Monthly Archives: April 2010

Gangs of Hackney

The other day I had one of those staring-out-the-car-window drives when East London seems to unfold like a one-shot movie. At the Cat and Mutton pub at Broadway Market two men stumbled into the sunshine, and one climbed into a waiting cab and passed out. The cabbie, realising he possibly wasn’t going to get paid by this bloke, asked his friend to settle the fare in advance. His friend opened his wallet, pulled out a thick wad of notes and flung a twenty in the general direction of the cabbie before staggering back to the bar and his next drink.

The next scene was further down the road, where fifteen or so young, hooded black kids were lined up on the low wall of an estate, listening intently to an older white bloke giving a rallying speech. His voice was raised, his arms were waving and he had their undivided attention. I don’t know East London’s gangs well enough to know which one this was, but I’ve been thinking about gangs a lot this week, since the shooting of sixteen-year-old Agnes Sina-Inakoju in a takeaway shop in Hoxton. This is a terrible way to die, and you can’t begin to imagine the effect on her family ­– her mother was quoted as saying ‘I wasn’t there for her’, but how could she predict such a thing would happen? Continue reading


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East London Lines housing report

Well, I may be short of mojo but other East Londoners aren’t, which is why I’m linking to East London Lines today…. Neil Roberts has written an excellent piece on housing in Hackney, which is well worth a look. I did not know before reading it that:

The borough has around 15,500 people on the council housing waiting list and 2,000 people registered as homeless. There are more than 17,000 people living in “unsuitable” housing. Unsuitable housing includes overcrowded homes; in Hackney almost 10 per cent of households are overcrowded, compared to 2.5 per cent nationally.

The increase in homelessness is something I was reminded of yesterday when I got on the 242 bus to go to work and saw a woman who is often begging around Hackney Central sleeping peacefully across the back seat. I suppose if you sleep rough it’s safer to stay awake at night and then sleep during the day, and a bus going all the way from Homerton into central London will give you are warm, untroubled spot for a good two hours.

This news website is put together by journalism students & staff at Goldsmiths, University of London, and no doubt we’ll see some of the same bylines appearing in the national papers in no time.

Check it out here:

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Do something good: sign a worthwhile petition

Hello, and apologies for being so slack about posting lately. Have been a bit off my chops but will be back soon.

Meanwhile, I received this email about turning the Old Tram Depot in Upper Clapton into an Arts & Crafts trust. The funding is apparently available, all that is needed is a bit of support to get the idea off the ground and ward off the developers who are currently swarming like buzzards over the site. 

Find out more at:

There’s also lots of general info about the Depot (going back over 2 years) still at the Beecholme website,

Please add your support in action by either leaving a comment, signing the petition or at the very least, ticking the anonymous poll – all at the “DepotArtsTrust” website.

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Stop the BNP infecting East London

Here’s an email I received today. Self explanatory & one I am happy to share.

London-wide anti-BNP mobilisation: Saturday 17 April

I am writing to invite you to play a role in stopping the BNP from winning control of a London Borough in the forthcoming council elections.

Hackney Unites is joining forces with the HOPE not hate campaign to put on a coach to take people in Hackney to Barking & Dagenham for a crucial 17 April mobilisation.

This is the borough where the BNP are already the official opposition and where, if left unchecked, they are in a position to become the majority party. This is the borough where Nick Griffin is hoping to become an MP.

On this one day we hope to have enough activists to deliver a HOPE not hate newspaper to every property in the borough.

With the real threat of the BNP winning control of the council it is vital that all anti-fascists and anti-racists make the trip to Barking & Dagenham on this day.

The effect of the BNP and their politics of hatred controlling a multi-million pound budget of a London borough would be poisonous. If we do not stop them in Barking and Dagenham, then we can be sure they will begin to set their sights on creating racial and religious tension here in Hackney. They have already boasted that they intend to stand for Mayor of Hackney. Today it sounds like a sick joke, but there is a real danger that they may win control of Barking and Dagenham council. We can help to stop that happening.

Our coach is leaving Mare Street, by Hackney Town Hall, at 9.45am on Saturday 17 April.

Please sign up for the HOPE bus:

Lunch is being provided by the NUT and PCS and Billy Bragg and a local Gospel choir will be performing. There will also be a briefing on the coach to explain what we are doing on the day and we will link up with local activists who will leaflet with us.

Hackney can be proud of its multicultural society but the stronger the BNP are in Barking and Dagenham, the bigger the threat to us hear in Hackney. We must help the committed anti-racists and anti-fascists in Barking and Dagenham who are on the front line against the BNP.

You can also help by tele-canvassing for the HOPE not hate campaign. Visit the following website for more information

Please feel free to circulate this email to friends, family, work colleagues and neighbours.

For more information about Hackney Unites, please visit:


John Page

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