UK Newswire Archive
15-10-2010 10:50Around the Campaigns Friday 15th October 2010
Asylum blow for Precious Mhango and her mother Florence
The mother and daughter, who have lived in Britain for seven years, have previously spent several spells in Dungavel detention centre in North Lanarkshire and Yarl's Wood in Bedforshire and were granted a last-minute reprieve last November while sitting on a plane at Heathrow airport about to take them Malawi.
The family's advocate argued their case at a 20-minute hearing in London on Wednesday but Lord Justice Sullivan dismissed their claims, denying them a chance to appeal the Home Office's decision to deport them.
Newscotsman.com, 15th October 2010
In the interest of justice there should be with out a shadow of doubt an immediate 'independent' enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the unacceptable death of Jimmy Mubenga. If left to the powers that be, any investigation will be (if there is one) a long time coming, years not months and not independent.
Further, the government have announced the abolition of the office of the Chief Coroner (before it was even established), which could and would have afforded proper investigations into deaths like these.
15-10-2010 06:27A YOUTH revolt is kicking off on the streets of France, as resistance to the neoliberal Sarkozy regime deepens.
15-10-2010 05:50On Saturday 16th October Action For Access, with many local walkers and other lovers of the South Downs, will be demonstrating for the second time against the exclusion of the public from a piece of ‘freedom to roam’ downland at Breaky Bottom slope, TQ 404 053, on the Rodmell Downs between Brighton and Lewes, East Sussex.
15-10-2010 02:35"The primate staff complained repeatedly about a young monkey with a broken
arm being left untreated in his cage for four days. The head vet at Covance didn't
know what to do about the bone break, and so he waited for a junior
veterinarian to return from her time off"
15-10-2010 02:28Bioculture is a company run from the island of Mauritius, founded with the sole purpose of supplying thousands of primates to laboratories across the globe for use in vivisection.
15-10-2010 00:30Activists in London today returned to the UK Head Office of Beyond Retro to see the staff and management out of work and remind them of the thousands of lives they've killed through their sales of real fur.
15-10-2010 00:22plus reviewing two historcal games magazines
Dialect Radio is a Bristol (UK) podcast produced by volunteers. Our main activity is our weekly current affairs and arts magazine programme Dialect, which is recorded at our Queen's Square studios and posted for download every week on Friday morning. Want to volunteer? Volunteering Bristol, Royal Oak House, Royal Oak Avenue, Bristol. BS1 4GB Tel: 0117 989 7733. Listen on air: 93.2 FM (BCFM), Sundays at 12 noon. Or listen live on the internet at http://www.bcfm.org.uk/
TIMINGS ON THE MP3 FILE
01:00 - Dermot O'Neil from Bristol Care and Repair - 0117 954 2222 - www.bristolcareandrepair.co.uk
10:00 - From Tasmania celebrity chef - Anthea Page talks to Judith Sweet ABC Hobart
21:00 - Dialect's Tony Gosling visits Cut and Thrust games on Old Market & meets Alex Kolodotchko - part 2
29:00 - Strategy & Tactics and The World At War - reviewing two historical game magazines
34:00 - Nick Payne's life story
44:00 - The Silent One by Ivor Guerney
48:30 - What's On Guide read by Michaela Denis
53:00 - Credits
Presenter: John Peters-Coleman
Reporters: Anthea Page and Tony Gosling
Studio Engineer: Michael Noyes
Producer: Michaela Dennis
14-10-2010 23:45An Angolan man was suffocated to death by three G4S guards who were forcibly deporting him back to Angola, they used handcuffs and 'restraint' techniques which involved putting pressure on his back and pushing his head into his lap.
All welcome, admission is just £1 (under 16's free).
Watch a short upbeat promotional film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh1puVLpmcs
and check out the event website http://www.midlandsveganfestival.org.uk
On Sunday October 10th, Nottingham Radical History Group ("People's Histreh") organised a guided walk through Nottingham retracing the events of the 1830s "Reform Riots". Around 60 people turned up to discover the events that led to the burning down of the castle and what we know about some of the people involved,
The following is taken from the second issue of Notts Indypendent:
New deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has described the ConDem government’s plans to reform politics as “The biggest shakeup of our democracy since 1832, when the Great Reform Act redrew the boundaries of British democracy.”
The choice of the Reform Act as a model is interesting. The Reform Act was a bill that fobbed off the masses of disenfranchised people who had been calling – with petitions, demonstrations and riots – for the vote to be extended to all people and not just the rich. Whilst the Reform Act did extend the vote to better-off middle class men (about 7% of the adult population), it left less well-off working class men – and all women – without a vote. The rest of us would have to wait until the 20th century.
The Reform Act was the third attempt at an Act to extend voting to be considered by Parliament. The Second Reform Bill had been defeated in the House of Lords in the year previous. As the news of the bill’s faliure spread across Britain, there were riots in several towns and cities, including London, Derby, Bristol, Worcester and Bath.
Nottingham had vehemently supported Parliamentary reform since the 1780s. In March 1831, following a public meeting in the town, more than 9,000 people signed a petition in favour of reform. When news of the voting bill’s defeat in the House of Lords reached the city, there was disbelief and anger.
Rioters attacked a number of buildings owned by the rich including Colwick Hall and a silk mill in Beeston. Infamously, Nottingham Castle, owned by the hated Duke of Newcastle, was invaded and burned to the ground. Crowds attempted to do the same with Wollaton Hall the next day, but were repulsed with cavalry charges and gunfire.
Three people would later be hanged for the burning of the silk mill, other prisoners jailed and deported. The message of the riots, both here and elsewhere, was not lost on the powers that be. The Third Reform Bill was passed into law the next summer with minimal parliamentary opposition.
It is however an entry in the Duke of Newcastle’s diary that sums up the the 1832 Reform Act, a history which is – in part – about to repeat itself. He wrote of the “greatly insensed” middle classes “who gained nothing” by the Reform Bill and of a worker who told him that “both parties were alike” (“both” meaning Liberals and Tories at the time). Newcastle wrote deeply concerned that ’They Say now that nothing but revolution can Set them right.’ This was true for the disenfranchised 170 years ago, and is true now.
As it happened with the 1832 reform, however the ConDem plans for reform will turn out, people’s hopes for democratic change will be in vain now as they were then, and the government will act in favour of the rich and against the poor. But this time it’s unlikely that we’ll get to burn down a castle!
As Pakistan, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, now seem to be in would be imperial sights, a precedent which will flag a up a warning sign to leaders of ill intent, is surely needed.
Militants attacked Nottinghamshire County Hall in West Bridgford last night. "Fuck austerity!" and "Fight the cuts!" were painted on walls and £10,000 of damage was done to windows. In an anonymous communique published on Indymedia, they claim that they will "continue to attack in solidarity with all those who are abused by goverments and banks in the name of capitalism".
According to the Nottingham Post, the Tory leader of Notts County Council, Kay Cutts, described the action as "absolutely disgraceful". She didn't comment on the planned £72m cuts to adult social care over the next 4 years that the Council unveiled today.
It doesn't seem to be a view shared by all of her staff. Some were seen taking photos of the graffiti this morning.
The plan to make enormous cuts to adult social care will involve "helping people stay in their homes" i.e. denying them residential care, cutting funding for sheltered housing and women's refuges and making it even harder to qualify for a personal budget. It will be harder to find out what you are still entitled to - the welfare rights service will also be axed. Despite all of the politicians' rhetoric, these cuts are going to hit precisely the most vulnerable groups in society.
Those responsible for the County Hall action said that theirs was "a small gesture" which was part of a larger refusal of "the way things are". "The system is killing us and we must fight back."
14-10-2010 15:27This was originally submitted to a Bristol student newspaper, but wasn't published. This explains some of the remarks and the slightly 'explanatory' tone of the piece. I am putting it here mainly so I don't feel like I wasted my time writing it, although I imagine I'm preaching to the converted.
Cuts – in case you hadn't noticed – are very much in vogue. On October 20th, the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government will announce the results of its comprehensive spending review. Judging by what has been announced already, it is likely that the plans outlined in the review will be targeted largely at the poorest and most vulnerable within society. No doubt there will be a number of diversionary exceptions intended to create the image of spreading cuts across every sector of society – for an example, see the changes already proposed to child benefit payments. But the further privatisation of the welfare system, the NHS, and the numerous other cuts to all manner of social programs will inevitably places the biggest burden on those who can least afford it. Examples of such policies have already been provided: June's 'emergency budget', according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, left working families on the lowest incomes as the biggest losers.
What is truly startling about this is not that a Conservative-dominated government is enacting retrogressive policies, but rather the collective amnesia that seems to have afflicted the majority of the country's political and media classes. Despite the fact that the current deficit is almost entirely attributable to the financial meltdown that was caused by politicians and bankers, speculators, and stock market gamblers, the narrative most often heard is that the profligate spending of the New Labour administration is to blame. The most important aspect of this narrative is, of course, the idea that 'we are all in this together'. Despite the massive implausibility of such an idea, the recent Conservative Party Conference descended upon Birmingham with the tagline 'together in the national interest'. Nothing could be further from the truth, something ably demonstrated by the conference itself. £1,000 a head dinners, champagne receptions, and the confirmed attendance of the eighteen Conservative millionaires in the cabinet (not to mention however many other Tory MPs and party members' worth runs into six figures) are just some of the highlights of the blatant hypocrisy on show. What lies behind these slogans is in fact a project based on political ideals - not necessity – which seeks to drastically reduce the role of the state in any attempts to promote social equality and cohesion, and replace such attempts either with operations run for private profit, or with nothing at all. The New Labour government was in many ways also guilty of trying to implement similar ideals, but on a scale nowhere near that intended by the coalition government.
It was with such things in mind that on Sunday 3rd October I took the decision to travel to Birmingham and join the demonstrations against both government policy and the conference itself. Somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 people (depending on whose numbers you believe) had made the same decision – not bad for a rainy Sunday spent outside. The atmosphere throughout the afternoon verged between joyful and enraged, and preceded by a number of speakers ranging from the rousing to the risible, the demonstration set off at about one o'clock to the sound of chanting and soggy, stamping feet.
After about two hours the march came to an end, in a grey street, next to a half-flooded car park about a mile away from the conference we were there to protest against. Conveniently, it was the very same car park in which there were a number of coaches waiting to take a large number of the protesters home. Fair enough, I thought. We had probably all had enough of wandering around in the rain. However, I couldn't help but feel somewhat embittered towards the organisers, who go under the name of the Right to Work campaign. They have hailed the day as a success, claiming that people came in their thousands 'to tell David Cameron and the Tories we won't pay for a crisis we did not create' (http://sites.google.com/site/righttoworkconference/home...begun). It is true that people came in their thousands. However, there was an utter failure to tell the Tories anything. On a route negotiated with the police, the closest any of us got to the conference itself was a distance of about 300 metres, with hundreds of police officers and eight foot high metal fences preventing us getting any closer.
For their part, the police are 'very pleased with the way the march [went]' (http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/np/birminghamwestand...=1236). This is a serious problem. By agreeing to march along a route negotiated with the police, the very purpose of protest itself is nullified. Protests can be successful in a number of ways: two of the most important include either succeeding in disrupting the event or practice that the protest opposes, and making people aware of why a protest is taking place. The events of Sunday 3rd October achieved neither of these. The conference continued as if nothing was happening, whilst the march was directed largely through empty backstreets and past identikit office buildings, providing almost no opportunity for engagement with people who may well be interested in finding ways to oppose government 'austerity' policies.
Before the march, John McDonnell (a Labour MP, no less), spoke enthusiastically about the need for, amongst other things, direct action, a statement that was followed by a resounding cheer from the crowd. Direct action comes in a number of forms – strikes, sit-ins, occupations, blockades, sabotage, and so forth. The attitude displayed by the organisers and the vast majority of protesters was one that reflected a desire to do nothing more than march, chant, and repeat, ad infinitum. There is certainly a time and a place for such things, and there is no doubt that it feels good and helps to build a further sense of unity amongst those already involved and committed. However, it does nothing to bring new people toward a campaign or change the course of government policy.
There are local movements across the country aiming to halt the move towards the increases in social inequality that will be caused by the abolition, downsizing, and privatisation of the welfare state (a welfare state which, it is worth nothing, was largely created when Britain's debt as a percentage of GDP was 250%, in the period following WWII (http://www.redpepper.org.uk/Countering-the-cuts-myths)). If these movements want to make a serious attempt at halting the reactionary policies the government intends to impose upon the country, they will need to more than participate in marches negotiated with the police. Undoubtedly, there will be strikes by workers in a number of unions. However, without a wider social movement working to support those strikes as well as taking action of its own accord, these strikes are unlikely to have any impact.
Many of us have grown up in a country where a vast number of public utilities (railways, water, electricity) are already run for private profit, not public benefit. We can choose to grow older in a country (indeed, a world), where ever more institutions established for social welfare are subordinated to the ideals of the market. Universities already have been, and that logic appears to be leading to uncapped tuition fees. If it seems desirable to apply such ideas to the NHS, unemployment benefit, and protection for the sick, elderly, and disabled, all we have to do is sit back, turn on the television, and do nothing. However, regardless of what the government and their cheerleaders in the media are so keen of saying, there will be no wider social benefits to removing what remains of the welfare systems that so many people in decades past struggled, and in some cases, died, to establish, and on which so many people now rely. Quite the opposite: there will be very narrow benefits, chiefly to those politicians and commentators who see the removal of such systems as a notch on their ideological bedpost, and to their friends in business who will be able to make money from it. There is a protest organised by the Bristol Anti-Cuts Alliance in response to the comprehensive spending review, due to meet at 11:00 on Saturday October 23rd, in Castle Park by Broadmead. For those of us who believe that the policies the government would like to impose on us are in fact a choice (not a necessity) and that they should be opposed, it would be worth our while to turn up and think about doing more than simply marching, chanting, and repeating.