London crime rate – Khan has the answer?

The wave of violent crime in London has been making plenty of headlines recently, with murders in the Capital outstripping New York earlier this year.

Policing in London is the responsibility of the Mayor and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) who have issued plenty of soundbites so far but no real plan on how to tackle it.

With this in mind, Sadiq Khan’s latest statement on the causes shows just how out of touch with the situation on the ground he has become. Replying to a question on an LBC phone in show, the Mayor stated that ‘Cocaine use at middle class parties’ is driving the gang related violence on the streets, a position previously endorsed by both Simon Kempton of The Police Federation and Justice Secretary David Gauke when he mentioned it back in May.

In one way, I can see where the comment has come from – much of the violence is drug related and for the drug gangs to thrive, they need customers. However, cocaine use has not suddenly appeared out of thin air over the last couple of years under Khan’s Mayoralty and has been prevalent in London since at least the 1980’s. Indeed, when The City of London started to forge ahead after deregulation in the 80’s, the ‘yuppy’ culture embraced recreational drug use as part of their ‘work hard, play harder’ culture, not to mention the rise of the illegal raves at the turn of the decade where another drug of choice, Ecstasy, was a central part of the party experience.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Introducing Peter Whittle – UKIP mayoral candidate

I received the following press release earlier today from Peter Whittle, one of the UKIP candidates for London Mayor.

Peter has been a very good friend to our branch in Hillingdon – I am happy to post it here and offer my best wishes for a successful campaign…..

 

For Immediate Release, Friday August 29th 2014
 
 Peter Whittle London Calling19-01
Today I’m launching the website for my campaign to stand as the UKIP candidate for London Mayor: www.peterwhittle.london
The site will allow us to measure which issues are the most important to Londoners. It carries features which allow people to pledge support or just find out more about UKIP in London.

Continue reading

A free country put to the test

As seen in my previous piece, London Mayor and Uxbridge MP Boris Johnson has stated that it would be difficult to ban the flying of the Islamic State flag as this is a ‘free country’. (Despite ignoring the clear breaches of the anti-terror and public order acts that it entails).

St George and Hizb flags

Tomorrow sees the annual Al Quds day parade in London, where the flag of the proscribed terrorist group Hizbollah (Pictured above, which came in to my possession at last year’s event) will be flown on the streets in breach of the same laws and no doubt with no response from the Police.

To see if Boris is prepared to be true to his word, I will be peacefully counter protesting as I do each year – Anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny and racism have no place on the streets of our capital city. I will be carrying with me the St George Flag as also displayed in the picture – Let’s see if The Metropolitan Police show me the same consideration that they showed to the IS supporter at Westminster. I somehow doubt it.

Al Quds 2014 - march past

 

The Changing Face of London on Film

UKIP Culture Spokesman Peter Whittle looks at the evolution of acting and film in modern day London in this piece from Standpoint Magazine

 

Whittle’s London in the new edition of Standpoint looks at the capital on film:
Young+Terrence+Stamp.jpg (198×240)
 
‘Like politics, acting seems yet again to have become dominated by the privately educated, rather than working class boys like Michael Caine or Bob Hoskins’
Lionel Bart’s pre-Oliver! stage hit Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be is currently being revived at the Theatre Royal in the East End. I wonder what London audiences today will make of it. Joan Littlewood, the legendary producer who got the original 1959 production together, was evangelical about the need for working-class actors not only to be seen and heard but to be heard in their original voices, untouched by Rada and its belief that only received pronunciation bestowed the authority required of all real actors. The following decade gave us a slew of famous figures from genuinely working-class origins — Michael Caine and Terence Stamp (pictured), both London boys, became bona fide Hollywood stars — and finally it seemed that working-class actors had broken out of their “character and comedy” ghetto.

That era is as dead as the notion of Swinging London. Like our political class, acting seems yet again to have become dominated by the privately educated. The bullishly agitprop-spouting Littlewood would doubtless be horrified at the way in which economic restraints and the breakdown in social mobility have led to a remarkable rise in solidly public school performers, and she’d be right.

But it’s not the whole story. Of all the changes that have taken place in the capital in the past couple of decades, the gradual disappearance of traditional working-class communities, indeed of working-class identity itself, is the most stark. As an older Lambeth resident says in Michael Collins’s wonderful book about London’s working class, The Likes of Us, “It’s like we were never here.”EastEnders, the BBC’s series of largely working-class life in the modern East End, is little more than a polite fiction. 

What this means is that audiences who are still quite versed in, as it were, the more upmarket costume drama aspects of London’s identity will have little familiarity with that group of people who once made up the bulk of its population. No working-class culture, no working-class actors. Fings definitely ain’t wot they used t’be.

Bob Hoskins, who died last month, was born far from the sound of Bow Bells (in Bury St Edmunds) but his popular persona was certainly that of the rough but goodnatured cockney. Again, his voice — superficially threatening yet warm, humorous, even innocent, underneath — must strike younger audiences unfamiliar with London’s past social terrain as exotic, even a bit corny, rather like Dick Van Dyke’s infamous cockney impersonation in Mary Poppins. But it was the kind of voice that surrounded me growing up in the Sixties and Seventies.

Two of Hoskins’s most memorable films, The Long Good Friday, set amid the decay of London’s docklands in the Seventies before gentrification set in, andMona Lisa, in which he played a driver charged with ferrying a high-class call girl, depicted a city which was either in decline or simply hole-in-the-wall seedy. It always seemed particularly hard for London to rise to the occasion on film; its grey tattiness always worked best as the backdrop for a certain sort of clichéd urban grittiness. Too heavy for romance and too parochial for big scale action — it was always more The Sweeney than The French Connection — London only really came into its own as an all-purpose setting for Olden Times. The majestic colonnades of the Royal Naval Hospital, just along the road from me on the banks of the river at Greenwich, have stood in for everything from Tsarist St Petersburg (for Crime and Punishment) to revolutionary Paris (Les Misérables) and been pressed into service for enough movies set in 18th-century Whitehall to give them an identity crisis.

This cinematic treatment of London has certainly changed in the past decade or so, as it has become a different kind of city. It has gone in two distinct directions: there’s the glossy and loved-up oeuvre of Richard Curtis, or the gangster and geezer version, pioneered by Guy Ritchie, which now seems to form a whole sub-genre. Rupert Everett beautifully summed up Curtis when he described him as the Leni Riefenstahl of Blair’s Britain: all liberal sensibility, multicultural harmony and well-meaning posh chaps. When seen from a Notting Hill window, this shiny, happy London — easy in its own skin, as the cliché has it — certainly looks like a great place to be. Less inviting on the other hand but with a new, harsh glamour, the crime-ridden world of movies such as RocknRolla and Layer Cake portrays a city of designer suits, good-looking hard men and billionaire interlopers.

What these pictures of London have in common, however, is a distinct air of self-consciousness. While we might recognise aspects of the city in each, neither version feels genuinely familiar. Few of Curtis’s characters could now afford to inhabit their beloved West London, which, with its acres of empty investment properties, is in danger of becoming a ghost town. And Ritchie’s duckers and divers look increasingly like exercises in masculine nostalgia. Neither Michael Caine nor Bob Hoskins would, I’m sure, feel much at home in either landscape.

Reply
Reply to all
Forward