its technicolor glory. Which no amount of windy northern winters or tempestuous seas can hope to realistically power.

For at least a morning, in a pitch-black frame of mind, the suggestion that these protection camps are littered with achingly earnest middle-class malcontents, free from mundane requirements like mortgages, bills, bedroom taxes, took a firm hold.

But it was only a morning and a heartening stroll around Paddington Meadows dispelled such churlishness. (You see some of us can be well-acquainted with the nature havens of north Warrington and hold down gainful employment).

Some tough questions loom over our domestic energy policy, and the Eight Towers of Fidler’s Ferry will figure somewhere in that equation. Who knows whether the long-closed mine shafts of Parkside and Golborne, still not exhausted, may one day enter the conversation.

Never discount anything, unless you’re ready for a few chillier winters or want to brush upon your Russian phraseology for when Uncle Vladimir is ‘Putin’ the thumbscrews on, as we seriously bid to keep the lights on, sometime in the not-too-distant future.

  •  For the avoidance of doubt, I’ll support marriage in any combination which gives the most people the best chance of a little slice of happiness, in the aftermath of the Irish vote on gay partnerships.

I’m less enamoured when those promoting such unions ram their views down the throats of others who may have misgivings.

The inflexible bigot is just as frightening to your correspondent as the intolerant liberal, who cannot countenance any other view than their metropolitan and secular mindset.

And if some of my 20-something or 30-something mates want to protest, then they might want to look around and see who has their grubby mitts on the levers of power for the next five years, and try to shake the notion that Britain in 2015 is much more small-C conservative than they ever thought possible.

  •  Micky Higham. If you’re gonna secure a sweetheart deal to head back to Leigh, try and sign it off before Wednesday afternoon when this column is already set in stone.

Leigh’s head of rugby Derek Beaumont was still hollering loudly about comments made by Tony Smith and Richard Agar about the sorry saga.

Just as long as he remembers that turnabout is fair play when someone wafts a chequebook in front of one of his proteges one day soon. And the pot continues to simmer...