Archive | March 2012

Inevitable, but terrible nonetheless

REBLOGGED FROM SQUASH

(http://www.squashcampaign.org/2012/03/all-over-squatting-in-residential-properties-criminalised/)

Squatting in residential properties to be criminalised within months

What a joke! All of it, the whole process. Last night the House of Lords passed a clause hidden in the legal aid bill to criminalise squatting in residential properties essentially making thousands of homeless people criminals overnight. A whole section of the very poorest and most vulnerable in society have been made criminals and again the debate took place extremely late in the day.

The harsh reality is that the government keeps enough peers at Parliament late at night if they face any risk of defeat while the rest of the Lords (Labour, Crossbenchers, Bishops & others) rarely stay after 8pm. Even though the debating chamber looked empty while the clause on squatting was raised – the government peers hang out behind the scenes (often in the bar) then come in and vote with the government – even though they often aren’t well informed as they weren’t at the debate.

Democracy is dead. 96% of responses to the governments consultation didn’t want to see any action taken on squatting but despite this the government ignored the results to its own consultation. You have to ask what is the point of having a consultation in the first place? To make matters worse, every debate that took place throughout the parliamentary process happened late at night meaning attendance was consistently low, this despite we had gained a lot of support from various sections in the House of Lords.

It’s difficult to comprehend. Its no mistake that such a serious issue got thrown into legislation three days before it was due to pass. Our clause was added so late on that it was right at the end of the bill – meaning it was continuously discussed at the end of the day when most people were in bed. As noted by a number of peers throughout the process in the House of Lords, the new law was never properly discussed or analysed at the Commons stage, which is why it’s such an absurdly shoddy piece of legislation. It’s disgusting that a law with such serious implications for so many can be ushered in through the back door in this way.

To their credit, at such a late hour, a number of Lords came out strongly opposed to criminalisation last night and there were some really powerful speeches. There was consensus in the chamber that the clause is unjust, unnecessary and unaffordable and Lord Bassam (Labour Chief Whip) indicated Labours support on Twitter late last night. Which makes it all much harder to take in – when after midnight Baroness Miller symbolically pushed one of her amendments to a vote and we lost by a landslide.

The SQUASH campaign are gutted but we tried our best and will fight on. There were many victories along the way but to be honest we never stood a chance. The government want to send out a message so ultimately it doesn’t really matter who and what stands in their way; The Law SocietyThe Metropolitan PoliceThe Criminal Bar AssociationThe Magistrates AssociationCrisisShelter160 legal expertsacademics,journalists and of course squatters themselves.

The time for lobbying is now definitely over and I doubt many within SQUASH ever want to do anything like it again. The whole process is alienating, demoralising and lacking common-sense. There are many battles ahead for squatters and poor people across the country. This has always been a right-wing attack to defend and enhance private property rights over the human right to shelter and we now have to defend ourselves.

Criminalisation is not immediate and we still have a few months to prepare.

Buddy up. Defend your squats. Set up anti-eviction networks. Keep squatting. Do it.

Diptych

 

Specialised Langster Steel. Chrome. 3 speed conversion. Fucking fast. Fucking gorgeous. Fucking WOW.

Image

Mine.

 

All courtesy of a good friend of mine. Documentation of London life. I’ll be back in a week, don’t go anywhere without me.

Banks

I am so unbelievably angry.

I have had no bank cards or access to money in 6 weeks and my patience is wearing thin.

There is only so many times you can call up a customer service agent who bears no responsibility for the fuck-ups of other people and shout at them, politely.

 

And I cannot change bank.

The Co-op is the least of all evils.

I’m considering cancelling all my accounts and keeping my money in my sock drawer.

 

Fuck this capitalist oligarchy shit.

 

RRAAAAGGGEEE

The cult of More

This is one of the most beautiful, and inexplicably heart-wrending shorts I have ever seen. I watch it often, and you should too. 

George Osborne, I want your head

Dear Mr. Osborne,

Not only are you painfully rich (darling Georgie inherited £3m when he turned 21, just because), but you are now helping other painfully rich people stay/ become even more painfully rich by slashing the foundations of this country, on which the rest of us depend.

So you think a 45p tax rate won’t be avoided by the kind of people who pay their accountants to get out of a 50p tax band? Or do you realise the ridiculousness of the move? Are you really just snorting into your champagne and toasting the downfall of the working class?

So you think cutting the NHS is a good thing? Just because you and your Eton pals can afford private healthcare, doesn’t mean the rest of us can. What do the people who cannot afford decent healthcare do? I certainly do not want to see an American system, because that shit is fucked up yo.

So privatising the roads is a good thing, is it? Last time I checked, the role of the government was to prevent chaos and disorder amongst its citizens, and maintain vital infrastructure of the country. By selling off our infrastructure you will make it worse. You may cite the capitalist ideal heralded by generations of Tories before you; that financial incentives and competition drives innovation and improves services, but I would invite you to look at the railway network – how may Britons would say that piecemeal railway maintenance and operation is better than nationalisation? Wasn’t it poor regulation of private companies that caused a fatal train crash at Hatfield? Isn’t it the lack of coherence and connectivity that makes trains run late, overcrowded and overpriced services? I know that I cannot afford to travel home to visit my family very often because you have hiked the prices of trains.

Dearest George. You are making another mistake in a long line of many. So please, please, fuck off and let someone else do it better. Local people know what local people want. Devolve power to those who know what they’re talking about, to those who know what they want, to those who can manage resources in the name of the majority, not the elite. I know it will hurt you and David to let go of the reins and relinquish power, but do it, before I send nameless ninja foxes to kill you as you sleep in your beds with forks.

Yours sincerely,

 

A concerned ‘citizen’.

ow.

Writing spanish to happy hardcore soundtrack.

Ow.

 

So good.