Protest at Lewisham Council & Mayor
Lewisham Council, Catford, London. Wed 28 Nov 2018
Some of the protesters held small posters 'Housing
for People, not for Speculators
Lewisham residents protested on a cold damp night outside a council meeting
over the brutal eviction of Deptford's Old Tidemill Garden and the felling
of trees as a part of the council's plan to redevelop this and Reginald
House whose tenants and local residents have campaigned over many years
to keep both the community garden and council housing.
Residents have produced plans showing how the council's housing objectives
could be met without the loss of gardens and existing council housing, but
the council have refused to give them proper consideration.
Some of the protesters had submitted questions about this and other local
issues to Mayor Damien Egan and I left as they were queueing to enter. Security
officers had told them that apart from those who had earlier submitted their
written questions, few others would be admitted to the public meeting as
space was limited.
Southwark protest estate demolitions
Southwark Council Offices, London. Wed 28 Nov 2018
Aysen from the Aylesbury Estate holds up a 'Wanted
' poster for Southwark Council leader Peter John
Southwark council estate residents lobbied councillors against the
demolition of their homes as they went in to a council meeting.
The residents call for and end to council estate demolitions and the social
and ethnic cleansing of the borough and want the council to work with residents
who the council is increasingly disempowering. The council is setting up
a new 'Resident Involvement Panel' to sideline the to many established residents
associations, including Tenant Council, Homeowners Council, Area Housing
Forums, TRA's and Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations (SGTO), and is
setting up fake 'consultations' over estate demolition.
Among the protesters were some from the Aylesbury estate, already part
demolished despite a majority ballot which callied for refurbishment rather
Council policies are being driven by the need of private developers to
make profits rather than the needs of local people. As a recent detailed
report by ASH (Architects for Social Housing) has shown, 'regeneration'
schemes by councils like Southwark involve large costs for emptying the
esates and demolishing homes, which along with the costs of building new
properties means that the great majority of the new estates have to be sold
or let at high market prices, and only a very small proportion can be at
comparable rents to existing social housing. Much of what is claimed as
social housing will be at rents several times existing council rents or
shared ownership which caters for those earning £60,000 or £80,000
Leaseholders have suffered particularly hard in previous schemes, and even
in some of the latest are only being offered at best around half the costs
of the replacement properties. Along with many tenants on estates they end
up having to move well out to the fringes of London, often ending up in
rented properties with very little security of tenure in a wholesale social
cleansing of the areas.
ASH also show that the cost of refurbishment of typical estates is roughly
similar to the costs of demolition and this can be done without destroying
the communities or forcing people out on a permanent basis. Their schemes
have also shown how the councils can acheive many new properties by infill
or adding new floors on top of existing buildings. Their schemes would also
retain public assests in public hands rather than giving land and property
away at knock-down prices to the developers. The council's schemes do acheive
greater housing densities, but with a cost per unit several times greater,
which inevitably requires much higher rents and market sales, effectively
pricing almost all of the original inhabitants out of the area, replacing
them with new residents in high-income jobs - a process accurately described
as 'social cleansing'.
Many of the councillors and officers involved in council regeneration schemes
have benefitted from lavish entertaining by the developers, and some have
moved into extremely well-paid jobs with developers or with special companies
set up by councils as a part of the regeneration. But while this may benefit
them and make huge profits for developers, its results are often disastrous
for those who currently enjoy living in properties solidly built to last
at least another 50 years with proper maintenance but in most cases requiring
refurbishment to meet current energy standards and repair the faults, often
caused by deliberate neglect by councils.
Free Political Prisoners in Iran
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 24 Nov 2018
protester smoothes down the banner for me to photograph it
The Worker-Communist Party of Iran - Hekmatist protest in Trafalgar
Square in solidarity with the Iranian People's Struggle and calling for
the release of all political prisoners.
There were widespread protests earlier this year in cities in Iran following
which many opposition figures were arrested and put in jail. The party want
all of the jailed workers to be released and for an end to the many executions.
They also want there to be properly independent trade unions.
Extinction Rebellion Buckingham
Buckingham Palace, London. Sat 24 Nov 2018
People came and laid flowers, photographs etc in a
silent remembrance as the protest neared its end
At Buckingham Palace they set down the 'OUR FUTURE' coffin in front of
the gates, and there was a short rally.
Gail Bradbrook read a letter from Extinction Rebellion to the Queen, asking
her to save her country (and the world) by insisting the government take
urgent climate action and press other governments to also do so, and the
campaigners repeated the rebellion declaration once more.
There was then some singing followed by a silence in memory of those who
have already died as a result of climate change, mainly in the Global South,
during which people were asked to go and lay their wreaths, flowers, and
other things they had brought on the coffin.
When this had finished, the drummers and other musicians began to play and
people started dancing. The protest seemed to be over and I left.
Extinction Rebellion Funeral Procession
Whitehall & The Mall, London. Sat 24 Nov 2018
Campaigners form the Extinction Rebellion symbol with
their bodies on Whitehall in front of Downing St
Campaigners formed up behind the behind the coffin, with its message
'OUR FUTURE' for a funeral procession, led by drummers and a trumpeter.
The procession set off and walked slowly up Whitehall stopping briefly
to sit down in the road in silence when the coffin reached Downing St. The
route of the procession had not been announced in advance. When the procession
moved on from, some remained in front of Downing St and laid down in the
road to form the Extinction Rebellion symbol for around ten minutes, before
moving to join the rest who had waited at the top of Whitehall.
There were at least half a dozen arrests in Whitehall, all apparently for
criminal damage. As I stood by the memorial to the Women of World War Two,
one protester took out a spray can and began to paint a slogan on it. I
took a series of pictures and was rather disappointed when one of the police
intelligence gathers in blue waistcoats came and grabbed him before he had
finished, leaving just 'MOTHER' and a squiggle where he was trying to paint
with a policeman holding his arm. He walked away quietly with the officer
to the other side of the road.
When the procession had re-gathered at the end of Whitehall, Gail Bradbrook
who had been walking in front of the main banner spoke briefly to tell us
we were on the way down The Mall to Buckingham Palace. Police quickly closed
the road gate leading to The Mall, but then thought better of it and opened
it up again to let the procession through and it continued down road to
arrive at the palace.
Extinction Rebellion Parliament Square
Parliament Square, London. Sat 24 Nov 2018
Police stop the coffin with its message 'OUR FUTURE'
and a legal observer makes notes
On Day 2 of the Extinction Rebellion there was a rally in Parliament
Square, with traffic blocked at all the roads into the square.
After reading the rebellion declaration the crowd heard a series of performances
by singers and poets, learnt a new song and listened to speeches by environmental
activists, an environmental lawyer and others.
At the end of the rally they formed a tight circle around the middle of
the square and some began to dig a grave to bury a coffin which was carried
on to the square with the message 'OUR FUTURE'. The diggers carefully removed
a rectangle of the turf, and then began to dig a hole, but the ground below
was compacted and a large crowd of Met and City of London police pushed
through the crowd to occupy the area and stop them before they had dug more
than a few inches.
Unfortunately the police action, which they said was to stop criminal damage,
resulted in far more damage than the protesters would have caused, with
the carefully set aside turf being trampled on by police, though it seems
unlikely that any of the officers will be charged for the damage that they
caused. There didn't seem to be any arrests of protesters at this stage,
though they may have arrested some later.
I moved across to where police had surrounded the coffin and we stood waiting
for some minutes, and I think there may have been a second attempt to make
a grave also prevented by police, but the square was so crowded with people
it was difficult to known.
Eventually the protesters decided to move off the square and to get ready
for a funeral procession to lead off up Parliament St.
IWGB at London University Founders Day
Senate House, London. Tue 20 Nov 2018
A person attending the Foundation Day is helped under the long red barrier
The IWGB (Independent Workers Union of Great Britain) and supporters
including students and staff protested noisily outside Senate House during
University of London Chancellor Princess Anne's Foundation Day visit, calling
for all workers to be directly employed by the university.
Police and security tried to keep the entrance clear, but the protesters
stood in front of it so that people had to walk around them and their banner
to enter. After a while the IWGB brought out a many yard long roll of red
cloth, and held this on the pavement. Some people walked to the end and
around behind it to gain entry, while others were helped under it by police
and security who rolled parts of it up and held them up while protesters
tried to keep it down.
There were a few minor scuffles, and some protesters were pushed rather
firmly by one of the security men, with their complaints of assault being
ignored by police, who seemed to be trying to keep the situation under control
without making any arrests.
When most of those attending the event had arrived, the protesters walked
around to the eastern entrance to Senate House in Russell Square. As usual
the IWGB protest was a noisy one, with drums and vuvuzelas as well as loud
shouting, and while Princess Anne may not have seen it, she and the others
at the Foundation Day will certainly have heard it.
The University of London continues to drag its feet over bringing workers
into direct employment. They have announced that although recommending that
workers be brought in-house this will be subject to "in-house comparator
bids" and that it will not happen until 2020 or 2021. As the IWGB point
out this is in great contrast to the response of Kings College and the LSE
who have agreed to take their workers back in house.
The IWGB say using outside contractors to employ staff is discriminatory
as outsourced workers including security, cleaning and catering staff are
predominantly migrant and BME workers and are on far worse terms and conditions
than other staff and subjected to harassment and bullying.
They say the foundation day protest has now become an annual tradition
and they continue to demand the University of London 'end discrimination,
take direct responsibility for the employment and working conditions of
outsourced workers and bring them in-house now!' Strikes continue, with
the latest ballot among the cleaners being 100% in favour of strike action.
No10 Vigil says stop Brexit
Downing St, London. Mon 19 Nov 2018
with EU flags, hats and balloons outside Downing St
On the day that parliament debated the petition ‘If there is
No Deal to Leave EU, Brexit must be stopped’ protesters from the #No10Vigil
held their evening vigil opposite Downing St.
There was a lively performance by Boris impersonator Drew Galdron and EU
Supergirl Madelina Kay, Young European of the Year 2018 and then people
rushed across to shout 'Bollocks to Brexit' and 'People's Vote' as a large
group of Brexiteers emerged from a meeting with Theresa May at Downing St.
No 10 Vigil say the Leave Campaign broke the law and made promises they
knew to be false in their campaign. Any deal that can possibly be made will
leave the country in a worse position than remaining in the EU (and fail
to satisfy the Brexiteers) while a 'No Deal' exit would be a national catastrophe.
They say that Brexit is madness and call for a people's vote to remain in
the EU, confident that now we have a much better idea of what Brexit really
means a large majority will vote against it.
Focus E15 protest former Newham Mayor
Policy Exchange, Westminster. Mon 19 Nov 2018
Focus E15 say that former mayor Sir Robin Wales has
a terrible record on Housing in Newham
Protesters from Focus E15 Mothers protested in the rain outside centre-right
think tank Policy Exchange where former Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales now
works and was speaking at a housing conference.
They say he left office with 1 in 25 homeless including 2,000 families
with children under 5, left the largest council bank debt of any local authority,
kept hundreds of council homes empty for over 10 years despite a huge waiting
list while he tried to get rid of council estates and deleted 10,000 e-mails
to avoid investigation into council dealings.
Rather than housing the people of Newham in social housing he tried to
force them to go into insecure private rented accommodation in distant parts
of England and Wales, away from friends, families, jobs and schools. The
Libor loans that he took out have been disastrous to Newham, with interest
repayments swallowing up the borough's council tax.
Robin Wales had held the position of elected mayor of Newham since it was
created in 2002, and was the first elected mayor in the UK. He had previously
been council leader and had run the council, which is overwhelmingly Labour
(they currently hold all 60 seats), since 1995. In 2016 he tried to fix
the Labour Party reselection process for the 2018 Mayoral elections to automatically
select him for a further term, but the ballot had to be re-run after complaints
that party rules had been broken, and in 2018 he was de-selected gaining
503 votes against Rokhsana Fiaz with 861. She became the first directly
elected female mayor for any London borough.
Although Wales had stated that he was a socialist during the ballot, this
has not stopped him taking a job with the centre-right Policy Exchange Senior
Adviser on Local Government, Skills and Housing and co-authoring with conservative
philosopher Sir Roger Scruton the report 'Building More, Building Beautiful:
How design and style can unlock the housing crisis'.
The protesters held banners and posters and made their presence felt using
a megaphone. After they had been outside for around 45 minutes, a man from
Policy Exchange brought out tea for them, though some refused the offer.
At the end of the protest the tried to go in to the conference which was
taking place on the sixth floor. I had to leave for another protest as they
went inside, but as I expected the building security stopped on their way
up to the conference and they had to leave.
Extinction Rebellion form Citizens' Assembly
Westminster Bridge, London. Sat 17 Nov 2018
Lancashire anti-fracking Nana Tina Louise Rothery
speaks at the rally on the blocked bridge
Having occupied five bridges since before 11am, the rallies were continuing
on them when I returned around 2.15pm, with a number of speakers from around
the country and around the world, some of whom travelled to speak on several
of the five blocked bridges.
Scientific studies and reports now make it clear that countries around
the world have only a very short time to take effective action to avoid
widespread ecological disaster and possible human extinction due to the
effects of man-made climate change.
The world needs rapidly to cut the burning of fossil fuels to zero, and
reduce the use of these and other resources, as well as to change our habits
of food use and methods of food production to become more ecologically sound.
Meat and fish need to become occasional treats for those not on a vegan
diet rather than staple foods, with animals raised without widespread use
of animal feeds on soils unsuitable for more intensive agriculture. We need
to stop overfishing and stop polluting the oceans so that fish stocks recover.
We need to end the throwaway culture and end single-use plastics, minimise
packaging and make products that last, to tackle seriously industries such
as aviation, end the waste of arms production and minimise the use of motor
New methods of producing materials such as concrete and steel with lower
carbon emissions, for example reducing iron ore using hydrogen produced
by electrolysis of water using renewable energy sources have some part to
play, and carbon capture and storage may be able to help a little, but by
far the most important technology for carbon removal will remain photosynthesis,
and we desperately need to end deforestation, currently taking place on
a huge scale, and to plant more forests around the world to remove carbon
dioxide and produce oxygen. Cleaning up the ocean is also vital as around
half of the planet's oxygen production comes from algae.
The speeches I heard were all about environmental destruction which is
currently taking place around the world. There was a huge welcome for Tina-Louise
Rothery who was there with several other of the Lancashire Nanas whose protest
against fracking at Preston New Road has been an incredible example to all
concerned with our planet's future. Despite this, fracking has begun, and
by this time had produced 36 seismic events in the area. Given the incredible
damage caused by gas extraction in Holland, and fracking in parts of America,
there is now no room for doubt that it should stop.
After the many contributions, those present were asked to split into groups
of around 8 people and to form an embryo Citizen's Assembly. It was beginning
to get rather cold and I had been on my feet too long to stay.
Unity Against Fascism and Racism
Regent St, London, Sat 17 Nov 2018
I photographed the marchers as they came down Regent
Thousands marched from the BBC to a rally in Whitehall calling for
unity against the rising threat of Islamophobia and Antisemitism by far-right
groups in the UK, with a level of support for fascism not seen since the
I arrived too late for the start of the march and walked up to meet the
head of it on Regent St just a little south of Oxford Circus. After around
half an hour people were still coming past, but I thought it was near the
end and I returned to the Extinction Rebellion on Westminster Bridge.
The event was initiated by Stand Up To Racism, co-sponsored by Unite Against
Fascism and Love Music Hate Racism, and supported by many other groups and
individuals including Diane Abbott MP and John McDonnell MP.
Extinction Rebellion: Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo
Southwark, Blackfriars & Waterloo Bridges. Sat 17 Nov 2018
with flags and banners on Southwark Bridge
Photographs of the blockade on Southwark, Blackfriars and Waterloo
bridges across the River Thames. Extinction Rebellion blocked these and
two others for several hours creating traffic chaos in Central London. I
spent most of my time on Westminster Bridge where the largest group were
protesting - and the pictures from there are in separate posts, below and
The protest was a part of a non-violent rebellion against the government
for criminal inaction on climate change and ecological collapse on course
to make human life binding policies to cut carbon emissions to net zero
by 2025 and reduce consumption, with a Citizen’s Assembly to oversee
the changes and create real democracy.
The Extinction Rebellion by the Rising Up network calls for a fundamental
change of our political and economic system to maximise well-being and minimise
Extinction Rebellion Bridge blockade starts
Westminster Bridge, London. Sat 17 Nov 2018
Campaigners sit in the middle of Westminster Bridge
with an umbrella with the message' Save Our Planet'
Extinction Rebellion brought central London to a standstill by blocking
five bridges across the Thames, Lambeth, Westminster, Waterloo, Blackfriars
and Southwark. I photographed the first couple of hours of the protest on
Extinction Rebellion is a non-violent rebellion against the British
government for its criminal inaction in the face of the climate change catastrophe
and ecological collapse which is currently on course to make human life
extinct. They demand the government tell the truth about the climate emergency,
reverse their inconsistent policies and work to communicate and educate
everyone, that they bring in legally binding policies to reduce carbon emissions
to net zero by 2025 and reduce our consumption of all resources, with a
national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee the changes and create a real
Extinction Rebellion is a campaign by the Rising Up network that calls
for a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which
maximises well-being and minimises harm.
Police tried to persuade the protesters who were holding rallies on the
bridges to clear them, and threatened the protesters with arrest, but many
of them had decided they were prepared to face arrest and generally ignore
the threats. Eventually police gave up harassing the protesters at Westminster
and there were few if any arrests while I was there. Police at the other
bridges were even telling protesters to go to Westminster and continue their
I left just before noon to go to some of the other bridges, but returned
later in the day - see posts above.
Burnham, Bucks. Fri 16 Nov 2018
Most of the leaves had already fallen and much of
the ground had a thick carpet of them
We had planned to do this walk earlier in the month, but it had to
be postponed, and the woods were rather less colourful than I'd expected,
perhaps for the best.
One of the more commendable activities of the City of London in the late
nineteenth century was the buying up of a number of areas of land well outside
the city to preserve them from development, though doubtless the money to
do so came from some very questionable activities. Burnham Beeches, a few
miles north of Slough, one of the remaining areas of ancient forest which
once covered most of Buckinghamshire, was purchased by the City in 1880,
and is now a registered charitable trust with the City of London as the
main funder and trustee.
The City encourages visitors to this and other areas it owns, while controlling
access to maintain their character and the wildlife they support. I cycled
here occasionally in my youth and was admonished by the wardens for leaving
the major paths and roads for a more exciting path reserved for walkers.
Although I started walking with my family, I had a copy of the map on my
camera, and at some point turned left into a wooded glade to take photographs,
saying that this was the way to go. A minute or so later I turned around
and they were nowhere in sight, so I continued on my own, knowing I would
at some point meet them back at the car park. It was probably better that
way. When I got there, they were nowhere to be seen, so I took another short
walk in a different direction, before finally we were both in areas with
a phone signal.
We then looked for a pub to have lunch, investigating a couple in Farnham
village before deciding to make the long journey around Burnham Beeches
to the Blackwood Arms, a pleasant pub with a good choice of beer.
South Norwood stands with Grenfell
South Norwood, London. Wed 14 Nov 2018
Jane Nicholl of South Norwood Tourist Board holds
the end of the banner at right
After the disgusting video posted of a cardboard Grenfell tower being
burnt at a bonfire party in South Norwood, the South Norwood Tourist Board
organised a march to show solidarity with Grenfell, with several hundreds
of local residents marching through the streets at the same time as the
monthly silent march of remembrance in Notting Hill on the 14th of every
The marchers included several former residents of Grenfell Tower and some
who lost friends in the tragic fire, and several came with a Grenfell United
banner to support South Norwood's demonstration of solidarity.
The march, which was featured live on ITV news with interviews from Jane
Nicholl of SNTB and Sandra Ruiz of Grenfell United,
went along the main street and then down Portland Rd to end outside South
Norwood Leisure Centre. There were short final speeches from Jane and Sandra,
and then people made their way a few yards back along the street to The
Portland Arms, where soup was being handed out free to all the marchers
who wanted it, and I enjoyed a cup before going inside.
Class War picket the Ripper Museum
Cable St, London. Sat 10 Nov 2018
person tried to enter the shop but was pushed out by one of the shop staff
A small group of Class War protesters returned for another protest
outside the misogynist Ripper museum in Cable St.
The tacky tourist attraction which gained planning permission by pretending
to be a museum of the history of women in London's East End is still open
and has still not complied with all of Tower Hamlet's Council's planning
decisions about its frontage. C
Class War complains about its incorrect and unsympathetic display about
the victims of the murderer, some of whose relatives are still alive and
upset by gory displays of their family members, and of its glorification
of the murderer's gory crimes against working class women.
Class War held their 'Womens Death Brigade' banner outside the shop and
tried to dissuade the few customers who turned up from going inside. Police
arrived quickly and tried to move the protesters away from the shop door
with one officer threatening them with arrest for swearing, which led to
rather more bad language and a short reminder to her of the law. After a
short protest outside the protesters rolled up their banner and left for
a nearby pub.
Global Day to save the Sunderbans
Altab Ali Park, London. Sat 10 Nov 2018
Rampal threatens the world's largest mangrove forest
and would add to global warming
A rally by the UK branch of the National Committee to Protect Oil Gas &
Mineral Resources, Bangladesh, supported by others including Fossil Free
Newham was a part of a global day of protest to save the Sunderbans, the
world's largest mangrove forest and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Plans by the Bangladesh and Indian governments to build the Rampal coal-fired
power plant on the edge of the forest and other commercial developments
threaten the wildlife in the area, including the Bengal Tiger, and endanger
the livelihoods of over 3.5 million people. Development would also make
around 50 million people more vulnerable to storms and cyclones, against
which the Sunderbans serve as a natural safeguard, and the coal-fired plant
would contribute to global warming and climate chaos.
There have been huge protests against the proposed coal-fired power plant
in Bangladesh in which a number of protesters have been killed.
Leave Voters say Leave Now!
Trafalgar Sq, London. Sat 10 Nov 2018
There were several with sticky tape over their mouths
claiming they had been gagged
Around two hundred people came to Trafalgar Square to protest with
extreme right-wing organisation UK Unity at the lack of progress in exiting
the EU and the concessions they see Theresa May making to the EU.
They were also protesting against the failure to curb mass immigration
to the UK, and the sad state of affairs in Britain, with many holding posters
calling on London's Mayor Sadiq Khan to resign. The protest was also supported
by other right-wing groups including the For Britain Movement and UKIP,
and there were faces in the crowd I remembered from protests by the National
Front and other fascist organisations.
Similar protests were also taking place in Coventry, Norwich, Cardiff and
Leeds. Their 5 point plan calls for Britain to leave the EU entirely without
any payments, to end mass immigration, to properly run and fund our public
services, to reform democracy including scrapping the House of Lords and
to "Put British Laws, British Culture and British People first".
The two speeches I heard, as well as the posters and placards reflected
some irrational views on Brexit, fired by emotion and ignoring the realities.
One or two people stopped to argue with them and were shouted down. It was
always the case that the kind of break with the EU that many voted for was
impossible, and that if we are to leave there will be many unpalatable consequences.
The best possible deal was always going to be a poor deal in many ways,
and no responsible politician thinking about the future of the nation rather
than their own personal fortunes would be campaigning or voting for leaving
without a deal.
Save Old Tidemill Garden & Reginald House
Deptford, London. Tue 6 Nov 2018
Class War had come to support the protesters
Campaigners fighting to stop Lewisham Council and developer Peabody
from demolishing Reginald House and building on the community Old Tidemill
Wildlife Garden march to protest outside the New Cross Assembly Meeting
where Lewisham Mayor and local councillors were to take questions from the
Locals who had occupied the wildlife garden were brutally evicted by bailiffs
while police stood back and watched what the campaigners say was an illegal
eviction last week. The community have prepared plans to show how the area
could be developed to provide the same amount of housing while retaining
the homes and the community garden which was built in the 1990s by local
people, teachers, parents and kids from Tidemill School, but the council
have refused to consider them.
The garden was ringed by a pair of security guards every couple of yards
around the outside when I arrived, and a high level of security is being
maintained on a 24hr basis, estimated to be costing Lewisham council tax
payers around £30,000 a day. The council has spent far more on security
than residents say would be needed for a proper evaluation of their alternative
plans and the say that development of public land such as this should take
place in partnership with the community to include as many social homes
as possible, and that public land should remain in public ownership for
the good of the community.
Some protesters went inside the meeting while others continued the protest
outside, waiting for the Mayor to arrive. He was supposed to be there for
a question and answer session beginning at 8pm, but had not arrived by the
time I had to leave around twenty past eight, and it seemed unlikely then
he would be coming. Police had arrived and gone in to the meeting, but people
still outside were being refused entry - they were told they would be let
in when the session was about to start.
I heard later that the Mayor did eventually come to the meeting, but that
those outside were refused entry to the public meeting. When the meeting
ended and the Mayor and other councillors emerged there were angry scenes
and a couple of arrests. People were angry both because of the way the council
failed to answer questions inside the meeting and because many were not
Lewisham, like most other London Councils, mainly run by large Labour majorities,
appears to have lost sight of the reason we have local government - so that
councils can respond to the needs of the local community and preserve public
assets and provide services for local residents. They are not businesses
to be run to sell off public property for the benefit of developers and
the career enhancement of officers and councillors.
Class War protest Labour Housing record
City Hall, London. Sat 3 Nov 2018
Martin Wright holds a poster 'Labour - Leaders in
the Social Cleansing of Council Estates in London
Class War were among those who had come to protest about estate demolitions
and the housing problems of London, but they and others including the Revolutionary
Communist Group were not given an opportunity by the event organisers to
Both groups have been among the most active in supporting high profile
housing campaigns in London against estate demolition and other plans, mainly
by London Labour councils who are responsible for the great bulk of estate
sell-offs and demolition in London, involving over 160 council estates,
social cleansing on a massive scale. Among those protesting with Class War
was Leigh Miller, recently illegally evicted from Gallions Point Marina
under orders from the Labour Mayor of London.
So it was hardly surprising that when a Labour politician go up to speak,
Class War, one of several groups not allowed to speak at the event, erupted,
shouting him down, making clear that it was Labour who was responsible for
estate demolitions. It was perhaps unfair on Ted Knight, former Lambeth
Labour leader, who is also fighting against these policies - and who when
council leader was responsible for the building of some of the very estates
that are now being demolished.
But as others who spoke had pointed out earlier, homes will only be saved
if people become more militant and engage in the kind of direct actions
which Class War advocates - and not by rallies like today's outside a closed
Class War stood to one side at the end of the rally when most of the rest
taking part marched around the empty offices, calling for a rather different
No Demolitions Without Permission
City Hall, London. Sat 3 Nov 2018
At the end of the rally people marched around the
empty City Hall
Several hundred people, mainly from London's council estates under
threat of demolition by Labour London councils came to a protest outside
City Hall called by 'Axe the Housing Act'.
The protest called for an end to estate demolitions unless approved by
a ballot of all residents, and for public land to be used to build more
council homes rather than being turned over to developers to make huge profits
from high-priced flats.
Speaker after speaker from estate after estate got up and spoke about
the lies, evasions and often illegal activities of London Labour councils
bent on demolishing their council estates. Instead of looking after their
working class populations Labour councils are time and time again forcing
through demolition of council estates, enabling developers to make huge
profits by building flats for sale largely at market rent, with a small
proportion of high rent 'affordable' homes and a miserably small number
of homes at social rent, promoting schemes which cut by thousands the number
of council homes.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan was castigated by Green Party co-leader and London
Assembly's Housing Committee chair Sian Berry for having fast-tracked approval
for 34 demolition schemes by Labour councils in the weeks before a new policy
insisting residents should have ballots was adopted, for allowing some schemes
to go forward without a ballot, and for failing to insist that all residents
were allowed to take part in such ballots.
There were a few more positive contributions, notably from Haringey, where
Labour activists have stopped a £2bn giveaway of public assets and
put in new councillors in place of those who planned the scheme.
There was a loud protest by Class War when a well-known Labour supporter,
Ted Knight, a former leader of Lambeth Council got up to speak. Class War
make the point that it is Labour Councils who are responsible for the vast
bulk of estate demolitions and social cleansing in London and that the Labour
Mayor has acted to facilitate this.
Save Our Libraries march
British Library, London. Sat 3 Nov 2018
People were beginning to gather for the march, but
there were rather fewer than expected
People gathered at the British Library for a march and rally against
cuts in library services, which are a vital part of our cultural services,
especially for working class schoolchildren and young people.
Over 100 libraries closed in 2017 and we need the Government to take action
to stop and reverse library cuts. The event in support of libraries, museums
and cultural services was organised by Unison and supported by PCS and Unite,
but they had done very little publicity and the numbers were far fewer than
Unfortunately I had to leave before the march began to a rally at Parliament,
where more people arrived.
Euston to Kings Cross Coal Drops
London. Sat 3 Nov 2018
don't know why there is an arch here either
A non-stop 'delayed' train into Waterloo meant I had more time than expected
and arrived far too early and had time for a walk from Euston to the newly
opened retail development in the former King's Cross coal drops.
As well as the remaining buildings that have been re-developed, the railway
lines used to extend over the canal, and both sides of Camley St (then I
think called Cambridge St) had coal drops along their length, where coal
brought from the North in railway goods wagons was transferred into carts
for delivery across London. The wagons were lifted and tipped and later
had opening doors in their bottoms.
The walk also took me through some of London's more impressive council flats
and past St Pancras Station.
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