Tagged: demonstrations

Proud Stocktonian Mike McGrother’s open letter to producers of Benefits Street

Wildcats of Kilkenny frontman Mike McGrother wrote this to Love Productions.

As revealed  yesterday, Love Productions is currently filming the second series of the controversial Channel Four show in Kingston Road on the Tilery Estate in Stockton.

Middlesbrough Evening Gazette published a detailed interview with the company in which one of its directors explained why Teesside had been chosen for the second series.

And that prompted proud Stocktonian Mike – who had previously contacted the Daily Mail over its coverage of the town – to write this open letter to Love Productions.

“I understand you have decided to come to our town and make a television series about it.

“As far as I can see, your justification comprises of:

“1. There are unemployed people there;

“2. You will be giving them ‘a voice’.

“I find your statement ‘In Stockton and the Kingston Road area there are a large number of people on benefits’ at best lazy and at worst, unscientific.

“If this is the level of research Love Productions proudly use to back up their choices, the academics of Oxford, Cambridge and the world must be quaking in their boots!

“I then note you want to ‘give a voice to a community that don’t really have a voice.’

“How wonderfully philanthropic and not in the least bit patronising of you.

“But you see, the thing is, we Stocktonians already have a timeless voice we are deeply proud of.

“It could be heard consistently during the summer through our massive carnival, in festivals, sunflower commemorations and in our schools, workplaces and community hubs.

“If you would like to truly give us a voice, then why did your production crews not film these and choose to work so secretively?

“Why have you not consulted properly with local support services and – if and when you did talk to them – ignore what they advised?

“Why do you preach fair representation but then exclude the majority of residents?

“Do you really doubt our integrity so much to think we believe that television editing can provide a fair, honest and truthfully representative platform from which people can be heard?

“And so while we can’t stop your ironically named ‘Love Productions’ team coming to Stockton, what I – and more people than you may wish to think about – can also not be stopped from is making our own ‘productions‘ whilst you try to film.

“If we disrupt your lives over the coming months, think about how you are disrupting ours.

“Don’t expect demonstrations, conflict or confrontation.

“But do expect to witness a community that already has an identity, a spirit and a very much bigger voice than you perhaps anticipated – to be heard, to be seen and to shine.

Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette,  27 Aug 2014

Far-right make return to Berwick for demo

Berwick will be the location of another pair of demonstrations this summer as far-right groups announced intentions to march through the town.

 Far-right groups the Scottish Defence League and the North East Infidels plan to travel to Berwick in order to hold a protest on July 5.

At a meeting last Friday Berwick Trades Union Council along with local anti-fascist campaigners discussed the two groups’ planned protest.

A statement was released expressing the council’s “revulsion and deep concern at the prospect of these fascist thugs once again invading our community with their messages of hate and division.

“In February last year Berwick put up a tremendous display of solidarity in opposing the SDL and EDL. The fascists on the other hand chanted racist slogans and caused mayhem in the town centre.”

The statement went on to call for a local response, which will be in the form of a counter demonstration in the same vein as last year.

We call on all those who supported the anti- fascist demonstration last year to do the same this year but this time to make it even bigger and stronger. Let’s tell these racist thugs they are not welcome in our peaceful and inclusive community. We have an organising meeting on Friday June 20 open to all those groups and individuals in our community who want to show a collective opposition to the fascists.”

The visiting groups are describing their march as a Ban the Burka event, and are planning to wear balaclavas as a sign of protest.

The Berwick United Against Fascism group describe the SDL as a “racist group with an established record of mounting protests which regularly feature racist chanting, placards and Nazi salutes.

The NEI, meanwhile, are deescribed as a “more openly racist and fascist than the EDL, splitting from it when its leader allowed Jews to join the EDL.

They are led by Warren Faulkner, who describes himself as “the Islamic terminator and leftist beateruperer.”

There were five SDL arrests during the afternoon, and widespread discontent with the massive cost of policing the demonstrations after traffic through town was stopped.

In a letter to the ‘Advertiser’, resident Michael Stewart complained: “Who is footing the bill for the massive police presence in the town to control this unruly mob? I have a feeling it will be the taxpayer, so that helps to explain why the police precept element of the council tax is rising this year!”

Source – Berwick Advertiser,  16 June 2014

Work camps and the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement

Since yesterday’s post on British work camps for the unemployed seems to have stirred up a lot of interest, you should check out this blog – the author has written a book on them !

 

thelearningprofessor

We have a number of organisations and individuals today who campaign for the interests of the unemployed and dispossessed. It is not disparaging their efforts, though, to recognise that we have nothing today to compare with the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement. During the interwar years, according to the historian Rick Croucher, the NUWM’s activities represented ‘a highpoint of unemployed organisation in British history’.

The NUWM is best known for organising the hunger marches, large and spectacular demonstrations that etched themselves into national memories of the 1930s. But it many other, arguably more important roles, from local lobbying and protests through to systematic support and advocacy for individual men and women who were fighting against reductions in their benefits.

Among other campaigns, the NUWM was also active in opposition to the use of work camps. It campaigned in general terms against the camps, it made a public issue of conditions within them, and…

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