By Howard Green
Since 2018, cities across the globe have had many of their Fridays dominated by the vibrancy and passion of youth climate protesters. It’s a testament to the radical attitudes of Norwich’s young population that such large crowds have flocked to the city centre to protest against the current climate regime. Sadly, the Coronavirus pandemic has dried up physical activism in the city for the time being. There is a serious risk that this pandemic may lead to the voices of young people, especially those in secondary school and sixth form, being silenced within Norfolk and across the country. We must diagnose the problem if we are to move forward and continue on in protest.
by Yali Banton-Heath
A massive issue facing the UK at the moment is right under our noses and indeed right under our feet. That issue is land. Though land injustice may stem from historical legislation such as the Enclosure Acts and the shrinking of the commons through large-scale land grabs over past centuries, the phenomenon continues today, with land inequality becoming ever-increasingly stark. Land is moving more and more from public control into wealthy private hands, with land and housing prices rocketing over recent decades as a result of speculative inflation. In 1995 the total value of land in the UK was around £1 trillion, that figure is now more than £5 trillion.
by Josh Doble
The unassuming small parish village of Southrepps, twenty-two miles north of Norwich, is the surprising location for a memorial to the former pariah state of Southern Rhodesia/Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe. This is not necessarily a well-known site – it was stumbled across during a summer cycle – yet it represents an important space to demonstrate the wider political environment in rural Norfolk, and the area’s connections to right-wing pressure groups further afield. The memorial itself is opposite Southrepps Hall and is made up of an avenue of Tilia Cordata – small-leaf lime trees – and three flag poles hosting the Union Jack, the Rhodesian flag and the original Southern Rhodesian flag. The Sladden family are the ‘Lords’ and ‘Ladies’ of Southrepps Hall and have a close history with Rhodesia, historically being settlers themselves. It would appear that the Sladden family built the memorial to commemorate their connections to the former country and to celebrate its memory.
by Rowan Gavin
It’s been a great year for music in East Anglia’s Finest City. If you’re a gig-goer, you’ll no doubt have come across some of the many up-and-coming Norwich and Norfolk musicians breathing new life into the local scene these last few months. Here, in no particular order, I’d like to present five of the local acts that have most impressed, entranced, and inspired me in 2018.Continue Reading
by David Breakspear
“Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time!”. In terms of reform and progress within our penal system, the proverb is about as much use as eating soup with a fork. For a start, how would you know?
Unfortunately, we do need prisons. Ever since Eve – reportedly – ate the forbidden fruit from the garden of Eden, crime has been in existence in human narratives. Crime, either directly or indirectly, affects us all; victims of crime or the family/loved ones/friends of the victim, perpetrator of crime, or, yet again, the family/friends/loved ones of the perpetrators. You may even pay higher insurance premiums due to crime. Crime affects all, therefore, crime is the responsibility of all, especially the prison system.Continue Reading
by Zoe Harding
Article contains strong language.
I went to a counter-protest last week.
Chances are you did too, if you’re reading this. The protest, by a group called Unity UK, was opposite the Norwich town hall and was probably against immigrants, although most of the people there seemed to think it was in favour of Brexit and one chap wanted to Drain The Swamp (an odd choice of slogan in a county that would be little more than Thetford and a lot of dry mud if we drained it, but I digress.) The counter-protest, on the other hand, was a who’s who of Norwich’s local lefties, turning up with drums, flags, megaphones and a generally good-natured if slightly intense demeanor, to stand opposite them and drown them out.Continue Reading
by Ewa Giera
Content warning: xenophobia, discrimination
The Day of the Duck, by Helen Stratford and Lawrence Bradby, takes form of neither a scripted play, nor a novel: intertwined with visual diagrams, elements of script and a simple, character-driven narrative, the book is a unique experience as opposed to a traditional novel. The story revolves around a Muscovy duck, the last of its species in a town heavily based on Ely in Cambridgeshire, whose goal is to discover why its brethren have all disappeared. The book is framed as a noir detective-style plot – the Muscovy duck takes on the role of the detective and asks all the uncomfortable questions to people whose names it’s not concerned with, which serves the aim of having the characters translate as everymen.Continue Reading
By Carmina Masoliver
Having grown up in Norfolk, Will Teather is an artist who has been firmly placed in Norwich, where he works as an Associate Lecturer at Norwich University of the Arts and occasionally takes up residencies, reaching as far as New York. His distinctive style combines traditional skills and imagery, with a psychedelic twist.
By Nicholl Hardwick, for The Grow Organisation
In contemporary Britain, our lives are pervaded with unique health and economic pressures. Capitalism, globalisation, Brexit and the internet have all contributed to a new era of loneliness, community isolation and disconnectedness. We may go days at a time without speaking or having sentimental engagement with another person. In particular, elderly members of the community frequently fall to the wayside as our distancing society ceases to encourage them to function as active participants.
by James Anthony
Across the country during 11th-17th June, various individuals, charities and institutions will be celebrating Carers Week 2018 in recognition of unpaid carers and the work they do. That period will also mark just over two and a half months of my time working for a local carers charity. It’s opened my eyes to the issues that many carers face and what needs to change to improve their lives, but also to recognise the need to publicise Carers Week and recognise the contribution of carers to society as a whole.Continue Reading
by Lewis Martin
On Sunday 6th May I attended Scratch It! hosted by Hack Theatre at the Norwich Arts Centre. Aimed at attracting new writers and ongoing projects, the evening looks to give a platform to work that is happening in the area so it can be developed and flourish. The arts varied across the evening, ranging from comedy to drama and using different styles and formats.Continue Reading
Read the Preview to the May Elections here.
This year, thirteen out of Norwich’s thirty-nine council seats will be up for election on May 3rd in thirteen different wards across the city. The big four parties (Conservatives, Greens, Labour and Lib Dems) are expected to be contesting every seat, possibly alongside some independent candidates.
The four different parties will have four very different set of objectives and aims, with hopes of defences and gains mixed in with aspirations of breakthrough success for some here in Norwich. With the release of nominated persons on Monday April 9th, here’s a breakdown of Wards A – M with predicted outcomes to keep you all abreast of what’s to come in this Fine City. Continue Reading
by Eli Lambe
No, Soup Kitchens are not making Norwich’s “Homelessness problem” worse. It might seem that way to you, if you’re used to brushing the vulnerable off and not having to see the reality of more and more people’s lives. The easy solution – and the one that your newspaper and the local police like to peddle – is to force rough sleepers and vulnerable people out to the fringes of the city, where they’re cut off from their community and support and, most importantly it seems, you don’t have to see them.
What makes you think that your walking past the Haymarket every so often qualifies you to write about the lives of the people in the queue?Continue Reading
by James Anthony
In January 2018, it was announced that sixteen and seventeen year-olds in Wales will be given the right to vote in their local elections, under proposals set out by the Welsh Labour government. Along with Scotland, where votes at sixteen is already reality, Welsh policy will now be at odds with England and Northern Ireland where the voting age for any sort of election is eighteen. The idea that someone who is exactly the same age and has just as many years in education as another can be denied the right to vote based on location is extremely unfair. Perhaps it’s time the Conservative government reconsider their position on the voting age.
If the national government are seemingly ok with this being a regional disparity, why not allow it to take place in areas where there is clearly a desire for it? Just under two years ago, Norwich City Council voted unanimously for a proposal which asked for Norwich to be used as a possible ‘pilot area’ for allowing 16 and 17 year-olds to participate in local government elections. Disappointingly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, I couldn’t find any official response to this request from the government although if it exists, I suspect it would be in essence – ‘piss off’. Continue Reading
by David Breakspear
Saturday the 10th Feb 2018, a day that I will always remember. I had been invited to speak in relation to prison education and the arts. I was speaking to an audience alongside Jacob Huntley, a lecturer in English literature and creative writing from the UEA. I met Jacob whilst I was a serving prisoner at HMP Norwich. One of my roles at HMP Norwich was as an education mentor and I was told that there would be a new creative writing course starting, which would be facilitated by Jacob. I have always found that penning emotions onto a piece of paper allowed me to free my mind.Continue Reading
by Joe Rutter
Graffiti: the obstinate, acne-covered teenager of the Arts. It wants to be noticed, to be valued, but at the same time shirks acceptance, awkwardly lurking in the shadows of society, preferring nocturnal thrills and bricked-wall canvases to sober gallery exhibits. And Street Art divides opinion like no other medium. Depending on where you stand – you might be an anarchistic advocate or an unimpressed traditionalist – graffiti can dazzle or disgust. But whether you think it’s the scourge of the city or a vibrant channel of urban expression, graffiti is finding itself a home in Norwich. Should it stay?Continue Reading
by Oliver Steward
The concept of a local currency is one way to encourage people to go to the high street through a creative use of supply side economics. A local currency would enable towns and cities across the country to stimulate economic activity in their floundering high streets. We need to encourage small business activity during this time of economic uncertainty, as small and micro businesses encourage entrepreneurship and form the backbone of our economy. Independent shops give our high street character and provide an incentive for people to visit our historic towns. The so-called ‘Death of the High-street’ is not just about national chains relocating, but the closure of small businesses. The use of a local currency would help reinvigorate it.Continue Reading
by James Anthony
Sadly, it may come as no surprise that earlier this week a government report revealed that Norfolk is one of the worst areas in the country for social mobility. Often stereotyped as a rural backwater and with a disappointingly spot on reputation for appalling educational standards and failing children’s services in recent years, it is awful that the government appear to be finding this acceptable and are not increasing funds for social mobility in our county.
While it is unfortunately not too surprising that rural Norfolk isn’t great for social mobility, the equally poor ranking for the city of Norwich will shock many. Our fine city is often hailed as some sort of utopia, full of educated professionals, left wing representation and a good jobs market, but the embarrassing fact is that Norwich isn’t always as perfect as we think. Outside of the affluent city centre and Golden Triangle, there are areas of real deprivation – and no serious attempt by our Tory government is being made to fix this.Continue Reading
by James Anthony
It has been suggested that the world famous Colman’s brand may soon break with a tradition more than 200 years old, of producing mustard and other products here in Norwich. Make no mistake – this is not nearly as trivial as it sounds, and would be nothing short of a local tragedy.
This may seem exceptionally daft, but Colman’s has so much history here in Norwich, it is tough not to be upset by this news. Colman’s Mustard has been based in Norfolk since 1814 when Jeremiah Colman formally set up his mustard and flour business in Stoke Holy Cross, just outside of the current Norwich city boundary. Later, Jeremiah Colman’s great-nephew Jeremiah James Colman established the production factory in Norwich in 1858, which still exists today. With business booming, royal approval was gained in 1866 with the granting of a Special Warrant as manufacturers to ‘Her Majesty the Queen Victoria’, helping our local mustard gain a global reputation and put Norwich on the culinary world stage.Continue Reading
by James Anthony
Our society is governed by market forces. You can hardly sit through a news broadcast without the mention of stocks and shares, commodity prices or talk of the single market in relation to Brexit. It’s very easy to forget that markets are real, physical institutions that pop up around towns and cities across the country, sadly written off by many consumers in favour of large, corporate run supermarkets.Continue Reading
by Colin Hynson and Matthew White
Four years ago, on the north side of Norwich, a new community centre came into life. Before that the Silver Rooms had been owned and run by Norfolk County Council as a drop-in centre for local older residents. In 2010 Norfolk County Council announced that it was selling off the building as a response to cuts imposed by the coalition government. A group of local people fought back determined that the building should carry on benefiting the local community. In 2012, the building became an Asset of Community Value (later used in the campaign to save the Owl Sanctuary). Norfolk County Council then abandoned the auction and said that the building could be run for the benefit of the community and the rooms were leased to the community for 25 years for a peppercorn rent of £1.00 a year.Continue Reading
by James Anthony
Content warning: article mentions homophobia, religion, Trump, and Farage.
Earlier this week, many of us watched on in horror as one of our potential Prime Ministers spouted his frankly archaic, illiberal views on Good Morning Britain. I thought to myself that alongside all the atheists, progressives and liberals of the UK, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s spin doctors and supporters must also be holding their head in their hands. His interview would have been seen by a large number of people and the further press coverage was extensive – surely this was the death blow to any leadership ambitions.
I suppose I have a lot of faith in our electorate and like to think that outing yourself as anti-choice, homophobic, and quite frankly medieval, on national television would ruin your political career.Continue Reading
by Billy Pilgrim With The Heartsease Kid
Are you looking for a way to get your voice heard? Do you have a book of poems on your bedside table that nobody ever reads? Isn’t it time somebody listened to you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then you may be suitable for “Words w/ Friends Vol II”.
by Joe Burns
Radioactive waste is the solid, liquid, or gaseous waste produced by nuclear power stations, fuel production, weapons manufacturing and nuclear plant decommissioning. Small volumes of radioactive waste products are also created by industrial, research and medical institutions.
This waste has been constantly produced in this country since the 1950s, and the debate about what to do with the radioactive waste products from military, civil, medical, and scientific uses has caused frustration and fear for an equally long time.Continue Reading
by Joe Burns
Content warning: this article contains links to graphic videos and mentions animal cruelty
Over a billion farmed animals are killed in Britain every year. That includes over 10 million pigs, over 15 million sheep, 16 million turkeys, and over 2.6 million cows.
This business is a traditional part of Norfolk, and British, life. Farming of all kinds has been a part of life in Norfolk for hundreds of years. This rural county is most well-known for breeding turkeys, though it is also a moderate producer of other meats, especially from cows and pigs. Is the mass production of animals for consumption something to be proud of though?Continue Reading
by James Anthony
There are a lot of stresses that come with moving house. Earlier in August, I spent a fair number of days experiencing both as I shifted location in Norwich.I was making sure I had all of my belongings, desperately trying to cover up any damage or stains, and trying to work out the logistics of carrying my entire life from one house to another. The only saving grace in this process was the fact that I have only moved about five minutes down the road – across what is known as the ‘Golden Triangle’ – an especially desirable area to live in Norwich. For years, it has been considered one of the best places to be just outside the city centre, even gaining national coverage for its popularity. A reasonable judgement, to this day.Continue Reading
by Joe Burns
This year, nearly £16m is beginning to be being spent on transport alterations across Norwich. This means new cycle lanes, junctions, and road crossings being built to improve road safety for cyclists. Part of that spending is funded by a £425,000 Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Grant to improve cycle lanes between the inner and outer ring roads. That upcoming cycle lane project is the latest of several efforts to improve road use for cyclists in Norwich, including £800,000 spent as part of the Transport for Norwich scheme to build a cycle lane on Newmarket Road.Continue Reading
by James Anthony
I never thought I’d start off a serious article by writing about talking during sex, but here we are. It’s a slightly awkward subject, and one that the world of comedy is not afraid to touch upon. Specifically, I’m referring to everyone’s favourite fictional radio presenter, Alan Partridge, who is no stranger to the delicate topic of conversations mid-intercourse. I’m Alan Partridge brought to British comedy a very memorable line, during a less than steamy sex scene, in which Alan asks his partner just what she thinks of the pedestrianisation of Norwich City Centre.
Aside from being a line used as a sure-fire way to detect a fellow Partridge fan, those outside of Norwich may not realise that we recently celebrated fifty years since the first high street in the city became pedestrianised, and that the debate around the motorist vs pedestrian issue continues to rage on. It is very much to this day – as Alan himself would say – a ‘hot topic’.Continue Reading
by Laura Jamieson
Last Saturday, July 15th, saw the Eastern Mermaids travel to Upton-Upon-Severn to compete in the second southern fixture for the Quidditch Premiere League. Quidditch – a real, full contact, mixed gendered sport – has rapidly grown over the last ten years, with over 500 teams across 26 countries, competing in national and international tournaments. Played using ‘brooms’ made of PVC pipe, the players aim to score points by throwing the quaffle through three hoops on opposite ends of the pitch, all whilst avoiding beaters, players armed with dodgeballs aiming to briefly knock their opponents out of the game.
After 20 minutes, the seekers and snitch take the pitch, a player from each team aiming to ‘catch’ a tag rugby style ball in a sock attached to the back of a neutral player’s shorts. Quaffle goals are worth 10 points, with a snitch catch worth 30 points and ending the game. Full contact and competitive, the sport has seen many people otherwise disinterested or alienated from mainstream popular sports become engaged and active, some going from stationary nerds to cardio and protein enthusiasts, other players having previously played sport, joining due to the appeal of a unique, inclusive sport unlike any other.Continue Reading
by Lewis Martin
CW: death, disease, corpses.
Last week we heard that the number of people applying to become nursing students has fallen by 19% in the past year. As this is the first application cycle since government cuts to NHS bursaries, for many this will not be much of a shock. It’s clear that the government’s decision to take away this provision that allowed many students to attend their courses will have serious detrimental effects, not only for the institutions that train nurses but for the NHS as a whole.
by James Anthony
The Forum is often described as a key landmark of Norwich, a grand glass structure which stands alongside City Hall and St. Peter Mancroft Church, overlooking the market. Intended as a building fit to mark the turn of the century, The Forum was opened in November 2001 and has since become one of the main meeting places in the city centre, truly a forum for the people of Norwich.
Many of those meeting there – enjoying pizza, coffee and the various exhibitions hosted within – may not realise the scale of destruction and loss of history that took place twenty-three years ago, pre-dating the grand building we know today.Continue Reading
by James Anthony
In my first year of university, I had the pleasure to live on Prince of Wales Road in Norwich, one of the most dangerous roads in Norfolk and one of England’s worst drinking areas in terms of late-night violence. While it might not have been for everyone, I honestly loved the feeling of being at the heart of the city’s nightlife and counted myself week in week out as one of the thousands of club-goers descending onto the strip. For me, nightclubs are a way to relive stress, relax and enjoy yourself alongside scores of friends and strangers, and represent a sort of coming together of people of all different backgrounds to lose yourself in the dance.Continue Reading
by Hannah Rose
CW: mentions of sexual assault
Think of your best friend, I bet they spin a good yarn. No doubt they think the same about you. The exchange of life stories is how the finest, most novel human bonds are made. It’s within these intimate, warm spaces where the stories of our lives unfold; cementing who we are, rooting memory, making kaleidoscopes of our imaginations.
This is the essence of True Stories Live—the invention of Norfolk producer Lucy Farrant and writer and host Molly Naylor. Continue Reading
by Joe Burns
27 km north of Blakeney Point in Norfolk there’s a wind farm called Race Bank. The project has been in development for over a decade and has just started producing electricity. After the first of 91 turbines were installed, the farm began to successfully generate electricity and will be able to support the electricity needs for almost half a million homes once all 91 turbines are finished and operating.
This is great news. Why exactly? Well the project will result in over 830,000 tonnes of annual CO2 savings and will operate for 25 years. Plus it’s good to see another addition to the UK’s already successful and world leading wind farms, and there are plans for more. It’s also encouraging to see major international energy companies fight for the biggest wind turbines possible, as when they are far out at sea, campaign groups can’t really complain about their views being ruined.Continue Reading
by Richard Bearman, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Norwich South
I have been member of the Green Party (GPEW) since 2003 and was elected as a Green Party county councillor for Mancroft ward in 2009, and again in 2013. In that time I, alongside the other county councillors in the green group, have managed to pass motions and lead campaigns that have benefited the city of Norwich as well as the Wider Norfolk Community. Our biggest success was the reversal of the decision to pursue devolution in East Anglia, something I heavily campaigned against.
I’m running in Norwich South for a number of reasons. Norwich is a fine city that I have lived in for over 30 years and I believe it needs the strongest possible leadership in parliament for it. This is something I believe I can do.Continue Reading
by James Anthony
Content warning: article mentions suicide, and features a carnival float depicting suicide
To mark the arrival of BBC’s Question Time in Norwich on Thursday, a rather controversial float turned up in our city. Created for a festival in Dusseldorf, an impressively sized and eerily lifelike representation of the Prime Minister with a ‘Brexit’ gun in her mouth, was rolled around nearby streets to attract attention and to supposedly draw support for the pro-EU cause.
While I can appreciate the enthusiasm behind the protest, I can’t help but think it’s the wrong way to go about building a campaign focused on ensuring a future close to Europe.Continue Reading
by Alice Thomson
I moved to Norwich five years ago. Well, actually, I didn’t move to Norwich at all. When I relay the story of how I came to live in Norwich I always jokingly say I came to visit and never left. For me Norwich was great – love at first sight. The reason why I came to stay in Norwich was a lot less great and a lot more painful. I came down for a week to visit my mother and celebrate our birthdays (they’re six days apart). I was living in Aberdeen at the time, so at the end of the week my mum drove me up to the Scottish border as planned. She was going to see friends, and I was going to carry on my journey from there. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. The prospect of continuing my journey filled me with crippling fear. It became obvious to my mum that I couldn’t go home. And so we turned around, and came back to Norwich. I ran away.
by Lewis Martin
On the 25th of April, Professor Richard Andrews, the head of the School of Education and Life Long Learning (EDU) at UEA, announced the closure of the university’s counselling programme. This means that all courses surrounding the subject of counselling, including a PG diploma and an MA, will no longer be taught at UEA as of the beginning of the 2018 academic year. Andrews described this as a ‘difficult decision’ resulting from ‘low demand for the course’. This closure is especially significant, not only to UEA but to the wider Norwich and Norfolk area.
by Joe Burns
In the county council elections that took place last week, Labour unquestionably took Norwich. They won twelve of the thirteen wards in the city. Although it is good news that the Conservatives continue to play no part of governance in the city, it is a sad day for true progressives. Voter turnout was a shameful 34.51 percent and the voting system we have means that even though more people voted against the Tories than for them in the county, they won the most seats. Obviously, as Richard Bearman (Norwich Green Party) says, we need a proportional representation system, but that is a matter for another time.
At county level, the Conservatives had a predictably great day at the expense of UKIP, whose past supporters seem to favour the dishonesty and intolerance of the current Tory government. Indeed, the views of many UKIP supporters have now been adopted by the Tories, most notable their stance on the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.
Although The Green Party won four seats in the 2013 county council elections (all in Norwich), the defection of Adrian Dearnley to the Conservatives late last year meant that Norwich Green Party were left with three seats to defend in this most recent county council election. Unfortunately, voters seem to have turned away in favour of Labour.Continue Reading
by Hannah Rose
True Stories Live is a beautifully simple idea which has blossomed since its inception a year ago. Each night promises to be engaging and entertaining, offering a storytelling space where the unexpected nearly always happens. The premise is straightforward, inviting members of the public to share their unscripted stories with an audience.
A theme is set for each night and storytellers are invited to workshops to help prepare for their performance. To date, themes have included: ‘There’s No Place Like Home’, ‘Forgive And Forget’, and ‘In Another Life’. A rich experience often including the intimate, the bittersweet and the darkly funny, drawing large audiences each time round.Continue Reading
by Sara Harrington
Recently, I was asked to host a workshop for branch of the Norwich division of the Women’s Institute, ‘The Golden Triangle Girls’. Expecting jam, Jerusalem and jingoism, I was impressed by the diverse array of women that listened intently as I bumbled my way through a workshop about ‘Bee Friendly’ practices.
The group of women who swarmed around tables of craft materials and collected household items were varying in age, occupation and class. But most notably, these women were engaged in the activity. To some extent I had an inkling that the women I would meet at this monthly event would not be the conservative face that over 100 years of country fêtes and the 2003 blockbuster hit that was Calendar Girls had led me to believe. However, I did not realise just how radical a space the WI really was until I attended a meeting for myself.Continue Reading
by Alice Thomson
When it comes to health treatments, people like myself will try almost anything once. And I have. Living with chronic pain, fatigue and joint instability as I am, I will do many things to seek relief from my symptoms. I’ve tried reflexology, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, medication, TENS, reiki, acupuncture, chiropractics; the list goes on. All of them have their merits, but they don’t always have the desired effect.
by Joe Burns
Theresa May has announced a general election that is set to take place on June 8. Some might say this is a bold move, a drastic U-turn that goes against previous remarks, though I argue it is only a cheap and damaging attack on a struggling opposition that highlights her opportunistic immorality. Of course, she remembers her promise to not call an early general election, but she smells Labour blood and cannot resist.
In usual general elections, leaders of political parties are asked to take part in debates with each other and the general public on television, sometimes live. I believe that live televised debates should be a mandatory part of every major election, especially general elections and local council elections. Live debate with unrehearsed questioning is the best tactic for accessing a politician’s true beliefs, as those that truly believe in what they stand for have unguided, spontaneous responses that show they’re the right people to lead the county. Theresa May’s instant tantrum about the idea of televised debates displays her complete lack of interest in speaking to the people.Continue Reading
by James Anthony
On the face of it, rural train stations don’t feel as though they should be particularly thought provoking places, and they’re probably the last place you’d look to find an inspiring piece of community art. ‘Community art’ in this sense may be bending the meaning of the term a little too far for some – what I saw outside Wymondham train station the other evening were simply thinly scrawled words spray painted onto an old grey wall.
The words were ‘graffiti is a crime’.
An amusing phrase to go alongside the obvious activity – but as I walked past debating whether or not I could be bothered to take a picture or bring it up in pub conversation later, it got me thinking more and more about how graffiti is viewed in society. I don’t condone defacing clearly private property; I believe graffiti is an art form that needs to be given space.Continue Reading
by James Anthony
Having been a candidate in a local election last year, I spent a lot of time telling people ‘vote for me’, and as a candidate again this year, I’m doing much the same thing. The more I think about it however, it’s the first third of that phrase that is truly the most important part, and although local politics may not be all that exciting – it is something that affects everyone – above all we need to convince people simply to ‘vote’.
Part of this is acknowledging that the majority of people don’t even vote in local elections, and far fewer get excited about them. It’s a huge issue that turnout usually sits at well below 40% in local elections, but an issue that is difficult to examine as a political activist. In the run up to polling day I am surrounded by activists who (quite rightly) put a lot of time and effort into campaigning locally, and the dedication of my colleagues and political opponents never fails to impress me. As activists, we have to learn to accept that most voters don’t get quite as excited about it all. We need to view things from a different perspective if we want to see why turnout is so low and what we can do to improve it.Continue Reading
by Lewis Buxton
Despite being called A Book of Fragments and Dreams, the poems in Rebecca McManus’ collection are far from fragmentary. They speak loudly to one another and are rooted decisively in the people, places, and objects of her life. Unthank Cameo has released this collection posthumously after Rebecca McManus was killed by a speeding driver whilst waiting at a bus stop. She was 21 and just weeks away from graduating from the University of East Anglia.Continue Reading
by Olivia Hanks
The debate over Article 50 has brought out sharp divisions in British politics, with Tulip Siddiq’s departure from the Labour front bench potentially the first of several resignations. Jeremy Corbyn’s confirmation that he will impose a three-line whip on Labour MPs to back the triggering of Article 50 has caused discontent within his party and outside it, for its message to the government is: do what you like – we won’t make a fuss.
by The Norwich Radical
2016 was a bleak year for many. Across the world, the forces of liberty, of social progress, and of environmental justice lost time and again in the face of rising fascism, increased alienation, and intensifying conflict. That notwithstanding, there have been moments of light. In the Austrian Presidential election, the electorate confirmed the independently Green candidate Alexander van der Bellen; the #noDAPL water protectors gained a soft victory in early December; in fact, there is a full list of positives from the past year, if you want cheering up.
2016 saw our team expand to more than 25 writers, editors, and artists as well as host our first ever progressive media conference, War of Words. Our readership has grown from 5,000 per month to more than 6,500 per month. In total, nearly 80,000 people have read content on The Norwich Radical website this year.
In 2017, The Norwich Radical will turn three years old, with plans to grow our team and publication more than ever before. We’ll also be returning to Norwich to bring debate and discussion on the future of the media, with War of Words back for a second year. Continue Reading
By James Anthony
As another Christmas passes us by, society suddenly remembers about the people living their lives on the streets. The cold weather and family focus of this time of year always seems to bring about fresh discussion, reports, and news concerning the issues around homelessness. Thankfully, much of the talk on the subject – especially on social media – is rather positive. This year I’ve seen a considerable number of friends and colleagues on Twitter and Facebook talking about admirable projects that provide food, care and company to those without a home during the Christmas period.
by James Anthony
Earlier in the summer of 2016, Norfolk County Council voted to continue their commitment to resettling fifty Syrian refugees around the county. The motion passed overwhelmingly, but the UKIP group on the council refused to support it, their leader claiming that “we have to look after our own first”. It’s disappointing that this sort of attitude prevails in Norwich. Those opposing the resettlement scheme may claim that refugees are hurting British culture — but to me, (especially in Norwich) it is in our culture to help those most in need.
Most people in Norwich may not realise just how much we have done as a city historically for refugees — and how much we owe them for our continued success.Continue Reading
by Olivia Hanks
Certain things are inescapable at this time of year. Overeating. Musical jumpers. Footage of the prime minister in wellies, assuring a street that’s under three feet of water that the government will do everything possible by way of assistance.Continue Reading
by Hannah Rose
Art Fair East (AFE) is an annual contemporary visual art event showcasing emerging and established artists from East Anglia and around the globe, hosted by artists, galleries and dealers in St Andrews Hall – Norwich. 2016’s event was a hive of curiosity and arty repartee, with artists and agents on hand to engage and interact with visitors.Continue Reading
by Oliver Steward
It’s the 30th anniversary year of buses being deregulated and privatised by the then Thatcher government under the legislation of the Transport Act 1985. Privatisation was supposed to bring greater efficiency to the bus network, give commuters choice, and aid in cutting fares. It has however failed as a policy. It is time that local councils take back control of the bus network, and renationalise to make it publicly owned, and publicly accountable to those who use it.
Éoin Clarke posed a fundamental policy question concerning transport: why we should reconsider the merits of privatisation of our bus and rail network? In this article I’m going to focus on buses.Continue Reading
by Hannah Rose
Director Tim Lane’s adaptation of Richard III is bone-chilling—and that’s not only down to the lack of heating in the Shoe Factory Social Club in Norwich. Shakespeare’s story of the wicked and rapacious King Richard is superbly located by Crude Apache in the disused factory space, which has been turned into a frightening vision of the future, an urban hinterland where people live in makeshift communities of cardboard boxes and behind wire fences. Exposed lights, metal girders and old sofas furbish the old factory; I could have been inside a modish bar in Hackney, or a punk squat in Berlin. The thumping techno beats made it all the more ethereal, and for a moment I was back at an illegal rave I once went to when I was twenty, except this one sold gin and tonics and cups of tea.Continue Reading
by Hannah Rose
Now is the winter of our discontent
Richard III reimagined by The Crude Apache Theatre Company
23rd Nov – 3 December
The Crude Apache Theatre Company will be performing a striking adaptation of Shakespeare’s bloodthirsty Richard III at the Shoe Factory Social Club in Norwich. A post-industrial dystopian world awaits audiences, as the Company prepares to throw them into this sinister tale of the power-mad and murderous.Continue Reading
by James Anthony
The other week, I made the decision to purchase train tickets for a 4AM journey down to London, just a few days before all of my university coursework was due. As with many other activists across the country, I was off to spend the first day of December in Richmond Park talking to voters for the parliamentary by-election taking place there. Some people might call that a stupid decision – and they’re probably correct – but there is an important reason as to why I did it. It’s the same reason that I trudged the streets of Norwich in May and again in June this year putting bits of paper through letter boxes and knocking on doors as I went around. I believe that traditional political campaigning holds the key to winning elections.Continue Reading
by Cherry Somersby
Content warning: mentions homophobia, homophobic violence
Anyone with a basic understanding of society will know that queer people encounter instances of homophobia on a daily basis. Seemingly removed from what many view as ‘real oppressions’, everyday instances of homophobia can be intensely draining, but ultimately the form they take is rarely an aggressive one. So why, then, does an act so apparently harmless as a prolonged stare or quiet whisper in the street, have the power to provoke so much fear? The answer is something I failed to realise until three days ago when I witnessed homophobic violence in my own city.Continue Reading
by James Anthony
Growing up in Norwich gets you used to quite a few things about the city. If you’ve been here for as long as I have, you stop noticing the churches hidden on street corners, the city walls poking out from behind trees — even a massive castle overlooking the city just becomes part of normal life. Staying on in Norwich for university allows me to get to know the city through the eyes of people who haven’t lived here for quite so long.
Odd discussions of Norwich with university friends often involve chatting about places and buildings, and being known as a local, I often end up giving directions to people. If ever in these talks I mention our City Hall, most responses I get are “what?” and “where?” and this to me is a massive shame. City Hall is often forgotten by Norwich residents and ignored by those visiting. It’s a building that represents us like no other and suits Norwich just perfectly, and we should learn to love it.Continue Reading
By Georgia Waye-Barker
Norwich has been identified as a popular place to live in England, bringing plentiful benefits, as well as its fair share of challenges. Its diverse population needs a range of housing solutions, and these need to be carefully balanced throughout the city to ensure a sustainable community and good quality of life for all.
Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) often provide housing for students and young people, who are unable to access other forms of housing. HMOs therefore provide a vital element of Norwich’s housing options. However, evidence suggests that large numbers of HMOs located in concentrated areas can have an adverse effect on the mix of housing use in the community.Continue Reading
by Olivia Hanks
I had the dubious privilege of being in the public gallery for the first meeting of the re-established Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) earlier this week. This board, made up of councillors from Norwich, South Norfolk and Broadland, is tasked with developing a strategic document, the Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP), which will dictate where housing, roads and other infrastructure will be built in the area over the next 20 years.
The meeting, which was scheduled to last from 3.30 until 5pm, finished at 4.10 with very little discussion having taken place. You might have thought that, having been successfully taken to the High Court for failing to consider alternative options during the creation of the GNLP’s predecessor the Joint Core Strategy (JCS — I promise that’s the last obscure abbreviation), the board would be asking itself a lot more questions this time around. Although it was admittedly a more or less introductory meeting, agreeing the board’s terms of reference and the next steps, there was an opportunity for comments, which was taken up by only three members.
This matters because these dozen men — and shockingly, they are all men; all white; none under 50 or so — are shaping the future of Norwich and the surrounding area. It matters because sometimes it is hard to spot the moment for intervention until it has already passed.Continue Reading
by Hannah Rose
Tribute Acts is a bittersweet piece of autobio-theatre written and performed by Tess Seddon and Cheryl Gallacher from Theatrestate. Set against a space-age backdrop, Tess and Cheryl introduce their fathers via a pre-recorded video link. The dads look uncomfortable in their suits and ties. Their daughters are wearing spacesuits. The gulf between parent and child is obvious, and the unease is palpable.
by Hannah Rose
Norwich is reeling after The Village Shop, an Eastern European food store on Magdalen Street, was targeted in an arson attack in the early hours of July 8th. A brick was thrown through the window, waking owner Maria Purgen, and a fire then broke out inside. People in the nearby kebab shop came to the scene and shouted out to the family upstairs, who escaped via the backdoor. The emergency services were called and by 3:50am firefighters had extinguished the blaze.
by Jack Brindelli
As the dust continues to settle on soon to be post-EU Britain, I’ve been thinking a lot about the place I call home. Norwich has been my city for quarter of a century now, and as my Granny says of such milestones, “You get less time for murder.” Norwich is infamously disconnected from the world, with visiting football fans often singing “there’s only one road in Norfolk” to Guantanamera at Carrow Road – and as much as it pains me to admit it, the isolation is a real problem.
The fact we’re so cut off from outsiders rubs off on our city’s attitudes towards culture in particular – with a quintessentially Little England village-mentality that boasts of being an UNESCO City of Literature in a town perpetually threatening its libraries with cuts, and renders us fiercely defensive of our ‘doing different’ status-quo, who year on year wheel out the same tired Lord Mayor’s procession, Castle firework display, and cover-band music festival, while remaining collectively suspicious, and sometimes even hostile to new ideas.
by Carmina Masoliver
The rush of the lapping waves of the sea,
the sound of shells, smell of salt, is where,
the humdrum left behind, I can just be.
The horizon before me, I can stare,
watch where the sea meets sky and then it leaves –
nowhere I’d rather be than standing there.Continue Reading
by Hannah Rose
Tiny cheerleaders, an umbrella on the moon, portraits of dead rock stars – all of these and more can be found in the uncanny paintings of Will Teather. Time’s inconsistency runs throughout this unnerving exhibition. Teather plays with time in a way that would be funny if it wasn’t so unsettling. But then again, isn’t that the mark of a significant piece of art? To catch the viewer unawares?
by Olivia Hanks
“Let local people decide!” urged George Osborne in his budget speech last summer, as he announced details of his plans for English devolution. What an excellent idea, as, on the face of it, almost everyone across the political spectrum agreed. Unfortunately, local people did not ask for devolution, had no say in deciding its form or content, were kept entirely in the dark about negotiations, and, in the case of East Anglia, are now to be ‘consulted’ on a deal of whose existence they are probably unaware and which, the Treasury has confirmed, there will be no opportunity to amend.
Report after report, from councils, public sector bodies and journalists, has enthused about the ‘golden opportunity’ to give local people a say in the decisions that affect them. Even those expressing serious reservations have praised the ‘principle’ of devolution — ignoring the glaring fact that when you examine the detail of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act, or of individual ‘deals’, this principle is conspicuous by its absence.Continue Reading
by Hannah Rose
Last week I met with two mental health campaigners following an RSA-hosted event at St Michael’s Church called: ‘Combating Norfolk’s Growing Mental Health Problem.’ The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts (RSA), Manufactures and Commerce is a fellowship-led organisation, whose aim is to encourage “the sharing of powerful ideas to deliver a 21st century enlightenment.” I’d gone in the hope of being enlightened.
Sadly, I was not.
by Suzanne Jones
In March this year the Evening News reported that Generation Park Norwich (GPN) had run out of money, leaving its backers (Norwich (NPH) LLP) with debts of £3M. The ‘green’ credentials of UEA, the leading advocate of the scheme, had been further undermined by the complete failure of their own biomass project, at a cost of £10M, and were first reported in the Norwich Radical in August 2015.
Norwich City Council (NCC) seemed to be back to square one after spending 12 years and £700k of public funds trying to come up with a viable use for the Utilities Site, to the east of the city centre. To quote Clive Lewis, the Norwich South MP, the whole scheme seemed to be ‘dead in the water’ before it had even got off the drawing board.
Yet now, like a phoenix from the incinerator’s ashes, it has miraculously risen again; ‘mysterious’ new backers have emerged, and things are back on track for the planning application to finally be heard in July or August. How is it that proposals which have been dogged by controversy, bankruptcy and delay refuse to die? Are there reasons why Generation Park Norwich (GPN) is just too big to fail?Continue Reading
by Hannah Rose
‘Can you define an audience the same way they define you?’ This was one of the questions asked by a young performer in Wild Life at the Norwich Playhouse, showcasing as part of the Norfolk and Norwich festival 2016. A question left hanging throughout the duration of the play, if that’s what it should be called. Wild Life is an extraordinary piece of metatheatre exploring the teenage psyche through a montage of music, performance, sound recordings, and monologues. Its cast is composed of ten 15-22 year olds from Norfolk, all with exceptional singing and songwriting skills.
by Hannah Rose
Norwich strengthened its status as a Labour hold council at the local elections on May 5th, winning four seats from the Greens in Mancroft, Nelson, Town Close and Wensum. With this the case, it might seem surprising that the role of Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner went to Conservative Lorne Green, who quite comfortably beat Labour’s Chris Jones. Looking at the city result you quickly see that Jones was the preferred choice – by a 10,000-vote strong margin. So Norwich wanted Labour – but Norfolk didn’t. This result is a stark reminder of the difference in political opinion between the city and the rest of the county – a county where UKIP and Conservative have half the seats.
by Josh Wilson
Dear Richard, Andrew, Elizabeth & Adrian,
I joined the Green Party 6 years ago, just before the 2010 General Election. Previously I hadn’t been all that interested in party politics, but when looking through the manifestos for various political parties I was immediately drawn to the Greens. The joining together of economic, social and environmental justice made sense to me.
On Friday at the County Council Annual General Meeting (AGM) you all abstained from the leadership vote, knowingly handing power from a Labour-led rainbow coalition to the Conservative Party.Continue Reading
by Norfolk Green Party
Martin Schmierer, the Green Party candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Norfolk, has indicated that he would prioritise dealing with large criminal gangs that supply drugs rather than focusing on low level users of class C drugs.Continue Reading
by Hannah Rose
I cycled through a hailstorm last Saturday so that I could attend a Labour Party rally at the Silver Road community centre. The things we do for politics, I said to myself, hailstones pinging off my helmet. Clive Lewis, Norwich South MP, hosted the event wcromeith Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who was making a visit on his campaign rounds in light of the upcoming local elections on May 5th.
The Norwich City Council election will be a significant juncture since Corbyn-mania. The Council is currently a Labour and Green hold, with 39 councillors and 13 elected wards: 22 Labour, 14 Green, 3 Lib Dem. Not a blue badge or Union Jack bowtie in sight.
by Fern Richards
Over the past couple of years, the UEA Poetics Project has been doing the important job of sneaking radical poets into the institution without much fanfare. The Norwich Radical featured an article by Linda Russo fairly recently – one of the readers at the last Poetics Project event – but apart from that, not a huge amount has been written about these readings. As a fan of radical poetry, political poetry, anti-establishment poetry, I thought it might be worth giving a small preview of the second UEA Poetry Festival, or at least its featured readers, Sandeep Parmar and Sean Bonney.Continue Reading
by Hannah Rose
Can women’s voices be heard above the din of war? Silly question, really. It’s not how loud we shout, but what we do with our words that count. The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) takes this tenet seriously – they’re feminist wordsmiths with a long history of using international legal and political frameworks to bring female voices into the peace process. And WILPF is coming to Norwich. The new WILPF branch will be the eighth such establishment in the UK, and will be formalised at their AGM on the 16th April 2016.
by Laura Aghassi and Lisa Mikaiel
A 76 years young Norwich Grandma is aiming to raise enough money to purchase an electric wheelchair for Reid Manson, by having her hair shaved off. The event is taking place at the Forum on Saturday 18th June at 2 pm.
Anne Dupon, a Norwich Grandma was moved by the story of Reid, a young man in her local community, whom she met through her involvement in The Big Local (a lottery funded community project). Reid suffers from several debilitating conditions. He has epilepsy, fibromyalgia, M.E. (Myalgic Encephalopathy) and FND (Functional Neurological Disorder). The FND has left him with left sided weakness and leg paralysis, equivalent to having had a stroke.Continue Reading
by Micha Horgan
Stumbling across George Plunkett’s photo collection, my immediate thought was: ‘looked cool back then, what happened?’ The photos, which were taken on the dates listed, have a Tardis-like capacity to take the viewer back to a Norwich long since gone. It was a time of quaint cars, hand-painted signs, curiously shaped buildings, stylish hats, trench coats and inherent glamour – most of us can’t help but love it.
This habit of romanticising the aesthetic of times past begs the question: ‘Why is it that we find the past so appealing?’Continue Reading
by Chris Jarvis
Last night, I saw Capdown at The Owl Sanctuary for the second time in two years. Amidst the circle pits, the skanking, the stage dives, the crowdsurfing, the singalongs, introducing Capdown’s Strength in Numbers, gaffer of The Owl Sanctuary, Dan, announced that although its current Cattle Market Street venue will be closing its doors this Sunday, they have just landed a deal to re-open at a location elsewhere in the city.Continue Reading
by Chris Jarvis
Last night, my Facebook timeline erupted. It’s customary for this to happen every once in a while, typically following an international atrocity or a major political event. Instead, this time it was in relation to the news that beloved Norwich music venue The Owl Sanctuary is set to close its doors at the end of January. Waves of solidarity swept across the internet, with the venue’s lengthy, emotional and angry announcement on their Facebook page being shared more than 2,000 times within three hours. Friends, musicians and fellow Norwich public spaces all joined in to stand with their venue and condemn its closure. I couldn’t express my rage.Continue Reading
Content Warning: discussions of sexual violence and victim blaming
By Jo Swo
Just like how a teacher is expected to have a clear understanding of the subject their teaching, police should have a clear understanding of the crimes they are fighting. How else can you identify the crime and help the victim? This is a very simple analogy to a very complicated issue: rape and sexual assault. The factors that protect rape and rapists are the same that perpetuate rape culture; victim blaming, lack of education, and the fallibility of consent. Over the last year I have been troubled with the Norfolk Constabulary’s attitudes towards consent and their continual victim blaming. During Fresher’s week a police officer took a photo of an incapacitated student who was slumped on Price of Wales Road, covered in vomit and unconscious, which was then uploaded onto Twitter with the hashtag ‘KnowYourLimits’ and @ing UEA and the Student’s Union.
By Jack Brindelli
“More than 1,000 people have taken part in a rally in central London to protest against the Government’s decision to launch airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria.” That was how Sky News began their coverage of the latest Stop the War march on the 13th of December. Now I appreciate Sky have form when it comes to underestimating demonstrations, but a demo that can’t have been larger than 3000 gave them ample to chance to do so this time. Even so, the grandiose phrasing seems almost to pity what is a comatose giant of an organisation. Let’s just go over that again; “More than 1,000 people” from an organisation that once boasted a mobilisation of more than a million.
by Chris Jarvis
Faintest Idea are a street punk influenced ska band hailing from the Norfolk coastal town of King’s Lynn known for their energetic live shows, filled with singalongs, skanking and rivalling horns. The lyrical content of their music, as with much of the underground ska-punk scene, is littered with radical and anarcho politics. Through a series of questions, The Norwich Radical tried to tease out the reasons behind their politics, the relationship it has to their music, and how they see their role in a wider political context as part of a new series – Music That Matters. Continue Reading
by Rowan Van Tromp
Plans will soon be submitted by NPH (Norwich) Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) for the controversial £370m ‘Generation Park’ development, based on the 30 acre former utilities site in the Thorpe Hamlet area of the city. The proposals include 120 low carbon homes, as well as student accommodation, an education centre, a new energy research and development centre, 11 acres of parkland, new cycle routes and the promise of job creation. All this and at no cost to the council taxpayer! Well, at least not in direct monetary terms.
The site will also be host to a straw-pellet burning energy plant that could produce electricity equivalent to powering 88,000 homes, as well providing heat on demand to surrounding businesses and homes via a district heating network, with claims of up to a 25% reduction in the city’s carbon footprint as a result.Continue Reading
by Jack Brindelli
The Norfolk People’s Assembly have voted in co-operation with the Norwich Radical to establish a local Radical Film Festival, with the inaugural festival expected to be hosted in February 2015. As we begin to make provisions for that though, we need ideas, practical and fantastic and everything in between. The first organising meeting for the festival will take place on Saturday the 1st of August, at 3pm in the Playhouse Bar’s Playroom, and is completely open to the public. But why does a cultural project like this even matter in the depths of Austerity? Can we really be wasting our time on building imaginary worlds when our real one is under such threat?Continue Reading
by Jack Brindelli
On Monday the 20th of July the Norfolk County Council will meet for their Policy and Resources committee to begin working towards the forecast cuts of £169million to local services. It is a shameful capitulation to the national austerity policies that are destroying People’s lives across the United Kingdom.
Hardly inspired by Norfolk’s proud history of doing different, and fighting against tyranny and inequality for a better life, the grand scheme of the County Council’s much heralded ‘rainbow coalition’ to outfox the Tories, who council leader and Labour stalwart George Hobbs & Co went to such great lengths to keep out of local power, is to out-cut them. The ‘downsizing’ of public services is actually shaping up to be £50million more than even the criminal demands of the Conservative government, in order to buy the Council ‘breathing room’. I assume this cheery phrase used in this gloomy context is meant in the same way that Russian scientists famously kept a dog’s head ‘alive’ for a period of time with machinery — we may well live, but not well.Continue Reading
by Dr. Hayley Pinto
About 18 months ago I had a life changing experience. I read the intergovernmental panel on climate change report. Before that I thought I was reasonably environmentally aware. I wasn’t. The more I have read, the more evident it seems that climate change is the defining issue of our age. We are on the brink of making our planet uninhabitable, for everyone — not just the poor, the vulnerable, people in Africa and Bangladesh, but also for the rich and privileged, those who have contributed to the problem and those who have not.
Climate change is not just a matter of global warming. A hotter planet means drought, floods, storms and sea level rise. These things are already happening. The 11 million people living in Brazil’s Sao Paolo are experiencing a drought so severe they are trying to drill wells through concrete in the city centre. California is in its 5th year of drought.Continue Reading
by Andrew Boswell and Richard Bearman, The Norwich Green Party
During the General Election campaign, the Green Party warned of another 5 years of continuing and unprecedented cuts to Local Authority budgets. We pointed out that the coalition and Labour backed the ongoing austerity programme, and that only the Green Party, SNP, and Plaid Cymru opposed this assault on public services. Unfortunately the election was strongly influenced by the TV party leaders debate, together with misleading sound bites and on-the-hoof policy changes designed to win over undecided voters. The election outcome does not reflect the lack of public support for more cuts to local services.
But plans announced this week by Norfolk County Council are seeing more devastating cuts to public services in Norfolk. Under its ‘Re-imagining Norfolk’ strategy, the Council has asked councillors and officers to plan for 25% of cuts to services in its Budget for the next 3 years. Current government funding reductions, pushed through by the Tories nationally, will require the council to cut its services by at least 15%. However the Labour, UKIP, and LibDem alliance has voted for plans to cut 25% instead of the required 15% to allow ‘headroom’. Continue Reading
by Rowan Van Tromp
The past few weeks have seen waves of literature surrounding the issue of food waste by supermarkets, following the French parliament’s decision to pass legislation compelling retailers with 4,305 square feet of store space to donate any unsold, but still edible, food, to charity or for use as animal feed or farming compost. All stores which fall under this criterion are obliged to sign agreements with charities to facilitate the redistribution of such food by 2016, or could face penalties of up to €75,000.
Calls have since been made for the UK to follow suit, and no wonder given that the UK far and away wastes the most food out of any European country — amounting to 15bn tonnes a year according to the government backed organisation WRAP, although just over 1% of this comes from stores. Continue Reading
by James Dixon
Hackney Council have recently come under fire for their pursuit of a Public Safety Protection Order (PSPO) which critics say would start ‘criminalising homelessness’ in the Borough. It would ban ‘rough-sleeping’ and ‘loitering’ and those found to be breaking the PSPO could be served with a maximum fine of £1000. The morals of fining those who have nothing and segregating homeless people away from centres of populace have been pointed out: the council has been derided from homeless charities to pop singer Ellie Goulding.
Norwich City Council have been weighing up implementing a PSPO in the city centre focusing on protecting the War Memorial and Memorial Gardens from damage. Their aims are valiant but the manner in which this is undertaken has left much to be desired.Continue Reading
by Jack Brindelli
To say May was a difficult month to be a radical would be something of an understatement. In the fallout of a general election result that cannot be described as anything other than catastrophic, it was difficult to salvage much in the way of hope for the coming 5 years of Conservative majority rule. If you thought the Coalition years were bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. This time out, David Cameron’s stinking band of free-market extremists aren’t so much promising to cut down to the bone, as breaking out their probably-not-even-metaphorical bone saws in preparation for an amputation.
In what East Anglia’s lone Labour MP Clive Lewis recently described as the “sea of blue” that is Norfolk, that’s reflected by the repugnant new “Reimagining Norfolk” strategy announced on the 1st of June by County Hall. Over £169million in new cuts have been green-lit by the Council, which is aiming to reduce spending in adult social services, children’s services, fire and rescue services — you know, the unessential luxuries of life. Presumably this means the Council are “Reimagining Norfolk” as a Mad Max-style, demented desert dystopia, where the disabled, unemployed, poorly paid and terminally ill will have to barter with water companies in order to extinguish their child’s flaming carcass for an extortionate price.
by Jack Brindelli
It was Norfolk’s — and arguably history’s — finest polemicist, Thomas Paine, who best summed up the illogical institution of monarchy when he wrote, “One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in Kings, is that nature disapproves of it. Otherwise, she would not so frequently turn it to ridicule, by giving mankind an ASS for a LION.” Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense rocked the world when it was first published some 240 years ago – inspiring revolution in America, and resentment amongst the ruling class in Britain. It left them trembling at the prospect of revolution on their own doorstep, as the former Corset-maker from Thetford dared common folk everywhere to question exactly why we should offer the inbred parasites atop our society anything but contempt, and the wrong end of a sword.
There have, of course, been some earth shattering changes since the days of Paine — but before you get too comfortable, think hard, ye serfs, on the events of Saturday May 2nd.
by Jack Brindelli
4 years ago, the late, great socialist icon that is Tony Benn addressed the Burston Rally in rural Norfolk. The rally is an annual event to commemorate “the longest strike in history”, where Tom and Annie Higdon defied the local authorities to open a ‘strike school’, after being sacked for agitating for better study and work conditions. They stood alongside 66 of their 72 students and their parents, and hand in hand with the community against their unfair dismissal – and they won. And at that year’s rally, Tony drew one vital lesson from that past struggle for those facing the inhuman austerity cuts of this decade — “Tie your ropes together.”
In the face of an unelected Tory regime, hell-bent on slashing disability benefits, privatising our education system, and in the process of razing our National Health Service to the ground, the multitude must stand united against this bare-faced tyranny. We may be affected differently to the separate cuts within each of our lives, but if we are to overcome them, and to build a society of dignity and freedom for all, we must recognise the common ideology that underpins each austerity measure.
On Sunday night, over one-hundred parents, teachers, students and community activists packed the St Alban’s Church Hall to discuss the plight of another Norfolk School in the here-and-now.
by Adam Edwards
If this is how the Queen treats her prisoners, she doesn’t deserve to have any.
— Oscar Wilde
Every few months the ongoing tit-for-tat between the UK government and the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg develops. Strasbourg will insist that the UK must extend suffrage to the country’s imprisoned populace, and UK politicians will line up to express how nauseating they find the idea. It’s a piece of political theatre that unfolds with the predictable reliability of a soap opera.
It should serve to remind us as to the purpose prisons serve. Episodes like this ought to help us scratch the Ministry of Justice’s PR varnish enough to remember that prisons exist primarily as an expression of the power of the state over the individual; cross the line and we will lock you up. Not only will we take your liberty, but inasmuch as we seek to ‘rehabilitate’ and ‘reform’ you, we will take your identity too. We will arrest your body and your conscience alike; we will isolate you and remove you. While we’ve got the keys, you don’t exist. Just cross the line.
by Adam Edwards
On February 10th the lead-panelled windows of Norwich’s Ihsan Mosque were smashed by vandals unknown. The mosque on Chapelfield East was founded in the 1970s, and was the first in the UK to be established by British converts to Islam, rather than by a nascent immigrant community. Nobody, except perhaps the proverbial rock-lobber yet knows why the windows of this former 19th century schoolhouse were smashed last Saturday morning, but beneath the pall of islamophobia that grows heavy in the wake of an atrocity like the one that rocked Paris in January and ensuing media frenzy, we seem keen to race to conclusions.
Following the vandalism, the non-Muslim community has rallied around the mosque, inundating it with messages support. Its doors have been covered now with colourful paper hearts bearing words of solidarity and friendship, from simple exclamations of “Peace”, the uncomfortable and memetic rendering “Je suis Ihsan.”
by Mike Vinti
Local festival Boom-Bap announced its line-up last week to considerable hype from Facebook’s ‘heads and a somewhat more muted response from the Norwich/ Norfolk public at large. Boom Bap, as the name suggests, is a hip-hop festival — this year it’s taking place in the Suffolk countryside from 5th-7th June. It’s been running for a few years now and is part of an expanding hip-hop and rap scene in Norwich and the surrounding marsh-land between here and Yarmouth. So far they’ve announced Odd Future’s kid wonder Earl Sweatshirt and Skepta collaborating New York group RATKING as headliners, with cult legends Jehru the Damaja and Homeboy Sandman taking high slots on the bill as well. If you were to visit the corner of the internet where rap nerds meet, you’d find thread after thread of discussion and hype surrounding each of these artists, but talk to most people in Norwich or even at the youthful bubble that is the University of East Anglia and they won’t have a clue who you’re talking about.
This is no slight on those people, music is subjective, there’s a lot of it, blah blah blah, but I couldn’t help but wonder why in particular so few people, outside of those who are borderline obsessed, know about Hip-Hop in the UK?
by Lesley Grahame, Green Party Norwich South candidate.
Addressing Climate Change is a necessary part of social justice, not an optional extra for after the revolution, or the repayment of the national debt. It is the most grave of environmental threats, and the most vital of economic opportunities. Capitalism requires permanent growth of any kind, at any cost to anyone.
A fair world economy would concentrate on things that make life better, support the common good and don’t cost the earth.
Is man-made Global warming a socialist conspiracy to redistribute wealth? Right-wing climate deniers think so, as quoted by Naomi Klein in This Changes Everything. The people who most devoutly ‘don’t believe in climate change’ are those who best understand its implications for the globalised consumerist capitalism that reigns supreme.
by Cllr Sandra Bogelein
(© Cadi Cliff)
Personally I cannot track back where this proposal has come from in the first place: to ban skateboarding in Norwich’s city centre. But as councillors we soon started to receive emails from concerned residents and representatives of the skate community. They regarded this measure of a ban to be a clear overreaction to the problem it wanted to address: damage to the war memorial and memorial gardens. They all felt that protecting this heritage could be achieved without criminalising skateboarders.
Now I just want to make this absolutely clear (again, and I am sure I will nevertheless be accused of not wanting to protect our heritage): the majority of skaters and concerned citizens (I am tempted to even claim all of them), my Green Party colleagues (yes, all of them) and me all want to prevent damage to the war memorial and the memorial gardens. BUT, people supporting the campaign against the ban saw a number of things that were fundamentally wrong with the council’s proposal:Continue Reading
by Nick O’Brien
We are Norwich is a broad anti-racist coalition formed to resist the visit of the English Defence League to Norwich in November 2011. We were supported back then actively by over twenty different local trade union branches, religious organisations, and community groups. We also received support from the Union of UEA Students. Since then we have kept active, holding a carnival in support of immigration in the centre of Norwich, and putting on cultural evenings with musicians and poets such as Hollie McNish.
by Mark Hughes
‘What’s going on’? Was a questioned asked by Marvin Gaye in 1971, when his same titled album was released. It was a question that Gaye raised in his own mind after coming to the conclusion that American society after the Vietnam war had descended into a catalogue of civil right abuses, injustice, and inequality.
In today’s Britain it will not be surprising if the same rhetorical question as once asked by Gaye is still not prevalent amongst the workers of Gt Britain. Standing dazed and blinking as they witness a wave of attacks upon their living standards, pension rights, housing costs, and a whole raft of government measures designed to remove the security of the welfare state. The working people of Gt Britain cannot be blamed for asking the same question, ‘what is going on’?Continue Reading
by Jack Brindelli.
The Norfolk People’s Assembly staged a mobile protest throughout the city of Norwich on Saturday afternoon (June 14th). The demonstration, which came as part of a national day of action called by UK Uncut, targeted Vodafone stores in particular, after the communications giant admitted it paid “little to no income tax” in the UK.
At a time when many ordinary people are scared and angered by spending cuts to public services, education and the NHS, the event in Norwich seemed to capture the mood of the public. Some passers-by commented that were they to behave in the manner of Vodafone they would be “locked up”, whilst others congratulated the local anti-cuts activists for taking a stand. However, the welcome was not all friendly.
by Anthony Moore
(St. Peter and St. Paul from the South-East; Anthony Moore)
Why would an atheist radical historian go to church? My answer would be that history is an attempt to find out who we are. Churches are, invariably, the oldest surviving buildings in European cities, towns and villages and by closely reading them we can discover how class, status and power shaped the lives of the people through, sometimes, over a thousand years of time. The ‘we’ is everyone coming to the Radical site; whether Norfolk is home or a new place and from whatever ‘faith’ or ‘non-faith’ background you come from.
This is the story of a journey to one remarkable Norfolk church; a journey passing through the suburban necropolis of Toftwood to what Tourism Norfolk would, no doubt, call the ‘market town’ of Swaffham, although many years have passed since the market destroyed the ‘market’.