Friday, 9 September 2011


South London Line Through Brixton To Be Closed. The South London Line through Wandsworth Rd and Brixton are to be closed. To support the petition against this please visit

A fair deal for the voluntary and community sector? – guidance to councils. Eric Pickles, the Local Communities Minister, has published guidance for councils on “how to protect voluntary and community groups from disproportionate cuts to their funding". He has also replaced 56 pages of prescriptive statutory guidance on local priorities introduced by the previous government with one page of guidelines on how to achieve best value in their area. To find out more visit  and

Right to work protest against Wandsworth’s threat to evict family of alleged rioter. ‘The truth is it was a very peaceful protest. It became less so when the police headed towards the crowd with a video camera as they gathered to have their picture taken by a photographer from the Wandsworth Guardian. It was a completely unnecessary and a highly provocative move. The police then harassed and generally intimidated those present. What started as a protest over an eviction outside the leader of Wandsworth Council house turned into an issue of freedom of speech in post riot Britain.’ So starts the posting on Further details on: See September Events blog posting for details of continuing activities on the eviction and the cuts in Wandsworth.

Damn or fear it, the truth is that it’s an insurrection. This is the title of John Pilger’s New Statesmen article on 18 August.

The North East and The Recession. This summer VONNE, the North East Region umbrella group for the community and voluntary sector in partnership with National Council of Voluntary Service undertook the fifth survey in its continued monitoring of the impact of the economic downturn on the regions’s third sector. The trends that emerged are pretty negative – there has been a steady rise in the numbers of charities reporting a decrease in funding, losing staff and drawing on reserves to keep services going. Almost half (49%) of respondents said they plan to lose a service this year; a fifth say they will or may close; a third say they plan to merge their organisation. It is estimated that north east charities have lost £3.5 million of funding in the last six months alone, and 257 jobs have been lost. To read the full report visit

Top Ten US Labor Day Songs. The top ten US Labor Day songs compiled by Peter Rothberg for The Nation on 4 September has been circulated by the US LabourStart trade union website: Pete Seeger, “Solidarity Forever”, John Lennon, “Working Class Hero”, Billy Bragg, “There is Power in a Union”, Tennessee Ernie Ford, “Sixteen Tons”, Joan Baez and Mimi Farina, “Bread and Roses”, Dolly Parton, “9 to 5”, Woody Guthrie, “Union Burying Ground”, Phil Ochs, “The Ballad of Joe Hill”, Bruce Springsteen, “Youngstown”, The Rolling Stones, “Salt of the Earth”. Rothberg apologises for not including ‘Which Side Are You On’,’ but I just couldn’t bear to knock out any of the eventual finalists. I also feel terrible about not including anything by The Clash or John Mellencamp and thought Johnny Paycheck’s classic ‘Take This Job and Shove It’ deserved mention.’ For world trade union news see: . LabourStart UK is at

Working-class Movement Library Fundraising Appeal. Reduced financial support from Salford Council means that the Working Class Movement Library needs to raise £80,000 this year (and every year) to keep the Library running. The founders Ruth and Eddie Frow, who my family knew, began the Library in their own home, driven by the belief that working people should remember and value their own history. They rescued countless items which would have been lost. In these turbulent times that history has never been more relevant - and its survival will depend on the generosity of our supporters. More information at The Guardian covered the story on 7 September:

What Are Social Democratic Principles? John Veit-Wilson, who I used to know when we were both on the Child Poverty Action Group National Executive in the early 1970s, and whom I have met again on work trips up the Tyneside, has drawn attention to a booklet of social democratic principles and values, produced as part of a members' induction pack by the Swedish Social Democratic Party. John stresses that it is an example of what can be done by a successful party speaking openly and honestly about such sometimes sensitive and contentious matters to its members and the public, and not just in terms of electorally-influenced policies. ‘Perhaps it could offer some ideas for those concerned with the renewal of the Labour Party in these troubled times.’ The text can be seen on:

‘Public and Private Spaces in the Early Modern World (1485-1700)’. A one-day postgraduate conference. My University (Sheffield) organised a one-day postgraduate conference. I could not go. The very wide range of papers included the following that look of particular interest: Kristen Klebba (University of Cambridge) ‘Parochial authority and civic green space in London, 1605-1720.’ Catherine Hunt (Bristol University) ‘The public, the private and the wearing of gloves.’ Michael Hetherington (University of Cambridge) ‘Talking cobblers: natural reason, common sense, and the public audience for poetry in the 1580s and 1590s.’ Further details can be obtained from ( or

Charlie Andrews, Newcastle Missionary to India. Anglo Sikh Heritage organised a talk by Sohan Singh of the Newcastle Sikh Temple on 8 September Newcastle City Library about Charlie Andrews, the Anglican Missionary born in Newcastle, who was active in India in the first half of the 20th Century. He was a close friend of Gandhi and before Charlie died, Gandhi's first choice for President of an Indian Republic. He did a lot of good work in the slums of Monkwearmouth and other places in the North East before he left for India. There are 16 biographies of Andrews, and as an example of what people in the know think of him, here is a quote from T. Sher Singh: ‘You and I have been taught about William Wilberforce who helped abolish the idea of slavery. Well, I believe that the history books should also similarly sing about Charles Freer Andrews because he helped abolish the idea of Indentured Labor, which was then as much of a plague as slavery had been (and to a large extent continued to be in some parts of the world).’ (

Black History Calender. 100 Black Men of London has started a black history calendar on its website. Anyone can summit dates for inclusion. See

Fundraising Event for SCAT charity. My musician friend Fred Scott is organising a gig at Fairfield Halls in Croydon at lunch time on 3 April in support of the bone cancer SCAT. He intends to include a Samuel Coleridge-Taylor piece. Further details nearer the date. SCAT's website is

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