UK Newswire Archive
Trident Ploughshares and Faslane Peace Camp Blockade Trident Base
Tuesday 10 May, 2011
10-05-2011 19:22Taking Control West Midlands gathering, this weekend in Birmingham.
10-05-2011 18:50***Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair Afterparty***
8:00 til 2:00, Saturday 21st May
@ the Redhouse, 168 Solly Street
10-05-2011 18:18Media Lens is a media analysis organisation set up by David Edwards and David Cromwell in 2001 to highlight the shortcomings of mainstream media reporting in Britain. Sending out regular email alerts to its subscribers, it questions the coverage of key topics by ‘impartial’ sources like the BBC, as well as traditionally liberal publications like the Independent. Ultimately, it hopes to encourage members of the public to challenge journalists and editors over the way they report. After publishing a couple of Media Lens alerts in Now Then in the past few months, we spoke to David Edwards about the venture and how it got off the ground on the month of its 10th anniversary.
10-05-2011 17:49Public sector cuts being introduced by the coalition government are having an overwhelmingly negative impact on public and voluntary sector organisations providing services for refugees and asylum seekers in Oxfordshire.
10-05-2011 16:25Iranian Hunger Strikers and Petition submission by Peacestrike to 10 Downing Street
It is now 35 days since they started their action.
Despite poll data showing opposition, they continue because people focus more on bread and circuses than activism, the only way to achieve constructive change. It's high time opinions became anger enough to significantly make a difference. It better because the alternative is too dire to imagine.
PEACE CAMPS FIRST ACTION IN THE YEAR OF THE GRAND RE-OPENING
10-05-2011 14:55Police have so far paid out £250,000 in damages to people arrested over the G20 protests, "the bulk of it to 66 activists held during a controversial raid on a squatted building." Sound a little familiar?
"Police paid £250,000 in compensation to people arrested over G20 protests"
From the footage I've seen of the Stokes Croft riots it looks like there's plenty of scope for people to begin claiming damages against the Police, and to turn the tables back on them.
These damages, plus the 'unlawful killing' of Ian Tomlinson hardly put the Police in a position to be given any benefit of the doubt regarding events on a more local level.
In the longer term any funds the Police manage to secure from central government to pay for their provocative and brutal policing in Bristol, may well end up being diverted back into the hands of local residents.
"Extra funds could pay for tackling Bristol riots"
This money, depending on the inclinations of each claimant, could then be ploughed back into compensating local businesses for lost custom, and even to start new ones, securing our own redevelopement of the area along non-corporate lines.
So, I would suggest it's time to now start turning the tables on the Police, to bring them to book, and to turn the screws on any funding they may receive, and to divert those funds back into the community.
To reuse some of the language the Police have used against protestors in Bristol...
It's time Police were now "hunted down relentlessly" while "leaving no stone unturned" in pursuit of this.
Legally speaking of course!
10-05-2011 14:10Monday 16th May at 8:00am, Lib Dem HQ, at 4 Cowley Street, Westminster
10-05-2011 12:00145 protesters who took part in the occupation of Fortnum and Mason on the 26th of March are facing imprisonment for aggravated trespass after they were arrested when leaving the store in the evening. Yesterday they appeared in court but their cases were adjourned. The state seems determined to make an example of these protesters by jailing them. Therefore they need all the support they can get.
Last week's local elections saw the LibDems get a kicking. Nowhere was this more obvious than in Nottingham City where they were wiped out.
Prior to the election, the local LibDems had 6 seats, afterwards they had none. This reflects trends across the country as their sycophantic role within the Tory-led coalition has alienated much of their base.
Among those who lost their seat was local party leader Gary Long who openly criticised Nick Clegg, calling for him to resign.
Many commentators have suggested that the LibDems suffered much more from the policies of the coalition than did the Tories. While this is true, in Nottingham the Tories also lost 2 seats, seeing their councillors drop from 7 to 5.
This is worth reflecting on. While the LibDems have traditionally had a broadly left-leaning base who you might expect to oppose the cuts etc. it is rather more surprising that Tory voters might be opposed. There are a number of possible reasons for this, but perhaps it is simply that prior to last year's general election, people genuinely believed that the Tories were no longer the "nasty party," a delusion unsustainable in the face of everything which has happened over the last year.
It is worth noting that while opposition to central government policies may well have played a key in the election, that didn't translate into votes for explicitly anti-cuts candidates. The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition stood a candidate in Bulwell Forest but received both less votes and a smaller percentage of the votes cast in that ward (212, 1.6%) than did the candidate for the Militant Elvis Anti-Tesco Popular Front standing in Dales (322, 3.0%).
The election has consolidated the Labour Party's control over the council, increasing their seats from 42 to 50 (91%). If the opposition was ineffective before, it is now essentially non-existent. Nottingham has essentially become a one party state.
While it is understandable that lefties should revel in the schadenfreude of the LibDem and Tory difficulties it goes without saying that we can expect little from the cabal of Jon Collins.
Under the previous arrangement the Labour Party got away with the council housing scandal, Harold Tinworth, Michael Frater, abuse of council publicity and everything else. Their scope for corruption is now only going to increase.
Those on the left who contend that as bad as Labour might be, the Tories would be worse no longer have an excuse for not not pulling their weight in campaigns against the council. The Tories need an inconceivably large shift to seize the council (even in a coalition). Even if pressure resulted in the Labour Party losing 20 seats and they'd still hold the council.
Given the unthinking attachment that the more dogmatic Labour supporters have to the party, this may be clutching at straws, but it is clear that activists in the city must think about how this impacts on our activity locally.
While there is clearly some value to harassing the local LibDems (and who wasn't amused to hear about their problems with their freepost address?) to influence the party on a national level, in the city they are essentially politically irrelevant. The Labour Party and in particular the figures at the top like Jon Collins and Graham Chapman are the people in control. We should make sure that they are in no doubt what we think of what they're up to.
In other news, the fascist BNP stood 2 candidates in Bilborough. These were the only candidates they stood in Nottinghamshire. They didn't come anywhere near taking the seat, but polled a combined 7.0% of the vote in the ward. This is hardly an astonishing figure, but comes at a time when the BNP is imploding nationally, in an area where they have done little work and following an extensive leafleting campaign by Unite Against Fascism.
One of the candidates, Simon "Bob" Brindley, previously stood as a parliamentary candidate in Nottingham North, the area which incorporates Bilborough, so this isn't simply an air-lifting exercise and anti-fascists should keep an eye on the party's activities in the area. The BNP have never amounted to much in Nottingham (thanks in large part to carefully applied pressure), it is important to make sure this situation continues.
As is so often the case at elections, the great untold story is turnout. Much of the population has long since given up on electoral democracy, with good reason, and most people reject all the parties on offer by not voting.
At this election, turnout in Nottingham was 37.6%, putting rejection at 62.4%. Recall that turnout is based on the number of people registered to vote. Nobody knows how many people fail (deliberately or otherwise) to register.
In fact this figure is up from the last local elections in 2007 when turnout was 32.4%, or the previous election when it was 29.02%. The additional publicity provided by the AV referendum (which Nottingham, like most of the country, rejected, insofar as it bothered to express an opinion) may have helped this time. However, the general increase is attributable primarily to a massive increase in the number of postal votes.
Recall that postal voting is much more susceptible to electoral fraud, a concern raised by the Electoral Reform Society. With postal vote applications soaring, alongside only a slight increase in turnout and a shift to Labour, readers are invited to draw their own conclusions.