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(en) Britain, LONDON CALLING - THE BULLETIN OF LONDON CLASS WAR- MARCH 2005

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 3 Mar 2005 18:54:47 +0100 (CET)


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THE MET ARE ON A SINKING SHIP
New Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair (oh no, not another
one! Any relation we wonder?) has only been in office for a month - and
already he has caused outrage. Recently he was accused of wasting public
money by his decision to spend a hundred and twenty-five thousand
pounds publishing an open letter to Londoners advertising himself, and
wasting council taxpayers' money. He has also started a campaign
against middle class yuppies sniffing cocaine - strange, considering the
Met's history in taking coke themselves, busting dealers and re-selling
it on the streets. And bizarrely enough he visited Stoke Newington
Police Station straight after issuing the statement.

Stokey Police Station saw officers sacked for, and charged with,
supplying coke. Blair certainly hasn't done his home work, has he! We
don't hold out much hope for the new Met fuckwit! Now,
unbelievably, he wants to use a prison ship on the
Thames to hold the capital's binge drinkers and yobs. He said: "The
prison ship would be an option in the short term. The best bit is that
you wouldn't need planning permission. You could just keep moving it
around the Thames. But I am not sure I would be able to get away
with that." That's the Met's top knob speaking. He also said the
long-term answer to the capital's shortage of police cells was to build
big complexes of them on industrial estates. Sadly, we are not making
this up.

We would like to remind Blair about the on going problems with the
overcrowded Victorian prisons that still exist in London. Up to five
suicide attempts are occurring per day at Holloway Prison and recently
it emerged that one woman tried to hang herself six times in a single
night. Earlier this year, the then-governor Ed Willets said that staff
members were cutting down three women a day from makeshift
nooses. "It's five now," said a member of the current healthcare staff,
who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"The current situation is dismal and the end of the year is a particularly
vulnerable time for women," says Deborah Coles, who assists families
of inmates who die in prison, as part of a support group called
"Inquest." "We know that prisons cannot keep women safe: it is not
just those who are dying, but the high numbers self-harming and
attempting suicide every day. The future is looking extremely bleak."
To say that there is a crisis at Holloway Prison would be a great
understatement. It is very difficult to imagine conditions that would
cause this many suicide attempts. But it is clear that one of the main
problems at the prison is that of overcrowding - the female prison
population has increased an astronomical 250% in the past decade,
from 1,811 in 1994 to the current 4,475 and the Prison Service's own
research indicates that overcrowding in prison leads to more suicide
attempts. Wormwood Scrubs is another prison where many inmates
attempt - or succeed in committing - suicide. "Far too many people
find prison intolerable and are dying as a direct consequence of our
love affair with punishment and incarceration" - another statement by
an anonymous prison officer.

H.M.BRIXTON

With over ten years Brixton has faced problems with racism, beatings
and more corruption by the screws and has a terrible past history. Even
a black officer who complained about the beating up of a prisoner faced
abuse and ostracised for making a stand against the behaviour of staff
at the prison. Another issue Ian Blair is forgetting is that our gaols face
a struggle to cope with the problem of mental illness behind bars. The
crisis has got so severe that the Governor of Brixton Prison says he's
breaking the law by keeping some inmates behind bars beyond their
release date, so they can't re-offend. Proper treatment is
so scarce - all four thousand suitable secure psychiatric beds are
already full. Almost unnoticed by the outside world, our prisons have
started to fill up with mentally disordered men and women.

WANDSWORTH PRISON 'DETERIORATING'

Conditions at another of Britain's biggest gaols are slowly
deteriorating. Black and other ethnic minority prisoners in
Wandsworth consistently complained about racism, and overcrowding
made conditions worse. An inspection 16 months ago
recommended a reduction in prison numbers until the prison was fully
staffed - to date this has not happened. The prison "was failing to
meet basic standards of decency and activity for most of its 1460
prisoners". With other prisons in England sharing the same, if not
worse problems, Blair should be thinking about what he is saying
before he spurts his mouth off trying to impress Londoners; and as
usual we see the likes of Blair ignoring the real issues... May we
suggest that Blair puts the prison hulk currently at Portland in Dorset
to good use by placing the Met police aboard and slowly sail it away
out to sea.

CLASS WAR AND LONDON CALLING ARE FREE TO PRISONERS

IAN BLAIR FACTFILE
DoB: 19 March 1953 (Pisces)
Education: Wrekin College; Harvard High School, LA; Christ Church,
Oxford (MA) - read English.
Family: Married Felicity Jane White in 1980 (one son, one daughter).
Interests: Skiing, tennis, golf, theatre

Ian Blair is probably best known on the anarchist scene as the cop in
charge of policing the Newbury bypass protests of the 1990s, for which he
was rewarded by promotion to Chief Cuntstable of Sussex in 1998. Not so
well known, though, is his support for Brian Paddick, who can now expect
his career to resume the fast track it was on several years ago.
Blair was also instrumental in the creation of the Community Support
Officers - pseudoplod - we see so often on our streets. However, it's
unlikely that he will do too much to antagonise the Police Federation,
as witness his support for the two officers who killed Harry Stanley when
there was the aborsive SO19 firearms officers' 'strike' recently.
Ian Blair, like his namesake Tony, is a fervent Christian, motivated by
service, loyalty and god-bothering values - according to his friends.
And according to his enemies? Wait and see!

WHOOPS! OUR JAMIE DOES IT AGAIN!
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's restaurant Fifteen has been lambasted by
Hardin's Food Guide for the third year running.

The 2005 Hardin's London restaurants guide said it was "amateurish"
and rated it the worst of 32 surveyed. Food, service and atmosphere
were all rated low at the Hoxton restaurant which was supposed to be
opened to give disadvantaged young
people chef training.

"Just because it's a charity doesn't give them the right to rip people
off," said one customer in the guide. The restaurant, where a meal
without wine costs around seventy quid a head, with wine at twelve
quid a bottle (cheapest) that will be a hundred and sixty quid for a meal
for two not including the tip, bangers & mash is on the menu and
unbelievably most of the staff who are unemployed are getting paid by
the social, what a great turnover for Jamie, Fifteen was also ranked
fourth most expensive place to eat in London and eighth in the list for
most disappointing cooking.

"I don't think it is a surprise that it hasn't lived up to people's
expectations but it is a surprise about how badly it has come out in the
survey," guide co-editor Peter Harden said.

CHEAP AS CHIPS

Jamie Oliver who claims that he is losing over a million a quid a year at
his Hoxton restaurant has had a taste of his own medicine and he
doesn't like it. A fake version of his recipe book has appeared at
markets, tons of genuine recipes and colour pictures of his dishes.
According to Oliver's publisher Penguin, the fake book - called Return
of the Naked Chef - you can pick up the fake book for £9 instead
of £14.

The BBC has dropped so called chef Jamie after he refused to stop
selling his sole (and soul) to Sainsburys. We think Jamie who probably
had a backward upbringing has a strange obsession with Sainsbury's,
he just worships the supermarket
company. Last issue of London Calling we claimed he was a
Sainsbury's whore and if you are about to have your beans on toast
with balsamic vinegar don't read on as we have just learned that
recently Oliver's mother, father and grandmother have
joined him and his wife Jules in the advertisements. Urgh! Fucking
gross.

Next months shocking horror news on Jamie Oliver's NEW rip off
restaurant which is two minutes down the road from his.

ANTI-OLYMPIC ACTION
An anti-Olympic demonstration took place on 19 February. About a
hundred and fifty people marched from Stratford to Hackney Marshes
to protest against the possibility of London getting the 2012 Olympics.
Although there was a relatively large police presence, no one got
nicked.

One gormless Forward Intelligence Team officer provided some
amusement. When it was pointed out to him that his epaulettes were
missing a letter (on each shoulder!) he claimed that they had 'run out'
of 'C's. More likely there's a thief in his office - or no one likes
him and they've fobbed him off with a crap excuse.

Should London get the Olympics, large parts of working class East
London will be adversely affected. We strongly encourage all members
and supporters to attend any future anti-Olympic activities, so that this
threat to our communities can be averted.

ADVERTISEMENT
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Ardwick, Longsight and Levenshulme in south Manchester, England.
"Under the Pavement" brings you regular guests and interviews, news from
Indymedia, what's on guide in association with The Networking Newsletter Project
and reports from south Manchester's radical and activist communities.
The music is an alternative/ leftfield eclectic playlist covering indie,
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Tune in every other Monday from 9.00pm until 11.00pm on ALL FM

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
We received the following email concerning the article about the
Hackney Empire in February's London Calling:

I just wanted to say that the statements you have made against the
Empire are not only wrong but ludicrous. As a regular I am well aware
of the programming and it is as diverse as the community surrounding
it. The booking fees are a quarter of those at Ocean or through
Ticketmaster and actually twelve pound fifty is not a lot to pay for a
show that costs a lot to put on. As far as I am aware the Ocean did not
go bust because of the cost of tickets, but because of poor
management and the lack of a tube in Hackney: big names would not
come to Hackney as they made a loss. Every Friday night for example
the Empire runs a talent show with a predominately black audience,
followed on a Saturday night by a comedy night with some of the
biggest names in the UK performing for just ten pound fifty. Plus the
ticket offer is available for all Hackney workers
or those who live there and is there to encourage the
local community. It must cost a fortune to run a venue
of its size and the arts council are hardly generous, in fact Hackney
Council wanted to sell it on some years ago to make way for a car park!
Whilst I agree that theatre must be accessible to all, especially the
locals in Hackney, the prices are set to only cover costs, not make a
profit and have at no time have I ever felt that it is too expensive or that
there are not shows for everyone. your comments are absurd and
ignorant of the venue and the staff who try so hard to make the venue
accessible. With people like you putting it down, it is no wonder people
stay away. My advice is to call the box office to find out of 2-4-1 offers
on shows and dis-counts for groups etc as I hear they are running offers
on the Friday and sat night shows at the moment. But hey, I am sure
they appreciate the attention your article may get
them, at least if anyone who reads it calls up they can be put right by
the staff there, who I might add are very helpful.

Melanie

London Calling replies:

Firstly, let's take a look at what diverse shows we can see in February
so we can see if our claims are wrong and ludicrous. Well, we can sit
and listen to ex-Labour minister Mo Mowlan, Anuna, the original
voices of Riverdance (tickets costing twelve fifty), the Viennese Strauss
Gala (tickets twelve fifty), or The Hackney Proms (tickets a tenner). So
there's three shows we can see if we like listening to opera, and there's
us thinking everyone in Hackney listens to Eminin. Very diverse,
Melonie. OK, we can book through Ticketmaster - who actually
charge a two fifty booking fee - or from the Empire, who charge a 50p
booking fee. Therefore a cost of up to fifteen quid, plus a crapaccino in
the bar, puts the cost at seventeen fifty per person. Despite Melanie's
protestations, we think it is a lot to pay especially if you are

on benefits or a low income, which many Hackney residents are.
(Choice is fine, if you can afford it.)

If you are so concerned about why locals laugh at the shows you put
on maybe you should try asking them what they want. Perhaps using
local talent and cheaper seats would increase sales instead of trying to
attract only middle class bohemians. Also, what the hell is that bar
doing there? Throughout Hackney the Empire's bar is well-known as
the most expensive in the area, charging West End
prices. Is it for the locals? We have no choice but to go to the local
Wetherspoon's. There's also free parking for people going to the
Empire, and we've seen a lot of customers arrive in a taxi (black cabs!)
or use the free parking and leave quicker than they have arrived. Local
businesses see nothing of the Empire's customers, who bring nothing
into the local community. This is just another
instance of gentrification in Hackney, in which no concern is shown
for what the majority of local people in the borough want.

Finally, you mentioned that the Arts Council aren't generous, but they
are only one of your eighteen backers though. BP are another, and
they've a terrible history of oppressing people in third world countries.
Still you can always fall back on your corporate parties and help
towards anorexia with your cat walk shows. Very ethical and diverse
indeed.

MERCHANDISE
We have a wide selection of badges for sale. Visit the website to
view the designs.
For a full merchandise list, please write to the London address.
Remember, on all merchandise orders, please make cheques/POs
payable to "LONDON CLASS WAR" only.

DIARY DATES
There are loads of benefit gigs coming up at The Grosvenor pub in
Stockwell, during February and March. More details from
http://www.eroding.org.uk/brixtonscum.htm
Arcola Theatre, 27 Arcola Street, London E8 2DJ T; 020 7503 16
46
Hackney, Christmas 2002 saw the longest siege in British history. For
16 days, the locals spoke of little else. From gunshots to bankruptcy,
Boxing Day to judgment day. Policemen, pensioners, a politician and a
publican are among those brought together to tell the twisted tale.
Recorded Delivery brings to life the story as it happened, recreating the
drama five minutes from the scene of the crime itself.
Saturday 5 March To mark the 20th anniversary of the end of the miners
strike, Doncaster will host a rally and social asking "Where have we
been, where are we now, where are we going?" It starts at 6pm, and the
address is: The Old Club, Market
Place, Stainforth, Doncaster. www.minersadvice.co.uk

Sunday 6 March 7pm London CW meeting, at a top central London location.

Saturday 19 March Kraankindersstraat 2, Ghent, Belgium. (starting at
10.00am) there will be the 5th edition of the International Alternative Bookfair.
The fair offers a forum for non-commercial publishers, bookshops, etc, which are not
taken into consideration in normal circuits. There will also be readings, book
presentations, performances and film showings. More information can be found as
on the Internet site: http://www.aboekenbeurs.be. CLASS WAR
ALSO HAVE A STALL THERE, FOR THE THIRD YEAR RUNNING.

Wednesday to Friday, 6-8 July G8, Gleneagles, Scotland. Events
happening across Scotland, more information nearer the time.

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? WELL, IT'S ALL DONE FREE! GOT ANY
LEAKS, SLEAZE, GOSSIP, SLANDER, NEWS, VIEWS OR STUFF
WE SHOULD KNOW?
DONATIONS, STAMPS AND COMMENTS URGENTLY NEEDED
TO MAKE LONDON CALLING THE CITY'S BEST NEWSLETTER!

ALL MEMBERSHIP ENQUIRIES TO THE LONDON ADDRESS.
Class War
Po Box 467
London E8 3QX

LONDON CALLING
MARCH 2005
PO BOX 467, LONDON E8 3QX
www.londonclasswar.org | classwaruk@hotmail.com


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