Posts Tagged ‘Murdoch’

Pensions, Cuts, Murdoch & Cafe Jiro – 2011

Sunday, June 23rd, 2024

Pensions, Cuts, Murdoch & Cafe Jiro: Thursday 23rd June 2011 – Trade unionists march against public sector pension cuts, a protest against Murdoch being allowed to take over BSkyB and one of my favourite artists turns a St John’s Wood gallery into his café.


20,000 March for Pensions & Against Cuts

Pensions, Cuts, Murdoch & Cafe Jiro

Public Service unions had organised a march against pension cuts and itt was joined by many thousands of union members as well as many others protesting against cuts in public services made by the Tory coalition government.

Pensions, Cuts, Murdoch & Cafe Jiro

There was a large crowd waiting when I arrived in Lincoln’s Inn Fields over an hour before the march was due to begin and more were arriving as it left a little early as the organisers and police worried about overcrowding in London’s largest square – around 28,000 square metres.

Pensions, Cuts, Murdoch & Cafe Jiro

Pensions, Cuts, Murdoch & Cafe Jiro
Sally Hunt, UCU, Mary Bousted ATL, Christine Blower NUT, Mark Serwotka PCS & John McDonnell MP,

Before we left there had been speeches by several union leaders and the march was led to Parliament by Christine Blower NUT, Mark Serwotka PCS and Mary Bousted ATL along with MP John McDonnell.

The Hutton review had clearly shown that the government was lying when it said that public service pensions were not affordable. This report had said it expected “benefit payments to fall gradually to around 1.4 per cent of GDP in 2059-60, after peaking at 1.9 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010-11.”

There seemed to be a huge number of police on the street for a peaceful march, particularly one that was mainly composed of teachers and civil servants with only a token presence from militant students and anarchists.

Police had earlier been busy in Lincoln’s Inn Fields where they appeared to be conducting stop and searches on any young male demonstrators in black clothing.

Things did get just a little agitated when for some reason police decided to stop the march on Strand for around 20 minutes and it got very noisy on Whitehall as it passed Downing St.

I stood outside Westminster Central Hall for around an hour as more and more marchers arrived from the main march I had been on and a number of others from various parts of London. Police and march stewards there objected to Charlie Veitch and other ‘Love Police’ haranguing the crowd in his usual deadpan fashion upholding his right to freedom of expression and they moved away.

Westminster Central Hall is a large venue but far too small for the numbers at the event and there was a large overflow rally in Tothill Street at the side of the church. A group of 20 or 30 black-clad protesters there were told by police they must remove their hoods and dark glasses and there were some arguments. I heard later in the day there were a few scuffles with them and police in Whitehall and they were kettled for a few hours in Trafalgar Square.

More on My London Diary at 20,000 March for Pensions & Against Cuts.


Save UK Democracy From Murdoch – Dept Culture, Media & Sport

Outside the Department of Culture, Media and Sport was a protest organised by on-line global campaign network Avaaz and my union the NUJ against the decision by Jeremy Hunt to let Rupert Murdoch to take over BSkyB.

This was an emergency protest organised within minutes of the news breaking early that morning, and the email calling it went out when many were already on their way to work or to attend the pensions protest, so numbers were small.

Obviously some planning had taken place earlier and there was a tall stilt walker with a large but rather inappropriately avuncular head of Rupert Murdoch, surely one of the ugliest figures in world media and pursuing a clear aim of world domination, toying with two large string puppets representing David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt.

But most of the posters were clearly last minute, with laser-printed sheets being glued onto generic NUJ placards. NUJ members were “appalled – like most of the thinking population – by the thought of the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster falling into Murdoch’s hands, and the threat that this poses for in particular for news coverage, but also for a diverse and broadly based media culture. “

They want the government to act in the public interest rather than as puppets for Murdoch’s interest and don’t want Sky News to become another Fox News.”

Save UK Democracy From Murdoch


Café Jiro 2011 – Queen’s Terrace Café, St John’s Wood

In the evening I was at The Queen’s Terrace Café, which had opened in April 2011. This was no ordinary café, but a cultural café, run by Mireille Galinou, who for some years had run a charity called the London Arts Café, which never quite managed to open a café but did organise a dozen or so exhibitions and numerous other art events in London.

London Arts Café and The Queen’s Terrace Café are no longer with us, but you can still read online about many of the the activities the London Arts Café organised during its existence from 1996-2007. For some of this time I was Treasurer of the organisation and also wrote the web site.

One of the most enjoyable art shows I went to in 2009 was Café Jiro, an installation in the Flowers Gallery in Cork St, London by a friend of mine, the Japanese artist Jiro Osuga who grow up in north London. The 2011 was a smaller and more intimate version of that show, with one of the large wall-size panels from the Flowers show, along with a number of other works specially produced for this space – including three in the smallest room.

The small gallery was packed for the opening – and for me a great opportunity to meet some old friends, and it was good to see Jiro’s work in a real café environment. You can read more about the show on a 2011 post in >Re:PHOTO.

Café Jiro 2011


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Murdoch, Tower Bridge and Poor Doors

Sunday, March 26th, 2023

I came up to London on the afternoon of Thursday 26th March 2015 and began my work by going to News International opposite the main entrance to London Bridge Station where te week of Occupy Rupert Murdoch was on its fourth day. Not much was happening there, so after taking a few pictures I went for a short walk to Tower Bridge and back. Things were only just beginning to start for an evening of events there when I needed to leave and cross the river for another weekly protest by Class War at One Commercial Street.


Occupy Rupert Murdoch – News International, London Bridge

Thursday 26th March 2015

I’d been at News International three days earlier on Monday 23 March 2015 when campaigners against the scandal of the UK’s media monopoly, with 5 billionaires owning 80% of the media, had marched there the short distance from London Bridge to present an arrest warrant for Rupert Murdoch, charging him with for war crimes, phone hacking, political blackmail, tax avoidance and environmental destruction.

Thursday 26th March 2015

Someone from News International had come and taken the warrant, and the campaigners had then set up camp on the pavement outside for a week of activities, Occupy Rupert Murdoch Week. I’d been busy for a few days and this was my first opportunity to return and see what was happening.

Thursday 26th March 2015

The answer when I arrived late on Thursday afternoon was not very much, though the camp and some of its supporters were still there, and still putting up posters and telling people going into London Bridge Station opposite the camp why they were protesting.

Thursday 26th March 2015

I went for a short walk along the riverside to Tower Bridge and came back later when more people were beginning to arrive for the evening session. But unfortunately I needed to leave to walk across the river and join Class War in Aldgate before things really got going.

Occupy Rupert Murdoch


Around Tower Bridge

I’d thought that Tower Bridge was probably the most photographed building in London but a survey of Instagram tags in 2022 showed that Big Ben had inched ahead with 3.2 million posts to Tower Bridge’s 2.6 million.

I don’t often feel a great need to add to the number of pictures of London’s most famous bridge, which I think I first photographed 50 years ago, though I’d gone under it on a school trip almost 20 years earlier, back before primary children had cameras. Most of the pictures which I’ve taken including it in the last 25 or so years have a group of protesters outside nearby City Hall in the foreground.

London’s City Hall is now no longer within sight of Tower Bridge, hidden out beside the ROyal Victoria Dock in Canning Town, though it was still in its rented home, bought back by the Kuwaiti state a couple of years earlier. Tower Bridge is still owned by Bridge House Estates, a charity set up in 1282, its only trustee THE MAYOR AND COMMONALTY AND CITIZENS OF THE CITY OF LONDON.

But mostly my attention was on the north bank of the river now rather dominated by a cluster of ugly and idiosyncratic towers in the centre of the City of London, until close to Tower Bridge where the Tower of London, actually outside the City in Tower Hamlets, still stands out despite its relatively low height.

Around Tower Bridge


A Quiet Night at Poor Doors – One Commercial St, Aldgate.

Eight months earlier in July 2014 Class War had started a series of weekly protest outside the massive largely residential block of One Commercial Street on the corner of that street and Whitechapel High St. The block includes flats for both private owners and a smaller number of socially rented flats, with the two groups having separate entrances.

The ‘rich door’ is on the main road, next to the Underground station entrance, while the ‘poor door’ is down a side alley. When the protests began the alley was dark, with dumped rubbish and a strong and persistent smell of urine, but one positive result of the protests has been that the alley has been cleaned up and new lighting installed.

As the protesters were getting ready at the rich door, I went after Ian Bone of Class down the alley to look at the poor door. We returned to the front of the building and the rich door, followed by two police officers who had come to watch us.

It was good to see again among the banners the ‘Epiphany’ banner based on the Fifth Monarchists who led a short-lived rebellion in London which began on 6th January 1660. Class War had taken part in the filming of a re-enactment of this event in 2013.

It began as a fairly quiet protest with speeches and some chanting, and at some point a yellow smoke flare rolled across the pavement.

There was a small confrontation when one resident entering the rich door pushed rather roughly past the protesters, but very few came in or out of the rich door. The ground floor also includes shops and a hotel, and I think residents could probably use the hotel entrance. We had also found that they were able to exit via the ‘poor door’.

At the end of the protest some of the protesters who had brought a Hello! magazine Queen’s Diamond Jubilee flag attempted to burn it. But this turned out to be difficult and it melted a bit but didn’t catch fire. Some then when down the alley to look at the poor door before everyone left.

More pictures on My London Diary at Quiet Night at Poor Doors.


Police Ban London Protests – 2019

Sunday, October 16th, 2022

Police Ban London Protests - 2019
Police arrest protesters in Whitehall

After a week of protests which brought much of central London traffic to a standstill in October 2019, the Metropolitan Police, egged on by Tory politicians, announced a ban on any Extinction Rebellion protests anywhere in Greater London under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986. This draconian measure across the whole of London meant that any two or more people coming together anywhere across London to protest over the climate crisis would form an illegal assembly and would be subject to arrest.

Police Ban London Protests - 2019

XR continued to protest and also began legal action challenging the ban which was later ruled illegal; the police probably knew that this was the case, but also knew they could put it into effect and use it until the court came to its decision in a cynical but rather typical misuse of their powers.

Police Ban London Protests - 2019

XR did continue their planned ‘No Food No Future’ protest on Tuesday 15th, immediately after the illegal ban was announced, and there were a few arrests, and the police began clearing the XR camp at Vauxhall. At short notice the Green Party organised a protest in Trafalgar Square against the ban where speakers included Labour MP David Drew, Green Party co-leader Sian Berry, peace activist Angie Zelter and Extinction Rebellion’s Rupert Read as well as three British Green MEPs and an Irish and German MEP.

A couple of hundred XR protesters also came to the square and took part in this protest, clearly in breach of the Section 14 Order, but while police watched and photographed the event they made no arrests. But XR’s big emergency protest against the ban came following day,


XR defies protest ban – Trafalgar Square, Wednesday 16th Oct 2019

Police came and warned some of those sitting in the square before the start of the event that they were committing an offence and might be arrested, but I saw no actual arrests, though police did come and take away a tent from one man as carrying camping equipment is banned in Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square under laws made against Brian Haw’s protest and the Occupy Movement.

There were speeches, speeches and more speeches to a crowded audience in Trafalgar Square, with speakers including XR members, prominent environmentalists, politicians and a former police Chief Superintendent and Green Party MEP Ellie Chowns who had been arrested defending the right to peaceful public protest in Trafalgar Square the previous day.

The XR ‘Red Brigade’ made a spectacular entrance during the speeches, making their way slowly up through the crowd to stand at the top of the steps where they remained for some time responding to the occasion.

In his speech George Monbiot expressed his resolve to get arrested when the protest and XR General Meeting which was to follow it ended. He invited others to join him then and walk into the road in Whitehall and sit down.

Monbiot carried out this intention and was arrested by police along with a number of others including the Green Party Mayor of Woodbridge Eamonn O’Nolan who had worn his Mayoral robes for the event.

More on My London Diary at XR defies protest ban


XR demands Murdoch tell the truth – London Bridge Wednesday 16th Oct 2019

The same evening Extinction Rebellion continued with their planned vigil at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp HQ at London Bridge demanding that his papers tell the truth about the climate crisis.

Much to their surprise this XR protest turned out to be legal as the blanket ban imposed by the Metropolitan Police on protests by XR across London only applies to public places and not to the private area here in front of the offices.

They came to protest here as the Murdoch press has a particularly bad record of climate denial and the support generally of fossil fuel interests.

Speakers called on the press to end its support of fossil fuel extraction, climate deniers and unnecessary consumerism and instead actively promote lifestyle changes to combat the climate emergency.

More at XR demands Murdoch tell the truth.


Class War, Murdoch and Cross Bones

Monday, March 28th, 2022

Class War, Murdoch and Cross Bones – three rather different events around London on Saturday 28th March.

Jon Bigger Class War South Croydon – Purley, London

Class War, Murdoch and Cross Bones
Jon Bigger

Class War had decided to stand candidates in the 2015 General Election, and among those who volunteered to stand was Jon Bigger, now Dr John Bigger and the publisher of The Journal of Anarchy “a repository of work from published articles to blog posts, videos and podcasts.”

Class War, Murdoch and Cross Bones

Croydon South was probably not the most fertile ground for anarchism which was perhaps largely why it was chosen as one of the handful of seats for the party to fight. On the southern fringe of London it remains spiritually in deepest true-blue Surrey, one of the Conservatives’ safest seats in London. Though there was also a particular distaste for the Tory candidate Chris Philp who had called for benefit claimants to be forced to undertake unpaid community work, as well as calling for Purley to get a grammar school.

It wasn’t a very successful visit as although we went to what was considered to be the centre of Purley there were very few people about, and Bigger’s campaign speech was delivered to the small group of Class War supporters and one rather confused elderly gentleman at the Conservative Party Office. We found only a few more outside a nearby supermarket, where most customers seemed to be in two much of a hurry to get back into large cars to hear anything political.

As I wrote:

“Probably all of Purley was by this time slaughtered at home in front of the TV as the sun was definitely over the yard arm. Wherever they were it wasn’t where we were on Brighton Road, except for a few desperate souls at the bus stops on each side of the road trying to escape. But Class War made the best of it, handing out their election flyer to the police posse still devotedly following their progress (though mainly sitting in their van enjoying the overtime), the occasional local youth and elderly demented.” Perhaps some of them were among the 65 who voted for Jonathan Bigger, but somehow 31,448 came out of the woods to vote for the Tory.

Jon Bigger Class War South Croydon


Murdoch on Trial – Guilty as charged – News International, London Bridge

I arrived rather late back from Purley for the People’s Trial of Rupert Murdoch being conducted by activists on the sixth day of Occupy Rupert Murdoch week outside the News International building at London Bridge, just in time to hear the last witnesses before the jury gave its guilty verdict and Judge Donnachadh McCarthy pronounced the sentence.

But though the sentence was to remove his power base and treat him with love there seemed little chance of it being carried out for real, and his organisation continues to spread its disinformation and messages of hate.

Max Keiser then spoke about the economic fraud and the basis of our economic system, with London at its centre, the world’s largest tax haven. The system, which allows the rich to borrow on the basis that they have borrowed before is rather like the Emperor’s New Clothes, and it began to fail in 2008. Whether the StartCOIN scratch cards he handed out with free money on them (“The currency of the revolution”) will prove more stable I can’t say as I lost mine.

I was told that more would happen later, but I was getting tired and decided to leave, missing the rush to occupy News International at around 7pm. As I wrote, “The rush past security proved successful and the occupiers managed to stay in the building for around 20 hours, although there was surprisingly little coverage in even the non-Murdoch news media. Those 5 billionaires obviously stick together and the BBC always seeks to marginalise any UK protest. Probably there was some important news about a minor celebrity hiccoughing.”

Murdoch on Trial – Guilty as charged


Cross Bones Open Day – Cross Bones Graveyard, Redcross Way

Two well-dressed men with Southwark poet and playwright John Constable in the Crossbones Graveyard

I’d seen one of the men on the left of the picture earlier opposite News International and talked briefly with him and he had told me he was waiting for a friend to go to the Open Day at the Cross Bones Graveyard and I decide to call in their on my way home. Here’s what I wrote in 2015, along with some pictures.

I’d been to the graveyard before, the first time years ago when I’d wandered in and the whole site was in a complete mess, with loads of rubbish and rubble. I’d read about its use for hundreds of years as a place where outcasts, particularly the ‘Winchester Geese’, prostitutes who were licenced to carry out their trade on the south bank on the Thames, in Bankside surrounding Winchester Palace, formalised by the Lord Bishop of Winchester in 1142, and providing a considerable income for the clergy through taxes and fines for several hundreds of years thereafter.

These ‘single women’ and their children, along with paupers and miscreants were buried in this patch of ground until some time before it was formally closed in 1853 as too overcrowded to continue. Plans to build over it were stopped in the 1880s by the e Disused Burial Grounds Act 1884, and it remained largely unused and forgotten until disturbed by the Jubilee Line extension in 1990, when the Museum of London made some excavations. Their survey of the site suggested that up to 15,000 had been buried there, half of them children.

I’d walked past it earlier and assumed like some other areas of waste ground that it was a bombsite, but then became aware that ribbons and other tokens were being tied to the railings. Later I read about the site in various places.

Apart from the mysterious phantom gardener, the other figure responsible for increasing interest in Crossbones was local writer John Constable who revived the story of Cross Bones through his cycle of poems and mystery plays, ‘The Southwark Mysteries’. Various events began to be organised around Crossbones, and although I never got to them, the ribbons on the fences multiplied.

My London Diary

I was pleased to be able to give the appeal for the creation of a new public garden by the Bankside Open Spaces Trust a little publicity.

Cross Bones Open Day


The Deep State?

Monday, June 21st, 2021

Anyone who writes about “the Deep State” will surely be accused of being a conspiracy theorist, but if you start with Wikipedia’s description of “a type of governance made up of potentially secret and unauthorised networks of power operating independently of a state’s political leadership in pursuit of their own agenda and goals” it seems clear to me that many aspects of British life can only be understood in such terms. Of course I don’t mean illuminati or freemasons (though they may play some part); the networks and forces in this country are largely those often thought of as public servants, including the police, the civil service, the security services, along with the royal family, press and media barons and other major capitalists – and the City of London.

Many of their activities are also very public, though the agendas behind them usually carefully hidden. Some are authorised – such as the City of London Remembrancer, a lobbyist representing the City’s interests inside parliament and employing six lawyers to help influence government and members of parliament. Others brag openly about some of their acheivements – as in the 1992 General Election headline “It’s The Sun Wot Won It“.

Several official documents have made me think about the deep state in recent days. Perhaps most obviously is the report into the investigation of the 1987 axe murder of Daniel Morgan in the car park of the Golden Lion in Sydenham. I’ve not read the long report, but have been interested in the media coverage of it, which has centred on the accusation of “a form of institutional corruption” by the Metropolitan Police. It’s perhaps a new label for it, but it describes a culture of deliberate lying and misleading the public, feeding false information to the press, and protecting the team which has been so obvious in so many cases, notably that of a totally innocent Brazilian electrician who walked into a tube station and boarded a train on his way to work.

If you’ve relied on the mainstream press you are likely to have little idea of why Daniel Morgan was killed, and certainly know little or nothing of the involvement of the state, the press and others in the cover-up that followed. You can find out more by watching the DoubleDown News Video by Peter Jukes,
EXPOSED: Daniel Morgan Murder links Corrupt Cops & Murdoch Empire to the Heart of Government‘. It doesn’t give all the answers – and almost certainly the vital evidence related to the murder itself has long been destroyed – but it does make convincing links and raise much wider questions than the mainstream media.

A second fairly recent publication is into the Manchester Arena bombing, and as with most such reports it tells us what was already clear within days of the event about the failures of police and security – thanks to some good investigative journalism.

According to Wikipedia, Salman Abedi was born in Manchester to Libyan-born refugees given asylum here, as his father had been a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a Salafi jihadist organisation proscribed by the United Nations. Salman Abedi returned to Libya with his father to fight to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, and when the war ended following the death of Gaddafi, he returned to the UK while his parents remained in Libya. He returned to Libya with his brother Hashem in 2014, again fighting for an Islamist group. The two brothers were rescued from Tripoli and returned to the UK along with other British citizens when the Libyan Civil War erupted.

Various reports about the danger posed by Salman had been made to the authorities, but these appear to have been ignored. Possibly this was because of his earlier activities in 2011 and 2014 which seem likely to have been facilitated by our security services, perhaps as some have alleged, with government backing, particularly in the war against Gadaffi.

Finally I’d like to mention the failure after 4 years to take any effective action over the guilty parties behind the Grenfell Tower, some of whom are said to have spent millions on lawyers to help them evade justice. Slowly, tediously slowly we are hearing damning testimonies from a few of those responsible as Phase II of the inquiry continues, now in Week 41, with some of the Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation giving evidence this week.

The pictures with this post come from the ‘Day of Rage’ march for Grenfell which took place seven days after the fire on 21st June 2017. The media had a field day over the title, with a fantasy extravaganza imagining violent insurrection, although it was organised by a group with a long history of peaceful protests, mainly over the UK’s iniquitous and illegal treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. And I think as usual police fed them some lurid lies.

At the time it was already clear that the fire was a result of the systemic failure to care about the provision of safe social housing; it wasn’t then clear exactly how many had been killed, as there were a number of Grenfell residents who were not recorded on any official lists.

The march was entirely peaceful – as journalists who knew anything about it had been sure it would be. It did briefly block traffic in Whitehall outside Downing St and went on to do the same for a short while in Parliament Square. I don’t think there were any reports of the actual event in mainstream media.

Four years later, the prospect of any prosecutions over the crimes that led to the fire still seems remote. But four years ago we knew who should be in the dock, and I wrote this comment back then:

People want answers, while Theresa May seems to be trying to focus just on one small technical matter of the nature of the cladding. But it is obvious that the cladding would burn and would spread fire – and for that reason there were regulations about where it could be used and how it had to be applied to be safe. But these regulations were not enforced. When they should have been tightened they were not. Inspections were privatised and there was no strict quality control. RKBC paid for a consultant to help them avoid proper fire inspections. Government ministers cut essential safety regulations as a matter of policty calling them ‘red tape’ , and failed to implement the recomendations made after earlier fires.. Structural modifications were approved for Grenfell that cut the number of exits from two to one. Gas supplies were improperly fitted to save costs. Fire doors were apparently removed, plastics which produce toxic cyanide fumes on burning are permitted…. No sprinkler systems, no water available to fight fires in the top floors and so on. Many of the faults that were a port of the disaster at Grenfell are common to many other high rise buildings, particularly those which are a part of our social housing stock.

More pictures: ‘Day of Rage’ march for Grenfell

Class War, Murdoch & Cross Bones

Sunday, March 28th, 2021

I began my work on Saturday 28th March 2015 meeting with a small group from Class War in Purley, a Surrey suburb south of Croydon, who had gone there to launch the general election campaign of Class War’s candidate Jon Bigger.

Jon is now Dr Jon Bigger, and his PhD thesis at Loughborough University was on “British anarchist group Class War with a specific focus on their approach to the general election of 2015. As anarchists tend to shun concepts like representation, even within their own ranks, as well as working towards the ending of the state, the groups’ electoral behaviour is worthy of close investigation. The study is ethnographic in nature providing a detailed account of how the group operates, its norms, values, structure and methods of organising.”

His work was very much as an insider, one of seven candidates the group backed at the 2015 election, all of whom lost their £500 deposits. The election campaigns were a form of direct action rather than an attempt to actually be elected, “one that ruptures the norms of electoral campaigning, providing the group with new avenues for activity.”

You can read more of Bigger’s views on his web site Jon Bigger: A Journal of Anarchy and in regular features elsewhere. South Croydon was always going to be a tough constituency for anarchist views and the 65 votes he got were probably more than expected – and recorded on the parliament web site as a 0.1% increase which perhaps compares well with the -16.9% of the Lib Dem candidate.

Jon Bigger makes his election address outside the Tory Pary HQ

My main surprise about the event was the almost complete emptiness of central Purley on a Saturday morning – avery windy desert where Class War found it difficult to find anyone to talk to other than the group of police – roughly the same number as them – who doggedly followed them around happily earning their overtime. Purley man (and woman) appears to have lost the use of their legs, only managing the short distance from supermarket car park to supermarket.

I was sorry not to be able to relax with Class War in the pub after their strenuous campaigning, but had to get back to London Bridge where Occupy Rupert Murdoch week was continuing outside the News International building at London Bridge with the People’s Trial of Rupert Murdoch.

Inevitably he was found guilty, but the sentence seemed extremely mild. My account continues:

Max Keiser then spoke about the economic fraud and the basis of our economic system. London is the the world’s largest tax haven, and the whole basis of the City is corrupt, allowing people to borrow money on the basis of their earlier borrowing in a system that seems rather too much like the Emperor’s new clothes which began to crash in 2008. He ended by handing out StartCOIN scratch cards with free money on them (“The currency of the revolution”) but I think I lost mine. Always been hopeless with money.

Occupy Rupert Murdoch

I decided not to stay on for the attempt to occupy the News International building at 7pm, but was tired and decided to leave it to my colleagues to cover. Rather to my surprise it was successful, with protesters managing to stay in the building for around 20 hours, but it got little or no media coverage. Even Murdoch’s competitors didn’t want to get on his wrong side by covering the event – as I commented “Those 5 billionaires obviously stick together and the BBC always seeks to marginalise any UK protest. Probably there was some important news about a minor celebrity hiccoughing.

I’d earlier seen two men in what looked like Victorian dress on the pavement outside a pub close to News International and had gone over to talk with them. The told me that they were attending an Open Day at the nearby Cross Bones Graveyard. It’s a place I’d visited before, where outcasts who were refused burial in churchyards had been buried until it was closed as overcrowded in 1853. Among them were many ‘Winchester Geese’ prostitutes licenced by the Lord Bishop of Winchester from 1142 on, whose taxes and fines provided a considerable income for the clergy, and their young children. Museum of London excavations of part of the site carried out for the Jubilee Line extension suggest that half of the around 15,000 burials there were of children.

Local writer John Constable (right, above) revived the story of Cross Bones through his cycle of poems and mystery plays, ‘The Southwark Mysteries’, and regular ceremonies and vigils now take place there. In 2020 Southwark Council granted a 20 year lease to Bankside Open Spaces to protect and maintain the graveyard as a public garden of remembrance.

More at:
Cross Bones Open Day
Murdoch on Trial – Guilty as charged
Jon Bigger Class War South Croydon


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XR defies illegal police ban

Friday, October 16th, 2020

On 6th November 2019 the High Court ruled that the ban on all protests by Extinction Rebellion in London that the Metropolitan Police had imposed on 14 October 2019 after a week of protests in XR’s ‘Autumn Uprising’ was unlawful. It was a misuse of the Public Order Act which was intended to allow police to manage protests but not to ban them, and the ‘Autumn Uprising’ was not a ‘public assembly’ as defined by the Act.

As seems often to be the case, the police had deliberately misused the law – and presumably would have taken legal advice that would have told them so. Doubtless they acted under strong political pressure from the highest levels of our government, and this can be seen as yet another case where the government has been found to be deliberately breaking the law.

XR continued to protest calling for urgent action by the government over climate breakdown, species loss and the risk of social and ecological collapse leading to mass extinction, while the government continued to fail to make any response in the Queen’s Speech outlining their programme for the year on Monday 14th October.

There had been arrests by the police when protests took place against the ban on the 14th, and the following day I photographed police warning XR activists who were gathering for the ‘No Food No Future’ protest opposite the MI5 HQ on Millbank before leaving to photograph a protest against the ban led by the Green Party which was taking place in Trafalgar Square. As well as several Green MEPs and party co-leader Sian Berry, those speaking included XR’s Rupert Read and an Irish and German MEP, and around a hundred XR campaigners came to join them. There were no arrests while I was there.

XR’s main protest against the ban came on the Wednesday, also in Trafalgar Square. While the police had ruled that even two people standing anywhere in London advocating action on climate change was an illegal assembly, several thousands had come to protest. There were a long series of speeches before XR held a general meeting in the square.

Many, including George Monbiot, had come to the event with the deliberate intention of being arrested, and after police seemed reluctant to act in Trafalgar Square they went to sit down and block traffic in Whitehall, where police made arrests for breach of the illegal ban.

In the early evening, XR held another protest outside at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp HQ at London Bridge demanding that his papers tell the truth about the climate crisis. Rather to their surprise they found that this protest was legal as the area outside the offices is private land and the illegal ban only applied to public places.

The Murdoch press has a particularly bad record of climate denial, but most of our other media are also guilty. Most of our newspapers are owned by a handful of billionaires who also have interests in fossil fuels, and even the BBC has given completely undue prominence to unqualified climate deniers and politicians in a misguided interpretation of ‘balance’ rather than reporting the overwhelming evidence of experts.

More about these protests and many more pictures on My London Diary:

XR demands Murdoch tell the truth
XR defies protest ban
Protest defends freedom of speech
XR No Food No Future protest


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.


Murdoch Tell The Truth

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

In October Extinction Rebellion were subject to an illegal ban by the Metropolitan Police on gatherings of more than two people across London – and although they had mounted a legal challenge things in the courts tend to move slowly, and it was only in November that the court ruled against the police.

The police had obviously been subjected to a great deal of political pressure from Government ministers and doubtless also from the Prime Minister to do something to end XR’s Autumn protests which had been remarkably successful in blocking traffic in central Westminster but more importantly in bringing home to people across the country the existential threat posed by climate change and the requirement for drastic and urgent action to try to prevent species extinction.

I imagine the police had been told to take action, legal or not, to bring the protest to an end, as despite the huge power of our billionaire-owned press and government dominated media the message was beginning to get through that ‘business as usual’ was no longer an option. We need to change the system dramatically to survive.

Our newspapers are almost entirely owned and controlled by a handful of billionaires, the most prominent of them being Rupert Murdoch, with The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun (as well as the Times Literary Supplement and a part-share in the Press Association.) Wikipedia also lists a dozen UK radio stations, as well of course many other news organisations and other corporations in Australia, the US and internationally owned by his mass media company News Corp, including the Wall Street Journal.

Murdoch papers claim to have been the major influence behind UK elections since the 1990’s when The Sun claimed it was ‘The Sun Wot Won It‘ for John Major against Neil Kinnock, and making similar claims for all more recent elections. And certainly the press and broadcast media including but not only Murdoch’s papers, have been very important in all recent political campaigns – including the election of Keir Starmer as leader of the Labour party. Even such nominally independent bodies as the BBC have their coverage highly influenced by the attitudes taken by the press.

Murdoch through his media outlets has consistently downplayed and denied climate change and its effects – and even his son James during the recent bush fires in Australia expressed his frustration at the ongoing climate crisis denial in News Corp and Fox News’ coverage of the fires. Murdoch has been a powerful influencer both on governments and public opinion against the need to cut our reliance on coal and fossil fuels and other measures to needed to drastically reduce carbon emissions.

The protest at Murdoch’s News Corp HQ at London Bridge demanding that his papers tell the truth about the climate crisis had of course been planned months or weeks in advance of the police protest ban. But because the area in front of the office where the protest took place is private property it was not covered by the Section 14 ban and was thus legal.

More at XR demands Murdoch tell the truth.


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.


End Murdoch’s Transphobia

Thursday, July 25th, 2019

Campaigners from Transmission, a group supporting the rights of trans people, came to protest outside the offices of The Times newspaper against their publication of transphobic articles.

The protest came after articles were published written by Lucy Bannerman criticised the work of the Tavistock centre, which runs the country’s only NHS gender identity service.

In a statement published the same day as the article, the centre strongly rejected the claims made in the article and stated:

The Service always place a young person’s wellbeing at the centre of our work and have a clear position of independence from outside lobby groups on all sides of the debate.

and

A recent Review into the Service found no immediate issues relating to patient safety and no overall failing in approach. It did make recommendations to further improve the Service, these will be implemented over the next 12 months building on the work of the Service to date. 

You can read the full statement at https://tavistockandportman.nhs.uk/about-us/news/stories/gender-identity-service-times-8-april-2019/

This is not an isolated article and the same journalist has previously written unfavourably and inaccurately about trans charity Mermaids and has suggested ostracising trans athletes for competing in sports.

In a court case in which a transgender activist was convicted of assault, Bannerman tweeted unfavourably on the judge correcting witnesses who deliberately referred to the defendant, a trans woman as ‘he’. As was pointed out in a comment on her post, you would expect a judge to challenge racist or homophobic language and it should be no different for transphobic language.

Bannerman appears to have aligned herself with what are commonly known as ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminists’ or ‘TERFs’ for short. Its a description they don’t like, though it appears descriptive rather than derogatory. I’m unaware of any other satisfactory description which clearly distinguishes them from the wider feminist movement which is supportive of transgender women.

Terfs have a record of disruption which although it does not endorse the use of violence against them certainly makes it more likely as it enrages others. Last year they gained the opprobrium of virtually the entire gay community by hi-jacking the start of Gay Pride – a very diffferent reaction to a similar take-over the previous year by migrant gay communities which was applauded by all except a few of the establishment. They also caused chaos at the Anarchist Book Fair, leading to its cancellation this year.

Propaganda like Bannerman’s articles can only appear in The Times because it reflects the views of the editor and more importantly the proprietor of the paper, Ruper Murdoch.

More pictures at Times end transphobic articles.


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