Archive for the ‘politics’ Tag

Sex Worker Open University

Sex Worker Open University

Sex workers are routinely portrayed in the media as victims.

At London’s first ever Sex Worker Open University, over two hundred sex workers and allies from the UK and abroad took part in workshops, discussions and actions.

This film presents an alternative and empowered image of the sex worker.

Jubilation as Quakers endorse same-sex marriage

Jubilation as Quakers endorse same-sex marriage

Britain’s Quakers have this morning agreed to carry out same-sex marriages on the same basis as marriages for opposite-sex couples. The decision came after an intense week of debate and reflection at the Quakers’ Yearly Meeting in York.

Emotions ran high in the discussions and several people of various views were visibly in tears. Many participants hugged each other and expressed delight as the decision was reached.

People working for equality and inclusion within other churches and faith groups will be encouraged by the decision.

Quakers are now likely to face a difficult time with the law, which currently offers same-sex couples only civil partnerships, in which no religious element is allowed.

The statement agreed by the Religious Society of Friends, as Quakers are otherwise known, comes 22 years after they began formal consideration of the issue.

The Quakers agreed this morning that they would “treat same-sex committed relationships in the same way as opposite-sex marriages, reaffirming our central insight that marriage is the Lord’s work and we are but witnesses”

They further declared that “the question of legal recognition by the state is secondary”.

Woman ‘held for filming officers’

Woman ‘held for filming officers’

A woman is seeking a judicial review after she was allegedly detained and handcuffed by police who tried to get her mobile phone after she filmed them.

Gemma Atkinson said police stopped her boyfriend Fred Grace at Aldgate East station on suspicion of carrying drugs.

As she filmed the incident in March in east London an officer asked her to stop, citing anti-terror laws. Officers tried to take the phone, she claims.

The Metropolitan Police said it had received a complaint.

Ms Atkinson, 27, said police found no drugs on her boyfriend during the search on 25 March, but then turned their attention to her.

Ms Atkinson said: “I was still filming when a man [a plainclothes officer] came to me and told me that it was illegal under the Terrorism Act to film police officers.

“I put the phone in my pocket so he couldn’t get to it, he was asking for me to hand it over which I refused to do.

“So then he got other officers to come and hold both my arms then come at me to try and get my phone out of my pocket.

“I was pushed into this alcove in the station and I was yanked up and down for quite a while before I was handcuffed,” she said.

Vestas workers besieged by riot police

Vestas workers besieged by riot police

Workers staging a sit-in at the soon-to-close Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight are being starved out by police.

The police, many inside the factory and dressed in riot gear, have denied food to the workers who took over the factory offices last night, to protest about the closure of their factory. The police, operating with highly questionable legal authority, have surrounded the offices, preventing supporters from joining the sit-in, and preventing food from being brought to the protestors.

Around 20 workers at the Vestas Plant in Newport, on the Isle of Wight, occupied the top floor of offices in their factory to protest against its closure which will result in over 500 job losses.

Acting without an injunction, on private property, the police have repeatedly tried to break into the office where the protesting workers have barricaded themselves, and have threatened the workers with arrest for aggravated trespass, despite the fact that no damage has been done to the property where the protest is taking place. Police have also forcibly removed people from private property, another action that is of very questionable legality in the absence of a formal injunction.

The officer involved in the latter action was number 3606. The officer who appears to be in charge is 3115. It may help to let the local police authorities know that we are unhappy with their handling of the situation – in this case the email address to bombard is professional.standards@hampshire.pnn.police.uk

This heavy handed response is the latest in a long line of over-reactions to protest by various UK police forces.

For more updates on the Vestas occupation please visit Save Vestas.

Turbine factory shuts over sit-in

Turbine factory shuts over sit-in

A sit-in protest by about 25 workers has closed the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight.

Danish company Vestas Windsystems plans to lay off 625 workers at the end of July, despite rising profits.

It said the Newport factory was being closed due to reduced demand for wind turbines in northern Europe.

Those inside the Newport offices say they will stay until “someone listens”. Vestas said a consultation on the site’s future was still on-going.

The workers began their protest at about 1930 BST on Monday.

This lost generation has been betrayed by its elders

This lost generation has been betrayed by its elders

If you want the City to know your despair, there is no better place to declare it than on the roof garden of the Coq d’Argent. The designers emphasised the Square Mile’s historic function of allowing old money and new to meet and breed by laying out a lawn dotted with box hedges and giant stone balls that look as if they have come from the gateposts of a country estate.

Last Sunday, just before his 25th birthday, Anjool Malde, a stockbroker and organiser of “alpha parties” for his young and wealthy colleagues, walked past the Bank of England and took the private lift to the plutocratic playground. He ignored the offers of caviar, bought himself a glass of champagne, went to the edge and jumped. The last thing he saw was the offices of the financiers and regulators who destroyed Britain’s prosperity.

Only rarely can a journalist get away with speculating as to why a man committed suicide. An impenetrable darkness separates those who kill themselves from those who face identical burdens but carry on fighting. Nevertheless, we know that Deutsche Bank had sacked three of Malde’s close colleagues, and that personnel looked as if it wanted to fire him for a piffling crime against corporate correctness. It seems probable that, like hundreds of thousands of others, his road to perdition began with an email from some swine in human resources. More strikingly, Malde was a child of the long bubble, and could not cope with the notion that he must stop “living the dream”, as he called it.

His fatalism is everywhere. All the talk of green shoots misses the point that we are facing a social catastrophe that many in the British establishment lack the nerve to fight or even recognise.

Terrorist Neil Lewington wanted to rid country of non-Brits

Terrorist Neil Lewington wanted to rid country of non-Brits

A Tilehurst terrorist saw himself as ‘pure white’ and wanted to exterminate the UK of those he considered non-British.

Neil Lewington, 44, has been warned he faces a lengthy jail term after being convicted of seven out of eight offences at the Old Bailey yesterday.

He denied all eight charges but the jury took less than two days to come back with a verdict on charges including intent to endanger life and preparing for acts of terrorism.

The unemployed White Supremacist, of Church End Lane, was arrested by chance at Lowestoft railway station on October 30 last year after drunkenly urinating on the platform.

Police were amazed when they stumbled across two homemade explosive devices in his holdall and directed a search of his home, where a plethora of bomb making materials and neo-Nazi propaganda, including a handwritten Waffen SS UK members’ handbook, was found.

Lewington drunkenly told police on his arrest he was ‘Mr Bin Laden’ on his way for a ‘pyrotechnic weekend’ with his girlfriend who he had met on an internet chat room called Hot or Not.

The Met’s attack on photographers

The Met’s attack on photographers

Today the Metropolitan police service (MPS) issued advice to the public and the media on photography in public places. It details the Met’s interpretation of anti-terrorism legislation, and how these laws should be used against photographers. Professional photographers such as myself view it as part of an ongoing campaign to create a hostile environment for photography in the public sphere.

The advice covers section 44, section 43 and section 58a of the Terrorism Act 2000 (58a is more commonly known as section 76). On sections 44 and 43, the MPS say that “officers have the power to view digital images contained in mobile telephones or cameras carried by a person searched”.

Hickman & Rose’s Anna Mazzola argues this advice is highly questionable as it “does not take into account the fact that such images may be protected journalistic material – for example, special procedure material.”

Did the MPS seek legal guidance before they distributed this “advice”? Because rather than clarifying the Met’s position, it looks set to cause yet more confusion. As Mazzola says: “If the police truly want to convince journalists that they are committed to allowing freedom of expression and to enabling members of the press to do their jobs, then they should engage with these issues rather than issuing guidance which is likely to hamper them.”

Police fear far-right terror attack

Police fear far-right terror attack

Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command fears that right-wing extremists will stage a deadly terrorist attack in Britain to try to stoke racial tensions, the Guardian has learned.

Senior officers say it will be a “spectacular” that is designed to kill. The counter-terrorism unit has redeployed officers to increase its monitoring of the extreme right’s potential to stage attacks.

Commander Shaun Sawyer told a meeting of British Muslims concerned about the danger to their communities that police were responding to the growing threat.

Sawyer said of the far right: “I fear that they will have a spectacular… they will carry out an attack that will lead to a loss of life or injury to a community somewhere. They’re not choosy about which community.”

He said the aim would be to cause a “breakdown in community cohesion”.

Sawyer revealed that the Met commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, had asked the counter-terrorism command, SO15, to examine what the economic downturn would mean for far-right violence. The assessment concluded that the recession would increase the possibility of it.

Pathologist in Ian Tomlinson G20 case suspended

Pathologist in Ian Tomlinson G20 case suspended

The Home Office pathologist who ruled that Ian Tomlinson died of natural causes at the G20 protests has been suspended pending investigations into his professional conduct.

Freddy Patel, who conducted the first post-mortem examination on the newspaper vendor from east London and concluded he died of a heart attack, has been removed from the government
register of accredited forensic pathologists
amid concern as to whether he has breached regulations.

A second post-mortem by another pathologist found Mr Tomlinson died from internal bleeding in the stomach.

Video showed he had been struck with a baton and knocked to the ground by a policeman on 1 April.

Dr Patel found injuries on Mr Tomlinson’s body but concluded he died of natural causes. The controversy over Dr Patel’s involvement in the case prompted a review of his work by the Pathology Delivery Board, which monitors the Home Office register for the National Police Improvement Agency.