Solidarity with Yarl's Wood hunger strikers
Home Office, London. Wed 28 Feb 2018
The crowd outside the Home Office included many who
had themselves been in detention
Protesters at the home office supported the hunger strike and refusal
to work by the 120 women and men in immigration detention at Yarl's Wood.
The protest came at the end of the first week of the action which began
on 21st February and which is demanding the Home Office respect the European
Convention of Human Rights, end the separation of families, end indefinite
detention, with a 28 day maximum detention period, end charter flights which
deport people without notice, and end to re-detention of those released
The hunger strikers also want an amnesty for those who have been in the
country for over 10 years, a stop to deportations before cases are decided
and any appeals heard, the proper disclosure of all evidence to the immigration
tribunals, adequate health care, an end to detaining of highly vulnerable
people, an end to employment at £1 per hour and to be treated with
the dignity and respect due to all human beings.
The protest was organised by a number of groups including Lesbians and
Gays Support the Migrants, Detained Voices, Black Women's Rape Action Project,
All African Women's Group, The London Latinxs, Right to Remain, Docs Not
Cops and End Deportations. Movement for Justice who
have organised a dozen major protests outside Yarl's Wood, as well as those
at other detention centres and led the campaigns to close detention centres
and support detainees came with some colourful posters.
HE & FE rally for pensions and jobs
Methodist Central Hall, London. Wed 28 Feb 2018
Sally Hunt of UCU speaks and Kevin Courtney NEU listens
It was a great relief after a freezing march through London to be able
to sit down in the warm inside Methodist Central Hall.
Attendance at the march, despite the weather had been much greater than
anticipated, and only around half the marchers were able to fit into the
hall, and the speakers went out to address the others after speaking inside.
I'd hoped to be able to leave the hall after photographing the main speakers
and attend another protest, but because of the larger numbers the event
ran late, and by the time John McDonnell and Frances O'Grady
had spoken it was too late to bother leaving. I was very pleased to keep
sitting in the warm, and there were some other interesting speakers before
John McDonnell amused us all by walking to the microphone and beginning
to address us all in Russian, a reference to the pathetic attempts by the
right-wing media to smear him and Jeremy Corbyn as spies, but the largest
applause was for a fiercely rousing speech by NUS President Shakira
Martin, with many in the hall rising to their feet to applaud.
The strike by university staff has attracted widespread public sympathy
and support and perhaps the terrible weather has helped get their message
across, and it seems virtually certain that it will be successful, though
stopping its underlying cause which is the increasing marketisation of our
higher education system will be more difficult. It was heartening to hear
several Labour MPs speaking against a policy which had been very much a
New Labour project - and perhaps when we get the next Labour government
more sensible education policies will prevail.
Further Education - where I worked for some time - has long been the Cinderella
of education, and in recent years, along with adult education, has suffered
terrible cuts in staff, courses and funding. Successive governments have
occasionally said sensible things about it, while at the same time taking
actions which screwed the system and I'm still not sure that Labour will
really tackle the wide-ranging reforms that have obviously been necessary
for at least the last 40 years.
HE and FE march for pensions and jobs
London. Wed 28 Feb 2018
There were short periods of heavy snow, but most
of the time it eased off, even stopping occasionally
On the fifth day of their strike to get the universities to talk with
them about pensions and pay, UCU members marched through heavy snow showers
to a rally close to parliament. They were joined by staff from London FE
colleges on the first day of a two-day strike over pay and conditions, and
both groups were supported by large numbers of students.
Although we were still having very little snow in Staines, my arrival in
London coincided with a blizzard, with driving snow and a biting wind as
I made my way to Malet St for the start of the march. I slipped and almost
fell on my way, catching myself and my camera bag before either hit the
couple of inches of snow on the ground in Byng Place.
For the next 15 or 20 minutes it was hard to take pictures, with snow getting
on my lens as soon as I took away the cloth I had stuffed into the front
of the lens and raised a camera to my eye. Few of the pictures survived
entirely unharmed, most with various areas of soft and diffuse because of
snow on the lens filter.
Eventually the snow eased off, though there were some more heavy flurries
as the marchers made their way through London to Parliament Square and a
rally at Methodist Central Hall.
Tuition fees have increased dramatically, but university teachers pay has
stagnated, with an increasing amount of the teaching being done by those
on part-time or zero hours contracts. The employers now intend to end the
long-established pension scheme, replacing it with one that would greatly
reduce pensions and have refused to take part in talks with the UCU.
The 5 day strike is the first block of 14 days for which members voted
overwhelmingly and which have closed 61 universities in the UK, with considerable
support from students, and the marchers also demanded an end to student
Although management at some universities - such as Royal Holloway (RHUL)
have made draconian threats - the strike has held, with pickets standing
in the freezing cold and few crossing the picket lines. A number of college
principals have given their support to the strikers, and the move away from
the current pension scheme has been driven by a relatively small number
of universities, particularly the Oxbridge colleges, almost all of which
are extremely wealthy, with some owning large areas of London.
UCU members in 16 London FE colleges on the first day of their two day strike
over pay also took part; FE has lost 15,000 jobs, a million adult education
places and lecturers wages have been cut 21% since 2009.
London. Wed 28 Feb
The Embankment from Waterloo Bridge
It was snowing hard when I arrived in central London and I took a few pictures
from the top deck of my bust as it make its way to Russell Square. There
were a few small specks of snow on the outside of the windows, but most
just bounced off and blew away in a strong wind.
By the time I got off the bus and was walking to Malet St, the snow was
pretty dense, with around an inch of fresh snow on top of the earlier trodden
down covering making the pavements very slippery. I took a few more pictures
but it was really just too much to work. The snow was in very small flakes
which didn't show up on the pictures well but there were so many of them
that the lens was impossible to keep clear.
A little snow in Staines
Staines, Middx. Tue 27 Feb 2018
Just a little snow on the Swan upper statue by the
While weather news swamps out various emerging scandals on the national
news, Staines seems so far to have escaped relatively lightly.
We did get a few sharp heavy showers on Tuesday, and in late afternoon
I took a brief walk and made a few pictures. Since then, although it had
been cold there really hasn't been a great deal more, though perhaps it
is still to come two days later. But it is certainly cold - and I'm sitting
here writing this with my hat on at the computer as our heating isn't quite
keeping up with it.
Class War's Lambeth Walk for housing
Southwark, London.Sat 24 Feb 2018
Class War end their protest with a tongue in cheek rush at the Murdoch press
Class War celebrated their victory over the Qatari Royal family who
had taken them to Royal Courts of Justice to attempt to stop protests at
the Shard which is owned by the Qataris.
They had intended to dance the Lambeth Walk from one rally at City Hall
to another outside The Shard, accompanied by ukuleles, but perhaps because
of the cold weather, only one ukelele turned up and instead they simply
marched behind their banner, supported by members of the Revolutionary Communist
The protest called for the thousands of empty buildings in London and elsewhere
- including those ten empty £50 million flats in the Shard - to be
taken over and used to house the homeless.
Martin Wright pointed out that the coming cold snap next week will probably
be "another Grenfell", likely to kill at least 80 people of the
thousands who are sleeping on the streets. At the end of the rally opposite
the Shard, Class War amused themselves by mounting a mock charge on the
offices of Murdoch's News UK, publishers of The Times and The Sun.
Southwark, London. Sat 24 Feb 2018
One of two standing figures at one of the entrances to
'More London' the name given by property developers to the area on
the south bank to the west of London Bridge is one of those deceptive titles
much loved by corporates.
More London actually means 13 acres less London that is truly
public, and less that is owned in this country. St Martins Property
Group sounds English - and it was founded in 1924 as the St Martins-Le-Grand
Property Company Limited, but it is now the property development, investment
and asset management company that represents the real estate interests of
the State of Kuwait, wholly owned by the Kuwait sovereign wealth fund, Future
Theoretically photography is banned, as too are demonstrations in More
London, though with thousands of tourists passing through the open walkways
every day - including the riverside path - the ban on photography is seldom
enforced, though should you look too commercial you are likely to be approached
by security personnel who will tell you to stop. And they have certainly
tried to prevent some protests taking place, though often failing.
One of the major buildings in More London is City Hall, leased from the
Kuwaitis. It seems to me shameful that London had its seat of government,
COunty Hall at Westminster stolen from it by the Thatcher government back
in the '80s and does own the home for the Mayor and assembly. Also shameful
that many if not most of the government buildings in Whitehall now have
overseas owners, some of them by UK tax dodgers in overseas tax havens.
'Taking our country back' from the EU will certainly have little effect
at restoring Britain to British ownership.
At least Tower Bridge, which opened and closed twice while I was at Potters
Fields is still one of five London bridges now owned and maintained by the
Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London
Corporation, our very own tax haven. The bridge was raised for Noah, a small
sailing ship flying the Austrian flag and I think part of a youth training
15th Reclaim Love Valentine Party
Piccadilly Circus, London. Sat 17 Feb 2018
Drumming and dancing at Eros in Piccadilly Circus
People came to Piccadilly Circus for the 15th Reclaim Love Pavement
Party, an event which was founded and for 14 years organised by Venus CuMara.
They came with drums and other instruments to form a band to listen and
dance to, and at around 3pm began a meditation sending blessings to the
World and in particular to Venus who is suffering from cancer and in Indonesia,
repeating her mantra "May All The Beings In All The Worlds Be Happy
And At Peace". People were invited to make a contribution to enable
her to prolong her treatment there.
Then people joined hands in what Venus called a "Massive Healing Reclaim
Love Meditation Circle beaming Love and Happiness and our Vision for world
peace out into the cosmos" around Eros, after which everyone was invited
to hug strangers and the music and dancing then continued, though I had
to leave shortly after.
The event is an attempt to reclaim love as a manifestation of the human
spirit from the sleazy commercialisation which has taken over Valentine's
Day as a festival of profit.
Against US war plans for Ukraine
Downing St, London. Sat 17 Feb 2018
Campaigners pose opposite Downing St
Campaigners from the New Communist Party, Socialist Fight, Posadists
and members of Solidarity with the Anti-Fascist Resistance in Ukraine protested
at Downing St against the delivery of $350 million of US weapons to Kiev
in preparation for a war against the self-declared Donbass republics of
Donetsk and Lugansk which Ukraine says are "occupation administrations"
of the Russian Federation.
The Ukrainian government in Kiev has refused to implement the 2015 Minsk
II agreement negotiated by Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France with the
Donbass republics recognised as participants. They say that the 2014 Maidan
coup came one week after a visit to Kiev by CIA boss John Brennan and was
US-backed and opposed by anti-fascists in Donbass, and call on the UK government
to end its support, including sending military trainers, to the illegal
fascist-backed Poroshenko regime in Kiev and back a peaceful conclusion
to the war in Ukraine.
'Stay Put' monthly Sewol silent protest
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 17 Feb 2018
304 Killed, 250 children who were told to 'Stay Put'
A row of people stand in silence in Trafalgar Square holding posters
in the 45th monthly vigil to remember the Sewol victims, mainly school children
who obeyed the order to 'Stay Put' on the lower decks as the ship went down.
They continue to demand the Korean government conduct a thorough inquiry
into the disaster, recover all missing victims, punish those responsible
and enact special anti-disaster regulations.
Protect Venezuelan democracy
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 17 Feb 2018
A Venezuelan tells a woman disrupting their protest
she is wrong about what is happening in his country
An emergency rally in Trafalgar Square calls of an end to EU and US
economic and diplomatic sanctions against Venezuela in support of the interests
of international corporations which make it difficult for the country to
recover after the collapse of oil prices in 2015.
The latest attack on the country is the US rejection of the 22nd April
2018 election, an attack on Venezuelan sovereignty and the country's right
to determine its own destiny. Venezuelans fear that the US is preparing
to support a coup or invasion of their country under the pretext of restoring
Two women carrying upside-down Venezuelan flags came to interrupt the protest
and shout at the protesters, calling the Maduro regime a communist regime
which was ruining the nation, and there were some heated exchanges of views.
The two had previously been protesting on the other side of the square
with the Bolivians against Evo Morales, where I had noted they were using
the flag introduced by Hugo Chavez rather than the older 7-star version
preferred by the Venezuelan opposition.
Bolivians protest against President Morales
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 17 Feb 2018
Bolivians, some wearing national costumes say 'Democracy
Yes, Dictatorship NO'
Bolivians protest in Trafalgar Square against President Evo Morales
who won a Supreme Court appeal which will allow him to run for a fourth
term in 2019 after a referendum on 21st February 2016 had voted down the
The government argued it had lost because of an illegal defamatory campaign
against Morales who is the country's first indigenous leader, in office
since 2006, and says he needs more time in power in order to consolidate
his party's programme of of social reforms.
The protesters accuse him of wanting to be a dictator and abandoning democracy
by using the court to overturn the referendum vote. The called on Morales
to respect the popular vote and said 'Bolivia Said No', and accused him
of violating human rights by going to the courts to overturn the people's
The protesters were joined by two woman protesting against the 'Socialist
Revolution' in Venezuela with a banner showing Che Guevara, Fidel Castro,
Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro as 'Castro Communists' and saying they were
responsible for all the problems of Latin America including drug trafficking,
while a second small banner accused Maduro of being responsible for death,
hunger, poverty and corruption.
It seemed unlikely they were Venezuelan as one was flying the Venezuelan
flag upside down and both the flag and the hat one was wearing were used
the design introduced by Hugo Chavez in 2006, incorporating an eighth star
and a horse galloping to the left, which the Venezuelan opposition stated
they would not use, normally sticking to the older 7-star version.
Lambeth Council opens fake Carnegie library
Carnegie Library, Herne Hill, London. Thu 15 Feb 2018
Library campaigners listen as they are told the Carnegie
Library is an unsafe building and advised to leave
Library campaigners protest outside the Grade II listed Carnegie Library
as Lambeth Council re-opened the building as a temporary measure in advance
of local elections.
In the longer term the library facilities will be moved into two smaller
rooms, only open when library staff are on site for around two hours per
day. The current main library area will be run as a hall that can be hired,
but will have no kitchen facilities.
Work is still continuing on the building where millions have been spent
excavating a pay-to-use basement gym no one wants with limited facilities
and ceiling so low that will make it impossible for people to jump - exercising
will be on machines.
The gym facility will almost certainly will require continued subsidies
to Greenwich Leisure Limited in addition to the money spent on the building
works, which campaigners expect to rise to around £7m.
The campaigners who went into the library when it opened to the public
at 1pm included Unison safety inspectors, and after we had been inside for
15 minutes e were ad leave when they declared the premises unsafe. Unison
members are being advised not to work there.
The only fire exit is through the building works and along a corridor lined
with Calor gas cylinders. The former toilet facilities in the basement are
no longer available and temporary toilet facilities have been provided in
a room overlooked by the windows of neighbouring houses and the toilet was
found to be discharging into the waste outlet of a kitchen sink. The public
entrance is up a flight of external steps and there is no disabled access
to the library, making it unsuitable for public use. There is also no proper
heating system, with dangerous electric fires in use.
There seemed to be no other members of the public interested in the re-opening
of the library, which was being staffed by managers from the council, who
tried to prevent the safety inspection. After we left there were speeches
on the library steps, where the council was condemned for its destruction
of a much used library and wasting council money on a gym which few will
want and which duplicates local private provision. They see the re-opening
of the building a few months before May's council elections as a cynical
ploy by Lambeth Labour to keep councillors in seat, and it was hard to argue
with that assessment.
Grenfell Remembered - 8 Months On
Kensington, London. Wed 14 Nov 2018
The march passes a car with posters on it on Kensington
The monthly silent walk marks 8 months since the Grenfell Tower Fire
and 8 months over which the voices of the community continue to be ignored.
Seven months ago Theresa May promised all Grenfell residents would be rehoused
within three weeks. Four-fifths of those made homeless have yet to be found
a permanent home. The inquiry, taking place in the City of London far from
Grenfell has refused the community request to have a greater involvement,
and the next session has been put off for a further month.
While previous monthly marches have been around the area of Grenfell, the
organisers decided to make the event more visible by marching from Kensington
Town Hall along Kensington High Street before turning north to go towards
The march took place in steady rain. After I had marched with them along
Kensington High St I was cold and wet and one of my cameras was going haywire,
and I left for home. I missed two trains as my ticket was wet and stuck
in the barrier and it took around ten minutes for the member of staff on
duty to find a working key and retrieve it.
Russia Stop the Killing, Leave Syria
Russian Embassy, London. Sat 10 Feb 2018
Protesters with the Free Syrian flag and placards
opposite the Russian Embassy
Protesters opposite the Russian Embassy accuse Russia and the Assad
regime of war crimes in Syria and tell the Russians to leave the country.
The protest organised by Syria Solidarity Campaign came after some of the
largest massacres since the chemical attack last April, killing women and
children in Idlib where there have been continued widely reported chemical
attacks and bombing targeted at hospitals and medical teams.
The recent surge of attacks follows the shooting down of a Russian jet
over Idlib by Syrian freedom fighters using a Russian-made man-portable
Ladbroke Grove Pret-a-Manger land theft
Notting Hill, London. Fri 9 Feb 2018
join in the protest outside Pret-a-Manger, opened on land in trust to the
Community groups in North Kensington protest against the newly-opened
Pret-a-Manger which has opened under Westway on Ladbroke Grove. The space
above it is being fitted out for an expensive private prep school.
The say the land which was formerly the Westway Information Centre
was part of that left in trust for community use and accuse the Royal Borough
of Kensington & Chelsea, then under the leadership of the now disgraced
Nick Paget-Brown and Rock Feilding Mellen, of pursuing an asset-sweating
strategy which prioritised the commercial value of public land, casting
such issues as residents’ consent, public access, and public amenities.
They say this is theft of community land with the site being developed
on the ground floor as the Pret-a-Manger chain outlet, and above it a private
£6,000 per term prep school.
After the fire disaster in nearby Grenfell Tower the council has claimed
that there will be ‘change’ and there will be ‘listening’
under the new leadership of Elizabeth Campbell and Kim Taylor-Smith and
the protesters call on them to urgently rethink the development plans and
return the site to serve the needs of the community.
Class War protest at Shard
London Bridge, London. Thu 8 Feb 2018
A police officer tells Jane Nicholl she has to move
across the road
Class War protest outside The Shard this evening after defeating the
attempt by lawyers representing the Qatari Royal Family who own the building
to take out an injunction to prevent their protest.
The protesters at the Shard point out that it contains ten £50 million
pound apartments there which have remained empty since the building was
completed, and that there are plans to build a further 26,000 flats costing
more than a million pounds each, many replacing current social housing a
time when London has a huge housing crisis with thousands sleeping on the
street, and over 100 families from Grenfell are still in temporary accommodation.
Class War say there are already a huge number of empty properties in London,
many in large development of high priced flats which either remain unsold
or are bought as investments and largely unoccupied.
The High Court had received an undertaking from Ian Bone that he would
not personally enter the building, but his health problems meant he was
in any case unable to attend this protest. There were large numbers of police
and security men, including a number in plain clothes in the area and two
with search dogs, but the protest was peaceful as had been planned.
The protesters were careful to remain outside the boundary of The Shard,
marked with a metal line in the pavement, but police still tried to move
them away to the other side of the road, making the patently spurious claim
that they were causing an obstruction to commuters attempting to enter London
Bridge station. The police were obviously causing a rather larger obstruction
than Class War.
Class War victory against Qatari Royals
High Court, The Strand, London. Thu 8 Feb 2018
Ian Bone raises a fist as he comes out of the Royal Courts of Justice
Ian Bone emerged triumphant from the High Court after stopping an attempt
by lawyers acting for the Qatari royal family to prevent a Class War protest
against the ten empty £50million pound apartments in The Shard.
The Qataris' lawyers had tried to get an injunction against protests by
Bone and "persons unknown" and to claim over £500
in legal costs from the 70 year-old south London pensioner, but once the
had been contacted by barrister Ian Brownhill who had offered to conduct
Bone's defence pro bono they immediately offered to drop the case if Class
War 'would stop attacking the Shard'.
Their attempt to stifle protest was covered in national and international
media including an article by Suzanne Moore in The Guardian and
another in Le Monde and many more. In the High Court the Qataris'
lawyers were forced to drop the attempt to ban protests and the demand for
fees but Bone accepted a legal restriction on him going inside the Shard
and its immediate vicinity. The planned protest went ahead as planned later
in the day.
Outside the court Bone addressed a small crowd of supporters who had come
to welcome him, giving them the news of Class War's court victory, and reading
out one of the documents presented by the court about Class War which made
it sound a rather more impressive and powerful organisation than the small
but influential irritant to the rich and unscrupulous it is. The police
seem to share the lawyers delusions of grandeur, an unusually strong police
presence outside the court and around a corner clearly outnumbering the
Class War supporters.
Among other documents presented by the Qataris' lawyers was one with some
clearly defamatory false statements about another person associated with
Class War who was not named in the injunction and which appeared, along
with some of the photographs in their submission to have been obtained from
police sources rather than publicly available information. Perhaps this
was not surprising, as the Head of Security at The Shard went to the job
after retiring as a police commander. Police have previously carried out
a number of clearly malicious arrests of people from Class War during protests,
where their cases have either been dropped before coming to court or thrown
out by the courts.
Plasticus the Whale at Parliament
Old Palace Yard, Westminster, London. Tue 6th Feb 2018
One second of plastic dumped in the ocean make up
Plasticus the whale
Plasticus the Whale from Sky Ocean Rescue, made of a quarter of a
ton of plastic waste, the amount dumped in the ocean every second - a total
of 8 million tons a year, was outside Parliament today in its campaign to
stop the damage to the world's oceans caused by single use plastic.
Last August it toured a dozen locations in England, Wales and Scotland
to highlight the problem. Sky Ocean Rescue is an initiative of Sky UK, part-owned
by Rupert Murdoch. Many feel this surprising as his companies seldom seem
to have very positive record in promoting environmental matters and opposing
man-made climate change.
Sling the Mesh say campaigners
Parliament Square, London. Tue 6th Feb 2018
A campaigner holds a poster showing a surgeon labelling
a patient as hysterical for reporting her pain
Campaigners protest in Parliament Square on the 100th anniversary of
the first votes for women in the UK calling for a suspension on the use
of mesh implants to treat incontinence and prolapse often caused by childbirth.
Many of those in the mesh campaign are suffering from the effects of these
implants which can cause severe pain, disability and loss of sex life, and
their use was suspended in Scotland in 2014.
Women say surgeons ignore women and claim their symptoms are not caused
by the mesh and many women are made to feel they are making up their symptoms.
The NHS say the risk is 1 to 3% but campaigners say that at least one in
seven women suffer and that the mesh has only been clinically tested on
animals and no long-term trial has taken place on women.
Fair Votes Hunger Strike for Democracy
Parliament Square, London. Tue 6 Feb 2018
Campaigners pose for a group photograph in Parliament
Campaigners pose in Parliament Square as four hundred fair vote campaigners
take part in a 24 hour hunger strike, #Hungry4Democracy, organised by Make
Votes Matter (MVM) in protest against our dysfunctional electoral system
and to urge Proportional Representation.
The event took place on the centenary of the 1918 the Representation of
the People Act when for the first time some women and all men over 21 in
the UK gained the right to vote. MVM point out that although now everyone
can vote, for over two thirds of us our vote has no effect on the result,
"either going to losing candidates or piling up in safe seats without
influencing the makeup of Parliament."
They call for a proportional representation system where the proportion
of seats won by a party matches the proportion of votes, as is already the
case in elections in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London.
The campaign has wide support from both the Green Party and the Lib-Dems
who would gain greatly from it and a number of MPs and Peers have given
their support. Among those who came were Peter Tatchell from the Peter Tatchell
Foundation, Vince Cable, Green Party co-Chair Jon Bartley and President
of the UK Liberal Democrats Baroness Sal Brinton.
Save Brixton Arches: 3rd Anniversary Action
Brixton, London. Sun 4 Feb 2018
Green Party candidate Rashid Nix was one of the speakers
Campaigners marked the third anniversary of the announcement by Network
Rail of their plans to redevelop the Brixton Arches with a rally and a three
Railway arches such as these have traditionally been home to small, local
businesses, and some of those at Brixton had been there for many years,
becoming well-known and respected in the area. The area and its small traders
who have been displaced (a few are still fighting to remain) has been described
as the 'heart of Brixton'. Network Rail want to get a greater financial
return from these and other rail arches and the refurbishment will enable
them to "triple the rents, insert shiny new businesses and provide
Brixton with even more over-priced bars and restaurants than the town’s
citizens can shake a stick at."
Network Rail have colluded with Lambeth Council to get rid of something
that gave Brixton its unique character and replace it by trendier shops
catering for the new wealthy young population - part of Lambeth Labour's
programme of social cleansing which includes demolishing council estates
and replacing them with high cost private accommodation (with a token amount
of so-called affordable properties.) The Council ignored the public outcry
and large demonstrations to keep the arches.
The plans were accompanied by a great deal of lies and mismanagement by
Network Rail and work was supposed to be completed by 2016 but is only scheduled
to start tomorrow, and the Save Brixton Arches campaign are calling for
it to be abandoned as the plans for the work fail to include proper fire
safety precautions and will severely restrict access by emergency services
to local businesses and the railway and station.
They also call on Lambeth Council to insist that the conditions of the
planning permission that included no adverse effect on the market traders
in Brixton Station Road be applied, as the work as planned will produce
dust and pollution which will almost certainly force those who prepare food
in the area out of business. They point out that there are no safety measures
to protect local businesses, young children in the nearby crèche
or the general public from potentially dangerous airborne particles during
the removal of asbestos.
There was also a call for an investigation into local Labour MP Helen Hayes,
elected in 2015, who until she resigned shortly before the election was
a senior partner in the firm Allies & Morrison which made the recommendation
for the 'improvement' of the arches in 2013, though she has denied any personal
involvement. A&M have been involved in many contentious 'regeneration'
schemes with developers and councils across London which opponents describe
as social cleansing.
Fix the NHS Crisis Now
Gower St to Downing St, London. Sat 3 Feb 2018
'I'm a bleating activist' was the message on the sheep
Tens of thousands marched in support of the NHS through London to a
rally at Downing St calling on the Government to stop blaming patients,
nurses, doctors, immigrants, flu and the elderly for the crisis in the health
service and to fund it properly and bring it back into public hands from
the waste and demands of private profit.
Outsourcing of services has damaged the efficiency of the NHS and created
dangerously low standards of hygiene, while expensive PFI building contracts
have left many hospital trusts with impossible long-term debt repayments.
Many in the Conservative Party have financial interests in healthcare companies
and their policies are clearly designed to carry out a creeping privatisation
of the NHS, setting up various devices including STPs and ACSs (Sustainability
and transformation partnerships and accountable care systems) which obligate
the tendering of NHS services to private healthcare providers, and large
areas of NHS services now provided by companies such as Virgin Healthcare.
The march gathered along Gower St, filling it from the Euston Road down
to Chenies St by the start, with more people still arriving. I never managed
to see the rear of the march, but it was estimated to be over 50,000 people.
I walked down with it taking pictures until I was on Shaftesbury Ave, and
stood there as the march went past, but there was no sign of the end when
I had to leave to rush down to Downing St for the rally.
The event was organised by Health Campaigns Together & The People's
Assembly and speakers at the rally included Royal College of Nursing President
Cecilia Anim, activist David M Bailey and others from the medical profession,
Shadow Health minister John Ashworth, Gail Cartmell of Unite and the TUC,
actor Ralf Little, and Paula Peters of Disabled People Against Cuts. But
the speaker who moved us all to tears as she spoke through hers was Nicky
Romero, whose daughter Becky died because of lack of NHS resources.
TINAG Living Archive & Sylvia McAdam
Bishopsgate Institute, London. Thu 1 Feb 2018
Canadian Cree Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum), advocate
for First Nation and Environmental rights
This Is Not A Gateway, organised by Trenton Oldfield and Deepa Naik, is
a not-for-profit organisation that since 2007 has created platforms for
critical investigations into cities through work with their Myrdle Court
Press, urban studies, salons and a number of festivals.
Back in 2009, I took part in the festival with Paul Baldesare, where we
did short presentations based on the group show 'Taken
in London' which was then showing a mile or so away, and I've also been
to some other TINAG events.
TINAG now has funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council
to produce a Living Archive of their decade of work in partnership with
the Bishopsgate Institute. The aim of the archive is to continue to platform
the important contributions made to This Is Not A Gateway since 2007. It
will be available online and physically at the Bishopsgate Institute.
The launch event for this Living Archive included a short presentations
by Steff Dickers from the Bishopsgate Institute and Trenton about the Living
Archive project and then a presentation by special guest Sylvia McAdam (Cree
name Saysewahum) a Canadian Cree, a a citizen of the nêhiyaw Nation
and a lawyer and advocate for First Nation and Environmental rights in Canada
who co-founded the 'Idle No More' movement of indigenous people.
She described the thoughts and world view of nêhiyawak, Cree laws
which are shared and passed down through oral tradition and landbased
use, utilizing stories, songs, ceremonies, and other sacred rites, and how
these operate, as well as how they have been sidelined through the process
of colonisation, and the apparatus of systematic repression and genocide,
with various treaties which failed to respect the traditional world view,
as well as Acts of Parliament which listed over 200 crimes which could only
be committed by an "Indian" including holding a potlatch, hiring
a lawyer to pursue land rights, keeping a child home from Indian Residential
School and travelling without permission given by an Indian Agent.
There has been a huge programme of resistance across Canada led in recent
years by the Idle No More movement particularly against threats to the environment,
such as the Alberta Tar Sands.
McAdam came to London in 2013 and recorded an
interview in the same library, though there are many other videos by
her available on YouTube
and Video, including
a talk she gave in Toronto in 2014.
Ladbroke Crescent at sunset
Pictures from my train journey into London, from Notting Hill, Denmark
Hill and a walk around Westminster.
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