Posts Tagged London

The Havering Post

The Havering Post.  Double-sided A4.  Colour.  March 2019.  Available in pdf form from Facebook/Independent Havering:

THE HAVERING POST is a local publication produced in support of several Residents Association groups & independent parties in the London Borough of Havering.  Havering would have been part of Essex before it was transferred to London by the London Government Act 1963.  This same act effectively created what is now known as Greater London as it abolished the administrative county of Middlesex and also absorbed parts of Kent, Surrey and Hertfordshire.

The Facebook site of Independent Havering – – informs us that it is ‘a pressure group campaigning to maintain and improve our borough’s quality of life.  It aims to lobby and hold national and, especially, local Government and bodies to account for their actions.  In the event of a future independent/RA Council it would aim to work closely with them to ensure promises are delivered but also have their ‘back’ if so.’

The Independent Havering group appears to be very well organised with lots of local ‘grassroots’ support.  In fact, the last local council elections (held in May 2018) nearly saw them sweep away 17 years of Tory rule in the borough.  Bizarrely four Residents Association councillors, who were elected on a anti-Tory ticket, later jumped ship to support the Tories.  One later went on to join the Tory Party itself.  Even more bizarrely, all Labour councillors seem to support the Tory administration!

It should come as no surprise then, that issue 1 of the Havering Post (HP) examines the question of ‘democracy denied’ at both a local and national level.  Refreshingly, however, as well as pointing out how democracy can be turned on its head, it also notes that future issues will ‘look at Proportional Representation, a ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) option on ballot papers, Referendums, Preferendums and Voter Recall.’

As noted above, the Havering Post (which is written to a Daily Mail standard) looks at national and local cases whereby the electorate has been cheated.

As its national example it cites the case of what used to be known as The Independent Group (TIG).  It was founded earlier this year when disgruntled pro-EU Tory and Labour MPs quit their respective parties.  Counter Culture readers may recall that, at the time, these MPs came across as very ‘high and mighty.’  However, as the HP notes, despite being elected as Labour or Tory candidates they ‘all refused to resign their seats and intend to stand as candidates for TIG in any subsequent by-elections.  In doing so, they have shown that they have no morals or honour.’

The paper then looks at the denial of democracy in Havering itself.  As described earlier, several Residents Associations (RA) and Independent groups had united under the ‘Independent Havering’ banner and were really giving the Tories a run for their money.  Thus began the political shenanigans.  As the Havering Post notes:

‘Things were so tight that the local Tories had do some horse trading.  It appears that some Residents Association and Independent councillors were approached by the Conservative Party and were offered positions to help them to set up a Havering Council Administration. In the event, four of them jumped ship.  Known as the ‘Back Stabbers’, they are Michael-Deon Burton (who even joined the Tory Party), Brian Eagling, Martin Goode and Darren Wise.’

The rather thoughtful (and insightful) remarks of one local voter are also quoted.  In part, he or she declares that:

“It’s not like they defected half way through their term, but on the first day. This cannot continue – some judicial review needs to be put in place to stop councillors swapping sides. I am totally disgusted. They have no morals.

I find it a personal insult to hear that some people in the RA and Independent coalition feel it is OK to lie to us, your electorate, by way of selling their soul to the Conservatives, just so they can form a majority party to lead our council. 

I can assure you I will personally do my best to make sure that the people in those wards know full well what they voted for. If we the electorate wanted to be lied to, we would vote Labour or Conservatives.’”

The idea of some legislation being brought into place (to stop elected officials jumping ship) is interesting.  The HP declares that those who switch sides ‘are guilty – at the very least – of betrayal and bad faith. Some may say that they’re also guilty of deliberately deceiving voters.’

Whatever the case, those with honour ‘would do the right thing’ and promptly resign their seat and fight a by-election under their new colours.  To date, none of the Havering ‘Back Stabbers’ nor the TIG MPs have done so.  Depending on the circumstances, it sadly doesn’t really say much for the calibre of those elected officials who turn their backs on their policies, manifestos and the people who campaigned so hard to get them elected.  Is it any wonder why so many people feel disconnected from the political system?

To sum up, the Havering Post provides a robust defence of real democracy.  It highlights the failings of democracy (giving local and national examples) but presents a well-argued case for more – and not less – democracy.  This is particularly apt given present circumstances whereby the establishment ignores the democratic will of the people, if it goes against the interests of the establishment – à la Brexit!

Hopefully issue 2 will be in the offering soon.  No doubt it’ll concentrate on local affairs, but as stated earlier, future issues ‘of the Havering Post will examine other ways in which we can make both national and local politics more representative of the people. Thus we’ll look at Proportional Representation, a ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) option on ballot papers, Referendums, Preferendums and Voter Recall.’  What’s being proposed here seems to be a purer form of democracy based on participation as opposed to representation.  Here, popular participation (a form of personal self-determination whereby voters exercise action and responsibility) will replace the current system of handing over power and responsibility to others.  With the political air full of doom, gloom and negativity, it’ll be refreshing to read something that’s extremely positive and forward looking.

Reviewed by John Jenkins



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Alabaster Suns – Alabaster Suns CD

Alabaster Suns – Alabaster Suns CD (Iron Pig Records)

alabaster suns coverALABASTER SUNS is the new band of London-based musicians Nathan Perrier and Kevin Williams, the former guitarist and drummer of Capricorns, along with new boy Anthony Dearlove on bass, and this self-titled mini-album on Iron Pig Records is their debut release.  I liked Capricorns well enough, especially their last album, River, Bear Your Bones (reviewed elsewhere on Judas Kiss), though the only time I saw them play live they were rather overshadowed by Lair of the Minotaur, who totally rocked.  The five tracks of this half-hour release, though, demonstrate some significant changes from the sludgy instrumental stoner rock of Capricorns, as well as some points of continuity.

The album’s seven-minute opener, Iron Gang, is a tangled snarl-up of awkward, angsty guitar surge and complex, technically accomplished drumming.  Kevin Williams belts out some raucous, shouted vocals over the top, and the band’s overall sound has a strong feel of late 80s and early 90s hardcore and noise-rock about it, bands such as Prong, Helmet, Helios Creed, Nomeansno, Lard, Tar, or even the more musically adventurous work of late-era Black Flag and Hüsker Dü.  The length, musicianship and progressive flourishes of Alabaster Suns songs prevent this from being considered out-and-out hardcore, but the influence can definitely be felt, and of course Nathan Perrier used to drum for Conflict before joining Capricorns, so this hardcore punk lineage isn’t too hard to trace.

Alabaster Suns leave plenty of space for time changes, breakdowns and melodic hooks amidst all the riff-rage, though, and whilst Iron Gang and Royal 6 In Hand pack the wide-bore ammo, the relatively short title track Alabaster Suns stands out from the pack as a gentle, introspective instrumental piece, dominated by a bright, clean guitar tone, which could easily have been recorded by Capricorns, or indeed the latter-day, Bees Made Honey-era, incarnation of Earth.  The brevity and tightness of the release keep the attention from wandering, as it was sometimes wont to do amongst the instrumental longeurs of Capricorns jams, and all in all, Alabaster Suns is an accomplished and auspicious beginning to life after Capricorns.



Reviewed by Simon Collins.  Reprinted with acknowledgements to Judas Kiss web-zine.

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Time for the Good-Looking Boy

Time for the Good-Looking Boy

 Box Clever Theatre Company

 Pleasance Dome Jack Venue23, Bristo Square


YOUNG mixed-race men from London; especially those speaking in cod-Jamaican patois and dressed in ‘gangsta-rap’ gear and hoodies aren’t getting a good press at the moment what with recent disturbances and outbreaks of looting in and around the city.

Coming in with all this baggage, it’s natural for the audience to prejudge Time for the Good-Looking Boy.  Many may dismiss it in Daily Mail terms as, ‘probably some soft, leftie claptrap making excuses for the kind of scum who are looting and wrecking all round them in London’.  Well, it’s not.

Lloyd Thomas plays the nameless ‘good-looking boy’.  He’s brash, but he doesn’t want you getting the wrong idea, ‘I’m Mr Average. Mr Ordinary.’ He does nice things like nice boys are supposed to do. Occasionally breaking into rap he says, ‘I ain’t no bad boy wanting to cause midsummer madness’. He loves his mum, who has brought him up, ‘real proper’. He’s likeable, as well as good-looking.

In a light-hearted manner he tells the audience how he has had a fight with his girlfriend, Sammie.  Not a ‘fight, fight’, though; a word fight.  A member of the audience was persuaded to provide her words, ‘What time do you call this?’, Why didn’t you phone? Don’t you have a watch? We get the picture. It’s good knockabout stuff and the packed audience laps it up.

As more details unfold, the mood changes subtly.  We hear more about the party, his kid sister who thinks that he bosses her about to much and his best mae.  As details of the young mans’s story emerge the audience starts to notice odd things;little details about his white trainers with coloured laces. As we’re listening to this young man’s story of how he loved his girlfriend, his kid sister and his mum, we realise that something terrible has happened.  Why have the police called at his mum’s door? Why did she go off with them?

As he relates the drive home from the party it all becomes shockingly clear. The effect on the audience ispalpable. Thomas gives a flawless performance in this haunting story.  This is my Pick of the Fringe.  If you see only one play, make it Time for the Good-Looking Boy

Reviewed by David Kerr

***** Five Stars

Box Clever

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The Wardrobe Ensemble,Bristol

Zoo Roxy Venue 115


TIMING is everything.  The producers of the production could not have imagined that riots inLondonand other English cities would be the top item in the news just as Riot opened inEdinburgh.  Whether this boosted the audience or not is hard to say but the players performed to a full house.

This entertaining story is based on the events inEdmonton, northLondonin 2005, the year of the Crazy Frog, when a riot broke out at the midnight opening of a new outlet of a large Swedish furniture company.  You know the one; lots of blue and yellow.

The lure of sofas for £45 on the opening night drew enormous crowds.  People fought over items as inexperienced staff and overwhelmed police failed to cope with unexpected numbers.

The players capture the absurdity of the whole affair in a tight script that has lots of laugh-out-loud lines.  Gin (like the drink), the nervous supervisor tries to warn his boss that things might get out of hand. She is full of New Age crap so she doesn’t want to hear any ‘negativity’.  She sacks Gin and orders the doors opened to let everyone in at once rather than in stages. Big mistake! Mayhem takes over.

The flawless action is tightly choreographed with simple props of Ik** lights, folding chairs and a hanging wardrobe. Some of this was sheer genius. Who would have thought that two unfolded chairs could function as shaking doors holding back an angry mob?

Riot is one of the highlights of the Fringe. Book now and you won’t have to beat the doors down to get in.


***** Five Stars





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