Posts Tagged ‘Boris’

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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Boris’s Biggest Blunder?

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Earl’s Court

Probably the largest desert in London – thanks to Boris!

Boris Johnson’s time as Mayor was in many ways a disaster for London, but while the media obsess about his sexual peccadilloes and to a lesser extent his racist comments, little is said about his more important failures, which may have enriched some of his city friends but whose consequences will remain to impoverish Londoners for many years after he has left office. One of these, and probably the biggest, is the stalled £12 billion Earls Court redevelopment, which makes even the £53 million Garden Bridge Fiasco fade into insignificance.

The vacant site where one of London’s iconic 1930s building once stood

It’s wrong of course to call it a blunder. It was a deliberate scheme for the enrichment of a few, undoubtedly including friends and financial supporters of the Conservative Party at the expense of London and Londoners, aiming to provide a huge high-rise development of investment properties largely for sale to foreign investors, a huge empty triangle in what was once a thriving part of London, contributing greatly to the local area and more widely, housing several thousand people who would lose their homes and removing jobs from the area.

Along with Boris, and Transport for London, then a part of his fiefdom, the villains in this £12 billion scheme are developers CAPCO, (Capital & Counties Properties) whose development proposals bear no relation to the considerable history, needs of the area and its locality and the contribution it would pay to the local economy, simply wiping the whole area clean and imposing a solution based on maximising profit to the developers. As soon as they acquired the site in 2008 they applied to English Heritage for a Certificate of Immunity from Listing for the 1930s Earls Court Exhibition Centre, granted despite its iconic status – and the fact that some aspects of it were apparently already listed.

We look at the site of Earls Court 2, with a photograph before demolition

The site falls into two London Boroughs, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham, both when the project began under Conservative control. Hammersmith and Fulham council agreed to sell off the two council estates which cover a large part of the area to Capco in 2012. Since Labour took over in H & F in 2014 they have set up an inquiry into the decision to sell and have called for Capco to return the two housing estates. In February 2019 the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, stated that he wanted the two estates to be transferred back to the council by Capco unconditionally after they demanded unacceptable planning permission in return for their release.

Empress Place would make a fine entrance to a new estate – but Capco will knock it down

There are two large office blocks on the site, both visible in the top picture. The tower at left has already been sold and is now occupied by the Metropolitan Police. The smaller block, at right, belongs to TfL and is a part of their site which also includes extensive workshops; it seems that they have so far failed to find suitable alternative sites for these essential facilities.

Thanks to determined opposition from local people the scheme has so far failed to materialise, and the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates are still there, along with the TfL workshops, but the demolition of the two exhibition centres has created the largest desert in London. The cleared area, left as dusty bare cleared rubble is a local eyesore and pollution source, with wind carrying dust into local homes and businesses, creating thick and possibly dangerous grime.

West Kensington, a well built and much loved estate that Capco would demolish

Opposition to the demolition of the exhibition centres is led by the Earl’s Court Area Action Group, one of whose members took me and other journalists on a tour of the area last week. They now demand the demolished area be developed with a replacement venue for the demolished iconic Earls Court Exhibition Centre as a large green space for exhibitions, sports and cultural events, along with “low rise, high density, exemplary green housing with a wide range of housing options including social housing, green space, community and social infrastructure, reflecting the demographic and unique characteristics of Earl’s Court.”

The residents of West Ken & Gibbs Green estates have been campaigning against the demolition of their homes since 2009, and as a part of their campaign for ‘The People’s Estates’ commissioned Architects for Social Housing (ASH) who in 2016 produced ‘the People’s Plan’ for improvements and new homes on the estates without demolition. They want the estates to be transferred to community ownership.

Gibbs Green estate also well built, loved and in good conditions and under threat of demolition by Capco

Earl’s Court Area Action Group
WKGGCH – West Ken & Gibbs Green Community Homes
ASH – Architects for Social Housing


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