SHAC Alternative Housing Awards 2018
Bishopsgate, London. Wed 5 Dec 2018
from Unite Housing Worker's Branch after the awards were made
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Together for Climate Justice
London. Sat 1 Dec 2018
The Statue of Taking Liberties at the head of the
Climate march to Downing St
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
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.
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
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
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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