The Isle of Dogs…

October 21st, 2018

Thursday night last week I went to the launch of Mike Seaborne‘s book, ‘The Isle of Dogs: Before the big money‘ appropriately held on the Isle of Dogs in Cafe Vert at George Green’s School, a few yards from Island Gardens DLR station.

Mike is an old friend who I met not long after he was taking the pictures in this book, and we then found that we had both been photographing the area at the same time. But while I was just an occasional visitor to the area with a general interest in what was happening across London (and in across Docklands in particular), he became very much more involved in the community of this particular area, as this work shows. Of course, as you can see from his web site, he has also photographed widely across London and elsewhere.

MikeSeaborneCover
Image Copyright Mike Seaborne

It was good to see this work published by Hoxton Mini Press, who I think have done a fine job with this volume which is a part of their series ‘Vintage Britain‘. You can judge for yourself on their web site, which shows the cover and ten double-page spreads from the work, and says:

“Now home to Canary Wharf and global finance, the Isle of Dogs was once the beating heart of industrial East London. These photographs, taken between 1982 and 1987, show the island just before the big money moved in and the area was forever transformed.”

and of course you can buy a copy on-line.

Mike began to photograph London in 1979 and until 2011 was Senior Curator of Photographs at the Museum of London.  A group of photographers including Mike and myself have also organised a number of shows over the years, and you can still see work from several of these, including ‘Another London‘, on the web, and much more of Mike’s work on his own web site. Back in 2002 we set up a site together to celebrate Urban Landscape photography, featuring our own work and that of other photographers from the UK and around the world.

A few of my own pictures from the Isle of Dogs can be seen in the preview of my City to Blackwell on Blurb, the first of five books in my Docklands series. With both of us wandering around the area at about the same time, there are a few similar images. What photographer could resist this shop-front? Here is one of several pictures I took:


you can see Mike’s in his book, and also on his 80sIslandPhotos.

Mike has continued to be involved with the community he photographed back in the 80’s and this was evident at the opening, from which I’ll perhaps post a few more pictures later.

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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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Assange – Six Years

October 19th, 2018

I didn’t warm to Julian Assange as a person when I briefly met him in 2011, but I guess he had other things on his mind.  But when various allegations were made about his conduct with women in Sweden it did seem that a case was being constructed on rather flimsy ground  – and later dropped – to try to enable the US authorities to get their hands on him. They wanted to lock him up in isolation for life for revealing illegal and immoral activities by the US military and security services to the world.

I’m a supporter of freedom of information, and think that Wikileaks is carrying out a great service in releasing information which the US and other governments were keeping hidden; Wikipedia comments:  “Supporters of WikiLeaks in the media and academia have commended it for exposing state and corporate secrets, increasing transparency, supporting freedom of the press, and enhancing democratic discourse while challenging powerful institutions.”

It came as a surprise to realise that Assange had been inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for 6 years on 19th June 2018, though I have been there a number of times and photographed his supporters on the pavement opposite. Our government is too scared of upsetting the USA to allow Ecaudor some way to fly him to their country and has spent huge sums on security to prevent this happening. Ecuador has come under increasing pressure from the US to hand him over, and have for some months been refusing access to him and have taken away his internet connection – though recently announcing some limited access  following a visit to the country by the UN Special Rapportuers for Freedom of Expression & Refugees, this does not yet appear to have been implemented.


Ciaron O’Reilly

The BBC has been accused of publishing fake material and misleading statements in many of its reports on Assange – and certainly along with most other UK media has adopted a very negative attitude towards him. A recent article on the BBC website about the lengthy Special Protocol recently imposed by Ecuador on him quoted a statement clearly from a parody account as being by him. The new protocol appears to many to be designed to provide Ecuador with a pretext to withdraw diplomatic immunity in the event of some minor transgression of its draconian terms.


Joe Black

There was of course no sign of Julian Assange today, though Horvat Srecko, one of his friends and close associates did come to speak, and there were others there including well known peace and human rights campaigners, including Peter Tatchell  and Ciaron O’Reilly.


Lauri Love

Also speaking at the event was Lauri Love who fought a long and succesful battle against extradition the the USA on hacking charges  – and had he lost would now be sitting in isolation in a small cell for the rest of his life.


Peter Tatchell

The even attracted a small crowd, including many who have regularly come to show solidarity with Assange outside the embassy. Among them were a number of Ecuadorians who urge their government to continue to protect Assange.

Assange in Embassy for Six Years

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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images

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Thieving Artist

October 18th, 2018

I’ve written before about Richard Prince and his appropriation of photographs and only return to the case as I’ve just read a post in The Art NewspaperRichard Prince defends reuse of others’ photographs,  by Laura Gilbert which states the defence he is offering to  a federal court in Manhattan about his use for profit of the works of two photographers, Donald Graham‘s photograph, Rastafarian Smoking a Joint, and Eric McNatt’s photograph of the musician and artist Kim Gordon. It is a rather longer statement, apparently 15 pages, than his original (and soon deleted) tweet: “Phony fraud photographers keep mooching me. Why? I changed the game. &their wizardry professorial boredom keeps coughing up a vick’sVAPOrub.”

Prince argues that by taking the images exactly as they were on Instagram, but enlarging them and adding his comment to put them on the gallery wall and sell them at high prices he was somehow producing a new original work of art, commenting on the process of communication involved in using social media – and Instagram in particular. As Gilbert writes, his approach is supported byome pretty serious names in the art world, with statements from  a museum director, curator and well-known art dealer to the court. All of course people who profit in some way or other from artists like Prince.

Prince of course profits from all the publicity this and other court cases give him, with many articles -including this one – in newspapers, magazines and blogs significantly raising his profile as an artist, and thus the prices and sales of his work.

Perhaps the photographers whose work has been stolen might think about reclaiming it by appropriating Prince’s, producing copies of ‘his’ images, perhaps ‘transforming’ them by the addition of their signatures. I rather suspect Prince and his dealers would call foul and run to the courts in what would be a rather fascinating copyright case.

There is of course absolutely no need for any of this. I’ve had my work used by artists – and they have come to me before doing so, explained what they wanted to do and we have negotiated a licence with an appropriate fee, and appropriate attribution. It’s an established way of working that avoids controversy – without misappropriation. But the very idea of stealing other people’s work seems to me to be the basis of Prince’s artistic practice. He’s famous for it.

I don’t of course know what judgement the court will finally make – and Prince has got away with it in earlier copyright cases, though I hope at last it will be one that fully respects the rights of the photographer – and leads to them getting compensation for the use of their work as well as the legal costs of taking the case. Prince would still be the winner, with all the publicity from the case aiding his status and sales. The only losers – in the longer term – will be those who have paid high prices for what are works which will almost certainly be consigned to the dustbin of art history, lacking any real worth or interest.

Grenfell Anniversary

October 17th, 2018

It was hard to believe it was a year ago that we all woke to the terrible news about the fire at Grenfell Tower – though those in the area had been up all night since it started early in the morning.

Hard to believe too how little has so far been done, at least by Kensington & Chelsea Council, the governemnt and official bodies either for the victims who survived the disaster or to seek out those responsible and to make sure that such a tragedy will never happen again. Clearly the authorities are hoping that the grass will grow long enough in time to hide the crimes that made Grenfell not just possible, but virtually inevitable.

While it is right that the inquiry which finally started should look in depth at what happened, there are so many things that were obvious virtually from the day of the fire, and which we should not be waiting for years for action to be taken. There are things that could have been done virtually immediately. Promises that were made of urgent action – by the Prime Minister and others – which have simply not been kept. There should by now be people in prison, companies paying fines, councillors being banned from public office and more. The system has found it possible to try and jail a few people who tried to make false claims following the disaster, but somehow has not managed to take action against those responsible for it.

Grenfell is not the only block that was waiting for disaster to strike. There are others with the same flammable cladding, others with inadequate fire doors, others with dangerous gas supplies, others without proper water supplies to fight fires, other fire authorities that cuts have lefte without the equipment to properly tackle high rise fires, without the manning levels to tackle major blazes. Others where councils and landlords have been able to avoid adequate safety inspections. Probably Grenfell was an extreme example where a callous council and its TMO managed to bring all of these things together and to hide much of it from public scrutiny, but we should none of us be surprised to wake up to another dreadful news bulletin tomorrow or the next day. Grenfell was a warning that urgent action is needed; 14months on it is still needed.

The community response to the tragedy was immediate and enormous and such a contrast to the authorities who should have done so much more. And more is even now coming out about the poisonous fumes and particles spread about the whole neighbourhood by the fire, which will have affected many more than those who escaped the tower and had to leave the adjoining blocks. Then mental trauma many suffered – including many of the community volunteers – is also becoming more apparent, as is the continuing failure of the local council to respond adequately to the needs of those who suffered.

And the community is still keeping the issues alive by its monthly silent walks, every 14th of the month. The June march was special, marking a year since the disaster, and an estimated 12,000 of us crowded there to make our feelings felt, wearing green fabric to show our solidarity with the victims. It was a moving event and one that was difficult to photograph, not just because of the crowds.

I took so many pictures it’s hard to decide which to put in this post. And I was there not just as a reporter but to show my own support, wearing a green scarf like the others, and for various reasons rather more emotional than usual. Together I think the pictures make a good account of the event, and the captions, some rather longer than usual, add to it.

I left the march at Ladbroke Grove, as the organisers had made clear that the press were not welcome in the park where the march was ending, and walked slowly back to Shepherds Bush, though some of the wealthier parts of the area, feeling there should be millions not just thousands marching, and that we should all be angrier and more determined to see changes. To borrow a slogan we do need a society that works ‘for the many, not for the few’ and one where people’s lives really matter, even if they aren’t among the wealthy elite.

Massive Silent Walk for Grenfell Anniversary

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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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Busy Tuesday

October 16th, 2018

I don’t often photograph three protests on a Tuesday, though one of the three I could have taken pictures of on almost any weekday, and have done a few times before. The anti-Brexit Stand of Defiance European Movement, SODEM, was started by Steven Bray in September 2017 and continue to protest every day that MPs are in session. I went along on this Tuesday as they had announced a a ‘Pies Not Lies’ Remainathon during the parliamentary debate on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, and there was a little more interest and activity than usual, as you can see from the ten pictures at Stop Brexit ‘Pies Not Lies’

From Old Palace Yard it was a convenient short stroll to the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy on Victoria St, outside which the Unite Restaurant, Catering and Bar Workers Branch and Unite Community, including staff from TGI Fridays were holding a short protest reminding business secretary Greg Clark of his predecessor in office Sajid Javid’s promise to stop employers stealing the tips paid by credit cards from staff.

Among those protesting was one dressed as a giant burger, though I don’t think either Unite or I really made use of this. I’m there to record events, not to direct them. I won’t tell people how to arrange their protests, and rely on them to decide how they want to do things, but this doesn’t always make for good pictures. Our conventional trade unions are often rather lacking in their ideas about protests and photographs of protests, and trade union magazines and web sites arwe often full of rather boring group photos that I dislike making.

Unite TGI Fridays demand Fair Tips & Fair Pay

From Victoria St I wanted to be at SOAS, a little under two miles away. I should have thought ahead and brought my bike with me to London, as there would have been no problem with having it with me at any of these three small static events. For larger protests and marches, having a bicycle tends to be an encumbrance, and leaving a folding bike like my Brompton locked anywhere in London is a gamble I seldom like to take. A relatively high value machine, easily lifted into a car boot or van and readily sold they are effective magnets for theives.

But at all three of these protests I could have locked it to a lamp post or stand within sight of where I was working, and that mile and and three quarters would have been less than a ten minute ride. Bikes don’t get held up much by traffic, while my buses certainly did. It would actually have been slightly faster to walk the whole way (I’m usually quite a fast walker), but you can’t know that when you start your journey, and my legs would have suffered. The journey took 35 minutes, an average speed of just under 3 miles per hour.

Most journeys in central London are faster by tube – and this is certainly more reliable than buses, but this is one which isn’t. TfL’s journey planner does suggest a combination of two tube journeys and walking would be fastest, but tells me it would have taken me 37 minutes, two minutes more than walking the whole way. Sometimes biking is by far the best solution. Of course for the wealthy there are taxis, but freelance photographers can seldom afford these, and they get held up in the traffic too.

At SOAS, students and staff were remembering the shameful events of nine years earlier, when SOAS management called their cleaners to an early morning ‘meeting’ where agents of the UK Border Agency rushed in, handcuffed all of them and held them for questioning. Nine were then deported. The action was a part of the despicable ‘hostile environment’ for migrant workers, begun by the Labour government, but severely ratcheted up by Theresa May as Home Secretary. People at the protest held posters with the names of the nine who were deported.

SOAS management took the action as retaliation over the trade union activities of their cleaners, members of Unison, who had begun to campaign for a living wage and to be directly employed by the university rather than being employed on terrible conditions and low pay through cowboy cleaning firms. They got the living wage – but then nine were deported.

Eventually, ten years later, after a continuing struggle, the management finally agreed to bring them ‘back in house’, though at the time of these pictures the details had not been finalised. They are now directly employed and both SOAS and the employees are better off.

‘SOAS 9’ deported cleaners remembered
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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images

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Al Quds Day 2018

October 13th, 2018

Al Quds Day in London has long aroused opposition. Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day was inaugurated by the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution and founder of its Islamic republic Ayatollah Khomeini. The Shia religious leader and his successors have many opponents, and the Iranian regime has brutally oppressed all opposition, imprisoning, torturing and hanging many over the years. Allegations have been made that this event in London and some groups supporting it are funded by Iran. Organisations supporting it include 5Pillars, Ahl-al-Bait Society, Ahlulbayt Islamic Mission, Balfour Declaration Centenary Campaign, Campaign Against Criminalising Communities, Football Against Apartheid, Hastings PSC, InMinds, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, Lebanese Community in Scotland, Neturei Karta UK, Palestine Democratic Forum, Scottish Forum for Middle East and North Africa and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, as well as a number of mosques throughout the UK.

Al Quds Day calls for the freedom of the oppressed everywhere (except in Iran) but particularly in Jerusalem and Palestine, and the most numerous and persistent of those who oppose the march are Zionists and other supporters of Israel, who include some right-wing Christian groups. Some just hold counter-protests, while others try to physically attack the march, standing or sitting on the road to prevent its movement and insulting those taking part. Sometimes things are thrown at the marchers who include many with young children.

Those who oppose it call it anti-semitic, though the organisers go to  great lengths to explain they are not against Jews, but against Israeli government and the occupation of Palestine. Though the marchers are predominantly Muslim, they always include a significant number of Jews opposed to the occupation of Palestine, and at the front of the march alongside the Imams are a group of ultra-orthodox Jews who support the Palestinian cause, arguing that the idea of a Jewish state goes against their religion.

At least in recent years when I have photographed the event, the march organisers have been careful to ensure there are no anti-Semitic posters or placards on the march, and that any Hezbollah flags which may be present are in support of the political party which is a part of the Lebanese parliament, and not of the banned military wing. There were relatively few of them, a handful in a march of well over a thousand, and few pictures of the Ayatollah.

The event does call for freedom for Palestine, and condemns violence against Palestinians by the Israeli state and the increasing takeover of Palestinian land by Israel. It points out the different treatment of Palestinians, calling Israel an Apartheid state because of the different laws and their application, different roads etc., a charge made even more clear by the recent Jewish nationality law, and it supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement which works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

The event started with a static protest at the rear of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Mayfair, and was against the demonisation campaign led by the Israeli government and the ongoing murders by Israeli troops of innocent Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip commemorating 70 years since Israel was formed on expropriated Palestinian land.

The usual Zionists who attack the procession were joined by football hooligans who had been at the ‘Free Tommy’ rally the previous day, but a huge police operation kept most of the far away from the rally. A short distance along the street was a more orderly protest by the Zionist Federation, staying behind its barriers and watched by police between the two groups.

I had to leave after a couple of hours and before the rally ended with a march to Westminster, which apparently saw further attempts at disruption by Zionists and football hooligans which were quickly stopped by police. The Al Quds day event itself is attended by many families and resists provocations.

Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day
Zionists protest against AlQuds Day

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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images

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A Forgotten Street Photographer?

October 12th, 2018

While it’s great to see a film being made about Garry Winogrand which shows some insight into the man and his work, the description of him as a “forgotten street photographer” seems rather lacking in credibility.

Of course most people who think of themselves as “street photographers” nowadays are woefully ignorant of the history of photography including that of so-called street photography, and most people outside the photographic world would be hard put to name any photographer, certainly anyone who has been dead for over 30 years. Perhaps soon we will see a film about another of these “forgetten street photographers” like Henri Cartier-Bresson?

I’ve not seen the film, currently enjoying an extended run in New York, but I have watched the trailer and another introduction to it with more of WInogrand’s voice, as well as the preview – and many other videos about WInogrand, some of which I used in my teaching over 20 years ago. And I think the film will be something photographers should not miss. It will apparently be available later as a part of the ‘American Masters‘ series on PBS.

Vice has an interview This Forgotten Street Photographer Shot Some of Our Most Iconic Images with film director Sasha Waters Freyer which I think makes interesting reading and shows some fresh insight into the man and his work.

I’ve written about him and his work at some length, and have copies of most of his books as well as the most important works on him published since his death, and have been able to talk with one or two people who knew him working on the streets of New York. As well as this article, he gets a mention in 45 other posts I’ve written for this blog (and one other draft, about his work in Picture Post, that somehow never got finished.)

One of the problems with Winogrand is that he took so many pictures – including the many thousands on the undeveloped cassettes found after his death. Many of them didn’t really work as pictures, though without the openness they represent he would not have made those that, sometimes spectacularly, do. I feel sure that there are many images that have been published since his death (and a few during his lifetime) that do nothing to enhance his reputation, and the last show of his work I saw in London had far too many of them. Part of the reason for this lies with the art market, where anything attributed to him sells.

It’s interesting to look at his ‘Women Are Beautiful’ which Sasha Waters Freyer says “really hurt his reputation”. It obviously drew some attacks, but I don’t think he really had a reputation to destroy, and most of the attacks were based on the idea of a man publishing a book of that title rather than the work in it. As she goes on to say, “there are a lot of ways in which it is a celebration of women. It is a really important document of this period when women are entering the workforce and making themselves visible in a way that was completely new in American society.”

Winogrand thought it would sell, calling it in private “The Observations of a Male Chauvinist Pig” and hoping it might appeal to a different market, but it alienated too many and was too highbrow and insufficiently raunchy to attract the ‘Pigs’ he had anticipated. But it remains one of his best books, perhaps because of the focus given it by the problems in his personal life and the film sets out to examine him as a male artist and to understand how his “relationship to marriage and children and family … impacts (his) artistic output.”

Of course there are many other articles and reviews of the film (which has a Facebook page) you can find on-line. One from IndieWire by David Erlich caught my attention for this paragraph:

“Street photographer?” What a sterile way to describe someone who just captured what he wanted — who didn’t wait for permission to take pictures, or require an assignment.

Votes for Women

October 11th, 2018

Women ratepayers had been able to vote in local elections since 1869, and the UK Representation of the People Act 1918 gave the vote in parliamentary elections to around 8.4 million women in the UK, though they had to be over 30 and have some property. Later that year another act gave women the right to be elected to Parliament.

But many women were still unable to vote. My old French teacher back in the late 1950s used occasionally to remind the class “They gave women the vote in 1928, and ever since the country has been going to the dogs”, and he was at least right about the date, because it was only in 1928 that all women over 21 gained the right to vote in exactly the same way as men.

So while many celebrated the centenary of women getting the vote this year, it was some ten years premature. An important step in the right of women to vote, but not the final one, though most of those unable to vote after 1918 would have been working class women, and relatively few working class women were taking much of a role in this year’s celebrations.

The same 1918 act gave my father, then serving in the Royal Airforce (though I don’t think his feet ever left the ground) a vote, but my mother had to wait another ten years before she was eligible. Despite our origins she was a staunch Conservative supporter, always putting up a poster for them in our front room window. My parents never talked about politics, but I’m convinced he cancelled her out by voting Labour and I think was influenced by the ideas of William Morris who died three years before he was born.

Those taking part in the protest were given purple, white and green scarves to make up three strands of a huge procession in the suffragette colours through London, though this will only really have been truly visible to those photographers in helicopters or illegally flying drones. I’m sure there will have been some, though I’ve not seen the pictures.

I went to Marble Arch which the details posted on-line about the protest had given as a starting point, only to find the march was really starting from Hyde Park Corner, which was mildly annoying, and meant I had to run down Park Lane, still managing to just miss the start. I went a little way down Piccadilly and photographed the three streams, purple and white on one carriageway and green on the other, coming along, moving forward slowly to Piccadilly Circus, where I stayed until the end of the march had passed. I had to leave the protest there as another event I wanted to cover was taking place in Mayfair.

100 years of Votes for Women

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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images

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Free Tommy

October 10th, 2018

I have heard Tommy Robinson speak on a number of occasions, photographing protests by the English Defence League and other groups and have found him clearly racist and to incite hatred of Muslims.  In 2011 when leader of the EDL he said:

“Every single Muslim watching this… You had better understand that we have built a network from one end of this country to the other end, and we will not tolerate it, and the Islamic community will feel the full force of the English Defence League if we see any of our citizens killed, maimed or hurt on British soil ever again.”

He took the name Tommy Robinson from a leading member of the Luton Town  “Men In Gear” (MIG) football hooligans which he was involved with in his teenage years.

After serving an apprenticeship in aircraft engineering he lost his job when sentenced to 12 months for a drunken assault on an off-duty police officer. In 2004 he joined the fascist far-right British National Party, from which he says he resigned after a year. In 2009 he was a part of the United Peoples of Luton, founded to oppose Muslim groups who demonstrated against a march by British troops returning from Afghanistan, and later in the year founded the English Defence League as its leader. In 2011 he was convicted for using “threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour” in a fight he is said to have led between football hooligans the previous year, shouting “EDL till I die”.

Robinson was arrested again in September 2011 for breach of bail conditions when attending an EDL protest in Tower Hamlets and held in jail for several days; at the end of the month he was given a suspended 12 week sentence for common assault on another EDL member at a rally in April in Blackburn. In November 2011 he was arrested in Zurich, jailed for three days and fined for a protest at FIFA’s HQ against a ban on the English team wearing poppies. In 2012 he pleaded guilty to using another person’s passport to enter the US and was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment at the start of 2013.

Business activities caught up with him in 2012 over a mortgage fraud and in January 2014 he was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. Released on licence he broke the terms and was recalled to jail, being finally released in November 2014. After his period of licence ended in July 2015 he returned to protest with the UK offshoot of the German anti-Immigratyion and anti-Islam Pegida.

In May 2017, while working as a correspondent for the far-right Canandian anti-Islam web site ‘The Rebel Media’ he was arrested outside Canterbury Crown Court for for contempt of court after he attempted to take video of the defendants in a child rape case. The judge, giving him a suspended sentence, commented:

“this is not about free speech, not about the freedom of the press, nor about legitimate journalism, and not about political correctness. It is about justice and ensuring that a trial can be carried out justly and fairly, it’s about being innocent until proven guilty. It is about preserving the integrity of the jury to continue without people being intimidated or being affected by irresponsible and inaccurate ‘reporting’, if that’s what it was”

Robinson was arrested for the same reasons outside a court in Leeds where a grooming trial was taking place in May 2018. Admitting the offence he was sentenced to 10 months in prison, with the suspended sentence of 3 months from Canterbury being added on. At the start of August he was released pending an appeal which was partially succesful and a new trial has been ordered.

Robinson’s supporters were up in arms about his arrest, claiming he had been arrested for “free speech” which was clearly not the case. They set up a petition that quickly got half a million signatures and attracted much support worldwide for his release, largely through misleading reporting by far-right news sites.

This protest was allegedly in favour of free speech, something which hardly stands up well with the assaults that protesters made on journalists trying to report it, including myself. Two men made a determined effort to steal my cameras when I was photographing near Downing St, but I managed to twist away from them. They continued their attacks until I was able to reach police standing outside Downing St, when they disappeared into the crowd. I was shaken but not injured by the attacks, and shortly after left the protest to photograph a counter-protest further down Whitehall.

More pictures:
Free Tommy Robinson
Anti-fascists oppose Free Tommy protest

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There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, a small donation – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images

________________________________________________________

Vegans march to close slaughterhouses

October 9th, 2018

Veganism is a good thing, though not I think for everybody. But as many of us have said for years – and I think I first did myself speaking in public in the early 1970s – for the future of our planet we need to eat less meat, something which has this week been reinforced by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which clearly argues the case for this, though not suggesting we should entirely stop eating meat and diary products.

Meat production can be a very wasteful business, with large amounts of edible grains being fed to animals, particularly cattle, who use it to produce large volumes of greenhouse gas methane and only relative small amounts of meat. But animals can be raised on grass or other plant material which humans cannot directly eat, and on land which is unsuitable for growing useful crops, and traditional agriculture makes use of manure to keep soil fertile, avoiding the use of chemical fertilisers that degrade the soil, as well as also having a carbon cost in their production.

The industrial agriculture that includes much of the more horrific cruelty against animals is also largely the most polluting. Banning these practices would cut the environmental impact of farming, and also greatly raise the price of meat and eggs, and also reduce the consumption of these, though unfortunately impacting disproportionally on those on lower incomes who currently rely on cheap food produced by intensive farming.

One of the advantages of a vegetarian diet is that it can be extremely cheap, and the changes that are making vegetarian and vegan foods more culturally acceptable, and convincing us all that a healthy meal does not necessarily include meat or fish (or even eggs and cheese) are welcome. Though the kind of recipes with twenty obscure ingredients and hours of cooking time which seem to be promoted in the heavier press give vegetarianism an elitist ethos. We need simple tasty meals that are easily and quickly prepared as well as veggie fast-food chains. Chips are now almost always vegetarian, and go well with patties (and chip spice), cheese and onion pies, pickles, and more.

While we still eat meat we need to kill animals. Obviously slaughterhouses should be better run and avoid any unnecessary cruelty, and there is no excuse for some of the practices that are shown in pictures and videos. When I was young my aunt had chickens in a run behind the house, and as well as eating the eggs, there came a time when we ate the chickens. I think their deaths were quick and humane, and there was no unnecessary suffering, although clearly their lives were brought to an end (as, just as clearly they had begun) by our human choice rather than their own volition.

So I have mixed feelings about veganism. While I’m entirely happy with people choosing to be vegan – as many of my friends have – I think its universal adoption would be enviromentally disastrous. And though I’m against cruelty to animals there is something about the evangelical zeal displayed in some of the posters at the event which make me uneasy. Nature isn’t vegan, which many species preying on others, and many clearly carniverous. Evolution has I think (some argue the point) made us omnivores and, while I eat relatively little meat compared with most, I do so with a clear conscience.

Close all Slaughterhouses
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