london diary

december 2005

 

my london diary

climate change and ecological disaster has been staring us in the face for many years - i first became aware of the problem in the 1960s. even tony blair has noticed it now, and occasionally pays lip-service, when he's not busy encouraging irresponsible growth that hastens the coming catastrophe.

it gives me no pleasure to be able to say i told you so as the world heads towards chaos. but when i looked at the problem as a matter of simple science long ago it was obvious that the world was finite and any long-term solution would need to be a steady-state one.

carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are only a small part of the problem, and more a sympton than a cause. if there is to be a future it must be through the creation of cycles that are capable of exisiting without creating great shifts in the environment.

kyoto was the first attempt to at least recognise the problem was global and take some concerted action, even if less than half-hearted. thanks to george bush and the oil companies he represents, the ineffectual has been made even more so.

problems related to growth and pollution are inextricably linked with industry and trade. it is hard to see any possibility of their solution without the imposition of tariffs on the exports of countries that continue to pollute - such as the usa. it's equally hard to envisage this happening while the usa is so dominant in the world bodies and conferences that set the rules on trade.

there were around 10,000 of us on the streets of london on saturday, and many more around the world in demonstrations elsewhere, all part of the international day of climate protest, the march organised, as previous climate marches and protests, by the uk campaign against climate change. here in london the climate smiled on us for an hour or so, then the rain came as the march entered parliament square. it was pouring rain rather than the police that persuaded the students who sat down in front of the houses of parliament that it was a good idea to get up and move on. my camera also began to suffer, and i had to move inside to dry it out. my knee was beginning to hurt too, so it was time to take a rest.
more pictures

gate gourmet was split off from british airways in 1997 to cut costs by out-sourcing their catering. It was sold to US company texas pacific in 2002, and they decided to cut costs. This seems to have meant increasing workload, bringing in more managers (why?) and replacing skilled and experienced staff by unskilled workers. They went into a dispute with the tgwu (heathrow's major union) over layoffs and worsening conditions, then on 10 aug, 2005, took on 120 temporary workers. their aim was to provoke an unofficial walkout, which would allow them to sack the workers. The workers held a meeting in the canteen and were told by management that if they were not back at work in 3 minutes they were all sacked. it is claimed that management had locked the doors just to make sure they didn't return. They were then forcibly evicted from the premises by the private security guards the managament just happened to have standing around waiting.

britain's anti-union laws (thanks to mrs thatcher) stack the odds against workers, allowing unscrupulous management to get away with most things short of murder if they put their minds to it.

The tgwu were hamstrung by a high court injunction, which prevented them from doing much to help the workers. the only thing that helped them was illegal action by their former colleagues at ba, said to have cost that company £40 million. eventually ba forced gg to come to some kind of compromise with the tgwu, but this has failed to satisfy most of the workers, who want their jobs back and decent working conditions. so, although all the papers reported it is over, the action still continues. when my wife flew ba from heathrow a few days ago, she got a voucher to get sandwiches in the departure lounge rather than in-flight catering.

this is a dispute that highlights the need for proper trade union laws that give workers and unions a fair deal. it shows how union weakeness has allowed the labour party to renege on the promises it made in opposition and to turn its back on its traditions of fair play. ba has also emerged as pretty short-sighted in its decision to out-source it's catering, much as we have found out-sourcing to be a mistake over key services in hospitals and schools.
more pictures

i took my usual route to southall on a push-bike (it takes me around 45 minutes if i don't stop. but i nearly always do stop at least once to take some pictures. so here are a few pictures from around heathrow, including a farm - heathrow swallowed up some of the most productive arable land in the country and a number of fine orchards, but there are still a few farmed areas around the edges - cutting down the dangers of a crash, although some of the most used approaches come in low over many homes. it was never a suitable site for a major airport, but the chances of any government biting the bullet and closing it down seem low. we should have been running it down for years, but instead have built 2 new terminals (both of which the airport authority said they would never need) and further disastrous development looks likely.
more pictures

i've photographed fathers4justice on several previous occasions. today they were taking advantage of christmas and the father christmas idea to protest against the church of england. being on a friday, there were rather fewer father and mother christmases (and santa's little helpers were mainly at school, though some of their dads behind the whiskers were pulling a sickie.) it was still an arresting sight to see so many figures dressed in red on the street, including some rather inflated figures in inflatable suits.

after rather a slow start events warmed up a bit outside the offices of the church of england, and, a few yards down the road, the department for education and skills. of course our 'serious crimes' law now forbids the use of amplified sound in demonstrations, so the fathers simply had to shout rather loud. the next place for a stop was of course opposite downing street, where there were more shouted comments. i left the march as it turned down whitehall place on its way to the law courts in the strand.
more pictures

outside turkish airlines at the bottom of haymarket there was a picket protesting against turkish imprisonment of rotestors, in particular mehmet tarhan, a gay conscientious objector. recently, his 4-year sentence for refusing military service was overruled on procedural grounds, and he is to be retried for insistent insubordination with the intent of evading military service.
another picture

the last proper bus service to use london's signature routemaster double-decker buses, route 159, ceased today, with its buses being replaced by more modern designs. i caught one of the last to run to take me down to westminster, then photographed it. although the official 'last bus' had already run, there were several others following on, with the final pair passing big ben 28 minutes after my picture.

there will still be a few routemasters running in london on two special short 'heritage routes' both running past trafalgar square, thus retaining one of our tourist attractions.
more pictures

chrisp street market was part of an early post-war public housing redevelopment, the lansbury estate, built for the 1951 festival of britain. fifty or so years later it was beginning to show its age and there has been some tidying up and its pedestrian precincts are now rather tidier than a few years ago.

the market is bustling with life, more so than usual when i visited, as there were two days of a special victorian christmas event. there were various special stalls in the market, and also entertainers wandering around and performing on a small stage. there were kids from two local schools who had come to perform but unfortunately i had to leave before they had really started.

i'd hoped to return on the saturday, when things would have been livelier, but in the end i just couldn't make it.
more pictures

at marble arch there was a crowd gathering of ethiopians from across europe, come to protest at the british government's support of the oppressive communist regime in their country.

more than 70,000 people are detained by the regime, being tortured and dying in concentration camps. britain is spending £30 million of our money to support the regime that is violating human rights there. the protestors want the british public to urge their mps to support motions on the situation in ethiopia and demand an end to these crimes.
more pictures

saturday saw me out with around 5-10,000 muslims, protesting against the oppressive anti-terror laws here, which impact heavily on the muslim community, as well as having the effect of criminalising those who protest and organise against oppressive foreign regimes.

entitled "march for iraq, palestine, kashmir and chechnya ... Before they make it a crime" the march also opposed the extradition of babar ahmad to the usa, the presciption of non-violent islamic organisations, including the organsers of the march, hiszb ut-tahrir britain, and other measures that attempt to silence legitimate political dissent.

as usual for such events, the marchers were fairly rigidly divided by sex, being led by a block of around 1500 men, followed by a rather larger group of women protestors, and a smaller contingent of men at the rear of the march.

the march began for some with prayers on the road, prostrating themselves on the placards and banners. there was a seriousness of purpose about the men, which, coupled with their generally dull and dark clothing made it a difficult even to photograph. the women were livelier both in dress and in their actions.

on the march, everyone was chanting from the same script, which in part read:

speaking truth is never violence
this ummah will not be silenced

you can make the truth a crime
but it still comes out in time

our dua remains the same
we refuse to live in shame

will you send us all to prison
cos we just don't hold your vision

i went with the march past trafalgar square, but then had to retire hirt, as my knee was beginning to make itself felt again.
more pictures

sunday i stayed home, catching up on some other work. as daylight fell we went to the field next to a nearby methodist church, which, on a bitter cold evening was holding an open air nativity event, complete with actors, a quartet from the salvation army and a donkey.
more pictures

january
february
march
april
may
june
july
august
september
october
november
december

 

2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999

some of my work gets put into nice organised websites.

this isn't meant to be like that, but you can see some of the rest at

london pictures
londons industrial history

and you can read what I think about photography at

>Re:PHOTO

All pictures on this section of the site are © Peter Marshall 2005;
to buy prints or for permission to reproduce pictures or to comment on this site, or for any other questions,

contact me

your comments may be added to the site - or not.
Payment may be waived for acceptable non-profit uses.

some of my work gets put into nice organised websites.

this isn't meant to be like that, but you can see some of the rest at

london pictures
londons industrial history

and you can read what I think about photography at

>Re:PHOTO

All pictures on this section of the site are © Peter Marshall 2005;
to but prints or for permission to reproduce pictures or to comment on this site, or for any other questions,

contact me

your comments may be added to the site - or not.
Payment may be waived for acceptable non-profit uses.


Climate March

London, December 3, 2005
© 2005, Peter Marshall
Protestors wait for the march to start. Many organisations supported the march, organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change, including the Green Party, Friends of the Earth, and socialist organisations.

© 2005, Peter Marshall
more pictures

 

Gate Gourmet - the Struggle Continues

Southall, December 4, 2005
© 2005, Peter Marshall
Sacked Gate Gourmet workers ask for union support in Southall march, Dec 4, 2005
© 2005, Peter Marshall

Sacked workers and supporters marched through Southall to a rally.
© 2005, Peter Marshall
more pictures

 

Fathers4Justice: 24 Days of Christmas Chaos

Westminster, London, 9 Dec 2006
© 2005, Peter Marshall
Santas and Mama Santas protest at Church of England and Dept of Education & Skills, Westminster
more pictures
 

Free Mehmet Tarhan

Turkish Airlines, Pall Mall, London, Dec 9, 2005
© 2005, Peter Marshall
Tahan is a gay conscientious objector held and tortured in aTurkish jail.


© 2005, Peter Marshall
One of a number of world-wide actions to demand his release, London, Dec 9, 2005
 

London Transport

Last day for the Routemaster, 9 Dec 2005

© 2005, Peter Marshall
One of the last regular service journeys by a London Routemaster bus. London, Dec 9, 2005
more pictures of this and other London Transport related images.
 

Victorian Christmas Market

Chrisp St, Poplar, London. Dec 9, 2005
© 2005, Peter Marshall
Hat Trick - Jim and Bev James Singing Chimney Sweeps
more pictures
 

The Ethiopian Tragedy - Stop UK Support

Marble Arch, London, Dec 9, 2005
© 2005, Peter MarshallEthiopians from across Europe protest against Ethiopian concentration camps and ask for end to UK support.
more pictures
 

Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain: End Terror Laws

March for Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Chechyna...

Before they make it a crime. Westminster, London, Dec 10, 2005
© 2005, Peter Marshall
Thousands of British Muslims marched to protest against oppresive UK laws. Prayers before the march.
more pictures
 

Laleham Nativity

Laleham Methodist Church, Staines, Middlesex. Dec 11, 2005
© 2005, Peter MarshallAn open-air nativity service complete with donkey and Salvation Army band.
more pictures

 

.

 

 


Site search Web search

powered by FreeFind