October 3, 2023
From Socialist Worker (UK)
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Woman protester with Just Stop Oil banner is arrested by cop

Just Stop Oil protesters have faced repeated arrests (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Official bodies are hitting ­climate activists with massive bills totalling thousands of pounds because of legal action brought by government and public authorities to prevent protests.

Injunctions—orders issued through civil courts, usually to ban something —are increasingly being used to crack down on climate demonstrations, ­activists say, in what they believe is an attempt to silence dissent.

Both National Highways and Transport for London (TfL) have named ­supporters of environmental campaign groups Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil on injunctions intended to stop protests on certain roads in recent years.

One person named on a TfL injunction told the openDemocracy website they have never even protested in London.

Breaching an injunction can lead to a contempt of court conviction, which is punishable by up to two years’ ­imprisonment, an unlimited fine and the seizure of assets.

One Just Stop Oil protester said they had been warned by their lawyers that those who go to trial to fight an alleged breach and lose could be made to pay up to £150,000 to £200,000 in legal fees. Accepting a breach could incur costs of between £5,000 and £20,000.

The protester said the costs could leave defendants vulnerable to “the kinds of debts which could cripple you and potentially make you homeless”.

Raj Chada, a partner at law firm Hodge Jones & Allen who represents a number of Insulate Britain supporters, said the way injunctions are now being used is “astonishing”. Chada said it’s something he’s never seen before in 15 years of working with protesters.

National Highways initially sought costs of £727,573 for legal fees incurred in securing injunctions blocking protests on and around the M25.

Split between more than 130 climate activists it named on its injunctions, this would have worked out at more than £5,000 per person. Chada said the injunctions have left people feeling ­“concerned, anxious, vulnerable and fearful.”


‘Bed poverty’ leaves children on the floor 

More than a million children in Britain either sleep on the floor or share a bed with parents or siblings.

That’s because their family cannot afford the “luxury” of replacing broken frames and mouldy linen, according to the children’s charity Barnardo’s.

The charity says increasing “bed poverty” reflects growing levels of destitution in which low‑income families already struggling with soaring food or gas bills often find they are also unable to afford a comfortable night’s sleep.

Acute hardship was forcing families to adopt desperately improvised sleeping arrangements, it said in a report published last week.

An estimated 700,000 children were sharing beds, while 440,000 children slept on the floor, leaving them tired, anxious and finding it hard to concentrate at school.

Parents and children were often forced to share a bed, the Barnardo’s research found.

Some parents would sleep on sofas or chairs to vacate their bed for their children.

Some of the most appalling findings included a 17-year-old sleeping in a seven-year-old’s bed, and a parent sleeping on a child’s single mattress. Many families saw replacing broken beds as an unaffordable “luxury”.


New hotel features ‘a shrine to the religion of luxury’

Need a place to stay in London? Look no further than the newly opened Raffles London at The Old War Office (Owo).

It launched recently with a grand party attended by royals, politicians and film stars. Rooms at the Owo start at £1,100 a night. But there are only ten of these.

About a quarter of the rooms cost more than £3,500 a night.

The ultra-ultra-plush Haldane Suite costs between £18,000 and £25,000 per night—about £20 per minute. The Financial Times newspaper’s reviewer noted, “Along the corridor from the grand staircase in the Guards Bar, I found the waiters proudly showing off a bespoke red leather trolley crowned with a Mathusalem (six litres) of Rémy Martin Louis XIII cognac in a crystal decanter.

“It’s a sort of moveable shrine to the religion of luxury. One 50ml glass costs £290. The staff think it won’t last until Christmas.”

To pad out the revenue from the rooms, there is a selection of “branded residences”. These are privately owned apartments with access to all of the hotel’s luxury  amenities.

The Owo has so far sold about half of its 85 residences, which start at the basic £4 million for a one-bedroom apartment.

The five-bedroom penthouse, with interiors by the yacht and private jet specialist Winch Design, remains available—at just £100 million.

The hotel opened on 29 September—coincidentally 100 years to the day since the British empire reached its greatest extent in terms of territory.

It’s been mostly downwards for the empire since. One day we will conquer over those rich capitalist guests who infest the corridors of such luxury hotels too.


Braverman and Sunak lied about child grooming  

Suella Braverman falsely claimed child grooming gangs in Britain were “almost all British‑Pakistani”, according to a ruling by the press regulator, Ipso.

The home secretary made the claim in a Mail on Sunday article published in April. She singled out British-Pakistani men as being involved in child sexual abuse. She said it was due to “cultural attitudes completely incompatible with British values” that “have been left mostly unchallenged both within their communities and by wider society”.

Ipso has forced the Mail on Sunday to issue a correction to Braverman’s piece after concluding the statement was false. The regulator said Braverman’s decision to link “the identified ethnic group and a particular form of offending was significantly misleading”.

The Home Office’s own research had concluded offenders were mainly from white backgrounds.

The Mail on Sunday argued that prior to publication it had checked the slur with Braverman and Rishi Sunak.


Things they Say

‘Wales’ 20 MPH policy does not reflect the right values of the British people’
Rishi Sunak

‘There is less gnashing of teeth than you might expect among private equity groups about the prospect of a Labour government’
Top business consultant speaks to the Financial Times newspaper

‘I say we are going to pay for kids to catch up at school, and it’ll be funded by removing private schools’ charitable status’
Labour leader Keir Starmer in July and November 2022

‘We will not be changing the rules on private schools’ charitable status’
The Labour Party last week




Source: Socialistworker.co.uk