Tag Archives: march

The masses march for People’s Vote as MPs debate Johnson’s Brexit deal

While MPs debated whether to support a Brexit deal that will deny the electorate a voice, thousands of voters – maybe a million – gathered in London to demand the right to vote on it.

As I write this, the “People’s Vote” marchers are campaigning for simple democracy – that the government should allow a public vote to ensure that Boris Johnson’s new deal has the support of the people as a whole, rather than just a few hundred highly-privileged, mostly-Tory MPs.

The march began at midday in Park Lane, with an intention to end in Parliament Square.

Twitter has been covering it in pictures:

https://twitter.com/livenorton/status/1185519591545606144

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Pro-Palestine demonstration in London to show support after latest violence

Propagandists for the apartheid Israeli government took a psychological battering when thousands took to the streets of London for a demonstration of solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.

Thousands of people marched through central London on Saturday to mark the 71st anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe), and to call for an end to the latest hostilities between Israel and the remnants of Palesine that the Israeli government is working hard to destroy.

The demonstration was organised for by the Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB), Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and Stop the War Campaign (STW).

If you need a reason to understand the need for such a demonstration, consider:

Armed factions in Gaza have given Israel until Monday to deliver on its commitments under a ceasefire agreement reached earlier this week.

That ceasefire brought to an end more than 48 hours of violence across the Gaza-Israel boundary that left 27 Palestinians in Gaza dead – 14 of them civilians killed by Israeli fire – as well as four civilian fatalities on the Israeli side.

The agreement reached on Monday is understood to be similar to understandings that brought an end to major Israeli offensives in Gaza in summer 2014 and November 2012.

The immediate steps expected by Palestinian factions include the reopening of the fishing zone, the transfer of funding from Qatar and the reopening of Gaza’s commercial crossings.

“In Gaza, where the economy struggles for survival and residents face adverse humanitarian conditions, every additional day that passes until these further restrictions are lifted by Israel has severe implications,” Gisha, a human rights group that monitors Israel’s siege, stated on Tuesday.

“Traders cannot fulfil their business commitments, patients miss crucial appointments for life-saving treatment, and fishermen cannot feed their families,” Gisha added.

The rights group said that “Israel’s use of its control over the crossings to deliberately harm the civilian population in Gaza has to stop.”

Even when Israeli bombs aren’t being dropped, the status quo in Gaza – under air, sea and land blockade for more than a decade, and military occupation for half a century – is far from normal.

Every two in three Palestinians in Gaza is a refugee from lands now inside Israel, which forbids Palestinian refugees from exercising their right to return because they are not Jewish.

One wonders what the severely-outgunned Palestinians will do if Israel refuses to to honour the conditions of its own ceasefire – but what else can they do, other than demand that agreements be honoured?

And while it is true that neither side in this conflict can claim the moral high ground, one has to ask why the side with overwhelming military superiority insists on continuing to inflict terror on the weaker side – if not in order to wipe it out altogether, eventually.

Opposition to that was another reason for the London march.

A highlight of the day was the speech by activist Ahed Tamimi, who served an eight-month prison sentence for slapping an Israeli soldier after her cousin, then aged 15, was shot in the head at close range with a rubber-coated steel bullet, severely wounding him.

There was considerable opposition to the Conservative government of Theresa May, over its support for the Israeli government:

The Labour Party’s position is clear. In government, it will recognise Palestine as a sovereign state. Labour was well-represented on the demonstration:

Of course, this is the reason supporters of the Israeli government are so keen to smear Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the party as anti-Semites, in the face of the evidence showing he has supported the Jewish people as well as Palestinians.

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‘People’s Vote’ march shows Brexit hasn’t robbed Britain of its wit

According to the police, no less than two million people attended the march for a “people’s vote” on Brexit, in London today (March 23).

You can see the size of the event here:

https://twitter.com/livenorton/status/1109443664852467712

And here:

And while some couldn’t resist trying to score party political points with barbs at Jeremy Corbyn, we won’t discuss them in this article.

Why would we, when we can have fun with images of the inventive placards that people created for the day?

Like this:

And this:

Most to-the-point was this (with apologies for the profanity):


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Who’s the ‘pathetic cretin’ now, Stewart Jackson?

“What a pathetic cretin”: Stewart Jackson.

Former MP – also former chief of staff to David Davis when he was Brexit Secretary – Stewart Jackson must be wishing he had thought before putting finger to keypad.

He overreacted to a tweet by Remainer Anthony Hobley, referring to his stepson’s disappointment at being unable to participate in the “People’s March” for a second EU referendum vote, that took place on Saturday; he was in hospital after an operation.

Mr Jackson’s tweeted response was: “What a pathetic cretin.”

Oh really? Who, exactly, is the “pathetic cretin” in this situation?

Members of the public took him at face value and panned him for attacking a hospitalised boy – they considered him to be the subject of Mr Jackson’s scorn.

The former MP himself has taken issue with this; he reckons his tweet was aimed at Mr Hobley, who he claimed was irresponsible for “invading a sick child’s privacy” to make a “political point”.

How does he know Mr Hobley wasn’t relating the lad’s actual opinion? He doesn’t.

So let’s get back to the question posed in the headline. Who is the “pathetic cretin” in this story?

Mr Hobley?

His stepson?

Or Mr Jackson?

I think we all know the answer.

If you want more details, visit this article or this one.

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It was the biggest protest march in London since Iraq – and it will achieve as much

The masses on the march: This overhead view shows clearly the strength of feeling in support of democracy. But Theresa May isn’t listening.

When British citizens converged on London to protest against the UK’s participation in the Iraq War, it was estimated that between one million and two million people marched.

They achieved nothing. Then-prime minister Tony Blair was determined to take his country to war in the Middle East, on the basis of information we now know to have been nonsense.

On October 20, 2018, the British people again gathered in London, to demand a “people’s vote” on the UK’s membership of the European Union. As many as 670,000 people were estimated to have attended – a number only surpassed in the 21st century by that 2003 march against war in Iraq.

And it will achieve nothing. Current prime minister Theresa May is determined to take the country out of the EU, on a mandate that was influenced by arguments we now know to be nonsense. Even the BBC has confirmed that the Conservative government isn’t going to budge:

Aerial photograph shows the number of people attending was huge:

Social media commentators have praised the commitment of those who took part:

And some have even admitted that another referendum may not help:

But Downing Street won’t move.

At best, the demonstration makes it clear that there is significant opposition for the direction in which Mrs May and her government are taking the UK.

This may present some solace to us, if our fears are realised after March 30, 2019.

By then, if she gets her way, Mrs May will have started implementing the changes Brexit will allow – stripping working people of the rights they fought hard to win, turning the UK into a sweatshop for the poor and a tax haven for the rich.

It won’t help anyone. If predictions are accurate, all British citizens are likely to be worse-off as a result of Brexit.

Mrs May has already been told. The problem is, she just won’t listen.

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Tory starvation of school budgets has sold out the future, say head teachers on protest march

You can’t create the future of a country on the cheap – that is the message of the Worth Less campaign by head teachers. They’re saying no child is worth less funding from the ignorant rich who form the Conservative government; for all our futures’ sake, they deserve every opportunity.

Our future has been sold out because Tory policy demands it.

That is the message behind the protest at Downing Street by more than 2,000 head teachers.

The Conservative government doesn’t care because rich Tories can afford to send their kids to private schools – not that it helps them much, considering the lack of quality evidenced by recent graduates. Look at Boris Johnson (if you can bear it).

So our children are forced to bear the brunt of Tory cut after Tory cut, and their head teachers have been forced into the impossible situation of having to try to balance the books when it is impossible to do so without harming their pupils’ education – and jeopardising the future of the United Kingdom.

You see, every school-age child whose education suffers today is a future doctor, nurse, teacher, firefighter, captain of industry, leader in the fields of science and technology or pillar of the community who won’t achieve their potential because of the selfishness of the obscenely rich.

So enjoy the fruits of your tax cuts, all you Tory-voting idlers. You’ll be dining on ashes one day soon.

More than two thousand headteachers skipped class for an “unprecedented” march on Westminster demanding increased funding for schools.

School leaders from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland met in Parliament Square before marching to Downing Street where a letter was delivered demanding more money.

The protest – organised by grassroots campaign group Worth Less? – saw thousands of school leaders collectively take the day off work to ensure their voices were heard.

Headteachers on the rally warned of collapsing school buildings, significant cuts to teaching staff, bigger class sizes and a loss of support for the most vulnerable pupils amid budget pressures.

And more parents are being asked to pay for essentials – such as loo roll, paper and pens – while an increasing number of schools are considering a four-and-a-half day school week, unions said.

Of course the Conservative government’s Department for Education tells a different story – of huge amounts of money going into schools, with advice on how to cut non-staffing costs and government-backed deals on equipment and energy.

A Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson said: “There is more money going into schools than ever before, rising to a record £43.5bn by 2020 – 50 per cent more in real terms per pupil than in 2000.

“The OECD has recently confirmed that the UK is the third highest spender on education in the world, spending more per pupil than countries including Germany, Australia and Japan.

“Every school attracts more funding per pupil through the National Funding Formula, high needs funding has risen to over £6bn this year and the 3.5 per cent pay rise we announced for classroom teachers on the main pay range is backed by £508m government funding.

“We know that we are asking schools to do more, which is why we are helping them to reduce the £10bn spent each year on non-staffing costs, providing government-backed deals for things like printers and energy suppliers that are helping to save millions of pounds.”

But you’ll have noticed that none of the information from the DfE refers to any independent research on the amount of money needed per pupil to provide even the most basic education.

Does the £508 million of funding set aside for a 3.5 per cent teachers’ pay rise actually meet the cost of the increase, or will some of it have to come from other budgets?

An increase of 50 per cent more in real terms per pupil than in 2000 means nothing if it isn’t enough.

Labour’s shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, put the right perspective on it:

As did Dr Lauren Gavaghan:

And Rachael Swindon:

Source: Thousands of headteachers march on Westminster over school funding ‘crisis’ | The Independent

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VIDEO: Thousands (upon thousands) converge on London to demand a new deal for workers

The TUC march gets underway.

Trade unionists and workers from across the UK have converged on London in their thousands to demand a “new deal” for working people.

The TUC (Trade Union Congress) says real wages are still lower than before the crash in 2008; three million workers are stuck on zero hour contracts, in agency work and in low paid self-employment; hard-working public servants haven’t had a proper pay rise for eight years; our NHS is at breaking point; and years of cuts have led to poverty, homelessness and despair for too many.

This Writer agrees with every word.

And so, it seems, do the masses.

News coverage hasn’t been that wonderful, though. As I write this, the BBC News channel is broadcasting something called Royal Wedding Singalong so you can see what the priorities are there!

But there has been some coverage. Here’s Sky News:

Not sure about the link between Brexit and racism that the anchor was discussing? It has to do with an intervention by the UN’s special rapporteur on racism. See:

Back at the march, the BBC has broadcast a few interviews:

The participants certainly know how to make some noise – here’s the PCS Samba Band:

https://twitter.com/StuartBonar/status/995271242604273666

Here’s the GMB’s Paul Maloney on the reasons for the march:

And the TUC itself put out video information on the reasons for the march earlier:

The Conservative government is apparently trying to tell us we’ve never had it so good. Wages are up by £2,000 (a year?), according to people like Iain Duncan Smith. Unfortunately, experts are telling us real-terms wages won’t reach parity with 2008 levels until 2025.

The Tories are also telling us employment is at its highest in 40 years – a meaningless statistic if the amount those people are paid is negligible – and it is.

Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies appeared on BBC News to say that wages are stagnant because productivity is stagnant – we aren’t producing enough to be paid more. Until this changes, the situation is unlikely to improve.

That’s as may be, but executive pay has skyrocketed under corrupt Conservative rule while workers’ pay has stagnated.

Perhaps people might feel less inclined to take part in huge marches against austerity if of these greedy fatcats stopped taking all the cash.


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Public feeling about Grenfell is as angry as ever – but the authorities are still trying to screw the survivors

There was a huge turnout for a silent march in memory of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Sadly, the enthusiasm of the authorities in finding out the causes and identifying the culprits has been less visible.

Thousands took part in a silent march to commemorate the fire at Grenfell Tower – but a tiny minority of bureaucrats seem intent on preventing the survivors from getting justice for the dead.

The latest wheeze is a bid to wind up the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation – the body responsible for the management of the tower at the time of the fire.

If this happens before the inquiry into the circumstances of the fire is able to report, there are fears that those who may have responsibility for the tragedy will escape justice.

According to the Grenfell Action Group:

“1)   We understand that a motion calling for an adjournment of the vote on the resolutions was filed in time and in accordance with the relevant rules. It appears that it was nevertheless rejected by the KCTMO and was not sent out to members. We understand it will be proposed again on the day of the AGM

“2)  We understand that the venue for the AGM may have changed but formal notice of this change hasn’t been sent out.

“3)  If RBKC becomes sole member of the TMO there are concerns that:

  • The TMO might cease to exist as an organisation and therefore might not be subject to prosecution for corporate manslaughter;
  • If the TMO no longer exists liaison with the Inquiry, including on important matters of disclosure and witness participation and attendance, could be undermined.
  • Additionally, the TMO might not exist as an entity capable of being sued in civil proceedings for its acts and omissions prior to the Grenfell Tower fire;

“Crucially, all of these matters could prevent or undermine (a) the TMO being held accountable in relation to the fire and (b) prevent or undermine the search for the truth through all available legal avenues.

“4)  In any event, even if the TMO were not wound up, RBKC would have sole control over the manner in which the TMO interacts with the Public Inquiry and other criminal and civil justice processes including requests for disclosure.

“It is unclear why there is any need for haste in making a decision on this and a vote could be adjourned to allow for more information to be provided and further legal advice obtained.”

Clearly, the vote on Tuesday must be for the TMO to remain in operation. A future vote can demand that it is shut down – after the inquiry reports its findings and any further action, necessitated by that finding, is taken.

Any other course of action, it seems, would be an insult to this:

Plans to formally disband the Kensington and Chelsea tenant management organisation (KCTMO), the body responsible for Grenfell Tower, are being fought by survivors of the fire who fear that the move will allow officials to escape blame and scrutiny for their part in the disaster.

The proposal was first discussed in August by acting chief executive of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC), Barry Quirk.

But Grenfell survivors and other residents were alarmed when they received a letter from the tenant management organisation urging them to vote for it to be disbanded at its AGM on Tuesday 17 October.

Residents say that while they ultimately want the TMO to be dismantled, this must not happen before it has been scrutinised at the public inquiry.

Source: Grenfell survivors fear disbanding TMO will let officials escape blame | UK news | The Guardian


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Bristolians rise against austerity with ‘Fund our city!’ call

On the march: The Rally for Bristol.

As I write this, the people of Bristol are staging a rally against austerity-driven Tory cuts to funding and services for their city.

The event was called by city mayor Marvin Rees – and This Writer (a former Bristolian) agrees with his reasons.

Only today, I had to write about funding cuts to another local authority that have endangered Women’s Aid services there – putting lives at risk.

Tories don’t care. They think money is more important than human lives.

The event’s Facebook page states:

“Mayor Marvin Rees has called a march and rally on Saturday September 9th … to demand the Conservative government gives Bristol and other cities the funding we need for our public services and stops the cuts that are damaging the lives of so many.

“The general election and polls since have shown that austerity is now opposed by the great majority of the public. But despite its weak position this government is handing £70 billion to the wealthy in tax breaks over five years, even as it burdens Bristol City Council with cuts to bare-bones essential services totalling £104 million (10% cut each year).

“On September 9th, three days before the Mayor is set to lobby ministers at Westminster, let’s send a powerful message by marching in our thousands in Bristol and other cities: we won’t take any more cuts – not to our social care and NHS, our children’s services, our housing, our libraries, our arts, our community centres, our parks, our schools, our children’s crossing patrols…

“We’ve had enough of closures, privatisation and job losses, and we’re uniting – as workers, service users and citizens – to fight all the way for the investment we need in the public services and the living standards of our communities!”


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Women’s marches across the world: Great placards, but do we really feel safer?

Sir Ian McKellen with a placard showing his friend and colleague, Sir Patrick Stewart, in the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation ‘facepalm’ meme.
“Not my own – I found it at the end of the march in Trafalgar Square,” he admitted on Twitter.

I really hope the Women’s Marches, not only in Washington DC, or London, but everywhere they happened across the world, were declarations of intent, rather than end in themselves.

I don’t think anybody is safer from the ravages of Donald Trump (in the States), Brexit (in the UK) or any of the other evils taking place in the world right now, as a result of taking a weekend walk.

The events were tremendous outpourings of feeling – against oppression, “for the protection of our fundamental rights and for the safeguarding of freedoms threatened by recent political events; for the dignity and equality of all peoples, for the safety and health of our planet and for the strength of our vibrant and diverse communities” according to the Women’s March London website.

Those things are no safer today than they were on Friday.

I hope that everybody, who marched with placards held high, was also looking at the people around them, making connections, forming networks, and planning the steps that will need to be taken after the marches ended.

It was great to see so many celebrities taking part as well. I sincerely hope that they, with their much higher public profiles, will continue to support the rest of us. Ultimately, we are no different from them and the changes being inflicted on our way of life will harm them as well as us.

Those placards really were great, though. Let’s have a look at some of them, and some of the celebs who took part.

Carrie Fisher may have passed on but she has also passed into legend. This was just one of the many images based on her character, Princess/General Leia, from Star Wars. Many marchers turned up in costume as her.

Protesters called themselves ‘nasty women’ in reference to Donald Trump’s attack on Hillary Clinton:

‘Supernatural’ star Misha Collins with some ‘nasty women’.

https://twitter.com/vergilophile/status/822927031834963969

The march attracted many more people than the inauguration of Mr Trump, who has already been dubbed the least popular modern president:

ITV’s Queen Victoria – Jenna Coleman – marched in London. I’ve included the inset image of her as she took the main photo and therefore isn’t in it.

Likewise [Image blurred deliberately].

I’ll leave the last words to Sir Ian McKellen, who posted the following on Twitter:

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