Friday, 27 February 2009

Gang stabbing on Uxbridge Road




News reaches us that another stabbing has taken place in W12, two days ago on Uxbridge Road. A teenager stabbed in the chest has apparently survived after an altercation outside the obligatory fried chicken shop.

Two kids arrested from Lime Grove W12. It will be interesting to see if all they receive if found guilty is a few months n some youth detention centre.

More here

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

In Flanders Fields

Well, thats what Shepherds Bush Green resembles at the moment. Months after the Xmas fair sat on the Green for four weeks plus the state of the Green still reminds me of a miniature first world war battlefield. I dont disagree with using the Green more, after all what is the point of having the open space if you dont use it as much as you can, but its a shame nobody thought about the state it would leave the place in, and what to do about that.


Monday, 23 February 2009

Littered with cuts

Walking back from the gym yesterday I saw two sides of Shepherds Bush. The Council propaganda heralding cuts in council tax, plastered all over telephpne boxes and the streets. And the state of the roads and pavements, plastered with the litter that is now not picked up as regularly. Judge for yourself what you think of today's streets.


Friday, 20 February 2009

Free parking thanks to Westfield

parking2We have all noticed the traffic impact of Westfield. The Green itself resembles a car park in peak shopping hours and twice now I have been backed up on the North Cirular before even joining the A40, which never happenned before the shopping centre opened.

Now Kensington & Chelsea down the road are throwing their car parking bays open for free on saturdays. You can keep the massive shopping centre, I'm off to Notting Hill!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Gun Crime War

anotherlifelost3I just watched a programme about Co19, the Metropolitan Police armed response unit. One of the first scenes they showed was an arrest of two young guys who were suspected of carrying firearms. They didnt have any but what they did have was blood stained clothes and knives. They had just stabbed someone three times. This was in Primula Street W12.

I dont know the exact date of that arrest but we all remember the shooting in Loftus Road of 20 year old Craig Brown. Two people have been charged - also kids basically.

In W12 the local gang is called Murder Dem Pussies, MDP. The fact they call themselves something so pathetic tells you all you need to know about how screwed in the head they must be. These are the people that killed Kodjo Yenga and the remainder who were not imprisoned still scrawl their graffiti on fences and walls. They call themselves "soldiers".

This has to be the most depressing fact of life in London, and I'm reminded of it every time I hear a police helicopter hovering overhead. That seems to happen a lot. I look at kids just like them whenever I go to Liberia or Congo - where life expectancy is among the lowest even for Africa because of violent conflict. These are kids for whom war and the use of a gun is a matter of survivial. And then I look at kids here, with their iPods and Nike trainers, who name themselves Murder Dem Pussies, and just begin to lose all hope.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Andy Slaughter MP in Gaza

gaza_house_demolishedour MP is currently in the middle east visiting the Gaza Strip, following the Israeli bombardment that led to over 1,000 deaths.

Here is an extract of his online diary


Gaza City - 05:38 pm, Monday 16th February 2009

An incredibly hectic and harrowing day: we began with a visit to a kindergarten partly collapsed when the police station next door was bombed. But while this might be seen as “collateral damage”, what we saw next utterly horrified us – whole villages such as Beit Haynoum and Abn Rabo, which had been flattened first by F16s then bulldozed with dynamite.

We visited the Al-Qudz hospital, a major which was bombed it seems with white phosphorous shells and had to be evacuated (including the intensive care unit).

The main business district in Gaza has been annihilated: over 650 major businesses over the Gaza strip have been destroyed by the Israeli action. Finally, we visited the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA), whose own warehouses of food and medicine were bombed by the Israelis.

Gaza City - 10:17 pm, Sunday 15th February, 2009

While it was still daylight, our hosts (the Welfare Association) took us to see some of the devastation in Gaza city and to hear eyewitness accounts from women and children caught in the fighting. We visited the Quattan children’s centre, which remains a fantastic £7m resource centre for all of the children of Northern Gaza.

It opened two years ago – five years late, because of the Israeli blockade. There we heard from a member of the al-Saloumi family, 35 members of which were killed in one Israeli attack. We also visited the Gaza Music School, a newly opened facility for children aged 7-12 years that was totally destroyed by bombing on the first day of the Israeli aggression.

Erez - 1:42 pm, Sunday 15th February, 2009

After 6 hours at the checkpoint, we have finally been allowed through and have been delivered to our hotel in Gaza City by the UN. We have driven past a number of bomb sites, including the Police HQ where an attack on the first day of the incursion during a parade by new police cadets killed over 100 people.

We are staying by the beach - this might sound pleasant, but in Gaza, this means that the locals were subjected to bombardment by sea as well as by tanks on the land border. This continued for 20 days. Our hosts are the Welfare Association - a humanitarian relief agency, run by expat Palestinians. We are shortly to be taken to see some of their rescue and rehabilitation projects. I'll let you know what we see....

Erez - 11:58 am, Sunday 15th February, 2009

It is noon.  We have been waiting about three and a half hours to enter Gaza.  Erez is supposed to be the main crossing point for people and, situated at the north-east corner of the Strip, is the entry point closest to the West Bank. There is an airport terminal sized processing centre, but it is completely deserted.

The Israeli officer on duty at the border post said our papers were still being processed (after a week) and we have retired to a coffee bar about a mile away. We met Aidan O’Leary the deputy head of UNWRA (United Nations Welfare and Relief Agency) who told us it could be along wait.

Saturday 14 February – Ashkelon

It is 6pm Jerusalem time and we are just arrived at the Dan Gardens Hotel in Ashkelon.  I left Shepherds Bush at 4.30am this morning but, apart from a short period of detention for our CAABU (Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding) rep at Ben Gurion Airport, a hassle-free journey.

Ashkelon feels like an out-of-season holiday resort (which is what it is).  It is one of the towns that came within range of missiles fired from inside Gaza recently.  But other than some faded warning posters on a bus shelter, there is no sign of anything out of the ordinary.

A curious place to spend Valentine’s Day.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Crime in the Bush down?

For the last 2 years H&F Council have piloted a kind of zero-tolerance scheme in Shepherds Bush and Fulham. Mainly this involves targetting people who are drinking on the streets and other petty offences. This video, which comes from the Council's YouTube channel, features some of those statistics and some footage of much super strength lager being poured down drains!

Apparently we can expect an announcement in April about how the pilot schemes have gone. Have you noticed a difference? On reflection I think I probably have, there do seem to be fewer shouting winos on the Green that before. But then there is still house crime on our street where we live. What do you think?

Friday, 13 February 2009

Save our Ginglik?

Is £250,000 worth a comedy & music club underneath Shepherds Bush Green? I'd have to say yes. Ginglik is a unique venue and is something that Shepherds Bush should hang on to. For those that havent been it is located underneath the Green in a former public toilet facillity! It has been the venue to some well known names from music and comedy but is more associated with up and coming artists. Hammersmith and Fulham Council want to close it down because it has a leaky roof  - for which the repair bill would be £250,000. In my view a short term cost saving dwarfed by the longer term loss of charecter to the area. Do we really all want Shepherds Bush simply to be Westfield's overspill car park and nothing else?

 Now watch this protest video, from October last year and see what you think!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Genocide memorial Rwanda

111The Kigali Memorial Centre was opened on the 10th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, in April 2004. The Centre is built on a site where over 250,000 people are buried. These graves are a clear reminder of the cost of ignorance.

The Centre is a permanent memorial to those who fell victim to the genocide and serves as a place for people to grieve those they lost.

I visited in January this year during a work visit to Rwanda and Congo.


This centre is a graveyard as well as a memorial. It is built on the site of several massacresthat took place during the 1994 genocide and it looks out over the capital of Rwanda, Kigali. The large concrete squares you can see are mass graves, into which are deposited remains as they continue to be discovered throughout Rwanda. Nearly 1 million died. The mud in the foreground will be the site of the next mass grace once the one being used at the moment is full. There are many such vaults on this site.

You can read more about what I've been up to here.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Front page Bush

evening_standard_4th_feb_091..of the Evening Standard this week.

I was abroad when this headline appeared but only today walked past a large pile of rubbish that was lying in the street with tell tale holes, presumably gnawed by rats, all over it.

It all becomes clear - our local Council has not collected the rubbish and its one of the worst offenders in London it would seem.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Rich inherit Hammersmith & Fulham

new-face-of-hfThis week's Ealing Gazette carries the above headline and describes how H&F Council are planning to bulldoze working class people out of their homes in Fulham so that they can use the land to house "very rich" people instead. Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh actually used the phrase "very rich people" in a public meeting, he argued that this would result in regeneration.

I beg to differ. Quite apart from this being classic Tory strategy, just as they have done over the water in Wandsworth and elsewhere, and culminating in the extreme of Dame Shirley Porter in Westminster the Tories have an electoral idea in mind rather than regeneration. Bulldozing less well off people out of their homes, with the promise that they will be bought out at "today's market rates" - a quote from H&F Homes not without some irony given whats happening in the housing market - is all about changing the vote.

And a look to east London where I have relatives shows that regeneration is the last thing to happen when things are done like this. All along the Thames there are now little hamlets of "very rich" people in very nice flats. But they rarely engage with their neighbours and in some cases live behind gates.

In our own battle to save our street we were supported by H&F Council and we appreciated that. But that support only came through once we started playing the political game and linking what happenned in our street to how we might vote as residents at the next general election. That was our right, but we knew how to do it and could stand up for ourselves, our community and our street.

This smacks of a Tory administration, intent on remaining in power and changing the voting demographics of the borough by force.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Homeward bound

I am tapping from Johannesburg airport departure lounge, the odyssey nearly over, a trip that has taken in Rwanda, Congo, Zambia and now South Africa. Can't wait to get home and hopefully stay home for a long period before my next return to Africa!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Stranded in South Africa

The snow you are all enjoying back in the Bush has resulted in my flight being cancelled!
As much as I am looking forward to an unexpected day in Johannesburg, where I shall endeavour to go on a tour of Soweto or just lounge by the pool, (its hot down here) I really do want to get back and see the snow!