Matlock & High Tor
Matlock, Derbys. Sun 30 Dec 2018
High Tor from the footpath above St John's Rd
Our train was not leaving until the afternoon, so I walked into the
centre of Matlock with Linda who was on her way to church then walked up
the footpath from Snitterton Rd which took me up high above the town.
The path came down to St John's Road next to the closed St John the Baptist's
Chapel, built on a rock outcrop and seeming a part of the rocks. I walked
down the road and the, a short distance along the main road to Matlock took
the footbridge across the River Derwent and walked up to High Tor, going
as far as the second viewpoint, before turning back to walk down and then
take the path up to the war memorial at the top of High Tor.
The path from there led me back to Hall Leys Park where I sat and waited
for Linda, and we went for a short walk together before going to Greggs
(again) to buy a snack for lunch which we ate in the park. We returned to
The Crown, where I sat with a pint and Linda went for a walk until it was
time to go to the station.
Matlock & Lumsdale
Matlock, Derbys. Sat 29 Dec 2018
This small stream once powered an important industrial
While others in the family went to a pantomime in Chesterfield I spent
a few hours walking up Lumsdale, and then back down into Matlock, before
meeting up with some of them and going back into Matlock for a Thai meal.
We were staying at the Red Lion in Matlock Green, a comfortable and friendly
place, and after waiting with others for them to be picked up, I walked
a short distance out on the road towards Alfreton before taking a footpath
The area here, cared
for by the Arkwright Society, is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and "is
one of the best water-powered industrial archaeological sites in Great Britain:
it is unusual to see so extensive a use of water power in such a relatively
small area." It's also incredibly scenic with the small Bentley
Brook plunging something like 500 ft down a series of falls in a narrow
rocky valley. There were mills here since at least the 17th century, probably
associated with nearby lead mines, but the existing remains largely date
from the major development which began in the 1780s, when the early industrial
revolution was launched depending on water power.
It perhaps wasn't surprising to find myself in the middle of a camera club
outing, with the area cluttered by people with tripods and neutral density
filters doing their best to kill the effect of the water with 10 minute
exposures, and rather getting in the way. Doubtless I appear, if rather
blurred, on many of their pictures, though I was of course moving considerably
faster than them. I took far too many pictures of these very photogenic
falls as you can see.
Winter was a good time to visit the site, as the many trees would restrict
vision in summer months, though some of the paths were a little slippery
with mud, and extremely steep. I no longer have any head for heights, and
often found myself clutching on to trees and bushes for support as I began
The history of the site is complex, and there are at least six mills in
ruins in the part of the valley managed by the Arkwright Society as well
as several others, parts still in use, lower down which I also photographed.
There are some very informative information boards for visitors, but the
text on them is too small to show on the web. I won't attempt to tell the
It took me slightly longer to get down the valley back to Matlock Green
than I intended and the chip shop had just closed. I continued on my walk
up to St Giles' Church in Old Matlock overlooking the modern town from Pic
Tor, then going down Stony Way and into Hall Leys Park and on the the curiously
named Crown Square, a few yards from which was a Greggs. After eating a
snack sitting the park it was time to investigate the Crown Inn, where I
relaxed before going on another walk around the town just after sunset.
Later in the evening I took a few more pictures in the dark after our evening
meal in a Thai restaurant before walking back to Matlock Green and the Red
Matlock - Oker Hill
Oker Hill, nr Matlock, Derbys. Fri 28 Dec 2018
It wasn't a good day to climb Oker Hill as the path
was slippery mud
We'd gone to Matlock to visit my younger son and his family, and when we
arrived in early afternoon went more or less directly from the station to
walk up Oker Hill, a few miles away.
Oker gets its name from a Roman lookout post which they named the hill
of Occurus, and has a view, now partly obscured by trees, in all directions.
The Romans were probably the first to mine lead here, but now it is just
farmland, with one of the two hilltops dominated by a single sycamore tree,
made famous by Wordsworth in 1791, who stayed the night nearby and wrote
a sonnet on it.
Originally there were two trees planted by brothers Will and Tom Shore.
They quarreled and Tom left the area to seek his fortune abroad, but died
in poverty. His tree too withered, while Will, who stayed at home, prospered,
as did his tree.
"Tis said that to the brow of yon fair hill
Two brother clomb; and turning face from face
Nor one look more exchanging, grief to still
Or feed, each planted on that lofty place
A chosen tree. Then eager to fulfil
Their courses, like two new-born rivers, they
In opposite directions urged their way
Down from the far-seen mount. No blast might kill
Or blight that fond memorial. The trees grew
And now entwine, their arms' but ne'er again
Embraced those brothers upon earth's wide plain,
Nor aught of mutual joy or sorrow knew
Until their spirits mingled in the sea
That to itself takes all - Eternity"
Today we had gone up so that our two grandchildren could find a secret
cache left their by other young Matlock residents, with an invitation both
to add something to it and to take something out, as well as writing in
a visitor's book. We did, and stood around drinking hot chocolate and admiring
the views, though the light was beginning to fade.
We took a slightly different route down the hill, hoping unsuccessfully
to avoid the worst of the mud, that led past 'Grace's Well'. A stone wall
around a small spring this was apparently built just after 1900 for Grace,
a member of the Greatorex family, who still farm the area and some of whose
grandchildren still live around. Mains water only arrived here in the 1920s
Brentford to Hammersmith
Brentford to Hammersmith, London. Thu 27 Dec 2018
'Rule Britannia' on a boat moored below Thames Lock
As usual we went to walk off some of our Christmas and Boxing Day excess,
along a route suggested by me to take in Chiswick House as well as parts
of the Thames Walk.
As our rail services were affected by engineering works we took the train
to Twickenham and then caught the bus to Brentford to start the walk. I
knew Brentford as a boy, mainly viewed from the top of a bus, when it was
possible to go through the town and not see how much it depended on the
river, though the bus did go over the Grand Union Canal, and we started
our walk at a bus stop close to there.
Although the Brentford Locks remain, along with the canal bed, the area
around them has changed completely with recently built flats replacing the
old canal sheds. We walked on the bridge over the locks and then a new bridge
over the River Brent to return to the main road, going down the steps beside
the canal to the towpath and continuing along that to join the Thames Path
and continue to Thames Lock.
We went down the steps to the side of the canal to take photographs before
continuing up the road to the High Street. The path here was diverted and
we had to walk along to Pump Alley, going down this and then Pump Meadow
to rejoin the Thames Path, making our way along this (with a minor diversion
due to a little flooding) to Kew Bridge.
We continued along the riverside path through Strand on the Green, where
we stopped to eat our sandwiches before continuing along the riverside path
until it ends on Thames Road. We went up Grove Park Terrace to Fauconberg
Rd, turning right into that and continuing into Staveley Rd before turning
left in to Park Road and reaching Chiswick House Gardens.
I'd gone this way to look at the Classic Bridge, but we were diverted by
a giant inflated moon, and missed the bridge on our route to the obelisk,
turning from there to go past the north of the house to the cafe for tea,
coffee and cake, before returning to look at the front of the house and
then walk on, across Burlington Lane to Powell's Walk to St Nicholas' Church
and Chiswick Mall. We then followed the riverside walk to Hammersmith Bridge
before walking up to the bus station to catch the bus back to Twickenham
and the train home.
I'd walked all of this several times before, though never quite in this
single route of around 5 or 6 miles, and it made for a very pleasant day,
at a leisurely pace ending as darkness began to fall around 4pm, and working
up an appetite for dinner after we arrived home.
Boxing Day Walk
Staines to Old Windsor. Wed 26 Dec 2018
had time for a small detour to the Magna Carta Memorial
We walked from Staines to Old Windsor for lunch on Boxing Day, as we
have done for some years.
From Staines we took the towpath, stopping for a brief rest at Runnemede
where Linda had a cup of coffee and I drank lemonade. We were early for
our Boxing Day lunch, for the first time at the Bells of Ouzely, and walked
up to the Magna Carta Memorial on the way. After the meal we went on along
the towpath to go to my sisters for tea.
London Bike Life
Oxford St, London. Sat 22 Dec 2018
A masked rider does a wheelie as he cycles past a
yellow 'bananas' bus on Oxford St
It's hard to find any information about the bike ride on the Saturday
before Christmas, though I think it probably starts south of the river,
perhaps at Tower Bridge, Druid St or Leake St, around lunchtime. It seems
to be a UK Bike Life Wheelie Ride.
Unlike other, more organised rides, it isn't a charity ride, just several
hundred cyclists (there may well have been more after I left Oxford St),
nearly all young men, who get together to have fun swarming around the city,
showing off with wheelies, stopping traffic, riding on pavements as well
as roads, ignoring traffic lights, forcing drivers to stop and generally
behaving badly on bikes.
I'd not expected them, though I knew a ride was taking place I had no details
of their route or likely timings. But I didn't have time to think about
technical details and many of the pictures I took were blurred - I should
have used much faster shutter speeds with the camera set to a much higher
ISO, and it would have been nice to find a position with a better background,
though the bright yellow 'bananas' bus did seem quite appropriate.
They did show considerable skill as they weaved their way through traffic
and pedestrians on Oxford St, several missing me by inches as sped past.
But it did seem extremely dangerous - and something that gives cycling a
bad reputation. more pictures
Debenhams Pay Your Cleaners
Oxford St, London. Sat 22 Dec 2018
Cleaners who belong to CAIWU call for a real Living
Cleaners at the Oxford Street branch of Debenhams hold a noisy rally
outside the store where they are on strike today.
The Independent Workers Union - CAIWU had been campaigning for the London
Living Wage since May, but employers Interserve have refused any talks with
the union which they refuse to recognise.
Outsourcing of cleaners always results in them being poorly treated and
badly paid - its the only way the contracting company can get the job down
for the lowest tender and make a nice profit for its owners or shareholders.
If it treated the cleaners with dignity and paid a proper wage its costs
would be the same as a reputable company employing its own workers. By using
companies like Interserve, Debenhams are saying they don't care how badly
the workers who clean their store are treated.
Protests like this are intended to shame reputable companies like Debenhams
so they put pressure on cleaning contractors like Interserve to give the
cleaners decent wages and conditions. The London Living Wage isn't a fortune,
but is the minimum to live decently in London, and around 30% more than
they are currently paid. CAIWU is one of several small grassroots trade
unions which has been very successful in getting better pay and condition
for low paid workers.
Many members of the public took leaflets and expressed support for the
cleaners who are currently only paid the minimum wage, far too little to
live on in London, and some took photographs to post to their friends; a
few stopped to talk or dance to the music played by the picket.
Nine Elms Wander
Nine Elms, London. Fri 21 Dec 2018
Police and I were both expecting a protest, but nobody
Both a press release and a Facebook Event had said there would be a
protest at the US Embassy against Trump's announcement of the withdrawal
of US troops from Syria, but I only met one person, who like me was looking
for the protest.
I'd arrived at exactly the time given for the start of the protest to find
two police cars but no protesters, and decided to walk around the area a
little while I was waiting and take some pictures. Half an hour later another
photographer and one person who had come to take part in the protest did
arrive. After almost an hour I gave up and walked back to Vauxhall station
to see if there were any protesters waiting there to march to the embassy.
There weren't and I caught a train home.
Pulling out the US troops could be disastrous for the Kurdish forces who
have been so successful against ISIS, defeating them in the area. They have
only relatively light arms and their success has depended on US air support
as well as other assistance from the US. If the US withdraw, Rojava,the
Kurdish autonomous region in northern Syria will be left with little effective
defence against Turkish forces who have already occupied part of their territory
and have announced their intention to wipe out the rest of the Kurds.
As well as being a disaster for the Kurds, this would also be a disaster
for Syria and the prospect of any peace settlement in the area, which seems
only possible under some kind of federal system incorporating semi-autonomous
regions such as Rojava. Turkey's interests are partly to eliminate the Kurds
who have long been subjected to repression and cultural exclusion in Turkey,
but also to take over the rich oil reserves in Rojava, as Turkey has no
significant oil reserves within its current boundaries.
Humanity Face Extinction
Great Portland St, London. Fri 21 Dec 2018
A street display but there was no-one to talk with
when I walked past
Another campaign calling on the BBC to tell the truth, with a display
a short walk away from the BBC centre.
Noah's Ark Earth Rescue
is the "eco-warriors' worldwide publicity campaign to save the
South Pacific island nations from vanishing beneath the rising sea levels
and offering genuine solutions to save humanity from being driven to extinction
by global warming as a result of the burning of fossil fuels."
There was nobody around to talk with - perhaps they were at the BBC with
Extinction Rebellion - and I didn't have time to stop, so there are just
a few pictures of the display here.
Extinction Rebellion at the BBC
Broadcasting House, London. Fri 21 Dec 2018
BBC Security stop a XR protester who tries to climb
over a barrier
Climate campaigners from Extinction Rebellion protest at the BBC calling
it to stop ignoring the climate emergency & mass extinctions taking
place and promoting destructive high-carbon living through programmes such
as Top Gear and those on fashion, travel, makeovers etc.
The protest, organised by the Climate Media Coalition (CMC) and its director
Donnachadh McCarthy brought mannequins wrapped in white cloth to the BBC
representing the bodies of a Greek village killed by fire. There was a speech
by a young protester, Scarlett, and a new song performed by another. After
speeches by Claire, McCarthy and others the protesters marched around to
the other side of the BBC site where they attempted to climb over the barriers
but were repelled by security. Some protesters then sat down in front, blocking
the entrance, and later their place was taken by three people from the Dharma
Action Network meditating, one with ears blocked, one blindfolded and one
gagged with posters about the BBC based on the three wise monkeys who "hear
no evil, see no evil, say no evil".
Most of the protesters then began to march back towards the front of the
site, but some made a rush for BBC Wogan House, where one superglued his
hand to the door and another hers to the steps outside while police and
security stopped others from entering.
The protest continued at both sides of the BBC Plaza, and I kept on taking
pictures. Unfortunately I was at the wrong side when Donnachadh was arrested
for trying to go over the barriers. The protest was still continuing when
I left to cover another event.
Anna Soubry MP harassed by extremists
Houses of Parliament, London. Wed 19 Dec 2018
A small group of protesters harass Anna Soubry MP
MP Anna Soubry was recognised on the pavement outside Parliament by
a small group of the extreme Brexiteers who were protesting there and they
chased and harassed here as she walked along the pavement, asking why she
was calling for a second referendum.
She answered one who she called by name as she hurried to escape and then
called police for assistance after another man shouted at her 'You fucking
traitor!' complaining that this was an offence, stopping close to an
officer who was on the other side of the security barrier. He and other
police then came and quickly escorted her away from the group. There were
no immediate arrests, but the incident later became subject to an inquiry
by the speaker of the house, who extended his sympathy to Ms Soubry.
She later complained that she had been compared to the Nazis, which may
be true, but I had not registered this particular exchange. But I was busy
moving backwards in a fairly confined space while trying to keep her in
shot while she was walking briskly away, with one of the protesters who
was filming on his phone in my way.
Extremist Brexiteers at parliament
Houses of Parliament, London. Wed 19 Dec 2018
Right-wing protesters try to stop cars coming out
A small group of extreme right Brexiteers wearing high-viz vests with
Union flags and the message 'Justice for Our Boys' protested outside parliament
calling for an immediate Brexit and attempted to stop vehicles leaving parliament
but were moved away by police.
One of the protesters carried a rolled up large banner showing them to be
Arsenal supporters, and they had spent some hours earlier yelling insults
at the regular SODEM pro-EU protesters. Some of those taking part were people
who recorded on the video when the socialist bookshop, Bookmarks, was attacked
earlier this year, and some faces were familiar from protests by the EDL
and other extreme right groups.
From the gates of Parliament they went to the visitors entrance where the
complained loudly when they were refused entry. I photographed them there
talking to a flamboyantly dressed American who was being recorded by his
two-person crew, as well as many of the protesters on their phones, then
followed a small group who recognised and went to harass Conservative MP
Anna Soubry, who they called a traitor for suggesting there might be a second
referendum - pictures in another post.
Extreme Brexiteers clash with SODEM
Houses of Parliament, London. Wed 19 Dec 2018
A right-wing Brexiteer accuses Steve Bray of getting
drunk and asks who is funding him
A small group of extreme right-wing pro-Brexit protesters came to
shout and argue with the daily SODEM (Stand of Defiance European Movement)
protesters and to shout personal insults at Steven Bray who founded SODEM
in September 2017.
They accused Bray of being a drunk and asked "Who funds Drunk Steve",
a question that was rather redundant as two large banners were covered with
logos of organisations supporting SODEM's daily pickets.
Police tried hard to keep the clashes peaceful, and warned the right-wing
protesters about their language. The Brexiteers then accused the police
of taking sides. Eventually they moved away to protest outside parliament.
MP welcomes Delhi to London driver
Houses of Parliament, London. Wed 19 Dec 2018
Virendra Sharma, Labour MP for Ealing Southall, shakes
the hand of The Turban Traveller
Virendra Sharma, Labour MP for Ealing Southall, came to welcome The
Turban Traveller, a Sikh with a film crew from Creative Concept Films in
Delhi who arrived in London today after driving overland from Delhi.
Together with his crew they had visited 33 countries and around 50 cities
in 150 days, covering 33,000km - over 20,000 miles, posting videos from
the journey on the way. A film will be released of the journey shortly.
In 2019 The Turban Traveller aims to drive the whole length of North and
Cuts kill disabled people say protesters
Houses of Parliament, London. Wed 19 Dec 2018
'Tory Cuts Kill' say DPAC and another banner has the
names of a hundred who have died
Disability groups DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) and MHRN (Mental
Health Resistance Network) together with WOW campaign protested in support
of the parliamentary debate due later in the day on the cumulative impact
of the cuts on the lives of disabled people.
They say the government cuts and changes in benefits, along with inappropriate
benefit sanctions, have had a disproportionate effect on disabled people,
resulting in great hardship, denying people their rights and many deaths
Among those who visited the protest were Labour MPs Virendra Sharma(Ealing
Southall) and Laura Pidcock (North West Durham) and Lib-Dem peer Lord Roberts
Berlin Syndikat protest at London landlords
Global Real Estate Investors Ltd, London. Tue 18 Dec 2018
A cycle-hauled sound system came to the protest to
provide amplification and music
Berlin community centre and pub Syndikat protested with London Renters
Union outside the London offices of their landlord, Global Real Estate Investors
This company is owned by the secretive Pears brothers, three of the richest
men in the UK, who through various "letterbox" companies own around
6200 properties in Berlin, including Syndikat who were appealing against
notice to quit after being open for 33 years in Berlin-Neukölln.
As well as their property company the Pears brothers also own the Pears
Foundation, "an independent, British family foundation, rooted in Jewish
values, that takes £15-20 million of private money every year and
invests it in good causes. The protest follows those in Berlin, including
at the Pears office there and the British Embassy, also thought to be owned
London Stands With The Stansted15
Home Office, London. Tue 18 Dec 2018
People read the names of asylum seekers who have died
at the vigil outside the Home Office
People join London Catholic Worker in a vigil of liturgy, prayers
and music outside the Home Office in solidarity with the #Stansted15 found
guilty of a terror-related offence for peacefully preventing a secret chartered
deportation flight last March and with all refugees.
It was one of many events around the country against a verdict Amnesty
International called "a crushing blow for human rights"
and a charge that most feel completely inappropriate for the entirely peaceful
action. The main banner read 'God's Love Knows No Borders.
London Catholic Worker hold a monthly vigil for refugees outside the Home
Office, and the liturgy for this event was the one they use every month.
One part of it involves reading out the names of refugees who have died,
and this is added too each month. People take the list and read out a few
names before handing it on. The entries are short - the names and a very
short description of how they died.
I took the list and read about a dozen names, giving up when my emotions
made my voice begin to fail. I think all those I read were asylum seekers
who had maked it to the UK but had then committed suicide in desperation
over their treatment by the Home Office, who in several cases were about
to forcibly deport them by the kind of charter flights the Stansted 15 stopped,
back to the countries they had fled in fear of their lives.
Grenfell silent walk - 18 months on
Kensington, London. Fri 14th December 2018
People carry large and small Grenfell hearts on the
People including many who lost family and friends at Grenfell take
part in a silent walk marking 18 months since the disaster.
The walk began at Kensington Town Hall because they hold Kensington and
Chelsea Council responsible for the tragedy and for failing to deal effectively
with is aftermath, with many survivors still not properly rehoused. They
want justice and those responsible brought to trial, for the community concerns
to be met and changes made to ensure safety for all.
Many feel that the investigation into Grenfell is being taken at a deliberately
slow pace, both by the police and by the official inquiry, with both being
used as excuses for a lack of desperately needed action to prevent more
disasters taking place and to bring those responsible to justice. Some feel
that far more active protests by the community than the ,monthly silent
march would have helped to bring justice and stopped things being covered
up and forgotten in the long grass.
It certainly seems surprising to me that the campaign has not been more
forceful. Obviously those for those most closely affected by the terrible
fire, trauma makes a more purposeful serious of actions difficult or impossible,
but the wider community seem also to have been affected. It was unfortunate
that some people set up a rival organisation to United for Grenfell which
has gained much of the publicity but has failed to make any real gains and
has perhaps served to de-radicalise despite its left-wing connections.
I left the march as it turned off Notting Hill Gate to catch the tube.
Hand Back Venezuela's stolen money
Euroclear, City of London. Fri 14 Dec 2018
Protesters talk with a sceptical passer-by
Campaigners protest outside Euroclear, a J P Morgan Subsidiary in the City
of London calling for the company to return over $1billion belonging to
the Venezuelan government.
The money was sent to buy medicines and food for Venezuela. Euroclear accepted
the money despite US sanctions which were in place, but now claims these
sanctions prevent it from returning it, meaning that many Venezuelans, particularly
children, will die because of lack of medicines.
The US is pushing for humanitarian intervention in Venezuela, but will
not release this money for humanitarian purposes as its real aim is to replace
SODEM vigil against Brexit
Old Palace Yard, London. Wed 12 Dec 2018
SODEM continue their protest - every day when Parliament is in session
Since Steven Bray founded SODEM in September 2017, he and his supporters
have kept up a vigil opposite parliament on every day they are sitting.
Long derided as a lost cause, it now seems quite possible if not more than
likely that Brexit will not happen - as Bray confidently tells anyone who
asks - as Parliament seems unlikely to back the deal negotiated by Theresa
May and the only majority appears to be one against leaving without a deal
now that we have more idea exactly what the consequences of that will be.
The real problem is that neither of the two main parties wants to be blamed
as responsible for not carrying out the referendum mandate even though it
is becoming increasingly clear that the vote was made for false promises
rather than actual sensible possibilities. Boris, Rees-Mogg, Farage and
the rest got people to vote for unicorns, with the active assistance of
much of the media, and a little illegality here and there.
As some Brexit fudge seems increasingly likely, there have also been regular
protests by a small group shouting "Brexit Now!" and generally
taunting the SODEM protesters. They appear to be football supporters with
extreme right wing views, but they lack the stamina of SODEM and had gone
long before I arrived on Thursday evening to take these pictures.
70 years of Human Rights
US Embassy, London. Mon 10 Dec 2018
Some of the protesters in front of the US Embassy
The final 'Shut Guantanamo!' monthly protest of 2018 at the US
Embassy by the London Guantanamo Campaign took place on the 70th anniversary
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The UDHR, which is the foundation of the modern human rights movement,
declared "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment or punishment" and "No one shall
be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile."
Clearly the USA is in breach of these and other articles of the UDHR, and
has been since it set up the illegal prison camp on Cuban soil and used
illegal rendition to bring prisoners there and in the various secret military
torture facilities it has had in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Guantanamo still
has 40 detainees who have been tortured and held in indefinite detention
without trial for almost 17 years. The protest called for justice and release
for them and other and victims of human rights abuses everywhere.
Marchers oppose Tommy Robinson
London. Sun 9 Dec 2018
A little red smoke livens up the march
A 'united' counter demonstration by anti-fascists marches in opposition
to Tommy Robinson's fascist march. The march which included both remain
and leave supporting anti-fascists gathered at the BBC to to to a rally
at Downing St. Police had issued conditions on both events designed to keep
them well apart from the fascist pro-Brexit march.
Originally two different groups of organisations had been planning to hold
separate protests against Robinson, but Unite Against Fascism and Stand
Up to Racism appealed to the other groups including several Brazilian groups
and various anti-fascists who had successfully blocked a previous Robinson
march to join them in a united protest.
Unfortunately agreements that were made about how the march should proceed
were apparently ignored by the UAF and SUTR, leaving the anti-fascists angry
about what appeared to be a complete takeover of the event. Some anti-fascists
clashed with Robinson supporters who had come to Trafalgar Square to try
to disrupt the march and a large group of anti-fascist marchers ignored
the rally taking place with speakers they felt dominated by the Socialist
Workers Party and allied organisations.
This bloc decided to leave Whitehall in a group to disperse at Charing
Cross station. At first police formed a cordon to stop them leaving, but
after a brief stand-off, the police organised to escort them there, and
I left with them.
London flooded with Santas
Covent Garden, London. Sat 8th December 2018
Santas pose for the camera in St Martin's Lane
Large crowds of people dressed in Santa costumes, together with the
odd elf and reindeer were converging on Trafalgar Square spreading glad
tidings as darkness fell, some following hand-pulled sound systems and dancing
on the streets, though many groups were diverted into pubs and food shops
on the way.
Many carried bottles or cans and all were in merry mood. Santacon had
started at 11am at several different locations and is an annual charity
event, this year supporting Christmas for Kids.
British Museum Stolen Goods Tour
British Museum, London. Sat 8th December 2018
Rodney Kelly speaks beside the Gweagal shield stolen from his ancestor by
Captain Cook at Botany Bay
A tour organised by BP or not BP? led by Indigenous Australian campaigner
Rodney Kelly and other campaigners called for the return of stolen vital
cultural objects in the British Museum collection.
Rodney Kelly is a 6th generation direct descendant of Cooman, whose Gweagal
shield was taken when Captain Cook's men arriving in Australia fired on
him. He began (and ended) his talk by playing his didgeridoo, and then talked
about how the British Museum had dismissed his earlier attempts to return
the shield and other items, and had refused to take seriously the oral tradition
of his people as it could not be confirmed by written records. In their
efforts to retain possession of the shield and other items, many of which
are kept in the museum basement and never exhibited they were prepared to
go to desperate lengths, including getting their own experts to cast doubt
on the stories which the museum had previously featured about these objects.
The shield sits in a dimly lit cupboard and is looked at by very few of
the museum's visitors, while Kelly says that 'back home' it would be at
the centre of a living culture, inspiring his people to keep and develop
A large crowd gathered to hear him speak and he was warmly applauded. Before
he began his formal talk he had been introduced by BP or not BP campaigners,
several of whom came dressed as 'burglars' in striped black and white tops
and carrying a sack for swag. Another came in a suit wearing a BP logo and
explained why BP gave the museum a relatively small amount in sponsorship
which gave them huge rewards in making them seem a responsible company despite
their reprehensible activities in countries around the world, despoiling
resources, polluting the environment and severely aggravating global warming
by encouraging fossil fuel use.
From the Gweagal shield with its musket hole the crowd followed a guide
from BP or Not BP to the entrance to the current BP-sponsored Assyrian show,
where an Iraqi woman talked about BP's role in her country and the looting
which followed the invasion of Iraq and the looting of cultural artifacts,
some of which were on display in the show.
We then moved to gather beside a stone figure from Easter Island where
a speaker from the Pacific Island arts group the Interisland Collective
talked about the treatment by museums of Maori and Pacific Islands cultural
items and read a statement from the Rapa Nui Pioneers on Easter Island calling
for the return of their stolen Moai Head.
The final location for speeches was in front of the Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles,
where BP or not NBP's Danny Chivers revealed his partly Greek ancestry and
talked about his visit to the Parthenon and the museum there which has been
built to exhibit its missing sculptures.
The tour ended with a group photograph of those who had taken part in front
of the Assyrian exhibition.
While it is great for us to be able to see these various objects looted
from their cultures in one place, the technology exists to make replicas
indistinguishable to the originals and display these while returning the
originals where they belong.
Other campaigners called for the return of objects from the Pacific Islands
and Iraq. Many of these objects have been used in 'greenwashing' BP sponsored
museum shows, including looted items from Iraq in the current Assyria exhibition.
Dharma meditation for climate
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 8 Dec 2018
Dharma Action Network meditate but call on people
to act over climate
Protesters from the Dharma Action Network meditated in Trafalgar Square
and handed out flyers calling for people and governments to take effective
actions to combat climate change.
Their meditation was intended as a springboard to action and they suggested
people move their money out of banks which invest in fossil fuels, get informed
by reading the IPCC report on global warming and join them and other groups
including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace or take action with Extinction
Protest Slavery in Libya
London, UK. Sat 8 Dec 2018
The protesters march from Europe House past Parliament to the Foreign&
Protesters meet at Europe House to protest against the lack of action
over African migrants and refugees being sold or held against their will
in Libya by terrorists and jihadists funded by the EU and others.
After a few speeches there, they marched to protest outside the Foreign
& Commonwealth Office, saying the UK had failed to do anything to help
because the victims were African, then stopped briefly at Downing St on
their way to the Libyan Embassy.
Winkfield, Berks. Fri 7 Dec 2018
Stables near Winkfield
Pictures from a fairly short family walk starting and finishing at
a pub in Winkfield where we had a very nice plate of fish and chips, followed
by a rather expensive pudding.
It was raining when we left home, but the weather was kind to us and it
stopped ay the time we started the walk, and the sun was shining before
we reached the end of the roughly 3 mile circular walk.
Winkfield is somewhere near Ascot, and it shows with various horsey things
around and you stand a good chance of being run down by a very expensive
car if you walk along the roads. Our route was mainly along footpaths, usually
with a fence on one side and barbed wire on the other, and little danger
of straying from the route.
The walk was on in a book, and I have to say it wasn't very exciting. Probably
the best bit photographically was going through a large '(im)mobile home'
site, though stopping around three quarters of the way around at The Winning
Post, which describes itself as ' A luxurious inn' for a drink of Upham
Brewery's 'Punter' was a bonus. We didn't eat there, though probably the
'Punter battered haddock with hand cut chips, tartare sauce and peas' would
have been as good as the 'special' we got down the road at exactly half
the price, where we had agreed to meet the others for lunch at The White
SHAC Alternative Housing Awards 2018
Bishopsgate, London. Wed 5 Dec 2018
from Unite Housing Worker's Branch after the awards were made
SHAC Social Housing Action Campaign) hold their annual Alternative
Housing Awards outside the National Housing Awards which were taking place
at etc.venues 155 Bishopsgate, part of the Broadgate development.
SHAC is a joint initiative between housing associations and co-operative
residents, housing activists and members of the Unite Housing Workers Branch
demand that housing associations end commercialisation, improve services,
provide safe and secure homes, build truly affordable housing and offer
decent pay and conditions for their staff.
The Alternative Housing Awards cups for Housing Associations as landlords
were awarded to Sanctuary Housing for Most Rotten Repairs, London &
Quadrant for Soaring Service Charges, Peabody Trust for Senseless Social
Cleansing and Dodgy Development, with a special mention for The Old Tidemill
Garden in Deptford, Notting Hill Genesis for Rocketing Rents, Optivo for
Secrecy, Unaccountability & Spin, Tower Hamlets Community Housing for
Blundering Board and Management, with Clarion Housing Group as Overall Lousy
Looking at them as employers, Catalyst were winners for Poverty Pay, St
Mungo's for Punitive Performance Management, Peabody Trust gained a second
award for its Relentless Restructures with Catalyst being awarded as Overall
As none of the Housing association bosses had turned up to receive their
awards, after the citations for one of the awards had been read by Nick
from Unite Housing Workers Branch the small trophy was instead handed to
a resident or trade unionist involved with the winning housing association,
who each made a speech of acceptance, adding more damning details of their
The protest took place on the steps leading up to 155 Bishopsgate. Security
there objected to banners being taped to the wall, worried that the gaffer
tape might cause some damage, but told the campaigners the protest could
go ahead on the private steps if these were removed - which after some argument
a giving cups to housing associations for poor repairs, service charges,
social cleansing & dodgy development, rents, lack of accountability
& spin, blundering management, poverty pay, punitive performance management,
relentless restructures and overall bullying. Nick from Unite Housing read
lengthy indictments for each award before inviting tenants and trade unionists
involved with each to speak.
BBC Boycott Eurovision Israel 2019
Broadcasting House, London. Sat 1 Dec 2018
There were around a hundred pro-Palestine protesters
listening to speeches outside the BBC
Protesters called on the BBC to withdraw from the 2019 Eurovision Song
Contest hosted by Israel, to avoid being complicit in Israel's ongoing violations
of Palestinian human rights.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others say the contest 'artwashes'
Israel's human rights record, including the killing of at least 205 Palestinians
by Israeli forces in the besieged Gaza Strip since protests began at the
end of March, and the passing of the Jewish nation state law which formalises
an apartheid system in Israeli law. Also supporting the #BoycottEurovision2019
protest were the Stop The War Coalition, Palestinian Forum UK and Friends
of Al-Aqsa (FOA).
The protest was opposed by a small group of Zionists who were shouting
hate slogans against Hamas and some of whom made unfriendly gestures towards
me as I photographed them. I stayed back a little more than usual in case
they spat at me.
Together for Climate Justice
London. Sat 1 Dec 2018
The Statue of Taking Liberties at the head of the
Climate march to Downing St
Several thousand marched through London from a Campaign against Climate
Change led rally outside the Polish Embassy where grave doubts were expressed
about next week's UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland, which are being
sponsored by leading firms in Poland's fossil fuel industry.
Speakers, including Labour MP Clive Lewis, Green Party co-leader Sian Berry,
Anna Gretton from Extinction Rebellion, UCU Vice President Nita Sanghera,
Neil Keveren of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, Paul Allen from Zero Carbon
Britain, Beatriz Ratton of Brazilian Women Against Fascism, Asad Rehman
of War on Want, and Richard Roberts, fracking direct action campaigner whose
recent prison sentence for lorry surfing at Preston New Road was overturned
and was released from jail with a conditional discharge expressed solidarity
with protesters in Poland and stressed the urgent need to cut CO2 and methane
At the end of the rally we were all taught to say a couple of slogans in
Polish, including 'Razem dla klimatu' (Together for the Climate) which appeared
on a number of placards, and the rather less pronounceable Polish for 'Time
to limit to 1.5', as well as for 'Climate, jobs, justice!'.
The march then set off, going through the centre of London to Downing at
where there was a further rally with speeches from Labour MP Barry Gardiner,
Liz Hutchins of Friends of the Earth, a woman from Frack Free United and
a final speech by Claire James of Campaign against Climate Change who introduced
a speaker on behalf of the Global South, where people are already dying
because of climate change.
Stop Universal Credit day of action
Camden Town, London. Sat 1 Dec 2018
Some stood with banners while others handed out leaflets
to the many passing by
Protesters in Camden Town handed out leaflets in one of many nationwide
protests in a day of action called by Unite Community to stop Universal
They want an end to the long wait before claimants receive money, for applications
to be at job centres as well as online, better help when the system fails
people, direct payments to landlords to avoid rent arrears and evictions
and an end to benefit sanctions for all claimants.
For those in the many areas that have been moved on to Universal Credit
in the previous week, the move will hit them particularly hard, with the
normal six week waiting time meaning they and their families will have no
money over Christmas. UC has created incredible hardship, pushing many into
extreme poverty and destitution, making them reliant on food banks and street
food distributions, greatly increasing the number of homeless and rough
sleepers. Thanks to Tory policies, more than 120,000-plus homeless children
in Britain will spend Christmas in hostels and B&Bs, many without the
means or facilities to provide a Christmas meal.
Some have said that UC is a part of a "state euthanasia" system
for the poor, with academic estimates that it and other benefit cuts and
sanctions since the 2010 elections having caused 110,000 early deaths, including
many suicides. A cross party committee has called for its rollout to be
halted until improvements are made, but the government has dismissed virtually
all criticism of the system, making only insignificant changes.
While the government's policies have led to a huge growth in the number
of foodbanks and the demand on them, the only Conservative response has
been to encourage MPs to make festive visits to them with donations for
publicity photographs, something that has sickened
The main banner here points out that it hands more financial power to male
claimants making it a misogynist's dream, forcing women in violent relationships
into greater dependency on their violent male partners.
Oxford Circus with Christmas decorations
The usual selection of images taken as I moved around London on my way
to and from events.
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