Sunday, 28 May 2017

'Liar Liar' by CaptainSKA has got to No.10 in download chart but...

From the People's Assembly Against Austerity

Captain Ska's 'Liar Liar' hit no.10 in the download chart today but the BigTop40 chart show on CapitalFM and Heart refused to play it. 

LISTEN to the moment the BigTop40 show refused to play the song

Performed and produced by the band Captain Ska and promoted by campaign organisation the People’s Assembly Against Austerity the song features various speeches and news interviews from Theresa May followed by a chorus of ‘She’s a Liar, Liar…you can’t trust her, no no no no'.  
The song attacks the Conservative Parties' record in office over the NHS crisis, education and levels of poverty. "When there's nurses going hungry and schools in decline I don't recognise this broken country of mine' goes one of the lyrics. 
The song has been available for download from last Friday 26th May and has been rising up in the iTunes charts, reaching no.10 today. 
The chart show, hosted by Marvin Humes & Kat Shoob, announced the track had reached no.10 but instead of playing it went straight onto playing no.9. 
Jake from Captain Ska said
“This can only be seen as an attempt by the media owners to undermine public opinion. Thousands of people have downloaded this track and we demand that it is aired as any other song would be."
The People's Assembly is asking all supporters to complain to the BigTop40.
  1. Email a complaint: click here for contact form
  2. Tweet - demand the track is played! Make sure you tag @BigTop40
  3. Call CapitalFM and complain: 02070548000
The People's Assembly sent the following tweet: (feel free to retweet but please do your own too)
Liar Liar by @CaptainSKA got to No.10 in download chart - @BigTop40 refuse to play it. Can we get an explanation? @MarvinHumes @katshoob
(Please note Captain Ska previously released a version of Liar Liar in 2010 so don't download the wrong one! Correct track is called 'Liar Liar GE2017')
Keep downloading - we can still push it up the charts and force the media to play it! 

Feminist group Sisters Uncut have occupied the recently closed Holloway Prison to demand the government fund domestic violence services

Sisters Uncut activists on the roof of old Holloway Prison visitor’s centre, 27/05/2017. 
Credit: North London Sisters Uncut

From Sisters Uncut 

At 14:30 on Saturday 27th May, feminist direct action group Sisters Uncut occupied Holloway Prison Visitor’s Centre to demand that the empty space be used to support local domestic violence survivors. Eight activists entered the building via an open window, as 150 rallied outside. No arrests have been made.

The action comes in advance of the general election. Sisters Uncut say that chaotic Conservative budgets have decimated the number of refuges in the UK and warn that the domestic violence sector is on its last legs. According to Women’s Aid, refuges are now being forced to turn away two thirds of women seeking safety.

Sisters Uncut claim to be the ‘voice of domestic violence survivors’ in this election. They criticise Theresa May for failing to deliver her promise to make it easier for domestic violence survivors to vote in. This means that many survivors are locked out of voting for fear that their abuser will track them down via their address.

Holloway Prison, the largest women’s prison in Western Europe, closed suddenly in 2016 and the buildings have been left empty since. Sisters Uncut plan to maintain their ‘reclamation’ for a week, holding workshops on women’s well being, self-defence and legal rights.

Sisters Uncut activist Aisha Streetson said:
We are reclaiming the former prison, a site of violence, to demand that public land is used for public good. Prisons are an inhumane response to social problems faced by vulnerable women – the government should provide a better answer.
A local domestic violence support worker, Lauren Massing, who is attending the protest said:
If the government have money for mega prisons, they have money for domestic violence support services. 46% of women in prison are domestic violence survivors – if they had the support they needed, it’s likely they wouldn’t end up in prison

Something different: Tone's Coffee Shop Hustings Thursday June 1st

Now this is what I call enterprising and Tone has some very good questions:


Keep up the pressure on school funding by using School Cuts website

The School Cuts website has been updated.  You can now see which candidates have made the pledge to support proper funding for schools and the impact on particular schools of the manifesto promises of the three main parties.

The School Cuts site is embedded here so you can get information by typing directly into the search engine above.

At the time of writing this was the candidate response for Brent seats:

Half-term pond-dipping and mini-beast hunt at Welsh Harp Centre

Welsh Harp Education Centre Half Term Fun 

Join us at the Education Centre for a day filled with adventure!

30th and 31st May

Activities on both days:

10.30am –12.00pm Pond Dipping
Dip your net to find out what creatures call the ponds home. Explore the meadow and create a piece of art.
£3 per child

1pm –2.30pm Mini-beast Safari
Hunt in the woodland for mini-beasts and go on our wildlife quiz trail.
£3 per child.

Limited spaces so book now!
Phone: 07734 871 728

Pay in cash on the day, or by BACS transfer before the day – details available on request.

Terms & Conditions:
  • Children can only participate with a supervising adult. This adult is responsible during the visit for making sure that:
  • The child/ren they have brought are supervised at all times and are responsible for their behaviour.
  • Minimum ratio of 1 adult to 3 children.
  • Adult supervisor will need to provide any specific medication for children.
  • All visitors should bring their own lunch with them on the day if they plan to stay for both sessions.
    • We have a maximum group size of 25 children so children will only be admitted if booked in advance.
    • Each session costs £3 per child.
    • All activities are suitable for ages 5 and over. Children aged 4 and under who are not participating in activities are free of charge.
    • Children and adults should wear comfortable outdoor clothing that may get dirty.
    • Bookings must only be cancelled in extenuating circumstances and Thames21 must be notified at least 3 days in advance.
Thames21 reserves the right to cancel a visit if weather conditions are deemed unsafe or if adult to child ratio is not met.

TUSC standing in Brent election

When I was a teacher I always enjoyed running mock school elections. They are a great educational resource combining an introduction to democratic processes (and their limitations) and writing, speaking and debating skills. I was interested to see campaigning posters at Queens Park Community School when I attended Education Question Time at the school on Friday.

TUSC is standing in the school election although they are standing down nationally in order to back a Corbyn led government LINK.

The election will be held on June 7th, the day before the General Election proper and I look forward to hearing the result.

These are the Lib Dem and Labour posters. I will be happy to publish any from other parties standing at the school that weren't on display in the foyer.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Brent Central candidates have their say on the school funding issue

With some hustings cancelled due to the Manchester incident last night was one of the few chances to hear from Brent Central's General Election candidates.

It was a sometime rumbustious meeting but well chaired by Lucy Cox with Labour supporters in the majority. I am afraid my camera work is very shaky as a result from being fresh out of hospital and failed completely when the Ukip candidiate began to speak. My apologies.

This extract focuses on school funding which is very much the question of the moment although of course the purpose and focus of education is also a matter of debate.

I will be publishing more of what Shaka Lish the Green Party had to say on the Brent Green Party blog LINK

South Kilburn - the Non-consultation putting putting entrepreneurs ahead of residents

The official Brent Council view - is this the reality?

Guest post by Pete Firmin, South Kilburn resident

I went to the consultation on the future of the Granville Centre on Wednesday afternoon LINK with another member of our Tenants and Residents Association Committee. Not because we think those events are particularly useful, but because if no-one goes and makes critical remarks, they will say everyone welcomes their proposals. [Although sometimes they say that anyway]

We were greeted by someone from the Architects, who told us "this is what we are going to do". Of course, the architects are given a remit to carry out, but this is a long way from what consultation should be - the latest in a long line of Brent consultations where you are told what is going to happen, whether you like it or not.

Apart from pointing out that that isn't consultation, we said that their proposals - partitioning the large hall - effectively destroyed one of the few remaining community spaces in South Kilburn. She said it was underused by the community, to which we pointed out that that is because Brent has run down the services which did use it. Being from the architects, rather than those promoting the scheme, she didn't go there.

The main proposal is to partition the main hall to create workshops for entrepreneurs. SK Trust's sole emphasis now seems to be on "promoting entrepreneurs". Not quite sure how that fits in with representing all SK residents (as Brent always claims on behalf of SK Trust). And we were told `some' of those entrepreneurs will be local, which I take to mean most won't be.

The largest community space left will be about 1/3rd of the size of the large hall, meaning larger events (like the recent meeting with Zadie Smith, or the coming election hustings) could not be held there.It means the only largish `community' spaces left in SK will be tied to religious establishments, not the Council.

We were interviewed about the proposals on a video for the SK Trust, in which we said most of the above. Unfortunately the person filming asked us not to stray on to our criticisms of the SK Trust (now that would have made the visit worth it!).

As ever with such events, there was no-one present who actually favour and promote these proposals. So much for accountability. Leslie Barson from the Granville Centre and kitchen was there, and we went partly to support her and the work the Granville does, but they have their backs to the wall with no alternative but to accept what is happening.

I'm not naive enough to think that this steamroller can be stopped, but think it worth sharing so people know what is going on.

For the masochists among you, there is a further "consultation" on Wednesday 14th June, 3-8 p.m. at the Granville, renamed "South Kilburn Studios and Community Space @Granville