Monday, 30 November 2015

The Social Cleansing of Brixton

The demand for housing in London is becoming so great that poorer areas of the city once overlooked are now becoming 'desirable'. Places like Brixton with a large pool of older housing stock as well as lots of social housing along with good public transport links relatively close to the centre of London are in high demand.

Venture around the back of Brixton and you'll see a house building boom. Places such as  Myatt's Fields, Robsart Street, Stockwell Green and Coldharbour Lane to name but a few have hundreds of new units being built. 

New low-rise flats being built around Myatts Field most of which will
start at £400,000 
Little or none of this building work is for the social housing market. This government and the Mayor of London Johnson are also proposing that council and housing association rents should rise to 80% of private sector rent prices. This will socially cleanse Lambeth, and Brixton, of thousands of tenants. 

Add to the equation what's going on in Brixton Town centre, the railway companies raising rents of railway arches way above that affordable to small, often family run, businesses. These the very backbone of community traders in touch with their working class customers.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Act as Usual Day

Trick or Treat, high school proms, Dress Down Friday and Black Friday traditions or practices that have seeped into our lives from the USA. In my view most of these practices promote a negative rather than positive side to American culture as they celebrate materialism and addictive consumerism.
Conversely creating and supporting a Buy Nothing Day in opposition to Black Friday is merely pandering to the tyranny of consumer capitalism. Drawing attention to Black Friday by forming a counter Buy Nothing Day is not the solution to curbing consumer excesses. Rather it comes across as a smug reaction to the more consumerist among us.
Instead of one or the other why don’t people simply carry on their lives as they would normally? If you need a new pair of shoes, go out and buy your shoes.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Progress Adds Nothing to Momentum

Lambeth Momentum met last night. It appears we are an open and inclusive group. Now I'm all in favour of openness, however as inclusiveness is an absolute I'm more inclined here to be careful. Why we allowed Progress members into the group I'm unsure. This poisonous group of right-wing Blairites is doing its utmost to stymie Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, just as they tried to derail his bid for the position.
After a good debate on Syria it was decided, almost overwhelmingly, to put forward a motion to the three Lambeth CLPs. The motion is to call for a No vote next week to the UK's military involvement in Syria. 
However, the Progress member present did not agree with the motion calling for the UK not to bomb or go to war in, Syria. Arrogantly he tried to put his argument across despite 60-odd people agreeing with the motion.
The Chair, Ruth Cashman, quite correctly moved business on not allowing this minority voice the oxygen of Blairite publicity.
If it were my decision Progress members would not be welcome to Momentum meetings. Last night's Syrian motion showed the massive gulf between the two groups. We are inconpatible having very divergent opinions on everything from austerity to Syria.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

He's appealing cos he's not kneeling

I can think of nothing more obscene
Than to having to kneel before the queen
Who’s only royal by accident of birth
And has an overblown sense of self-worth.
At the Cenotaph Corbyn respectfully stood
But this was deliberately misunderstood
By our vindictive redtop fourth estate
More interested in promoting hate.
Jeremy can’t do right for doing wrong
Even in parliament he doesn’t belong
As straight talk and being basically decent
Are terra incognita to the most recent
Parliamentary set of grey-suited yahoos
Better identified by their guffawing boos
And their lazy Lords of Creation attitude
That gives approval for their being bloody rude.
However, Corbyn is a politician of honest conviction
Unlike those others, just poor works of fiction
Whose pages are read but nothing stick
As they pursue fleeting fame and the quick fix.

Friday, 6 November 2015

I love the sound of breaking glass

Pop, crack, tinkle. The noise of me having a leak in the White Horse pub on Brixton Hill. Went for a couple of wet ones with a departing workplace colleague. My colleague, Anna, qualified as a full blown British Sign Language Interpreter this summer; recently she succeeded in finding a job in her chosen field. Well done Anna. The BSLI’s gain is our loss.

With a neurogenic bladder it doesn’t take long before the call of the loo comes. It didn’t help with me drinking a triple espresso and a strong Americano coffees earlier in the day.

(Note to self: avoid coffee on days you’re going for a beer. Reminder to self: remember to look at this Blog on days you’re going for a beer.)

We used the pub because I knew they had an ‘accessible’ toilet. However, on arriving at the WC armed with my Radar key I noticed a large beer keg gas bottle. This wasn’t a problem for me as it stood to one side of the toilet bowl. Opening the door wider I noticed boxes stacked at the back of the toilet. Around 16 boxes of GLASSES!

Having locked the door, had a pee and arranged myself back in my wheelchair I began a 33 point turn. As I began reversing I heard; POP! Followed by CRACK! Followed by TINKLE! With each manoeuvre the same riff.

When I told the bar worker she looked aghast. She apologised before asking whether there were any breakages to which I informed her in the affirmative.

Who the fuck leaves glasses in an adapted toilet? Mops, cleaning paraphernalia, spare chairs and Christmas trees I can kind of see how people pub people would abuse adapted toilets this way. But glasses?

What’s the strangest thing with which you’ve shared an adapted toilet?

Thursday, 5 November 2015

How do we break down barriers for disabled people?

How do we break down barriers for disabled people?

To begin with let's hold rogue employers to account. Strengthen, or better still, actually use current legislation to its full extent. Years ago I recall Margaret Hodge claiming that disabled people shouldn't rush to litigation when confronted with discrimination, but rather they should negotiate.

The days for negotiation are long gone. Successive governments tell us that employers need education not legislation. I don't see this applied anywhere else. Why can't we educate benefits claimants rather than using sanctions against them? Why not educate 'debtors' instead of evicting them?

No, let's use legislation as a blunt instrument to bash recalcitrant employers over the head, in the same manner the Tories are planning with their vicious anti trade union laws.

Tom Shakespeare, in every other area of civil life there are laws and rules by which we live. If and when we stray across the boundaries within which these laws and rules are set, we are punished.

In attempting to make a case for the use of law I am also aware that this government and its predecessor have ensured that millions of us are denied access to the law by placing, often insurmountable, financial barriers. As we are left with fewer 'legitimate' avenues from which to fight our corner alternatives such as taking to the streets and civil disobedience are all that remain.