Heartless: The 289 Tory MPs Who Voted To Prevent 3,000 Refugee Children from Joining Their Relatives in the UK

27.4.16

Refugee children in Slovenia, photographed on October 22, 2015 (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images).Please sign the new e-petition to the British government, “Britain must not turn its back on child refugees in Europe”, which has secured over 25,000 signatures in 24 hours.

On Monday evening, the cruelty of this government was, yet again, laid bare, when, by 294 votes to 276, MPs voted against an amendment to the Immigration Bill tabled by Lord Alf Dubs, who, as the BBC described it, “arrived in the UK in 1939 as a six-year-old refugee fleeing the persecution of Jews in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.”

The amendment, calling on the government to take in 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children, already in Europe, who have relatives in the UK, was defeated “after the Home Office persuaded most potential Tory rebels that it was doing enough to help child refugees in Syria and neighbouring countries,” as the Guardian described it.

Home Office minister James Brokenshire said during the debate that the government could not support a policy that would “inadvertently create a situation in which families see an advantage in sending children alone, ahead and in the hands of traffickers, putting their lives at risk by attempting treacherous sea crossings to Europe which would be the worst of all outcomes.”

However, Keir Starmer, the shadow immigration minister, disagreed, and voiced the concerns I and numerous other British citizens have. “What it boils down to,” Starmer stated, “is to say we must abandon these children to their fate, lest if we do anything, others may follow in their footsteps. I am not prepared to take that position.”

Speaking on the Today programme on Radio 4, he said, “We are witnessing the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. Hundreds of thousands of people are making treacherous journeys. Some of those are children on their own and between something like 26,000 as a minimum and possibly something up to 95,000 of those children are in Europe and they are stranded.”

Citing a “chilling statistic” from Europol, about how “10,000 vulnerable child refugees are unaccounted for and have effectively vanished,” he added, “The great fear is that these children are slipping into sexual exploitation and into trafficking. They are trapped in Europe and we have to do something about it now. I applaud what the Government is doing in the regions; I think the resettlement program they have put in place is very good. But it’s not an either-or situation; we cannot turn our backs on these vulnerable children in Europe. And history will judge us on this one.”

289 Tories voted against the amendment, and I have listed them (and the other five MPs who voted against the amendment) below. If they are your MPs, do write to them and let them know how disappointed you are.

Just five Tories voted against it, and others abstained. The rebels were: Geoffrey Cox (Torridge and West Devon), Dr. Tania Mathias (Twickenham), Stephen Phillips QC (Sleaford and North Hykeham), Will Quince (Colchester) and David Warburton (Somerset and Frome).

Tania Mathias, who I got to know through her support for the We Stand With Shaker campaign (and the Fast For Shaker initiative), said accepting children at risk of harm in Europe was the “right thing to do”. Stephen Phillips, the BBC noted, said “exceptional times call for exceptional measures”, and “urg[ed] colleagues to back the amendment.”

In the Huffington Post, Phillips wrote:

The amendment concerned those unaccompanied children who are already in Europe, who have faced unspeakable horrors in their homelands, and who are exposed daily to violence and exploitation we can only imagine. They have lost or become separated from their families, often for reasons over which they have no control. They have braved the journey to our continent hoping for safety, only to end up in camps or on the streets. And they are children.

These children are in Europe, but they are in danger. They are at risk from sexual abuse and human trafficking. Europol estimates that 10,000 of them went missing last year, even after they had been registered with the authorities. And as a former Archbishop of Canterbury pointed out in a national newspaper over the weekend, doctors report that as many as half of them require treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, almost certainly acquired from sexual exploitation during their journey to Europe.

We have a proud history in the UK of helping refugees escaping from appalling horrors, particularly children. Had we not given safe haven via the Kindertransport programme to thousands of Jewish children in the run up to the Second World War, most would have died in the Holocaust. We took in refugees from Iran and Vietnam, and those fleeing Idi Amin in Uganda. We did the right thing, and I believe we must do so again.

But my conviction on this also comes from the fact that I am a father. Many of the children in these European camps are the same age as mine, and I think about what I would want for them if they were in the appalling situation which these children face. I would want them to be safe, warm, well-fed and given a chance to create a life for themselves away from conflict. That’s why I voted against the Government on this issue, and, if the Lords stick to their guns, it’s why I will continue to do so.

Lord Dubs has now tabled another amendment, which the Lords voted through last night. As the BBC explained, “The government has been defeated again in the House of Lords over calls to take in child refugees from Europe. A new amendment to the Immigration Bill from Labour’s Lord Dubs was backed by 279 votes to 172. It would force ministers to arrange the relocation of children who have made it to Europe into the UK, with the total number to be decided by the government.”

Lord Dubs also launched a new petition to the government, “Britain must not turn its back on child refugees in Europe,” which states:

The Government should accept the call to give sanctuary to child refugees who are alone and at risk in Europe.

95,000 child refugees are on their own in Europe as a result of the refugee crisis. They are sleeping rough and in makeshift camps, desperately vulnerable to abuse and to trafficking into modern slavery.

We rightly look back with pride at the leadership our nation showed in rescuing 10,000 children from Europe through the Kindertransport.

The second amendment will now go back to the Commons, so please sign and share the petition to let the government know that we do not share their flint-heartedness.

For further information, see the report, “The Long Wait,” by the Refugee Rights Data Project.

Below are the names of the MPs who voted against the amendment, via Hansard, where you can find links to their voting records.

The 294 MPs who voted to prevent 3,000 refugee children from joining their relatives in the UK

Conservatives:

Nigel Adams, Selby and Ainsty
Adam Afriyie, Windsor
Peter Aldous, Waveney
Lucy Allan, Telford
Sir David Amess, Southend West
Stuart Andrew, Pudsey
Caroline Ansell, Eastbourne
Edward Argar, Charnwood
Victoria Atkins, Louth and Horncastle
Richard Bacon, South Norfolk
Steven Baker, Wycombe
Harriett Baldwin, West Worcestershire
Stephen Barclay, North East Cambridgeshire
John Baron, Basildon and Billericay
Gavin Barwell, Croydon Central
Guto Bebb, Aberconwy
Sir Henry Bellingham, North West Norfolk
Richard Benyon, Newbury
Sir Paul Beresford, Mole Valley
Jake Berry, Rossendale and Darwen
James Berry, Kingston and Surbiton
Andrew Bingham, High Peak
Crispin Blunt, Reigate
Peter Bone, Wellingborough
Victoria Borwick, Kensington
Sir Peter Bottomley, Worthing West
Karen Bradley, Staffordshire Moorlands
Graham Brady, Altrincham and Sale West
Julian Brazier, Canterbury
Steve Brine, Winchester
James Brokenshire, Old Bexley and Sidcup
Fiona Bruce, Congleton
Robert Buckland, South Swindon
Conor Burns, Bournemouth West
Sir Simon Burns, Chelmsford
David Burrowes, Enfield, Southgate
Alistair Burt, North East Bedfordshire
Neil Carmichael, Stroud
James Cartlidge, South Suffolk
Sir William Cash, Stone
Maria Caulfield, Lewes
Alex Chalk, Cheltenham
Rehman Chishti, Gillingham and Rainham
Christopher Chope, Christchurch
Jo Churchill, Bury St. Edmunds
Greg Clark, Tunbridge Wells
Kenneth Clarke, Rushcliffe
James Cleverly, Braintree
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, The Cotswolds
Dr. Therese Coffey, Suffolk Coastal
Damian Collins, Folkestone and Hythe
Oliver Colvile, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport
Alberto Costa, South Leicestershire
Stephen Crabb, Preseli Pembrokeshire
Byron Davies, Gower
Glyn Davies, Montgomeryshire
Mims Davies, Eastleigh
Philip Davies, Shipley
Caroline Dinenage, Gosport
Jonathan Djanogly, Huntingdon
Michelle Donelan, Chippenham
Steve Double, St Austell and Newquay
Oliver Dowden, Hertsmere
Jackie Doyle-Price, Thurrock
Richard Drax, South Dorset
Flick Drummond, Portsmouth South
James Duddridge, Rochford and Southend East
Iain Duncan Smith, Chingford and Woodford Green
Philip Dunne, Ludlow
Michael Ellis, Northampton North
Jane Ellison, Battersea
Tobias Ellwood, Bournemouth East
Charlie Elphicke, Dover
George Eustice, Camborne and Redruth
Graham Evans, Weaver Vale
Nigel Evans, Ribble Valley
David Evennett, Bexleyheath and Crayford
Michael Fabricant, Lichfield
Michael Fallon, Sevenoaks
Suella Fernandes, Fareham
Mark Field, Cities of London and Westminster
Kevin Foster, Torbay
Dr. Liam Fox, North Somerset
Lucy Frazer, South East Cambridgeshire
George Freeman, Mid Norfolk
Mike Freer, Finchley and Golders Green
Sir Roger Gale, North Thanet
Sir Edward Garnier, Harborough
Mark Garnier, Wyre Forest
David Gauke, South West Hertfordshire
Nusrat Ghani, Wealden
Nick Gibb, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton
Cheryl Gillan, Chesham and Amersham
John Glen, Salisbury
Robert Goodwill, Scarborough and Whitby
Michael Gove, Surrey Heath
Richard Graham, Gloucester
Helen Grant, Maidstone and The Weald
Chris Grayling, Epsom and Ewell
Chris Green, Bolton West
Damian Green, Ashford
Dominic Grieve, Beaconsfield
Andrew Griffiths, Burton
Ben Gummer, Ipswich
Sam Gyimah, East Surrey
Robert Halfon, Harlow
Luke Hall, Thornbury and Yate
Stephen Hammond, Wimbledon
Matthew Hancock, West Suffolk
Greg Hands, Chelsea and Fulham
Mark Harper, Forest of Dean
Richard Harrington, Watford
Rebecca Harris, Castle Point
Simon Hart, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire
Sir Alan Haselhurst, Saffron Walden
Sir Oliver Heald, North East Hertfordshire
James Heappey, Wells
Chris Heaton-Harris, Daventry
Peter Heaton-Jones, North Devon
Gordon Henderson, Sittingbourne and Sheppey
Nick Herbert, Arundel and South Downs
Damian Hinds, East Hampshire
Philip Hollobone, Kettering
Adam Holloway, Gravesham
Kris Hopkins, Keighley
Sir Gerald Howarth, Aldershot
John Howell, Henley
Ben Howlett, Bath
Nigel Huddleston, Mid Worcestershire
Jeremy Hunt, South West Surrey
Nick Hurd, Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner
Stewart Jackson, Peterborough
Sajid Javid, Bromsgrove
Ranil Jayawardena, North East Hampshire
Bernard Jenkin, Harwich and North Essex
Andrea Jenkyns, Morley and Outwood
Robert Jenrick, Newark
Boris Johnson, Uxbridge and South Ruislip
Gareth Johnson, Dartford
Joseph Johnson, Orpington
Andrew Jones, Harrogate and Knaresborough
David Jones, Clwyd West
Marcus Jones, Nuneaton
Daniel Kawczynski, Shrewsbury and Atcham
Seema Kennedy, South Ribble
Simon Kirby, Brighton, Kemptown
Sir Greg Knight, East Yorkshire
Julian Knight, Solihull
Kwasi Kwarteng, Spelthorne
Mark Lancaster, Milton Keynes North
Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire
Andrea Leadsom, South Northamptonshire
Dr. Phillip Lee, Bracknell
Jeremy Lefroy, Stafford
Sir Edward Leigh, Gainsborough
Charlotte Leslie, Bristol North West
Oliver Letwin, West Dorset
Brandon Lewis, Great Yarmouth
Dr. Julian Lewis, New Forest East
Ian Liddell-Grainger, Bridgwater and West Somerset
David Lidington, Aylesbury
Peter Lilley, Hitchin and Harpenden
Jack Lopresti, Filton and Bradley Stoke
Jonathan Lord, Woking
Tim Loughton, East Worthing and Shoreham
Karen Lumley, Redditch
Craig Mackinlay, South Thanet
David Mackintosh, Northampton South
Anne Main, St Albans
Alan Mak, Havant
Kit Malthouse, North West Hampshire
Scott Mann, North Cornwall
Theresa May, Maidenhead
Paul Maynard, BlackpoolNorth and Cleveleys
Karl McCartney, Lincoln
Patrick McLoughlin, Derbyshire Dales
Stephen McPartland, Stevenage
Mark Menzies, Fylde
Huw Merriman, Bexhill and Battle
Stephen Metcalfe, South Basildon and East Thurrock
Maria Miller, Basingstoke
Amanda Milling, Cannock Chase
Nigel Mills, Amber Valley
Anne Milton, Guildford
Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North
Nicky Morgan, Loughborough
Anne Marie Morris, Newton Abbot
David Morris, Morecambe and Lunesdale
James Morris, Halesowen and Rowley Regis
Wendy Morton, Aldridge-Brownhills
David Mowat, Warrington South
Sheryll Murray, South East Cornwall
Andrew Murrison, South West Wiltshire
Sarah Newton, Truro and Falmouth
Caroline Nokes, Romsey and Southampton North
Jesse Norman, Hereford and South Herefordshire
David Nuttall, Bury North
Dr. Matthew Offord, Hendon
Guy Opperman, Hexham
Neil Parish, Tiverton and Honiton
Priti Patel, Witham
Owen Paterson, North Shropshire
Mark Pawsey, Rugby
Mike Penning, Hemel Hempstead
John Penrose, Weston-Super-Mare
Andrew Percy, Brigg and Goole
Claire Perry, Devizes
Chris Philp, Croydon South
Sir Eric Pickles, Brentwood and Ongar
Christopher Pincher, Tamworth
Dr. Daniel Poulter, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich
Rebecca Pow, Taunton Deane
Victoria Prentis, Banbury
Mark Prisk, Hertford and Stortford
Mark Pritchard, The Wrekin
Tom Pursglove, Corby
Jeremy Quin, Horsham
Dominic Raab, Esher and Walton
John Redwood, Wokingham
Jacob Rees-Mogg, North East Somerset
Laurence Robertson, Tewkesbury
Mary Robinson, Cheadle
Andrew Rosindell, Romford
Amber Rudd, Hastings and Rye
David Rutley, Macclesfield
Antoinette Sandbach, Eddisbury
Paul Scully, Sutton and Cheam
Andrew Selous, South West Bedfordshire
Grant Shapps, Welwyn Hatfield
Alok Sharma, Reading West
Alec Shelbrooke, Elmet and Rothwell
Keith Simpson, Broadland
Chris Skidmore, Kingswood
Chloe Smith, Norwich North
Henry Smith, Crawley
Julian Smith, Skipton and Ripon
Royston Smith, Southampton, Itchen
Sir Nicholas Soames, Mid Sussex
Amanda Solloway, Derby North
Anna Soubry, Broxtowe
Caroline Spelman, Meriden
Mark Spencer, Sherwood
Andrew Stephenson, Pendle
John Stevenson, Carlisle
Bob Stewart, Beckenham
Iain Stewart, Milton Keynes South
Rory Stewart, Penrith and The Border
Gary Streeter, South West Devon
Mel Stride, Central Devon
Graham Stuart, Beverley and Holderness
Julian Sturdy, York Outer
Rishi Sunak, Richmond (Yorks)
Desmond Swayne, New Forest West
Hugo Swire, East Devon
Robert Syms, Poole
Derek Thomas, St Ives
Maggie Throup, Erewash
Edward Timpson, Crewe and Nantwich
Kelly Tolhurst, Rochester and Strood
Justin Tomlinson, North Swindon
Michael Tomlinson, Mid Dorset and North Poole
Craig Tracey, North Warwickshire
David Tredinnick, Bosworth
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Berwick-upon-Tweed
Liz Truss, South West Norfolk
Thomas Tugendhat, Tonbridge and Malling
Andrew Turner, Isle of Wight
Andrew Tyrie, Chichester
Ed Vaizey, Wantage
Shailesh Vara, North West Cambridgeshire
Martin Vickers, Cleethorpes
Theresa Villiers, Chipping Barnet
Charles Walker, Broxbourne
Robin Walker, Worcester
Matt Warman, Boston and Skegness
Dame Angela Watkinson, Hornchurch and Upminster
Helen Whately, Faversham and Mid Kent
Heather Wheeler, South Derbyshire
Chris White, Warwick and Leamington
Craig Whittaker, Calder Valley
John Whittingdale, Maldon
Bill Wiggin, North Herefordshire
Craig Williams, Cardiff North
Gavin Williamson, South Staffordshire
Rob Wilson, Reading East
Dr. Sarah Wollaston, Totnes
Mike Wood, Dudley South
William Wragg, Hazel Grove
Jeremy Wright, Kenilworth and Southam

DUP:

Gregory Campbell, East Londonderry
Jim Shannon, Strangford

UKIP:

Douglas Carswell, Clacton

UUP:

Tom Elliott, Fermanagh and South Tyrone
Danny Kinahan, South Antrim

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose debut album, ‘Love and War,’ is available for download or on CD via Bandcamp — also see here). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and the Countdown to Close Guantánamo initiative, launched in January 2016), the co-director of We Stand With Shaker, which called for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison (finally freed on October 30, 2015), and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by the University of Chicago Press in the US, and available from Amazon, including a Kindle edition — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and The Complete Guantánamo Files, an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

32 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, naming and shaming the 289 Tory MPs (and five others) who voted against allowing 3,000 refugee children in Europe from joining their relatives in the UK, plus a link to the latest petition to the government, “Britain must not turn its back on child refugees in Europe”, which was launched yesterday, after the Lords passed a second amendment to try to compel the government to take action. This will be back in the Commons soon, so we need as many signatures as possible (to add to the 25,000+ already received) to show the heartless Tories that there are many people who care.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Javier Rodriguez wrote:

    Simply shocking……..

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes indeed, Javier. Basically, no one should be fooled by whatever kind of spin the Tories are trying to put on this; they’re turning their backs on extremely vulnerable children, and trying to pretend that the family ties these children have are somehow negotiable, when they’re not.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    The petition has some real momentum right now. 28,617 signatures and counting!

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Lelly Young wrote:

    Thank you for naming and shaming them, Andy. It’s beyond belief.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Lelly. Yes, the bottom line is that there’s no way they can spin it to make it took like they care, and I hope more and more people see them for who they really are.

  7. Sinead Hanks says...

    Hi Andy

    Am i being really dim, but why don’t Cameron and Osborne appear on the list, did they not vote?

    Thanks

    Sinead

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    I don’t know the answer to your question, Sinead!
    They do vote, of course, Their voting records are here, but I have no idea why they didn’t vote on Monday:
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10777/david_cameron/witney/votes
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/11145/george_osborne/tatton/votes
    Any ideas, anyone?

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Juliet Stevenson wrote:

    Just read your article Andy – really excellent, so well done. I’m using it to send round to friends and colleagues who have missed this week’s events and need to catch up. Thanks!

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    You’re welcome, Juliet. Thanks for alerting me to the whole shameful saga in the first place. I find it mind-boggling every time I think that all these MPs simply voted no to helping out 3,000 children who have the right to be reunited with their relatives, and didn’t think, or didn’t care how that looked, and evidently didn’t, for a moment, empathise with the children themselves. So shameful.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    And I’m honoured that you’re sending it round to friends and colleagues, Juliet!

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Lindis Percy wrote:

    Yes…my MP Andrew Jones MP for Knaresborough and Harrogate is included in this list…disgraceful.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    They have outdone themselves this time, I think, Lindis. Just five Tories voted for the amendment, and, I heard, around ten abstained. The rest need to be told that it’s not OK to abandon children in need who, apart from anything else, have a right to be reunited with their relatives. What cold times were are living in!

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    35,706 signatures now. That’s around 1,500 an hour since my last count. Please keep signing and sharing!

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Asif Rana wrote:

    Well done Andy. Thanks for that. Shared and signed. Thank God my MP, Tania Mathias voted against. I will thank her.

    Although she did vote to bomb Syria in the first place, don’t forget.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Asif. I am delighted with the actions of the five Tory rebels (and even the abstainers). In Tania’s defense, regarding Syria, I’d say that politics is a dirty business, with a lot of “whipping” (disgusting word, so redolent of public school abuse) to quash rebellious thoughts by mere backbenchers. I think becoming a serial rebel must be extremely isolating.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    52,520 signatures now. Please keep signing and sharing!

  18. Thomas says...

    From the point of view of this government, nits make lice.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Thomas. Good to hear from you.

  20. damo says...

    What the tories cant find a use for children ….what not even in…….dolphin square….or the elm guest house…….this dosent supprise me you have to be as ive said many times ,you have to be of some use to the tories and there ilk ..be it,finnacial,material,socialy,….sexualy…if you are none of thease then in the torie eyes and mindset ….you are of no use and are in fact consumeing what is……theres……never before in my life has this country been divided we are governed by the most foul ,repulsive ,corrupt and moraly bankrupt government ever…..even thatcher would be ashamed thease poor children are liveing in hell as the world is it seems decending into hell ….and people sit there on there areses …its not my problem….while there being brain washed and dumbed down with the most life sapping …bannality, trivia, nonescence, gobbledygook….while thease children suffer at the hands of evil human monsters. Wlt….

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Hi Damo,
    I was just thinking about you, thinking I hadn’t heard from you for a while.
    Great to hear from you, but yes, everything you say is true, and how much worse have things become since we first got to know each other online here? I remember meeting you at Occupy in the autumn of 2011. There seemed to be some hope then, didn’t there? But now, the poverty has increased, both amongst the British and the numerous immigrants fooled into thinking London was a city full of promise rather than one full of almost unbelievably rapacious slum landlords, the presence of the global super-rich has increased, and the hope – in a future for all of us, or even for a majority of us – seems to be disappearing like smoke.

  22. damo says...

    Hi andy and ever since we met ive said its time for people to rise up ..and they havent,Yes theres been demonstrations but nothings changed im an opptermist …but things are going from bad to worse i’d say the world was in better shape after ww2 at least then we still had a fairly pristeen environment, there seems to be a mass crazyness a mass delution from the top to the bottom from repulsive grotesque fetishising of the global super rich to the complete and utter ignoring of the leaking fukashima nuclear reactor which is leaking up to 450 tons of radiation a day into the pacific …its killing the pacific …..to the bodys of small children washed up on beaches….what the hell is going on …all those years ago when we met ….the clock was at 10.30 its now 11.30 and 12.00 its disaster time, theres no turning back after that, as ive said people seem to be in a trance like lemmings heading towards the cliff edge ….i hate to say it but the only way for change is to show people whats realy going on ….to frighten them ….wake them up…and them maybe there will be change

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, Damo, it’s sad thinking back – what? four and half, five years ago – when there still seemed to be the possibility of serious change with the Occupy movement, and to compare it to the situation now. That’s what we get for six years of Tory rule.
    The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the global super-rich are being made more welcome than ever.
    I’ve just been reading a powerful book that I recommend, ‘This is London: Life and Death in the World City’ by Ben Judah. Check out some reviews: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsereviewofbooks/2016/02/01/book-review-this-is-london-life-and-death-in-the-world-city-by-ben-judah/
    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/20/this-is-london-by-ben-judah-review

  24. damo says...

    London is dying Yes it is becomeing the emerald city ….the london of my 70s childhood is gone vannished ….even the loose crusty ravey dog on string fun ,cheap filled with possabillitys london of the 90s is vannishing from the gentrification of where i was a child fulham ….it was a completely differant płace in the 70s to the swampung of east london by the hipsters …middleclasses…superwealthy..nobody but nobody gave a shit about hackney or shorditch or mile end in the 90s outside of zones 1,2 londons becomeing like shantytowns full of sad old villas carved up into houses of multiple occupancy …sad grim places at the mercy of vile shyster landlords. acton were i live is full of these miserable holes ..this isnt just london andy ….this is happenning all over the world …….god help london if the repulsive shyster zac goldsmith becomes mayor….which he will…..boris will become pm..trump will become presidant…this is gonna pass andy….i love london but one day ill leave and never come back ….the london ive allways loved is dying.

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Beautifully put, Damo, though very sad – “the London I’ve always loved is dying.”
    Hopefully, the fight back will happen, but people need a commitment they’re not showing. Housing protests in London should have hundreds of thousands of people turning up, because they’re all being ripped off, paying an unacceptable proportion of their wages to private landlords. But too many of our fellow citizens are still atomised and depoliticised. As you note, outside of rich London, the city is “becoming like shantytowns full of sad old villas carved up into houses of multiple occupancy,” where the unrepresented live – mostly immigrants who, even if they are here legally, keep their heads down. Many, of course, are not here legally, but are scraping by, doing the jobs others don’t want to do, exploited by Tory bosses who are perfectly happy to have quasi-slave labour. Professional couples who don’t have rich parents are paying through the nose to rent former council flats, while those in social housing are being attacked by the Tories as spongers, when what we need is a massive social homebuilding programme. Nothing else is going to address the crisis, but the rich – and the whole banking/housing mafia that depends on it – don’t want their bubble to be burst.

  26. damo says...

    Andy we have both for years now been saying people have got to organize and fight back weve been saying this for years …they havent theres not the will Yes years ago there would have been thousands at the demos now theres barely a Few hundred …its very sad ….its not just here but everywere turning into the hunger games …perhaps hollywood is onto something ….showing people whats comeing ….but people are to distracted to ….get it….how long do you keep fighting ,trying,im dare one sayit turning 50 soon i havent the energy or the fight i had in my younger years .not just myself but thousands of others ..were becomeing tired of this płace …we dont own anything dont have much money….we are at the mercy of private landlords and the government its like rideing a wave……for now…who knows when it will break. for me andy im tired and bored by seeing the greed ,the obscene wealth ,spoiled rich grotesques,the dreary glass towers,the poverty,squoler ,the drugs ,the pissheads,crazies and broken people…i just dont wanna see it anymore ……what is the Answer…..do we just turn are backs on london and leave .

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    The petition now has 69,776 signatures, so just over 30,000 signatures are still needed asap to make it eligible for debate. I understand that the revised amendment to the Immigration Bill goes back to the House on May 9: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/128833

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    For the first time in my life, it seems, Damo, lots of people are thinking about leaving London because they simply can’t afford to live here anymore or are fed up with having too little left after working hard all week and paying extortionate rents – while the government does nothing and ministers really don’t seem to care.
    In some cases, of course, this can only be good news for other cities and towns, who will be getting talented people who would otherwise have stayed in London, but it shows absolutely no leadership on the part of the government. And beyond the talented people leaving the capital, many other people being squeezed out are economically disadvantaged – mostly, of course, through no fault of their own – but how can it be acceptable for London to force other cities and towns to take them, when everyone is cash-strapped, facing the horrendous austerity cuts that, of course, were implemented by the Tories?
    It’s just another facet of what I saw when these Tory scumbags first took office. For the first time in my life, we had a government that, fairly openly, was saying that they simply didn’t care about those at the bottom of society, economically, and it’s got worse since then, as the virus infects society as a whole, saying that no one deserves anything if they can’t afford it, as though economic equality is some sort of moral indicator rather than an obvious by-product of our current and particularly vicious form of capitalism.

  29. damo says...

    Now im not gonna defend thatcher but the big differance between thatcher and todays government made up of …flimsy,soft,cowardly spoiled,mądry little public school brats ….is that thatcher and her parents had actualy…..done a days work…..they had worked for a liveing……now in todays …foul…torie government Id say at least 99% have never ever done a days hard work …..they simply are not physically mentaly or emotionaly capable of doing so ….pretend jobs in pr or pretend jobs in the city dont count we have a marie antonet government made of the absolutly worst kind of lazy indulged spoiled bratish….fops..and as is the case of steven crab the worst kind of working class toadys and uncle toms they have no concept of how much anything costs ,what its like to have to work to pay the rent and bills ….they and the global super rich are like locusts consumeing everything in there path ..the thing is andy we could end there reighn of terror within a mounth ……vote them out …dont do bussiness with them….arrest them …its interesting watching the repugnant sir philip green throwing his toys out the pram becouse he,s been accused of asset stripping bhs …which is what he’s done…lol

  30. damo says...

    It just seems so unfair at the moment andy this goverment allows the super wealthy to not pay taxes and given tax breaks yet for people like myself and millions of other people we are not left alone for a moment without someone or some company wanting money from us harrasing us for every penny i like millions of others dont have credit cards or loans yet our personel debts are spirraling out of control from utility companys ,council tax ….up,up,up goes the debts theres no end to it ,we live here like manky pidgens on a ledge …we could end up homeless at anytime here …..i couldnt think of anything more terrifieing ….whole thease vile programs and the new one is……brides on benefits….feast and gloat on peoples misery and misfortune like its quality entertainment ……..i feel like im allways moaning,lol on here andy …..but when are things going to change

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, Damo, we need to rid ourselves of politicians who have no life experience – just PPE at Oxford or Cambridge and then PR jobs like Cameron’s. This lot are the worst, though. Real-life inadequates but with the public school boys’ illusion that they’re the chosen ones.

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    It’s hard not to complain when there’s so much to complain about, Damo. The profiteers are everywhere, taking a slice of everything the poor have, while the rich are never troubled for anything. I understand that the whole housing racket – the banks, the estate agents, the letting agencies etc. – all make a killing off everyone at their mercy, from poor oppressed renters to the super-rich mugs being persuaded to part with millions, but I don’t see how else the economy benefits from having foreign super-rich parasites everywhere, leeching off everything. How does it benefit us when these vampires don’t pay tax? How do their contributions to the luxury goods industry and top-end restaurants offset the fact that they fundamentally contribute very little to support the infrastructure of our society?

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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