my london diary index


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All pictures Copyright © Peter Marshall 2018, all rights reserved.
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SHAC Alternative Housing Awards 2018

Bishopsgate, London. Wed 5 Dec 2018
Nick from Unite Housing Worker's Branch after the awards were made
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SHAC Social Housing Action Campaign) hold their annual Alternative Housing Awards outside the National Housing Awards which were taking place at etc.venues 155 Bishopsgate, part of the Broadgate development.

SHAC is a joint initiative between housing associations and co-operative residents, housing activists and members of the Unite Housing Workers Branch demand that housing associations end commercialisation, improve services, provide safe and secure homes, build truly affordable housing and offer decent pay and conditions for their staff.

The Alternative Housing Awards cups for Housing Associations as landlords were awarded to Sanctuary Housing for Most Rotten Repairs, London & Quadrant for Soaring Service Charges, Peabody Trust for Senseless Social Cleansing and Dodgy Development, with a special mention for The Old Tidemill Garden in Deptford, Notting Hill Genesis for Rocketing Rents, Optivo for Secrecy, Unaccountability & Spin, Tower Hamlets Community Housing for Blundering Board and Management, with Clarion Housing Group as Overall Lousy Landlord.

Looking at them as employers, Catalyst were winners for Poverty Pay, St Mungo's for Punitive Performance Management, Peabody Trust gained a second award for its Relentless Restructures with Catalyst being awarded as Overall Bullying Bosses.

As none of the Housing association bosses had turned up to receive their awards, after the citations for one of the awards had been read by Nick from Unite Housing Workers Branch the small trophy was instead handed to a resident or trade unionist involved with the winning housing association, who each made a speech of acceptance, adding more damning details of their actions.

The protest took place on the steps leading up to 155 Bishopsgate. Security there objected to banners being taped to the wall, worried that the gaffer tape might cause some damage, but told the campaigners the protest could go ahead on the private steps if these were removed - which after some argument they were.

a giving cups to housing associations for poor repairs, service charges, social cleansing & dodgy development, rents, lack of accountability & spin, blundering management, poverty pay, punitive performance management, relentless restructures and overall bullying. Nick from Unite Housing read lengthy indictments for each award before inviting tenants and trade unionists involved with each to speak.
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BBC Boycott Eurovision Israel 2019

Broadcasting House, London. Sat 1 Dec 2018
There were around a hundred pro-Palestine protesters listening to speeches outside the BBC
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Protesters called on the BBC to withdraw from the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest hosted by Israel, to avoid being complicit in Israel's ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others say the contest 'artwashes' Israel's human rights record, including the killing of at least 205 Palestinians by Israeli forces in the besieged Gaza Strip since protests began at the end of March, and the passing of the Jewish nation state law which formalises an apartheid system in Israeli law. Also supporting the #BoycottEurovision2019 protest were the Stop The War Coalition, Palestinian Forum UK and Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA).

The protest was opposed by a small group of Zionists who were shouting hate slogans against Hamas and some of whom made unfriendly gestures towards me as I photographed them. I stayed back a little more than usual in case they spat at me.
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Together for Climate Justice

London. Sat 1 Dec 2018
The Statue of Taking Liberties at the head of the Climate march to Downing St
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Several thousand marched through London from a Campaign against Climate Change led rally outside the Polish Embassy where grave doubts were expressed about next week's UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland, which are being sponsored by leading firms in Poland's fossil fuel industry.

Speakers, including Labour MP Clive Lewis, Green Party co-leader Sian Berry, Anna Gretton from Extinction Rebellion, UCU Vice President Nita Sanghera, Neil Keveren of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, Paul Allen from Zero Carbon Britain, Beatriz Ratton of Brazilian Women Against Fascism, Asad Rehman of War on Want, and Richard Roberts, fracking direct action campaigner whose recent prison sentence for lorry surfing at Preston New Road was overturned and was released from jail with a conditional discharge expressed solidarity with protesters in Poland and stressed the urgent need to cut CO2 and methane emissions.

At the end of the rally we were all taught to say a couple of slogans in Polish, including 'Razem dla klimatu' (Together for the Climate) which appeared on a number of placards, and the rather less pronounceable Polish for 'Time to limit to 1.5', as well as for 'Climate, jobs, justice!'.

The march then set off, going through the centre of London to Downing at where there was a further rally with speeches from Labour MP Barry Gardiner,
Liz Hutchins of Friends of the Earth, a woman from Frack Free United and a final speech by Claire James of Campaign against Climate Change who introduced a speaker on behalf of the Global South, where people are already dying because of climate change.
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Stop Universal Credit day of action

Camden Town, London. Sat 1 Dec 2018
Some stood with banners while others handed out leaflets to the many passing by
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Protesters in Camden Town handed out leaflets in one of many nationwide protests in a day of action called by Unite Community to stop Universal Credit.

They want an end to the long wait before claimants receive money, for applications to be at job centres as well as online, better help when the system fails people, direct payments to landlords to avoid rent arrears and evictions and an end to benefit sanctions for all claimants.

For those in the many areas that have been moved on to Universal Credit in the previous week, the move will hit them particularly hard, with the normal six week waiting time meaning they and their families will have no money over Christmas. UC has created incredible hardship, pushing many into extreme poverty and destitution, making them reliant on food banks and street food distributions, greatly increasing the number of homeless and rough sleepers. Thanks to Tory policies, more than 120,000-plus homeless children in Britain will spend Christmas in hostels and B&Bs, many without the means or facilities to provide a Christmas meal.

Some have said that UC is a part of a "state euthanasia" system for the poor, with academic estimates that it and other benefit cuts and sanctions since the 2010 elections having caused 110,000 early deaths, including many suicides. A cross party committee has called for its rollout to be halted until improvements are made, but the government has dismissed virtually all criticism of the system, making only insignificant changes.

While the government's policies have led to a huge growth in the number of foodbanks and the demand on them, the only Conservative response has been to encourage MPs to make festive visits to them with donations for publicity photographs, something that has sickened

The main banner here points out that it hands more financial power to male claimants making it a misogynist's dream, forcing women in violent relationships into greater dependency on their violent male partners.
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