Archive for the ‘Political Issues’ Category

Disabled protest Tory hate

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

One of the problems of the Conservative Party has long been a failure to understand how most people live. Of course there are poor people who vote Tory, and people in the party who have come from working class backgrounds, but their policies are largely made by people who have never known (or long forgotten) what it is like to live in poverty. And those few who started poor often seem to blame those who remain poor, feeling they worked their way out of it so why can’t everyone else?

Austerity was always the wrong policy and it hasn’t worked, but it has led to a great deal of suffering and misery, punishing the poor for crimes of the rich and the failures of successive governments to regulate the activities of the wealthy, allowing huge levels of tax avoidance and encouraging scams such as ‘buy to let’ and the use of housing as an investment vehicle, particularly for foreigners, which, along with a concerted attack on social housing are at the root of our ‘housing crisis’. We don’t really have a housing crisis – there are enough homes to go round, but many are empty part or all of the time and beyond the means of those who need them, while private landlords benefit from high rents made possible only by heavy housing subsidies – and low pay for workers means companies are subsidised by ‘in-work’ benefits while CEOs and other higher management get silly money.

A recent study published by the BMJ concludes that austerity has led to an increase in death rates and suggests that this has led to 120,000 additional deaths since 2010 due to cuts in public expenditure on healthcare and social care. The study’s lead author was quoted in The Independent as saying “It is now very clear that austerity does not promote growth or reduce deficits – it is bad economics, but good class politics. This study shows it is also a public health disaster. It is not an exaggeration to call it economic murder.” Though those who get their news from the BBC will probably have missed the story.

The Tories seem to have a special hatred reserved for the disabled. They seem to see them simply as a drag on the economy, taking high levels of benefits without any return to society (though paradoxically they have cut much of the support which did previously enable many to make a positive contribution.) They appear to have thought the disabled would be an easy target and would just go away and die quietly. But although far too many have died, campaigning groups such as DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) and MHRN (Mental Health Resistance Network) have been some of the most active protesters against their policies. And on this protest they reflected back a little of the Tory hate with t-shirts that read ‘Who 2 vote 4? Not the f**king Tories’.

In part this comes from desperation, and from clearly seeing that the cuts are life-threatening. But it is also helped by considerable public sympathy – at least once the public are told what is happening. The police find disabled people difficult to deal with, partly out of a genuine sympathy, but also because they realise how badly they might look in the press attacking the disabled – which is one reason why its important that I and other journalists cover their actions. There are also practical difficulties for them in making arrests, needing specially adapted vehicles for those protesters in wheelchairs or on mobility scooters – and police stations also may lack disabled facilities.

Not all disabled people are in wheelchairs, and not all disabilities are visible. One of the groups present at many of these protests is Winvisible, women with visible and invisible disabilities, and of course there are men too. But wheelchairs and scooters have proved very useful in protests, especially for blocking roads, and after protesting outside Parliament on the last day of its sitting before the General Election and then going on to protest outside the Tory HQ nearby, the protest finished by bringing traffic to a halt on busy Victoria St, leaving the road only after final warnings of arrest from the police. Stopping traffic in London, though an annoyance to those blocked, is one of few reliable ways to get any protest noticed.

More at: DPAC against Tory Hate

(more…)

Class War Paper Launch

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

Way back, soon after Ian Bone moved to London, Class War began to produce a newspaper or magazine, an irregular tabloid size publication, which became notorious for some of its covers, several of which have more recently appeared as posters, such as ‘We have found new homes for the rich’, showing a huge cemetery of crosses. In its early days it was produced in an obscure tower block in North Kensington where Bone was living, which has more recently headlined the news, Grenfell Tower.

When Class War decided to produce a new issue of the newspaper, I was asked if they could use some of my pictures from their events, and I was pleased to let them do so. It was perhaps more serious than the earlier issues, with some substantial articles about Class, Housing, the Women’s Death Brigade etc, as well as some hilarious horoscopes and features on Duncan Disorderly and Potent Whisper.

The protest outside the White Cube Gallery had been planned earlier as a protest against gentrification, following on from earlier protests there  in December 2015 –  Class War at Gilbert & George ‘Banners’ and January: Class War Footy at White Cube. As with many Class War events, in started in a nearby pub, where copies of the newly printed newspaper were read.

Eventually people walked down the street to the yard in front of the gallery:

And people posed for a group photograph with copies,

before playing a little football, something which isn’t usually allowed on the yard, empty space in a crowded inner city with astronomical land prices, seen by Class War as akin to burning £50 notes under the noses of the working class population of the area, still present in the Peabody and council flats despite the increasing hipster invasion.

But the real treats of the afternoon were at a higher cultural level, though not appreciated by the gallery staff hiding behind police and security with the gallery locked for the afternoon. First Potent Whisper performed his latest spoken word piece on the housing crisis, Estate of War, followed up by speeches by Simon Elmer from Archtiects for Social Housing (ASH), Ian Bone and another well-known anarchist, Martin Wright, then songs from ‘one-man anarcho-folk-punk-hiphop phenomenon’ Cosmo, more from Potent Whisper and then a truly incredible new improvised performance from Adam Clifford and his guitarist (unfortunately not recorded for YouTube), after which Jane Nicholl performed her introduction to   Adam’s performance of ‘The Finest F**king Family in the Land‘.

Adam ended his performance in his usual style:

and the event was still continuing with other musical performances when I had to leave.  It had been, as I wrote at the time, a legendary performance, rather eclipsing anything the White Cube has had to offer at their site, and I felt privileged to have witnessed it.

Class War at White Cube

(more…)

On and Off Photography

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Back in the late 1970s when there seemed to many of us that their was a least a glimmer of a photography culture emerging in the UK that might support serious photographers, thanks to the efforts of Creative Camera, the Arts Council  and a few people in education, particularly in the Midlands, including Paul Hill and Ray Moore, we suffered a huge academic land grab which more or less snuffed out that fledgling. Creative Camera degenerated, the Arts Council altered course and many photographers were relegated to obscurity.

Photography was largely sacrificed on the altar of academic respectability, becoming subservient to the word, being relegated to what many saw as its rightful subservience in our logocentric culture. You want a degree you’ve got to read learn a secret language to read deliberately obscured texts and write pretentious essays, never mind the pictures.

The flagship of this enterprise was a curious work, On Photography by Susan Sontag, which came at the top of every degree course reading list. My own copy of this 1977 best-seller soon got into a sorry state from being thrown down at its more ridiculous sentences, its margins annotated with my explosions at her ignorance and misunderstandings, her half-digested regurgitations from earlier sources.

It did make rather a good television programme, which I had recorded and watched several times, and felt to be far superior to the book, not least because in it her thoughts became tied to actual examples, the particular rather than the generalisation.  And perhaps because of the work of a better editor than at her publisher and the more limited canvas available.

It was a book that spawned more books, but never provoked any photography of significance, that led to a whole school of academia that treats photographs as just an abbreviated list of the objects and events they depict, largely dismissing the aspects that make photography an vital and visual medium.

We no longer simply looked at photographs, no longer experienced them, but in that oh so reductive usage, we ‘read’ them. Not that reading photographs can’t give us valuable insights – and it was always a part of looking at them – but it is only a partial exercise, and the visual, expressive, aesthetic aspects were generally dismissed as unworthy of study.

On Photography is a book that should only appear on reading lists for students with a health warning, and one of the best health warnings is provided by an article recently resurrected by A D Coleman, Susan Sontag: Off Photography, originally written by him in 1979 but not published until 1998. In his introduction to this republication, Coleman notes:

Sontag subsequently acknowledged that photography was not her real subject and had simply served her as a convenient whipping boy, and — in Regarding the Pain of Others (2003) — she eventually retracted most of what she’d had to say in her original diatribe.

Regarding the Pain of Others is certainly a far better book about photography, and the photography of war in particular, but I don’t recall ever seeing it on the reading lists for photography students. Perhaps it should be, replacing her ‘On Photography‘.

 

LSE sprayed with chalk

Saturday, November 11th, 2017

The t-shirt for sale in the university shop at the LSE, pointed out to me by Lisa McKenzie, then an academic working at the LSE and who can be seen photographing the shop window, seemed to be a rather too accurate reflection of the current priorities of the institution, with its message ‘£$€‘ , though perhaps these days it should also somehow include ¥ and .

I was at the LSE for a protest by students and workers in the ‘Life Not Money’ campaign  who were calling on the LSE to change from what they say is thirty years of growing neglect, cruelty and outright corporate greed towards workers and staff at the school to something beautiful and life affirming. In particular the contrasted the high salary of the director – said to be around £500,000 a year  – with that of the lowest paid workers such as the cleaners who are paid less than the London Living Wage and have unpaid breaks and are bullied and treated as second-class citizens.

While the cleaners’ trade union, the UVW, has been taking action with a series of demonstrations and strikes, Life Not Money have decided a more effective method is to use more colorful direct action with the deliberate intention to get some of their supporters arrested. It’s an approach that does seem to have worked in other disputes.

I was a little aggrieved that after having been invited to photograph the event I was left photographing what was an action intended to divert the LSE security while the actual direct action of writing and drawing on the wall of one of the university buildings in nearby Houghton St actually took place. Perhaps this was just an oversight, but by the time I got there, the writing was already on the wall:

‘Cut Directors Pay Boost Workers Pay We All Know it Makes Sense’

and those who had done it were sitting quietly having a party and waiting patiently to be arrested.

It wasn’t real paint that had been used, but spray chalk, and there was no actual damage to the wall, just to the image of the LSE and the pride of its security team who had failed to stop it.  The protesters had even brought along damp sponges and offered to remove the writing but security and police were not prepared to allow them to do so.  It’s hard to see that writing on a wall with chalk that can easily be removed with a damp cloth could be seen by a court as ‘criminal damage’ – which the LSE alleged and police arrested the writer for.

Increasingly arrest and a period of often up to 18 hours in police custody – they like to release people in the early hours of the morning when little or no public transport is running – is being used as a minor punishment by police for offences where there would be little chance of securing an actual conviction, and where often no charges are made. And in some cases police release people on bail with conditions intended to prevent further protests, such as banning them from the area where they were arrested, often for several months, though this appears to be unenforceable. And property, sometimes including clothing, may be taken as ‘evidence’ for cases that stand little or no chance of coming to court – and is sometimes lost by police.  It seems to be a little procedural bullying which has no basis in law, and for which some have managed to receive compensation.

In this case the police didn’t seem unduly worried about the apparent crime, and they kept the four perpetrators waiting for over an hour before they arrived to arrest them – and I’d almost given up waiting and gone to catch my train home.

Among the allegations from cleaners employed by Noonan for the LSE on the posters that students posted:

“Women have to sleep with management to get extra hours. The whole thing is corrupt. And supervisors attack the women and are not even disciplined … LSE know about this. And LSE doesn’t give a damn so long as the work is covered and they don’t have to think about it.”

“Worst thing of all is the situation with illegal immigrants working here … half their wages went back to management. They don’t have to pay them the minimum wage and they can’t complain because they are illegals. When there was a check management told all the illegals not to come in on that day.”

These are the crimes that police should be investigating, not protesters chalking on walls.

More at: LSE decorated against inequality & corruption

(more…)

Scientists for Science

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

It’s hardly a surprise that scientists are in favour of science. What is surprising is that so many people – and those with most power and responsibility including our political establishments here and in the US seem not to be. Our BBC, largely the voice of the establishment, maintains its pretence of impartiality by giving climate denying lunatics like Lord Lawson the same or greater prominence as climate scientists, and Facebook and the web are full of miracle cures for cancer.

Rather than listen to the experts, to those whose ideas are based on science, we distrust them. It seems likely to be our civilisation’s undoing in the not to distant future. I’m fairly sure our planet will outlast my lifetime (at least if people keep Trump away from that red button) but far from convinced for my grandchildren’s future.

Part of the problem is that many things that have little or no scientific basis set themselves out as science – and a prime area is of course economics, which seems to apply mathematics to derive results which are simply reflections of the premises of whichever school is involved.

Science isn’t really like that, though perhaps sometimes in minor details it can be mere speculation. The most basic necessity of any scientific theory is that it could be proved to be wrong and can survive such attempts. It’s good to be able to prove things are right, but necessary to be possible to prove them false.

Our particular culture in Britain has been one based on an education in the Classics and on the primacy of the word. In the beginning was the word, and for the rest of the way too, with numbers and playing with real stuff being relegated to the rude mechanicals. And we’ve shut them away in labs where they have done remarkably well, perhaps at least in part because they are away from the distractions of talking to the rest of us.

What can one make of a protest in which placards read ‘Do I have large P-value? Cos I feel Insignificant’ or ‘dT=α.ln(C1/C0)’? I have a couple of science degrees and had some idea about the first but had to go and ask about the second.

Scientists march for Science
Scientists Rally for Science
(more…)

Save Latin Village

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Our system of local authorities is a mess. But worse than that it has largely become dysfunctional, often working against the interests of the population it is meant to serve. We seem to have lost the local pride that led to the great municipal developments of the late Victorian era, and which one still sees across the Channel, and councils seem to have morphed into businesses serving their own ends.

The Latin Village which has grown up around Seven Sisters Indoor Market is a thriving and vibrant community, a community asset that any local council should admire and encourage, and be proud of. But Haringey Council want to destroy it.

The block stands on a prime site on top of Seven Sisters Underground Station and on the area’s major road. So the council want to make property developers rich by replacing it with expensive flats and chain stores, profiting investors at the expense of the community. It’s something that you might expect of some sleazy and corrupt administration in a country with a bent administration, and that is exactly what it is, though the council runs under the Labour label. Italian anti-mafia expert Roberto Saviano recently called the UK ‘the most corrupt place on Earth‘, and we have a legal, political and law enforcement system that has developed over the years to protect ruling class interests and the corrupt financial system that powers the City.

It has been a long fight by the community against the council, and back in 2008 they gained the support of the then London Mayor Boris Johnson, who forced the council to think again. They did and came back with the same answer – knock it down, destroy the community and replace it by a bland block with housing for the wealthy and chain shops just like those on any other high rent high street. And big profits for their friends the property developers.

It was a lively afternoon, with speeches and music and dancing. I took a few minutes to go inside the Indoor Market, which I’ve only walked past on the outside before, and was amazed. So many people, so many shops, so much life. But I didn’t want to miss what was happening outside, so I didn’t stop to take pictures, meaning perhaps to go back later, though I’ve not yet done so, though I have since seen some good images and video by others.

The main event of the afternoon was to form a human chain around the block, and while the chain didn’t quite link up all the way round it did get to be around 300 metres long, and had people really stretched out it would have made it. I followed it around and then walked the missing 80 metres along West Green Road, where the line of shops would have made it a little difficult back to the Tottenham High Rd where the chain had begun.

People were still there, still holding out their hands to the next in line, and the afternoon sun was putting their shadows onto the pavement. These looked like those strings of paper men we used to make by folding paper and cutting out the shapes attached by their arms and hang as chains.

The fiesta was still continuing when I left for home, with more music scheduled into the evening. It’s places like the Latin Market and others also under threat from councils and developers that make London a great place to live in – and which London’s mainly Labour councils seem hell-bent on sterilising.

More pictures: Human Chain at Latin Village

(more…)

Exploiting Terror

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

I don’t like photographing the extreme right, though I think it is important to document their activities, as well as those that go out onto the streets to oppose them. But their attempts to exploit the reprehensible attacks by a few deranged terrorists on people on the streets of London for their Islamophobic agenda I find particularly depressing and distasteful.

Londoners had made their feelings clear, both in the flowers on Westminster Bridge and in Parliament Square, and in the vigil the day after the Westminster attack in Trafalgar Square in which all communities in our city – including many Muslims – took part.

Britain First have a record of insulting Muslims, of making a nuisance of themselves in mosques and more. Their deputy leader was found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment and fined £2000 for abusing a woman simply because she was wearing a hijab, and their leader jailed for eight weeks for breaching a High Court ban on his entering any mosque in England and Wales.

Behind the banner at the front of their march was a man carrying a ‘Knights Templar’ flag, an organisation including a number of former BNP members with strong links to European neo-Nazi and extreme right groups including the self-styled paramilitary Shipka Bulgarian National Movement and a banned Hungarian group.

But it is too easy to take dramatic pictures full of flags of Britain First – and leader Paul Golding arrived with a van full of them, though a few others had brought their own.

I found the rally upsetting, and in particular its misuse of Christianity, which did make me wonder how many of those present would be in church the following day. Certainly there was no Christian charity or message of love on display, and I think there would be vanishing few sermons preached in churches that would have been acceptable here.

Also out on the streets were the EDL, though they met at the Wetherspoons on Whitehall – and I photographed the police actually forcing them back into the pub as the anti-fascists were being rather heavy-handedly escorted away from the area on the opposite side of the road. At one time one group of police was trying to push them down Whitehall while another group of officers attempted to stop them, and a few protesters got rather badly squashed in the middle. It was rather a muddle, and there were a few arrests and at least one photographer assaulted by police. I got just a little pushed around but tried hard to keep out of the way.

Eventually police did manage to escort the few EDL supporters down for a rally close to where Britain First were holding their rally. For some reason they didn’t want to be photographed, and one of their stewards insisted I leave – and made a complaint about me to the police.

I didn’t have any time for the officer who came to speak to me, reminding her of the MPS Guidelines which clearly state “Members of the media have a duty to report on incidents and do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places. Police have no power or moral responsibility to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel” and saying it was none of her job to run around for the EDL.

So I took my pictures and then left, hoping to be able to take some more pictures of the anti-fascist, but because of the police barricades it took rather a long walk to get to them, and many had left by the time I arrived. But it was good to be back again among people who were happy to be photographed.

More at:
UAF protest extreme right marches
Britain First & EDL exploit London attack

(more…)

September 2017

Saturday, November 4th, 2017


Police arrest Charlie X at the DSEI arms fair

As nights draw in its good to remember those longer days of September, the events I went to, people I met and the pictures I took, and I’ve finally finished putting them on line in My London Diary. September was a busy month, starting with several days with protesters outside the world’s largest arms fair, held every two years in London – at least until the campaign against it manages to get it stopped. So there were quite a few pictures to add and events to write about.

I’m slow to edit pictures and captions, as I like to get both right, though like other people I sometimes get things wrong, particularly as I’m often half asleep as I rush to send images to the agencies. Though my definition of a rush is a rather old-fashioned one, usually a matter of several hours after the event, rather than the minutes photographers are now expected to file by.  And sometimes I find myself falling asleep late at night and decide the following morning will have to do.

But a very busy time in the last couple of weeks have meant that finishing my posts for September has taken a little longer than usual.  Just as it usually does.

Sep 2017


This and a later UVW protest led to re-instatement and a real living wage
Cleaners at luxury car dealers HR Owen
No NHS immigration checks


No Nuclear War over North Korea
End outsourcing at London University


One year of Ritzy strike
Haringey against council housing sell-off
World Peace Day Walk
Trafalgar Square blocked over pollution
No More Deaths in immigration detention
Free forgotten jailed Eritrean Journalists
Lord Carson Memorial Parade
Black Day for Sabah & Sarawak
Overthrow the Islamic Regime of Iran
41st monthly Sewol ‘Stay Put!’ vigil
Open House & more – Peckham
Open House – Banqueting House
Cody Dock


Derek’s Book Launch


Air Pollution protest blocks Brixton
Croydon Walk
Wreath for victims of the arms trade
#Arming The World


DSEI East Gate blocked
Festival of Resistance – DSEI West Gate
DSEI Festival Morning at the East Gate
Protest picnic & checkpoint at DSEI
Protesters block DSEI arms fair entrances
No Faith in War DSEI Arms Fair protest


Another cyclist dies – Islington has provided zero safe cycle facilities
Die-in for cyclist Ardian Zagani
McStrike rally at McDonalds HQ
Vegans call for Animal Rights

London Images

(more…)

Unacceptable Barnet

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Barnet is a large suburban borough on the northern edge of London with a diverse population and the council has a small Conservative majority and became notorious for its ‘easyCouncil’ policies which cut services to cut costs and outsourced most of them to Capita. And a part of that has been limiting social housing for the poorest through regeneration schemes that have little provision for low income local residents.

I’d gone to Barnet because the second phase of a public inquiry into the second phase of the demolition of the West Hendon estate was opening at the RAF Museum in Colindale, but only looked in there very briefly. It was a fine day and I didn’t want to sit inside in what was bound to be a rather tedious meeting.

Opposite the site on what was the old Hendon Aerodrome is the Grahame Park Estate. Hendon was one of London’s early airports, and its development for housing in the 1970s by the Greater London Council and Barnet Council is exactly what should also have happened to Heathrow, where an even larger development could have taken place.

The main part of the estate built in the early 1970s is largely in low-rise brick, with long terraces and separating pedestrians from traffic. It was first ‘regenerated’ in the 1980s when some connecting walkways between blocks were removed and some buildings were given pitched roofs. A more dramatic regeneration began after 2003 with the phased demolition of some areas and new properties being built on the estate, and considerable building work is now taking place in some areas.

The continuing regeneration by Genesis Housing Association and Countryside Properties has come in for much criticism for replacing homes at social rents by private properties at high market prices, along with varieties of ‘affordable’ properties largely beyond the reach of those on average or lower salaries. The latest planning application for part of the estate includes only 39 homes for social rent out of 1,083, a loss of 518 social homes compared to the existing 557 on the site, which London Mayor Sadiq Khan described as “totally unacceptable“. It is very much in line with Barnet’s policies here and in other estate regenerations.

Often, as at Grahame Park, councils claim support of residents for regeneration schemes. Most of us would welcome new and better homes, and existing tenants are always promised rehousing, but such promises are never kept. 518 of the 557 families – around 93% – are in line for social cleansing, being forced to move away from homes and usually into far poorer, less secure but considerably more expensive private rented accommodation, often far from jobs, schools and friends.

After walking around Grahame Park and taking some pictures, I went to look at some of the related new developments around Colindale station, also a part of the Colindale Area Action Plan’, before taking tube and bus to the West Hendon Estate, on the only part of Barnet west of the A5 Edgware Road (West Hendon Broadway).

The attraction of ‘Hendon Waterside’ to developers, as the replacement for the West Hendon Estate is obvious, and few if any of the former residents will be able to afford to live there. Originally there were 680 social rented homes on the site, but there seem unlikely to be more than a token handful in the new development, though exact figures do not seem to be available.

More about West Hendon and Grahame Park on My London Diary:

West Hendon Estate
Colindale

(more…)

March for Homes

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

It was a long march on a warm March day from Canada Water to the Aylesbury Estate, and not by the shortest route, but one carefully planned to take in as many as possible of the council estates currently being demolished or under threat from the London Borough of Southwark.  By the time we reached the end, the marchers had walked around 4 miles – and photographers quite a bit more.

Southwark over 15 years ago began to plan to get rid of its council estates, seeing them as liabilities rather than as vital to house the less well off citizens of Southwark – of which there are many. In earlier years they had done a decent job, building well-planned large estates such as the award-winning Heygate Estate, where extensive plantings of trees were coming to maturity thirty or so years later.

But Southwark Council came under new management, more specifically New Labour management, who realised that the value of the land that this and other council estates were built on was worth huge sums on the open market. The estate had previously been allowed to become rather rundown through inadequate maintenance but the process was deliberately accelerated, and people and families with problems were deliberately housed there. Money was spent on PR basically intended to demonise the estate, and they began a long process of removing tenants and leaseholders.

Estates in earlier years were built with large amounts of open space and a relatively low population for the area they covered.  When built the Heygate it had over 1200 homes, all at social rent. Under Thatcher’s ‘right to buy’ policy a number of these were lost, but there were still many socially rented properties.

Heygate’s replacement, Elephant Park, will offer around 3000 propertie, but only around 87 at social rents, with a further hundred or so at three-quarters of market rent or under shared ownership schemes, both far above the means of those in the borough working in jobs at or close to the minimum wage or the real London Living Wage.

And although some councillors and council officials may have benefited from the deal, Southwark council got its figures sadly wrong and is probably out of pocket from the deal, partly because the costs of emptying the estate turned out to be much higher than anticipated, but mainly because allegedly they parted with the land for a criminally low sum, a fraction of its true market value.

I’ve no reason to doubt the figures given by those who fought the council over the demolition, most of which come from council documents, including some released by an IT error as well as those published or dragged out by freedom of information requests. As well as failing to provide properly for the people of their borough it would seem that those involved have been.

Simon Elmer of ASH has this to say on conflict of interests in local councils implementing the estate demolition programme :

“The prime example here is Southwark council, where 1 in 5 councillors are lobbyists for the building industry, and where 6 of the most senior officers responsible for selling the Heygate estate to property developers Lendlease for one-fifteenth of its market value now either work for or with the company.”

Which perhaps goes a long way to explain what is happening in Southwark, and why, at the end of a long, hot march we were denied access to the council-owned Thurlow Lodge Community Hall,  where tenants Divine Rescue who had offered to provide refreshment and toilet facilities for the tired marchers were forced under threat of eviction to withdraw their offer, and instead the hall was locked and shuttered, guarded by Southwark Council security as a rally took place outside.

Southwark march for homes & businesses

(more…)