We all know that Manchester and bees go hand in hand.
Bees have been an emblem for our city for over 150 years, so it’s fair to say that we’re quite-rightly proud of our links to this hard-working insect.
It all started in 1842 when, as part of a traditional Victorian branding exercise, the early city fathers had to decide on a coat of arms that would tell the world who Manchester was, so they settled upon including a globe with seven worker bees in to show how hard Mancunians worked, and then traded it across the seven seas.
The Manchester bee was born of industry, and the city’s people have fought to make this place thrive.
While there is said to be over 250 species of ‘solitary bee’ buzzing around in Britain, Manchester’s worker bee reflects the city as a hive of activity, and represents a sense of unity at times when it’s needed most.
Mancunians are pretty fond of our bees, which is why when it was announced last month that the UK government had bowed to pressure from the National Farmers Union and agreed to authorise the use of the highly-damaging neonicotinoid thiamethoxam – also known as bee-killing pesticides – for the treatment of sugar beet seed in 2021, it got many up in arms.
Prior to this decision, bee-killing neonicotinoids had been banned across Europe since 2013.
Environment Secretary George Eustice made the decision to authorise the use of the neonicotinoids in response to the potential danger posed from beet yellows virus, but this was despite a similar application being refused in 2018 by the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides due to “unacceptable environmental risks”.
In 2018, the UK government supported restrictions on the neonicotinoid pesticides across the European Union, due to the very clear harm that they were causing to bees and other wildlife, with the then-Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, promising that the government would maintain these restrictions, unless the scientific evidence changed.
But the evidence has not changed, and this has lead to many campaigners speaking up and taking action.
The Wildlife Trusts have spoken out against the approval, saying: “The devastating impact this group of pesticides is having on our wildlife has increased, and hardly a month goes by without yet more evidence of the wider ecological crisis”.
Joan Edwards – Director of Public Affairs at The Wildlife Trusts – also personally added that: “The Secretary of State’s decision to authorise the use of an environmentally devastating chemical to increase production of a crop with no nutritional value is madness… [and] the UK Government cannot claim to be a ‘world-leader’ on protecting and restoring nature, whilst supporting the use of these damaging pesticides.”
Academic and author, Professor Dave Goulson, has warned that one teaspoon of neonic is enough to kill 1.25 billion honeybees, which is equivalent to four lorryloads.
And Greenpeace UK has branded the decision as “posing a lethal threat to bee populations”.
The latter of the those parties has taken it once step further though – and this is where Mancunians can step in to help save the insects that mean so much to our city.
The UK arm of global non-governmental environmental organisation Greenpeace – who’s aim is to “defend the natural world, and stand for a green and peaceful future” – has launched a petition to urge Environment Secretary George Eustice to reverse this decision.
The petition description reads: “Bees are essential for our survival.
“They pollinate much of what we eat and play a critical role in sustaining ecosystems around the world, but the last decade has been devastating for insect populations, and bees have been hit hard – with populations shrinking by a third in the UK.
“Bee-killing neonicotinoids have been banned across Europe since 2013, but the UK government has just approved these deadly chemicals for emergency use, posing a lethal threat to bee populations.”
It continues: “George Eustice has the power to change all of this.”
“As Environment Minister, he can show he’s on the side of nature by enforcing a total ban on bee-harming pesticides. He’s approved this emergency use of a deadly pesticide, but we need to remind him that we’re in the middle of a climate and nature emergency [so] if lots of people sign this petition, we can pile pressure on the government to quickly reverse its decision and keep bee-killing pesticides away from our environment”.
Football fans call out ‘tone-deaf’ FA TikTok for mocking ‘life-threatening’ head injury
Football fans are calling out the official FA Cup TikTok account for mocking a serious head injury suffered by a Stockport County player earlier this week.
The Hatters beat Charlton Athletic in fine fashion with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, 7 December, with Will Collar’s hattrick (the club’s first since 2019) sending them through to the next round of the cup.
However, another notable moment from the night was right back Macauley Southam-Hales’ collision with advertising hoarders after a shove from Charlton captain George Dobson.
As the likes of County fan Joel Ward wrote on Twitter, many online were quick to slam the clip for joking about an injury that hospitalised the player, the consensus being that it isn’t a “great look” for the FA.
While many reacting in the comments recognised that Dobson didn’t intend to hurt Southam-Hales by shepherding the ball out of play, the Stockport defender does hit the predominantly metal structure with some force and was left in clear discomfort following the smash.
The video itself has since been removed from the official account following the backlash but people are still reacting as the clip continues to be reshared on social media.
The clip was branded as everything from “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to “simply unbelievable”.
What’s most concerning is that despite the recent push to promote awareness surrounding concussions, brain trauma and even heading the ball – which, historically, haven’t been properly monitored in football – whoever posted the video on behalf of the FA didn’t consider the very serious nature of the incident.
As alluded to above, perhaps what makes the post even more shocking and tone-deaf is that it comes just weeks after Bath City player forward Alex Fletcher was placed in intensive care following an almost identical accident.
The 23-year-old underwent life-saving brain surgery and although he has since been discharged from the hospital, he is said to have a “long road to recovery ahead of him”.
County confirmed that despite being the all-clear pitchside, Southam-Hales was taken to the hospital as a precaution after he suffered significant swelling around the neck area. Nevertheless, as we know all too well, it could have been much worse.
As for the FA, they have now apologised for the inappropriate attempt at humour, confirming that they have removed the video from all official accounts, admitting that “it should never have been published and assuring that they will “review [their] processes to ensure this never happens again.”
You can watch the full highlights from Stockport County vs Charlton Athletic HERE but we’d recommend you watch Alan Shearer reminding everyone who plays football to be more vigilant when it comes to head injuries.
Sleep researchers will send you FREE CHEESE if you take part in this new sleep study
Scientists currently researching how cheese affects our sleeping patterns are looking for people to take part in a new study.
The best bit? You’ll actually get sent loads of free cheese if you sign up.
New research has found that, while nearly a third of Brits say cheese is one of their favourite foods – and honestly, who can blame us? – almost a quarter of have actually avoided eating it too late into the evening cheese for fear it’ll give them nightmares or vivid dreams.
Out of people who reported they’ve had vivid dreams or nightmares after eating cheese, 70% said it was cheddar they’d been eating, 40% said mozzarella, and 35% said brie.
But, to actually test whether this old wives’ tale is true or just a myth, popular sleep company Emma is calling on people to join a new sleep-science experiment in which they’ll get the chance to eat their favourite cheeses for 15 days, all to test the effects of the cheesy goodness on our sleep quality and dreams.
So, how does it work then? Well, teaming up with cheesegeek, Emma will send selected participants a hamper consisting of three types of delicious British festive cheeses, along with a guide on how much of it to eat before going to bed.
They’ll then be asked to record their dreams to be analysed by the Emma sleep research team.
Putting a call out for people to take part in this cheesy test, Theresa Schnorbach – Sleep Scientist at Emma – said: “When it comes to cheese, we know there are elements at work that can have both a positive and negative impact on our sleep – from increasing your REM sleep density to inducing hormone production which aids in regulating your body clock.
“Through this experiment, we’ll explore the extent of these elements and put this old wives’ tale to the test.”
With Christmas – and cheese board season – fast approaching, the research also found that 32% Brits eat more cheese over the festive period compared to any other time of year, and just over one in seven said that they find they get less sleep over the Christmas period – with over a quarter (27%) admitting their sleep lessening around the festive period could be linked to their cheese intake at the time.
The types of festive cheeses provided in the experiment were all found to be some of the most popularly consumed around Christmas.