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Lipobay/Baycol Victim Goes To Court Argentina: BAYER Sentenced To Pay Compensati

04-10-2012 13:22

The pharmaceutical company BAYER has been ordered to pay 968,000 pesos (about US $206,000) to a victim of the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipobay/Baycol in Argentina. The claimant, Flavio Rein, suffered irreparable muscular damage, visual disturbances and damage to the kidneys after taking the drug for only one month.

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Smash EDO Fundraising Meal this Sunday

04-10-2012 13:05

Shutting down a multinational arms company takes money. Come and support the campaign

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Gremlin Alley EVICTION RESISTANCE happening now in Cardiff, South Wales

04-10-2012 11:14

Occupied Spin bowling - now Gremlin Alley, City Road, Cardiff
This morning activists and anarchists have rallied round to defend Gremlin Alley, the squatted bowling alley and cinema on City Road, in Roath, Cardiff.

The eviction resistance is also in solidarity with Alex Haig, the 21 year old squatter who was the first squatter sentenced to prison under the new anti-squatting law, which began on September 1st this year.

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Smash EDO October events

04-10-2012 09:37

Hello everyone

Smash EDO has been pretty quiet for a while but, rest assured, we've been plotting and scheming. Here's a few events we've got coming up. We're building up to our Halloween demo at the end of the month

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Venezuela: Anarchists and October 7, 2012

03-10-2012 18:47

* As the electoral ritual granting legitimacy to the occupant of the presidential seat approaches, we want to affirm to the country’s public opinion what the anarchists’ position has been regarding the electoral carnival as instrument for control and submission of the collective. What follows is the El Libertario #67 Editorial, where we clearly state our position.

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Is so much opencast coal now needed?

03-10-2012 16:55

Coal operators have 4.75m tonnes of surface mineable coal in their sights in Engl;and, often lying within 500m of where people live. Planning rules for them to get this coal have been relaxed. At the same time, many Power Generating companies are or plan to convert power stations to run on biomass. If this does not make sense to you then read our press release to find out more information



LAON PR2012 -9                                                                  3/10/12



As local campaigners continue their campaign to raise at least £20,000 to take their case for a Judicial Review of the decision  to mine coal at the Halten Lea Gate site to the High Court, LAON can reveal that in total, coal producers in England have their eyes on digging up a total of at least 4.76m tonnes of coal over the next few years, all by the method of opening quarries and working them until the coal reserve is exhausted.

The only problem is that working these quarries by the opencast or surface mining method will be close to local people, perhaps close to where you live. This is because the bulk of this coal, 500m tonnes out of an estimated English reserve of 516m tonnes, is within 500m of where people live.

You would think that the rules governing the assessment of planning applications would prevent quarries being worked so close to where people live. But this is not the case as the decision over the Halten Lea Gate opencast site proves, where permission has been given to mine only 17m away from where people live. It could be the first of many

LAON’s latest review of news about current and prospective opencast sites published here:

5th Review of Opencast Sites: October 2012 @

shows that in England, a possible 14 sites from Northumberland down to Leicestershire are under consideration You can check to see if there is a sight near you. Contact LAON if there is or if you know of any site under consideration that is not on the list.

Steve Leary, LAON’S Co-ordinator said this, of this recent survey reviewing September news stories on prospective opencast coal sites

“To me it seems current policy on coal is failing to keep up with changes that are occurring in the demand for coal. We argue that this ‘national need’ for coal enshrined in the National Planning Policy Framework needs to be reviewed, as this flies in the face of growing evidence  that this is no longer the case. LAON has been working on presenting evidence about the decline in future demand for coal to help those currently objecting to planning applications, but now we are preparing a report because we can now expect a rapid decline in the demand for coal for power generation purposes.  

Since the privatisation of the generating industry statistics about actual coal use at each power station have become increasingly difficult to acquire, so the figures below are an estimate, most likely an over estimate, but they do show the degree of change underway in the energy market that is going to significantly reduce the demand for coal . Our methodology will be explained when our report is published.

Demand was already due to fall, as 6 power stations were due to close as coal burning stations, partly or completely by 2016 because they were too polluting. This alone could reduce the demand for coal by about 15m tonnes. (1)

Then in July the Government announced its review of the Renewable Obligations Certificates. Since the results of that review were announced, there has been a steady stream of announcements from companies such as Drax, RWE, E ON and International Power  about converting all or part of their plants to being fuelled by biomass, not coal. (2) This will result in another major reduction in the demand for coal in the very near future if all these plans result in all or part of the power stations being converted, of a further 9.0m tonnes of coal a year.

These recent announcements about conversion to biomass and the relicensing of Tilbury to continue to burn biomass,  will reduce this demand for coal even further, as they represent biomass generating capacity that is replacing coal burning capacity, of around 13m tonnes of coal.

Add all these figures together of 9 million + 15 million + 13 million tonnes of coal  and you end up with a figure of an annual decline in demand for coal of around 37m tonnes on the horizon. With this amount of a reduction in demand, how can coal still be considered as a mineral which it is a national necessity to exploit, when companies are reducing our capacity to burn coal on this scale.

This is partly why the Halten Lea Gate decision should be overturned at a Judicial Review and partly why all other applications in the pipeline for English opencast sites should be rejected

You can show your support for the local residents at Halton Lea Gate by making a donation to their fighting fund to:

 North Pennine Protection Group,  Account no:01014587, Sort code: 40-23-06 and send to: 5 High Midgeholme, Brampton, Cumbria. CA8 7LT

You can also sign their epetition to prevent similar applications from occurring elsewhere at



<!--[if !supportLists]-->1)    <!--[endif]-->The Power Stations due to close under the European Large Power directive as coal burning power stations are:

Didcot, Tilbury, Ferrybridge (part), Cockenzie, Kingsnorth and Ironbridge

<!--[if !supportLists]-->2)    <!--[endif]-->Power stations which are to be converted to biomass fuelling or being considered for biomass conversion (all or part)

Drax, Lynmouth, Ironbridge and Rugely.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->3)    <!--[endif]-->Power stations then burning biomass instead of coal (all or part)

Tilbury, Drax, Lynmouth, Ironbridge and Rugely


You can now follow LAON on Twitter @


The Loose Anti-Opencast Network (LAON) has been in existence since 2009. It  functions as a medium through to oppose open cast mine applications through which any person / group can communicate ideas, information, requests for information and possibly concerted actions if we find a target. In addition feel free to invite any other person / group who oppose opencast mining applications, to join the network so that it grows. At present LAON links individuals and groups in N Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Northumberland, Co Durham, Leeds, Kirklees Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Walsall.



Email          Steve Leary at




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Update on US anarchist prisoner Amelia Nicol

03-10-2012 15:31

Anarchist prisoner Amelia Nicol had her sentencing hearing today, October 1st, in Denver County Court. She had been found guilty on August 21, 2012 of Criminal Trespass, Assault on an officer, and Resisting Arrest. All charges stemmed from a raid on an alleged squat in the Jefferson Park Neighborhood of Denver in October of 2011.

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5th Review of Opencast Sites: Oct 2012

03-10-2012 14:55

This 5th review of news stories about prospective opencast site applications on 14 possible sites in england and 4 sites in Wales. It especially has news about recent developments at Halton Lea Gate and the Hilltop Project


NEW 2012 SERIES: No 5                                              OCTOBER 2012

 The way to read each entry is as follows:

Site Name, Location, Planning Authority, Position in the Planning System (either, in the main, Scoping Inquiry, Application Submitted, Application Approved), the name of the Applicant / Operator and the estimated amount of coal to be extracted.


BIRKLANDS, (nr .Marley Hill, Gateshead), (Gateshead: Reference No DC/11/00687/MIN) (Application) (Hall Construction Services) (275,000)

‘Opencast, the threat returns’ (local action group) (no date)

Not a news story, but an on line petition that can be signed to show opposition to open casting at this proposed 275,000 tonne site. See

You can read this application and still make comments here:;jsessionid=DE0DA6F1C3739817D51414835242B0FC?action=firstPageNo

No New News on this Application


BRADLEY (nr. Consett) (Co Durham) (Judicial Review) (UK Coal) (500,000)

No news on  when the Judicial Review will begin.


DEARNE LEA, WEST CLAYTON (S.E. of Huddersfield) (Kirklees Council: Reference No. 2012/62/9113/ED) (Application) (George Harrison Ltd) (190,000)

No new news on this Application

To contact the Skelmansthorpe Communituy Action Group see:

For more details on the Application and the possibility to make a comment, go to:


FERNEYBEDS, WIDDRINGTON STATION (8 miles NW of Ashington) (Northumberland County Council)  (Scoping Inquiry) (Banks Group) (750,000)   No  new news on this Application  

GEORGE FARM (nr. Smalley, Derbyshire) (Derbyshire County Council: Ref No. CM6/1110/112) (Application) (LEM Resources) (400,000)

No new news on this Application

For more details on the Application and the possibility to make a comment go to:

The Smalley Action Group has now set up a petition where you can register your objection to the Application. See


HAGUE FARM (?) off Hague Lane nr Renishaw, Derbyshire

UK Coal has put this site up for sale. The particulars indicate that they are seeking a partner to help ‘develop’ (work the site as a surface mine) within 5 years. Site particulars are available here @


HALTON LEA GATE (c 5 miles SW of Haltwhistle) (Northumberland County Council) (Public Inquiry) (HM Developments) (140,000)

It was reported on the 9//8/12 that a Planning Inspector had, after a Public Inquiry, upheld an appeal by HM Developments to grant planning permission. Local residents are exploring whether there are grounds for a Judicial Review.

If you are looking for how to contribute to the cost of the Judicial Review or sign the e petition to the Government please see the box at the end of this section.

 ‘Opencast Dismay’ (The Whitehaven News, 3/9/12)

A letter from Val Barnes of the Whittonstall Action Group, expressing dismay at the Halton Lea Gate Public Inquiry decision and pointing out the implications of the decisions for other communities in Northumberland. See

‘Mine ruling will open floodgates warn villagers’ (Hexham Courant 3/9/12)

Latest news on the response of local people to the Inspectors decision and at what stage their plans are to mount a Judicial Review. See

‘New campaign to kill off coal mine’ (Cumberland News 14/9/12)

A brief explanation of why the local people are going to undertake a judicial review and invite the BBC Countryfile programme to the village and report on their situation. See

‘Halton Lea Gate Anti Opencast Campaigners hire top lawyer’ (Journal, 15/9/12)

News that a Solicitor with a national reputation, Phil Shiner of the Public Interest Lawyers Group has been hired to take on the case of preparing  a case for Judicial Review. See

‘£20,000 target set for opencast fighting fund’ (News and Star, 17/9/12)

A report that the local residents, led by Harleyburn Parish Councillors are dipping into their own pockets to raise funds. They are also now making a public appeal. In addition they are to team up with the Whittonstall Action Group ( see section on the Hoodsclose  Application. See

‘North Cumbrian mine will bring benefits’ says firm (Cumberland News, 28 /9/12)

Mr D Bridgewood from HM Project Development’s Agents reiterates the claimed benefits that the Halton Lea Gate mine will bring to the area. He reassures people that the site will not be used for landfill and that

“.... but the impact will be very small and in most instances barely noticeable. It will be the aim of the company to maintain a positive working relationship with residents, addressing any concerns as quickly as possible,” he added.” See

COMMENT: This news story looks as though it has been ‘planted’ in advance of the BBC 1 Countryfile  programme to be broadcast on 30/9/12. This is the first mention of landfill in any news item to do with this application that I have read, which makes the mere mention of it look suspicious. As for working with local people and addressing any concerns, did Mr Bridgewood know much about the history of those associated with this Company and their relationship with local people? The following news stories indicate that  Mr Murphy is inclined to lose his temper and that the site of the proposed mine, Halten Lea Farm, when still owned by the present owner, was found to be hosting the growing of cannabis. See

‘Confrontation after Halton Lea Gate Mining plan refusal’ ( Journal, 4/5/2011) @

‘Crash led police to Cannabis Factory’, (originally in the Journal 8/7/2007) @

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To contrite to the cost of fighting a Judicial Review, please make cheques payable to

North Pennine Protection Group,  Account no:01014587, Sort code: 40-23-06 and send to: 5 High Midgeholme, Brampton, Cumbria. CA8 7LT

To sign an e petition to the Government opposing similar applications, please sign the ‘STOP OPENCAST MINING NEAR RURAL COMMUNITIES petition at:

<!--[if !mso]--> <!--[endif]--><!--[if !mso & !vml]--> <!--[endif]--><!--[if !vml]--> <!--[endif]--> 



Also see Extra Section below.


HELL LANE, nr Normanton, Wakefield, Sth Yorkshire

UK Coal has put this site up for sale. The particulars indicate that they are seeking a partner to help ‘develop’ (work the site as a surface mine) within 5 years. Site particulars are available here @


HILLTOP PROJECT (nr. Clay Cross, Derbyshire) (Derbyshire County Council) ( Scoping Inquiry) (Provectus Remediation) (130,000)

Provectus Remediation has indicated that they are intending to submit a plan to mine 130,000 tonnes of coal from a 30 hectare site over a 30 month period.

‘Coal march /demo Derbyshire’ (Nottingham Indymedia, 9/9/12)

Hilltop Action Group are organising a march against this proposed development. See

‘Hundreds set to march against Mining plan’ (Derbyshire Times, 21/9/12)

A report on the expected turn out at a protest march around the proposed Hilltop site to be held on 23/9/12. See

‘Hundreds march against mining plan – SEE VIDEO’ (Derbyshire Times, 24/9/12)

A report on the Protest march and how many turned up plus comments from some of the participants. See

‘Hill Top Group Protest Against Opencast Mine’ (BBC News Derby, 22/9/12)

Another report on the march with pictures. See

The Hilltop Action Group has also made their own video of the Protest march ‘Hilltop Project Against Opencast Mining which you can view here:

To keep in touch with the protest campaign, go to


HOODSCLOSE  Whittonstall (Northumberland County Council) (Application) (UK Coal) (500,000)

UK Coal hopes to extract 2.2m tonnes of coal and 500,000 tonnes of fireclay    over a seven year period. The Scoping Inquiry state began soon after August 2009 with an application following in 2010. This is still a live application.

’80 Jobs promise’ (Hexham Courant, 10/9/12)

Brief article which summarises some of the arguments UK Coal are putting forwards to support their application. See

You can find further information and make a make a comment here:;jsessionid=2BC579DC2A201F65967E36E99DD92B3A?action=firstPage

You can also contact the Whittonstall Action Group here:


MINORCA NORTH (Leicestershire, Leicestershire County Council, UK Coal, Amount of estimated coal reserves not published, Stage: Exploratory Drilling)

No new news on this site

SCHOOLHOUSE LANE   off A692 nr Marley Hill , Co Durham

UK Coal has put this site up for sale. The particulars indicate that they are seeking a partner to help ‘develop’ (work the site as a surface mine) within 5 years. Site particulars are available here @


SHORTWOOD FARM (Trowel, nr Nottingham, Nottinghamshire) (Application) (UK Coal) (1.275,000)

UK Coal has applied to mine 1,275,000 tonnes of coal over a 5yr period on a Greenfield site.

No new news on this Application

To send a letter opposing this application, go to:

There is now a local group formed to oppose this application, the Shortwood Farm Opencast Opposition. It is contactable via

To find out more about the Application see:


MARLEY HILL COLLIERY RECLAMATION  (Sunnyside, Gateshead (Co Durham also affected), (Scoping Enquiry) (UK Coal) (c 1.0m)

No recent news about this proposed development.


NEW : THE BRITISH IN TALYWAIN, (Torfaen) (Pre Scoping Inquiry)( HSBC) (No public estimate of of coal reserves)


‘Talks carry on over regeneration for British Talywain’ (South Wales Argus, 17/7/12)

This is a report of a secret meeting between Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (currently the sites owner), The Welsh government and Torfaen Council about plans to restore this 1,300 acre site. The plans could include opencasting the site for 5 years . See

‘British redevelopment proposals’ (Torfaen Talks, p 7, August 2012)

Torfaen Council reports on the proposed redevelopment . The Council promises to set up public meetings, road shows and create a Liaison Group as the plans develop. Any scheme would need the final approval of the Council. See

‘Meeting to discuss Talwain’s British site’ (Free Press, 13/9/12)

A public Meeting has been called by the Liaison Committee  for 7.00pm  at the Old Age Pensioners Hall in Talywain  to discuss new plans for the site. Torfaen’s Chief Officer for Planning and Public Protection, Duncan Smith, is to be a guest speaker. See 


BRYN DEFAID, LLWYDCOED  (Rhondda Cynon Taf Council) (Scoping Inquiry)

(Celtic Energy) (1.2m tonnes)

No new news on this site


NEW NANT HELEN REMAINDER  ( Onllyn, Neath- Port Talbot) (Powys Council) (Application) (Celtic Energy), (1.9m tonnes)

Surface miner Celtic Energy want to mine on this site for a further 4.5 years, on a site they have been working since 2002.

‘Our Proposals for the Nant Helen Remainder’ (Celtic Energy)

 ‘Jobs hope with mine extension’ (This is South Wales, 15/3/11)

News article on the submission of a planning application. See


NANT LLESG, GWENT (Gwent) (Scoping Inquiry) (Miller Argent) (9.0m)

Surface miner Miller Argent have announced their intention to submit a planning application for a 9.0m tonne opencast site at Nant Llesg, No new news.


I’ve now been able to catch up with how the Planning Inspector’s Approval decision was greeted by the Minerals Extraction Industry. Here are some media stories

‘Landmark planning appeal is a big thumbs up for mineral extraction’ (Development Control Solutions / Mineral Planning, 16/8/12)

It quotes from Bridgewood, from Wardle Armstrong (see last months review) but here has him adding

 "This is not a  blanket permission and doesn’t give the green light to open-cast mining generally. But it shows that where you can satisfy landscape, ecological and visual impacts you have a very strong case." See

‘Green Light for Halton Lea Gate’ (Environmental Industry Magazine, undated)

More of the same with some additional information about the significance of the decision

“ The appeal was made following the refusal of a resubmission to Northumberland County Council, and is the first to be determined since the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) earlier this year. Engineering and environmental consultancy Wardell Armstrong handled the appeal, and helped to answer some of the objections raised against the original submission.”

And further comments from Mr Bridgewood

“He (the Inspector) has also accepted that there are sustainability benefits in working coal domestically, rather than relying on coal imports.

"This makes perfect sense when you consider that up to 52% of our UK electricity still comes from coal in winter - a period when many renewable resources are less productive - and that the transport emissions related to bringing coal from Russia are ten times higher than working it domestically." See

COMMENT. This is confirmation that the Minerals Industry also thinks that this is a landmark decision and the first of its kind to be made under the new NPPF rules. They must be satisfied that all the lobbying the Industry did prior to the last General Election to modify planning rules in relation to Mineral Planning has now paid off. I did a study of this for the Minorca Opencast Protest Group following the Parliamentary Debate on Andrew Bridgen’s 500m Buffer Zone Bill as E2 ‘Energy Policy and the National Planning Policy Framework and the Minorca Application’ which is available here:



‘Licence granted for massive mine’ (Eskdale and Liddersdale Advertiser, 20/9/12)

Part of a news story on the possible development of a new deep mine by New Age Developments,which will try to recover between 330 - 410m m/tonnes of coal. See

 COMMENT:For more information read these pages from the Company’s own web site:


The Scottish Government announced on  that it was to start a review of the planning framework for Scotland, the Scottish National Policy Framework. Here are some key linking pages that explain why the review is being undertaken and the Review Timetable:


Review Timetable

COMMENT: This could be important to all groups opposing opencast mine applications. If this review weakens Scotland’s version of the 500m Buffer Zone then eventually, it might be cited as a reason to weaken Welsh policy and not introduce such a policy into England. If anyone wants to take on the task of monitoring what is happening and preparing a LAON statement, should this be necessary, let me know.

©  Steve Leary

You can now follow LAON on Twitter @ @



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No Damn New Nuclear Shit! See u at Hinkley Point

03-10-2012 12:55

So what's radical about opposing new nuclear then? After all, as someone said to me the other day 'nuclear is so...eighties' and I know that many of the young people I meet say that their parents spent their youth protesting against nuclear, and in these times of austerity (read being shafted by the 1%) there are so many things that we're faced with, actually we're being attacked on all fronts, this is just the beginning of the rich elites trying to grab as much of the dwindling resources as they can before the shit hits the fan. However, economic booms and busts as well as oppression and repression in this culture is cyclical after all it's not the first time we've been faced with government cuts, industrial action or new nuclear is it? these things have a a habit of re-surfacing, and being opposed so why should nuclear be any different? Shouldn't we see this as an indication that we haven't resolved the issues that lie at the core, the root of the disease, if we're constantly having to fight the same battles again? And does it mean that just because we've fought it before that we shouldn't fightit again?
I would flip the question in reverse and ask what's radical about not acting on the issue? After all, given the intractable nature of the waste this is one issue that is never ever going to go away irrespective of whether they build more or not, but this fact, the fact they we have this poisonous legacy should it be used to justify or resign ourselves to more of the stuff being created?Really, shouldn't it stiffen our resolve that we must never let more of the stuff be created? doesn't it provide us with an opportunity to focus our attention as a society on just what this legacy that wealready have means and how we are going to deal with it as we deal with our transition from an energy abundant world to one where that energy use has contributed to a world with a much reduced carrying capacity?

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John Bowden: Call-Out For An International Day Of Action On October 19th

03-10-2012 07:43

“The only sure tactic when prisoners resist and fight back is solidarity.”
John Bowden in ‘Tear Down The Walls’

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From The Zapatistas: Never-Before-Seen Photos

03-10-2012 03:47

“Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas”

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Transition Possible Anywhere - Albert Bates

02-10-2012 23:08

Can you create a Transition Town in the Republican South? Without dwelling on the contentious issues of climate change or Peak Oil? Albert Bates shows us how to move anyone toward localization and food security.

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Coventry Peace House seeks new members

02-10-2012 17:57

Coventry Peace House currently has space for new members.

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Autumn in Parliament Square – Barbara Tucker arrest number 46

02-10-2012 13:15

Autumn in Parliament Square – Barbara Tucker arrest number 46.

The peace campaign opposite the British Houses of Parliament continues with Barbara and a number of supporters. Now in its 12th year it is a permanent thorn in the side of the establishment.

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ABC-Belarus - Pavel Syramolatau is free

02-10-2012 11:47

We’re glad to announce that after 620 days in prison Pavel Syramolatau was released from prison by president pardon on September 27th.

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Agent Provocateurs & Radical Violence

02-10-2012 09:12

George Edwards mocking the executed revolutionaries
The British State has been using agent provocateurs since at least the early 19th century

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Workfare walk of shame

02-10-2012 08:55

On Saturday, a group of anti-workfare activists took to the streets of Nottingham to picket some of the corporate workfare profiteers and to highlight why workfare is such a dangerous idea. They visited Burton, Barnardo’s, Primark, Greggs and Superdrug with a banner, sound system and flyers. Campaigners say that workfare, when unemployed people are forced to work for their benefits, is an attack on the unemployed and also against workers, whose paid work is undermined.

Newswire: Workfare walk of shame in Nottingham (Report) | Workfare walk of shame in Nottingham (Pics) | Nottingham Pizza Factory - From work to workfare

Previous features: Mayday Workfare Protests | Workfare : Forced Labour Protest in Nottingham

Report from One of Autonomous Nottingham

Today a group of anti-workfare activists took to the streets of Nottingham to picket some of the corporate workfare profiteers and to highlight why workfare is such a dangerous idea. We visited Burton, Barnardo’s, Primark, Greggs and Superdrug before we got through all of our leaflets and decided to call it a day. On the whole, the public responded positively to our message including several who agreed to boycott particular shops as a result of getting a flyer.

Workfare is the name given to various government programmes that force benefit claimants to work full-time jobs just to get their dole money. Various companies have signed up to get this very attractive (for them) workers that don’t have to be paid. It is obviously bad for the unemployed because they are being exploited and don’t get any reward, but it is also bad for paid workers who might be replaced by free labour from the Job Centre.

We met at the left lion in Market Square and were sent off with an anti-workfare speech from a local anti-austerity campaigner who had a stall. Despite the somewhat pro-state slant of his words, it was good to receive some solidarity.

We were well equipped with a sound system in a pushchair pumping out revolutionary hip hop and our “Workfare ain’t fair” banner as well as a stack of fliers. We walked and wheeled across the square to our first stop, Burtons. Burtons is part of notorious tax dodger Philip Green’s Arcadia group, which has a policy of using workfare. The Burtons management immediately threw a massive tantrum, shutting up all but one of the doors to the shop and then standing in the remaining one snarling at us and chuntering on about how they had nothing to do with workfare and spent their whole days helping the sick and needy by giving them free suits, etc. All they managed to do was make their shop very unwelcoming for the time that we were there.

Next stop was the Barnardo’s charity shop a few doors up. Barnardo’s is one of many high street charities which is supplementing their volunteers with forced labour from the Job Centre. The workers were, perhaps unsurprisingly, much more sympathetic to and interested in our protest and read our leaflets. Some PCSOs came along to ask whether we were a peaceful protest and what time we were leaving so they could “update the control centre”. When they went in to let the staff know we weren’t dangerous psychopaths, we slipped off to Primark.

Primark was a bit mental. There were just too many people rushing in and out of those doors. We didn’t stay long.

Next stop was Greggs on Clumber Street. There was more space to stop and have decent interactions with people and people had time to read our leaflets in the queue. One man went in taking a leaflet and then emerged a few minutes later without having bought anything thanking us all for letting him know about Greggs’ exploitative practices. Another man took a leaflet and said “I won’t be buying anything in there then” and a group of kids in hoodies tutted a bit and then were overheard saying they wouldn’t be going in again.

For our last stop we moved over to Superdrug on the other side of the road and gave out the last of our leaflets. One man stopped to have a conversation with me about how he’d seen this coming with the New Deal and previous government attacks on the unemployed and how his son was involved in anti-workfare campaigning in Plymouth. “Why aren’t there more of you?” he asked.

We will back and we hope that next time more people will join us. There are plenty of shops on our list that we didn’t get to visit today, including Wilkinsons, Argos, Poundland, Miss Selfridge and Tescos. We know that anti-workfare campaigning is working: earlier in the year Holland & Barrett pulled out of workfare after sustained, nationnwide pickets of its stores. We just need to keep up the pressure.