Posts Tagged ‘2019’

Boris J is not our Prime Minister

Sunday, July 24th, 2022

Boris J is not our Prime Minister – That title expressed the feelings of many of us when I wrote it on Wednesday 24th July 2019, the day 3 years ago that he assumed office. He had then been elected by the votes of 92,153 Conservative Party members in the leadership election, around twice the number received by Jeremy Hunt. Unfortunately 3 years later he is still our prime minister, if now only hanging on until a successor is elected.

Later after the 2019 election where the Tories won a ‘landslide’ victory with an 80 seat majority after receiving 43.6% of the votes, the party could claim a mandate for its policies. But although many supported his policy of ‘Getting Brexit Done’ (and Starmer had possibly deliberately pushed the Labour Party under Corbyn into a popular defeat by persuading the Labour Party to back his ideas of another referendum) very few actually voted for Boris Johnson – his 52.6% majority in Uxbridge took only 25,321 votes.

We have a crazy and undemocratic electoral system which suits the wealthy minority who remain very much in control of things and even though had Corbyn formed a government would have prevented many of his policies from becoming law.

The Forde report – finally published on the hottest day ever in the country when wild fires were sweeping London and the Tory prime-ministerial contest was in full swing to ensure it got little if any mention in the news – shows clearly how many of the officers and right-wing MPs made sure we failed to get a Labour government. You will need to download it and read its 138 pages if you wish to know what it says rather than the spin that some will put on it.

If anyone tries to tell you that there were faults on both sides or that it isn’t a damning condemnation of the Labour Party and how it machinated to ensure Corbyn’s defeat they are simply lying to protect themselves and their political future. The Forde report does its best to suggest there were two sides, but lacks credibility in this aspect by failing to note the crucial difference. One side largely kept to the rules and had a democratic mandate from hundreds of thousands – the great majority of party members, while the other was acting in its own self-interest often outside the rules and against the will, traditions and historical mission of the party.

The Forde report does not tell the whole story, and goes out of its way to try and be balanced over a situation which was very much out of kilter. It really needs to be read alongside the controversial leaked report into anti-semitism written to be submitted tot he EHRC which led to it being set up – and which led to Martin Forde QC being subjected to various and continuing legal threats from the moment he was appointed. Much that should have been in Forde’s report is simply not there. But although that document was widely distributed via social media, for legal reasons it will be difficult to find a copy now if you did not download it at the time. And for legal reasons I can’t make it available here though it can still be found and downloaded from abroad over a VPN.

John McDonnell tweeted after the report was published: “Shockingly Forde report findings confirm what was suspected. That party officials secretly diverted election funds in 2017, prevented supporters of Jeremy Corbyn from having a vote in the leadership election & used discriminatory abuse. To move on lessons need to be learnt.” And the report certainly does confirm those allegations.

Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary implicated her as a spy when she was held on a family visit

Others find sections of the report which they can use to yet again attack Corbyn for anti-semitism – even in some cases quoting paragraphs which are clearly in his favour to do so. There are certainly groups that are still determined to have his scalp, whatever the evidence.

Unfortunately the nightmare will continue even when Boris is replaced

Back in 2019 there had been protests outside Downing Street during the day and in the evening a large crowd mainly of young people gathered for a protest party in Russell Square, where speakers included Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell who made a strong plea for a General Election.

Earlier at Downing St

I decided to leave before the crowd set off for Downing St to join protesters there. I’d called at Downing St on my way to Russell Square and there were only a few present then, but apparently numbers had swelled considerably by the time the marchers arrived and I missed rather a lot of the action. But I was tired and wanted to go home and get on with processing the pictures I’d already taken.

Boris J is not our Prime Minister


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XR, Axe Drax and Knife Crime 2019

Sunday, April 17th, 2022

XR, Axe Drax and Knife Crime 2019 – three years ago Extinction Rebellion were, like today, protesting on the streets of London, with several key locations in London blocked for most of the week. Some joined the Axe Drax protesting over the polluting wood-burning powerstation that gets environmental subsidies for massive pollution. And the families of victims of knife crimes held a rally at Downing St and later blocking Westminster Bridge calling for urgent action against knife crime.


XR Waterloo ‘Garden Bridge’ continues – Waterloo Bridge

With several of London’s key routes still blocked by Extinction Rebellion there were no buses in the central area, so I walked across Waterloo Bridge on my way from the station to the City. I could of course had used the tube, but XR had turned the bridge into a ‘Garden Bridge’ and I wanted to see how their protest there was progressing so went earlier to allow myself plenty of time.

The bridge over the River Thames was still closed and had plenty of plants on it – so XR had, despite a couple of hundred arrests, achieved something that Boris Johnson had failed to manage with his backing the ludicrous and expensive Garden Bridge scheme as Mayor. New protesters were arriving to keep the bridge green as I walked across, enjoying the atmosphere with no traffic pollution, only people, plants and bikes.

The only vehicle on the bridge was a lorry brought by XR to stop the flow of traffic and to act as a stage for performances. There were people on top and locked on underneath to frustrate any attempt by police to remove it. It was a sunny morning, warm for the time of year and people were enjoying themselves, some dancing to drums or listening to poets, story tellers and singers, some attending workshops, others just laying back and enjoying the sun.

Their aim was to keep the bridge closed to vehicles until the government took necessary action on the global climate and ecological emergency, telling tell people the truth about the disaster we are facing, halting biodiversity loss, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025. They want a programme led by a Citizen’s Assembly on climate and ecological justice. The government failed to act, other than put increasing pressure on the police to remove the gardeners who held the bridge for over a week.

XR Waterloo ‘Garden Bridge’ continues


Drax wood burning must end – Grocers Hall, City

Campaigners were picketing the Drax AGM in the City of London next to the Bank of England demanding an end to burning wood at Drax power station, the UK’s biggest carbon emitter.

In 2018 Drax got a huge subsidy of £789 million from a levy on our electricity bills because their highly polluting wood-burning qualifies them under a measure intended to combat climate change, not contribute to it. The wood they burn, largely from US forests which are being destroyed for it, contains carbon safely locked away, which they put back into the atmosphere that the trees removed it from. Drax – which was also planning to become the largest gas powered generating station in the UK, put 13 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere in 2018.

Drax wood burning must end


XR around Parliament Square

I took the tube to Westminster where Extinction Rebellion were still blocking the streets around Parliament Square two days after they closed them to traffic.

More protesters were arriving to join the blockade, and the theatrical ‘Red Rebel’ group of protesters was walking around the area. I took a few pictures before walking up Victoria St to the Dept for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

XR around Parliament Square


Drax Protest at BEIS – Westminster

The Axe-Drax protesters had also come from the City to continue their protest outside BEIS demanding an end to environmental subsidies for massive pollution. Drax burns more wood each year than the UK produces, mainly from environmentally disastrous clear-felling of US forests. Drax also burns coal from opencast mining, again with huge environmental damage, disrupting some communities and lead to human rights abuses, particularly in Colombia.

Drax’s planned gas-fuelled power plant, 2.7 times larger than the existing largest gas-fired plant was planned to come into operation in 2025 and probably intended to get most of its gas from UK fracking or new gas fields in the UK and Shetlands. Campaigners say that we can only meet the desperate need to cut our emissions enough to keep the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees if we keep the gas in the ground under land and sea – and that our longer-term aim needs to be to lower the CO2 levels. The campaigners were joined by a few more from Extinction Rebellion.

Drax Protest at BEIS


Knife crime campaigners Operation Shutdown – Westminster

Finally I joined a large group of campaigners from Operation Shutdown, a consortium of mums, dad’s and other bereaved family members and loved ones who were holding a rally at Downing St calling for urgent action by the government to halt the growing epidemic of knife crime.

They called for stiffer penalities for knife and gun crime, an end to cuts to local services including youth work and theie restoration to pre-austerity levels, as well as more money to get more police on the streets. They want adequate safeguarding, a coordinated approach to trafficking and grooming and abuse of children and young people and a proper sharing of information and accountability for recently announced public health approach to knife crime.

At the end of the Downing Street rally they marched with two wreaths the short distance to Bridge Street where they presented the wreaths to a police officer and hold a silence in memory of PC Keith Palmer, killed at Parliament by terrorists, before continuing onto Westminster Bridge which they sat down on to hold a further rally.

Knife crime Operation Shutdown


More pictures and text on these stories on My London Diary:

Knife crime Operation Shutdown
Drax Protest at BEIS
XR around Parliament Square
Drax wood burning must end
XR Waterloo ‘Garden Bridge’ continues


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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Afrikan Emancipation Day Call for Reparations

Sunday, August 1st, 2021

2014

Seven years ago on August 1st 2014, the centenary of the foundation by Marcus Garvey of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, I photographed Rastafarians meeting in Windrush Square for speeches and ceremonies before a march to Parliament demanding reparations for the descendants of those taken from Africa by the Atlantic Slave Trade.

2014

August 1 was chosen as the founding date for the UNIA and for the Madison Square meeting and this protest as it was the 1 August 1834 was Emancipation day, following the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, when slavery was ended in the British Empire.

2014

Since then, similar events have taken place each year in Brixton each Afrikan Emancipation Day – August 1st – with the event growing in support each year. Last year the organisers changed the format of the event, as the supporters of the event felt it was having little impact and their demand to the UK Government to establish an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) and to commit to holistic reparations taking into consideration various proposals for reparations in accordance with the United Nations Framework on a Right to a Remedy and Reparation was being ignored.

2014

The decided to hold a series of events in Brixton, blocking local roads to do so, an Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations Rebellion Groundings event. This gained far more attention in the media and the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign and the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee have decided to hold a similar rebellion on Sunday 1st August 2021.

2019

With some help from Extinction Rebellion who have supported previous events they intend to lock-down Brixton Road for the day, and to establish a series of ‘Grounding spaces’ for public action and learning on various aspects of the struggle under the general theme of ‘Uniting to Stop the Maangamizi for Our Very Survival: Planet Repairs Now’.

2019

Maangammizi is a Swahili word annihilation, used to describe the genocide and ecocide which has taken place over centuries and is still causing huge damage across the planet. Climate change disproportionately effects Africa and the Global South.

2019

The UK Government continues to turn a deaf ear to the demand for reparations, writing in response to a petition in 2018 “we do not believe reparations are the answer” and that they “should focus on challenges that face our countries in the 21st century” rather than historic events such as the Transatlantic slave trade. Unfortunately it hasn’t been doing well on those challenges as a recent deliberately misleading report on racial disparity and our current rise in average temperatures demonstrate.

More at:
Rastafari demand reparations for slave trade
Afrikans demand reparations

Clean Air – 1990 cyclists and 2019 XR East London

Monday, July 12th, 2021

Cyclists protest, Whitehall, Westminster, 1990, 90-11c-14
‘Let London Breathe’ – Cyclists ride down Whitehall to a Trafalgar Square rally – November 1990

Back in 1990, I rode with hundreds of cyclists from the London Cycling Campaign and others protesting about the terrible air quality in London from Battersea Park to a well-attended rally in Trafalgar Square. Following the rally, some MPs raised the issue in Parliament.

XR East London marches for clean air – 12 July 2019

Almost 30 years on there has not been a great deal of progress – and the statistics now show almost 10,000 excess deaths per year in the city due to air pollution, and untold misery from various respiratory conditions, some crippling. In 2019 XR East London met at Bethnal Green on Friday 12 July to march to Hackney behind a banner ‘The Air That We Grieve’, calling for a rapid end to the use of fossil fuels.

Much of the pollution comes from road traffic, and the already announced end to the sale of new trucks, vans and any other combustion-powered vehicle from 2030 onwards will do a little to improve air quality, but existing petrol and diesel vehicles will continue to be used for many years, though we may see more stringent ultra-low emission zones to restrict their use in cities.

But although the switch to electric will cut down pollutants such as nitrogen oxides as well as reducing climate changing carbon dioxide, it will still leave other harmful substances such as particulates from tyres and brakes in the air. And the carbon footprint is only lowered so long as the electricity used to charge those car batteries comes from truly renewable generation.

Cleaner air in cities also needs us to move away from the car to more eco-friendly means of transport – such as public transport and bicycles. Even electric scooters and electric bikes also have a part to play.

Better public transport means more trains, light rail, trams and buses. The simplest and most cost-effective solutions are probably more dedicated bus lanes and bus-only routes, and giving buses greater priority in traffic. Many years ago I cycled in French cities where buses had priority and motorists (and cyclists) had to give way whenever they wanted to pull out from a stop, and changes like this to our Highway Code and traffic rules would make a difference.

In 1990 cyclists were calling for 1000 miles of dedicated cycle routes through London. We do now have some ‘cycle superhighways’ and ‘quietways’, although many of these – we are now supposed to call them ‘cycleways’ – still involve sharing with often dangerous traffic. Progress is still slow, and there is bitter opposition from some interest groups, particularly black cab drivers.

We need too an overhaul of London’s taxi system, with rules still made in the days of horse-drawn Hackney cabs. I’ve often stood at bus stops in the City waiting for my bus, held up by traffic while 20 or 30 or more black cabs drive by, the great majority of them empty. A move away from ‘ply for hire’ to smartphone based systems summoning a cab from a nearby taxi rank would hugely cut both congestion and pollution in the centre of London.

More at XR East London marches for clean air. You can click on the black and white image above to go to the album with more pictures from the 1990 cyclists protest.


As always I was travelling around London on public transport (I sometimes bring up a folding bike on the train) and as the march neared its end I boarded a bus in the opposite direction back to Bethnal Green where I took the tube back to Holborn, then took the short walk to the University of London’s Senate House, where exploited outsourced workers were holding a noisy protest after the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor Wendy Thomson had failed to reply to a request to meet them and discuss their grievances. You can see more about this at IWGB welcome new Vice Chancellor.


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.


Matlock Walk

Saturday, June 20th, 2020

Last October seems now so long ago. Linda and I had gone to Matlock to look after two of our grandchildren for a couple of days in what turned out to be a small family emergency.

I took a few photographs on the walk back from taking the girls to school, and then went out later in the day for some exercise. Matlock is a pretty hilly kind of place, so I got plenty of it.

Matlock Bank is an area on a hill that rises up from the riverside at the centre of Matlock, with Bank Road rising pretty steeply up the hillside. It doesn’t have any banks on it, though there are some shops, the post office and police station close to the bottom, several churches higher up as well as offices for the local council and, close to the top those for Derbyshire County Council in what used to be Smedley’s Hydro.

It was this hydro, and other similar smaller establishments that made Matlock the town it is, and the spa became an important tourist centre in the nineteenth century. I knew, having done my research earlier in The Crown.

In 1893 a cable-hauled tramway opened on Bank Road, “Tuppence up, Penny Down” for the ride up around 300ft of hill on the world’s steepest tramway on public roads, a gradient of 18% – 1 in 5½. Unfortunately it was closed in 1927, with the council who ran it replacing it with a motor bus service.

There are still buses. Occasionally, though I didn’t see one while out for my walk. But I was glad I hadn’t brought my bike. I just don’t have the gears forgetting up 1 in 5½ – or the brakes for going down.

More pictures on My London Diary in Matlock Town Walk.

More From May Days: 2019

Friday, May 15th, 2020

2019 was a rather disappointing May Day for me in terms of the number of events I photographed, and I only covered the annual May Day March from Clerkenwell Green.

Before the march began there were several speeches outside the Marx Memorial Library. This year was the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar when British troops opened fire on a peaceful protest, killing at least 379 people and injuring many others. A speaker from the Indian Workers Association talked about the massacre and called for the UK to fully apologise. It seems to me surprising that Labour governments have never made an apology for this appalling incident, but it seemed rather unlikely that our current Conservative government would have any thought of doing so.

Our government too was heavily involved in the seizure of power in Venezuela by Juan Guaidó, actively supporting his coup attempt and siding with the USA in forcing companies to impose sanctions and preventing the Bank of England releasing Venezuelan gold to the legitimate government, while urging it to grant Guaidó access to the £1.2bn of Venezuelan gold reserves. He came to London for talks in January this year and it has now emerged that the Foreign & Commonwealth office has a specialist unit dedicated to the ‘reconstruction’ of Venezuela, and that the Department for International Development has also pledged some £40m of ‘humanitarian assistance’ for undisclosed activities – perhaps including the recent failed US-backed landing by mercenaries on May 3rd intending to kidnap President Maduro. May Day 2019 saw a defiant speech by the Venezuelan ambassador to the UK defending Maduro and calling on the UK government to defend the legitimate government of Venezuela rather than attempt to undermine it.

As usual I photographed the marchers on their way to Traflagar Square, including a lively group representing the English Collective of Prostitutes calling for changes in the law to keep all women safe and for workers rights for sex workers.

Unwelcome on the march were a pair of women holding a banner against trans women, and I understand they were later forced to leave.

I decided I couldn’t face another Trafalgar Square May Day rally and left. The weather was fine and I went for a walk and to eat my sandwiches by the river in Wapping, where I was to meet with some friends for a May Day celebratory drink later.

Wapping and the Thames
London May Day Banners
London May Day


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.


December 2019 My London Diary

Monday, January 13th, 2020

December is always a fairly light month for protests, but I did even fewer than usual last month. Partly this was because of the lousy weather – I don’t like working in the dark and in the rain and only cover those events that for some reason particularly interest me. Then there was an election, which I made a decision not to cover, and with a result that, though I wasn’t surprised, still left me seriously depressed for a few days.

But there were good things too last month. I did enjoy Christmas, and a trip up to Matlock, and a fourth grandchild was born as the election results were being announced. And some protests, like the wedding of three men and a dog were fun to be at.

December 2019

Matlock & Matlock Bath
Wimbledon to Richmond walk
Staines to Runnymede walk
40th UN International Migrants Day
Earth Strike South London
‘6000 Sardines’ London protest

Santas BMX Life Charity Ride

Bikes against Bulldozers Heathrow lie-in
Three Men and a Dog Wedding
DPAC ‘Bye Bye Boris’ Uxbridge trial
Trump/NATO march to Buckingham Palace
No to Trump, No to NATO rally


London Images


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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