London protest against German extreme right

This video says about itself:

25 September 2017

The far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, has won its first seats in the parliament and is set to be the third party. The result has sparked protests across the country. Demonstrators gathered outside the AfD headquarters in Berlin, as well as Frankfurt and Cologne, carrying a banner saying “Nationalism is no alternative”. The demonstration remained mostly peaceful. AfD was founded in 2013 and its policy is heavily anti-immigrant, and particularly anti-Islam.

By Felicity Collier in London, England:

German far right‘s gains spark protest

Wednesday 27th September 2017

Campaigners rally at embassy to denounce ‘racist populism’

Calling parties like the German AfD racist is correct. Calling them ‘populist’ is wrong.

ANTI-RACISM campaigners took to the streets of London last night to protest at the German far right’s recent electoral success.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD), an anti-EU party with a large fascist wing, attracted a shock 12.6 per cent share of the vote in Sunday’s parliamentary election, winning seats in the lower house Bundestag for the first time.

Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU party saw its vote share shrink from 41.5 per cent to 33 per cent, meaning she will have to form a new coalition.

Talks are reported to have started with the Christian Social Union, the pro-business Free Democratic Party and the Greens.

Gathering outside the German embassy in Belgravia, the groups Stand up to Racism and Unite Against Fascism called on political leaders across Europe and the US to stop fuelling racism and Islamophobia.

Stand Up to Racism described Germany’s election outcome as a “chilling example of the right-wing racist populism that has won electoral success from France and Germany to Trump’s victory in the US.”

It pointed out that France’s fascist National Front leader Marine Le Pen had celebrated the result.

Interim Ukip leader Steve Crowther also congratulated the AfD, calling the election result a “brave move” and crowing that “people were no longer prepared to be ignored and coerced by the left.”

A senior AfD member is due to speak at Ukip’s conference in Torquay at the end of the week.

Sabby Dhalu, co-convener of Stand up to Racism and joint secretary of Unite Against Fascism, insisted: “Mobilising internationally against the growth of the far-right AfD is crucial, particularly given Ukip’s decision to invite the AfD to Britain.”

She said the AfD’s growth showed that concessions to racism and Islamophobia only benefit the far right, and urged the labour movement and all anti-racists to unite against fascism.

A Hope Not Hate spokesman told the Star: “It’s little surprise that radical right parties are seeking closer ties.

“Ukip’s youth wing, for example, has developed ties with the Sweden Democrats, a party with a long history on the extreme right.”

He added, however, that with Ukip’s former financer Arron Banks and ex-party leader Nigel Farage likely to launch a rival movement, Ukip’s drift ever rightwards — with the potential for anti-Muslim extremist Anne Marie Waters to become leader — “looks set to further consign it to irrelevancy.”


London exhibition against Trump’s misogyny

This 2016 video from the USA is called 10 minutes of Donald Trump demeaning, objectifying, and insulting women | The Briefing.

By Felicity Collier in Britain:

Artists rally against misogyny in east London

Monday 25th September 2017

ARTISTS rallied against misogyny and celebrated women in the arts at an exhibition in east London over the weekend.

Exhibition organiser Nasty Women UK is part of a global project sparked in response to the abuse spouted by US President Donald Trump against his rival candidate Hillary Clinton during the US presidential elections.

Over 40 exhibitions have taken place around the globe since the project’s inception earlier this year to protest against the “threats to roll back women’s rights, individual rights and abortion rights.”

Last weekend’s event in Hackney Wick’s Stour Space saw artists, poets and speakers celebrate women, and promote equality and acceptance, co-organiser Antonia Kimbell told the Star.

She described Nasty Women as a response to “what’s not working in the world, and what would make a difference.”

Ms Kimbell said that although people are despondent and unsettled by the current political climate, “transformation can happen. So much support for the event says a lot.”

Artists from the US and Syria submitted works for the exhibition, with donations going to the charity End Violence Against Women.

So far, the event has raised around £2,000.

One of the artworks was submitted by Louisa Johnson, the great-great-granddaughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst. The piece represents the discrimination Pankhurst faced after leaving prison when she was blocked from continuing her studies.

As well as rallying against misogyny, Nasty Women also gives women in the arts a platform to show their work. Organiser Viv Ellis pointed out that although 60 per cent of arts graduates are women, only half that number are represented in galleries.

Further Nasty Women events are planned in Stroud and Newcastle.

London Grenfell Tower disaster damages mental health

London, England: Grenfell survivors and local residents outside Kensington & Chelsea Council Town Hall demanding the resignation of the council

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 23 September 2017

GRENFELL INFERNO! – unprecedented trauma

THE GRENFELL Tower disaster triggered a mental health crisis of an ‘unprecedented’ scale, a leading doctor has said 100 days on from the fire.

NHS data shows 457 adults have been flagged as being in ‘urgent need’ of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, while 39 children are also receiving specialist mental health care.

Survivors and nearby witnesses of the June 14 inferno, which left so many dead, are considered to have a 50% chance of developing the disorder, according to health service modelling. Those mentally scarred by the tragedy report suffering from flashbacks and sleeplessness, which can be triggered by the sight of the tower’s wreckage, clinicians say.

Dr Alastair Bailey, the clinical psychological lead at the NHS Grenfell Tower Trauma Service, said the impact of the fire is unlike anything seen before by the health service. He said: ‘It is unprecedented, I don’t think we have experienced anything like it. We had similar events that have been large-scale, traumatic events that have occurred in the UK.

‘We think about the London bombings, the terror attack in Tunisia which affected British nationals and other events over the years, but nothing has affected a community like this for a number of years.

‘Similar events have occurred that have affected one community, things like the Hillsborough football disaster, the Aberfan disaster in Wales, similar in that they affected one community a number of years ago.

‘In terms of a trauma response, managing an NHS response to trauma, we are using ideas and protocols and procedures that were developed after London bombings and other similar events, which are quite different.’

A staff of around 170 mental health workers, soon to be more than 200, have been tasked with supporting the west London community, holding specialist surgeries and knocking on doors to ensure support is given to those affected.

Currently, 201 patients are receiving treatment from mental health services in the area and eight people have completed treatment, said the Central and North West London NHS Trust (CNWL). But, with more than 150 families from Grenfell Tower or Grenfell Walk still in hotels, many people grappling with trauma are reluctant to begin receiving treatment. CNWL, the main service responding to the disaster, said 20% of patients referred to them decline further treatment, often citing their living arrangements as the problem.

As the neighbourhood marks another grim milestone since the country’s most costly tragedy in a generation, just five households left destitute by the blaze have found permanent accommodation.

See also here.

Diane Abbott: Grenfell Tower fire ‘direct consequence of deregulation, privatisation and outsourcing’. Shadow Home Secretary calls for immigration amnesty for survivors, and says Labour would recruit 3,000 firefighters: here.

DEREGULATION and privatisation are to blame for the Grenfell Tower inferno and justice must be served for the victims and survivors, Diane Abbott said at the Labour conference yesterday. The shadow home secretary insisted the fire, which was fuelled by combustible cladding installed on the exterior of the 24-storey west London housing block, was a direct result of Tory-led deregulation of fire standards and inspection, privatisation and outsourcing: here.

Kensington and Chelsea council terminates contract with Grenfell Tower landlord. Body ‘no longer has the trust of residents,’ says deputy council leader: here.

Grenfell Tower-like disaster in Scotland?

This video says about itself:

Not another Grenfell in Glasgow

8 August 2017

We can’t risk another tragic incident like the fire at Grenfell happening in Scotland. To date, no real fire testing has been conducted on any cladding in high rise flats in Scotland.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Glasgow: Tenants in the dark about cladding risk

Thursday 21st September 2017

Council silent on use of Grenfell-style material on some towers

FIRE services and residents of some private high-rise blocks in Glasgow have not been told that the buildings are covered in combustible cladding like that on the Grenfell Tower, it was revealed yesterday.

Council chiefs were aware of the issue but did not make the information public immediately, MSPs heard.

A search has revealed that flammable cladding — similar to the material believed to have fuelled the Grenfell fire, which killed around 80 people in west London in June — had been used on an undisclosed number of properties, said Glasgow City Council assistant head of planning and building standards Raymond Barlow.

The council has only recently notified Holyrood ministers about the matter but has told neither the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service nor the tenants and owners, he added.

“We’re simply saying we’re supplying the information to Scottish ministers and then we wish to see what they wish to do with the information before we take it further,” he told members of the Scottish Parliament’s local government and communities committee.

Committee convener and MSP Bob Doris asked him: “So, combustible cladding has been found in some private properties?”

The council official responded: “Yes, it’s just not public information yet.”

Mr Doris replied: “It’s now public information because you are telling us.”

Mr Barlow said it was a “national issue” and that was why he was making it known through the ministerial working group.

Mr Doris agreed that while it was a “national issue,” the council also bore a “a direct local responsibility” to flag up potential dangers to those potentially affected.

He voiced hope that reassurances to building owners and tenants “might be able to be given speedily” and warned that the committee might want to question council officers again on the matter.

The committee convener said afterwards: “It was deeply concerning to hear a Glasgow City Council official say that combustible cladding has been found in private high-rise homes.

“People who are currently living in private high rises and who listened to this today will, of course, be worried about their safety in their homes.

“We don’t want this to cause undue alarm, as these buildings may well be safe, but people who live in these homes deserve answers.

“That’s why we’ve asked Glasgow City Council and the Scottish government to urgently provide us with more information on the extent of this issue and we will put these concerns to the minister when he appears next week.”

London Grenfell Tower disaster, criminal prosecution?

This video from England says about itself:

Joe Delaney, Grenfell Action Group: “Attention focused on things that will keep May in Downing Street

29 June 2017

Interview with Joe Delaney from the Grenfell Action Group on judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick‘s appointment to lead the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry. “As local residents have said, if we joined the DUP we’d be listened to more because it seems that Theresa May‘s attention is only focused on things that will keep Theresa May in Downing Street, she spent 1 and a half billion to keep her home; they were unwilling to spend £5,000 to ensure ours didn’t burn down”.

Speaking after the meeting with Sir Martin, Joe Delaney, from the Grenfell Action Group, said he “seems a genuine guy” but “seems to want to keep the scope very narrow… while we are more looking at why was it started in the first place, why were residents ignored?”

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Met Grenfell probe mulls manslaughter

Wednesday 20th September 2017

Coppers consider criminal charges over fire

A CRIMINAL investigation into the Grenfell Tower tragedy could consider individual as well as corporate manslaughter charges, the Metropolitan Police said yesterday.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bonner told reporters that the investigation would deal with “whatever offences come to light.”

“The kind of stuff I would envisage we may come across would involve offences perhaps of fraud, misconduct offences, health and safety breaches, breaches of fire safety regulations and of course offences of manslaughter, whether that be on a corporate or an individual level.”

Police have seized 31 million documents and 2,500 exhibits as part of their investigation so far. They have identified 2,400 individuals to question and taken more than 1,000 statements.

Some 336 organisations have been identified as having “varying degrees of involvement” in the construction, refurbishment and management parts of the investigation.

Commander Stuart Cundy said 60 of the estimated 80 people killed by the June 14 fire have been formally identified, adding that the exact number would be uncertain until the investigation was complete.

Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said a lot of the remains are “very fragmented,” with only “a small piece of bone or tissue” being used to identify victims.

Forensic examination of the tower will run into the new year, followed by lab testing.

The TUC is publishing new fire safety guidance for trade union representatives today.

It sets out the law, explains what is required from a thorough fire safety assessment and looks at how to implement fire safety policies in buildings — especially those with flammable cladding and insulation similar to that installed in Grenfell Tower.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We must never see a repeat of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The government needs to act now and ensure that all high-rise buildings are safe, including those used as workplaces.

“Union reps have a key role to play in pressing employers to make sure that their buildings are safe.”

See also here.

Grenfell Tower fire eyewitnesses: “It’s because of our class—we are the lowest socioeconomic class on the food chain”: here.

Survivors and local residents speak out on Grenfell Tower Inquiry opening: here.