UK Newswire Archive
21-03-2011 03:00Rotherham Fascist Tom Holmes has resigned from the far-right British National Party. The following article is not libel; fictitious; contains personal information nor is it a personal attack (partly an apology!). SheffieldLib is a peaceful, localised anti-fascist movement of mostly students several of whom live within Tom Holmes' ward and such would never knowingly breach any policy/rules. Revised/snipped article as below.
21-03-2011 00:22ANTI-BENEFIT CUTS LEAFLETING
THURSDAY 24TH MARCH
several hundred people from all walks of life came together at the westminster cathedral piazza in victoria this afternoon, to protest and campaign against a proposed new westminster bye-law which aims to criminalise soup runs for homeless people
at a time when the government is creating huge cuts in services, and cameron is plugging his 'big society' agenda of volunteer provision, it seems bizarre that westminster council should be considering introducing a bye-law to specifically ban providing food for the homeless in the area.
but with a consultation in progress this month, westminster is hoping to introduce the new bye-law soon, and certainly before the royal wedding at the end of april.
one group most affected by the new law would be the volunteer-run charity 'street souls', which for two years has been providing a soup run outside the westminster cathedral on the first and third friday of each month. spokesman david coombe has promised to defy the law even if it means jail.
the new bye-law proposes a £500 fine for feeding homeless people in the area, and a ban on sleeping rough or putting down bedding in the area. at present, sandwich shops like 'pret a manger' hand out unsold stock, and homeless volunteers collect and redistribute the food among their peers. the shops will not be allowed to do this any longer, instead throwing the food away, and the volunteers would face fines for their efforts.
the council claims that the soup runs attract people who aren't genuinely homeless, and complains that residents feel unsafe walking down certain streets, intimidated by street drinking and "fed up of exposure to the associated detritus".
campaigners point out that they have strict policies, respect the neighbourhood, sweep and wash the area after soup runs, and have had zero incidents. they also point to the number of incidents caused by suited drinkers leaving pubs and clubs late at night, and tell of incidents where homeless sleepers have been urinated on by drunken besuited mobs.
the charity 'housing justice' which co-ordinates soup runs in london, points out that apart from the food aspect, the events are invaluable for providing links, companionship, and entry to other help among people who are very vulnerable and sometimes distrustful of other intervention. even the charity which chairs the london mayor's round table on homelessness (homeless link) have said that although they don't agree the soup runs are helpful they don't think banning them is any solution.
this afternoon's protest was a good-natured affair, with food provided by local hare krishna groups, who also provided some music. there was entertainment too from the drum band "maracatu". many street people attended, and chatted with visitors.
at 4pm there was a flash mob sleep-in, and dozens of people suddenly lay down in the piazza. the flash mob was organised by the group 'sock mob' who have started a scheme to empower street people by training them to conduct walking/talking tours of their area. paying visitors get a new perspective on parts of london, and the business model is extending and aiming to be self-sufficient, with street people introducing others into it, giving them a source of income, a way to engage with mainstream society, and a means to remove the stigma around marginalised groups which often prevent them from participating meaningfully, socially and culturally.
campaigners call the westminster legislation cruel, heartless, ill-conceived and flawed, but the council is still touting its 'consultation' process which closes at the end of the month. they are buoyed by support from two local service providers, st mungo's and thamesreach. on the face of it, these organisations are well-placed to comment sensibly on the proposals, however, the announcement of support has been met with alarm by many of their own outreach workers, and the suspicion is that both organisations stand to gain from grants to run services, and so want to maximise attendance. but many street people are highly suspicious of institutionalised help, and they are much more amenable to the small-scale volunteer projects.
as well as protest, a campaign to flood the consultation with 'no' votes, and the threat of civil disobedience, there may also be a legal route to challenge any such bye-law. 'rough sleepers' are recognised, along with gypsy travellers and other such groups, as 'alternative lifestyles', and so any legislation targetting such a group and singling it out might be challenged under human rights law, for criminalising people for their views and lifestyle.
20-03-2011 19:42The bombing of Libya will begin on or nearly to the day, of the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the destruction of Iraq, 19th March, in Europe. Libya too will be destroyed - its schools, education system, water, infrastructure, hospitals, municipal buildings. There will be numerous "tragic mistakes", "collateral damage", mothers, fathers, children, babies, grandparents, blind and deaf schools and on and on. And the wonders of the Roman remains and earlier, largely enduring and revered in all history's turmoils as Iraq, the nation's history - and humanity's, again as Iraq and Afghanistan, will be gone, for ever.
A month long DIY bike festival in Manchester
20-03-2011 19:07Today 20 people helped set up the foundations of the 2011 Rossport Solidarity Camp
20-03-2011 18:29We’d like to think that women in power would somehow be less prowar, but in the Obama administration at least it appears that the bellicosity is worst among Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power.
If you enjoy intensive, high-adrenaline air combats, you'll LOVE this game.
On March 17th, BBC TV’s prime-time magazine programme The One Show aired a report about Nottinghamshire’s hidden arms companies.
In the wake of revelations about the UK selling arms to repressive regimes such as Libya and Bahrain, the One Show decided to do a report looking at the UK’s arms trade. The report was based around the Map of Militarism produced by Notts Anti-Militarism. Kirk Jackson, from Campaign Against Arms Trade and Notts Anti-Militarism, took One Show reporter Simon Boazman to a few of the local arms companies, including small arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch, the target of a long-running local campaign.
It’s almost inevitable that in media reports such as this, there will be a few errors and omissions:
- Contrary to the report, campaigners do not claim that Nottingham is a “key player” in the arms industry. There are other areas of the country that have a much bigger arms industry. The point is that wherever you are in the UK, you’re never far from an arms company.
- Kirk was quoted out of context saying that “jobs that were shed from the arms industry would be soaked up by other industries”. Simon Boazman dismissed this as “wishful thinking” but Kirk was actually quoting Sandy Wilson, Vice President of the trade organisation that represents the UK arms industry.
- The One Show cut out the name of the last company in the report, following unfounded concerns that the programme might risk a libel suit. The company, which deals in small arms and ammunition, is called Easy Tiger International and is based at 10 Kingston Drive in Cotgrave.
- The arms fair mentioned by Simon Boazman is actually called Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) and it takes place every two years.
- The One Show did not give campaigners the chance to respond to government assurances that the UK arms industry is tightly controlled. In fact, the licensing system is a façade that gives the image of control while allowing companies to export weapons to repressive regimes. It is obvious that belatedly revoking arms export licenses to Libya is a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.
Of course, a light-hearted magazine programme like The One Show is never going to have the time to examine the issue in depth. For example, although the report repeatedly stressed the economic importance of the arms industry, it stopped short of asking why the UK has such a large arms industry.
The UK arms industry is so strong because successive UK governments – Labour and Conservative alike – have protected and nurtured it with a variety of subsidies even as they allowed other domestic industries to be lost to globalisation. This is because Britain still wants to “punch above its weight” – to exert a disproportionate influence on world affairs.
In order to keep our seat at the top table, we need to be a major military power, and that means having our own hi-tech arms manufacturing base. However, maintaining this capability is extremely expensive, so to offset the cost, the government helps British arms companies to sell as much as possible to other countries. When arms trade apologists like Francis Tusa point to the economic importance of the industry, we need to challenge the policies that led to that dependence.
But we also need to go further than that. To debate the economic importance of the arms trade is to allow its supporters to set the terms of the argument. The arms trade is no more important to our economy than the slave trade was in the 18th century. Back then many people defended slavery on the basis of its economic importance, but now no-one would say we were wrong to abolish it. Our strongest argument is the moral argument.
Back to the One Show report and studio guest Lorraine Kelly expressed concern that weapons sold to a foreign country may subsequently be used to kill British soldiers sent to fight in that country. While it’s nice that she questioned the wisdom of arms exports, her comment carried the assumption that any such UK invasion would be justified. As anti-militarists, we are opposed not only to arming other countries, but also to equipping British forces to wage imperialist wars like the one in Iraq.
However, despite its shortcomings, the One Show report was valuable in raising the issue of the UK’s immoral trade in arms with an audience of millions who may not normally be aware of it.
For episode 78, the Dissident Island Crew put together something extra hot.. A Sex Worker Special! The show features:
* Ava Caradona from x:talk discussing sex work and border regimes
* Claire, speaking candidly about her experiences of the vulnerabilities of working in different sex work settings
* Luca, a queer sex worker, political activist, and Open Sex Workers' University organiser, talking about his experiences and politics
The show also features some whoretastic music, announcements, and banter. Finishing off the evening we had a back-to-back Danzchlag set from Shibby Shitegeist and Bunni Splanchnik
20-03-2011 17:18The Arab League has strongly criticized the West's military air strikes on Libya, since they resulted in civilian casualties almost immediately after invasion.
20-03-2011 11:23Representatives of the company Veolia have withdrawn from a business presentation at Birmingham Council House on Monday 21st March 2011 following pressure from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Veolia has been the subject of an international campaign due to its involvement in illegal infrastructure projects in the occupied Palestinian territories. Keith Riley, Managing Director of Technical Services for Veolia had been expected to address a Green Monday event of Corporate Climate Change Leaders.
20-03-2011 09:23The chairman of the police federation has spoken publicly of his officers' increasing support for austerity protesters. Apparently as they bash us over the head next saturday they'll be with us in spirit. But worst of all, he makes the claim that it is the police who are really the victims of austerity.
20-03-2011 09:19Ahead of the National Union of Students elections in April 2011, we publish here an interview with the left-wing candidate Mark Bergfeld, as well as two short replies by students involved in education campaigns.
“I doubt Bergfeld has the strategy to win”, says Patrick Rolfe, Really Open University
“Let’s critically support Mark”, says Jess Bradley, Students for Sensible Drug Policy