Radio: I Discuss London’s Housing Crisis, the Tidemill Occupation and Guantánamo on Wandsworth Radio, Plus the World Premiere of ‘Grenfell’ by The Four Fathers


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Last Saturday, I was on community radio station Wandsworth Radio for two hours, taking part in a freewheeling, wide-ranging political discussion with host Andy Bungay and regular monthly co-host Colin Crilly. 

The show is here, and below I’ve broken it down into various topics, if you’re interested in navigating to various discussions.

From 9:00 to 15:00 we discussed the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, which I’m involved in, and which I’ve written about here and here, the latter linking to my article for Novara Media, The Battle for Deptford and Beyond.

From there, from 15:00 to 23:20, we moved on to discussing ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, the documentary film about the destruction of council estates, and residents’ resistance to the destruction of their homes, which I narrate, and we also discussed the Grenfell Tower fire, and the important work of ASH (Architects for Social Housing), including their post-Grenfell public meeting, ‘The Truth About Grenfell Tower’, which was where I met Nikita Woolfe, the director of ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, and we also discussed the extent of post-Grenfell cladding issues, and how the government has still failed to address them adequately.

From 23:20 to 33:00 we moved onto the significance of the two main events of the last two decades, 9/11 and the global economic crash, which I wrote about in two recent articles, The Bitter Legacy of 9/11, on its 17th Anniversary: Endless War, Guantánamo, Brexit, Trump and the Paranoid Security State and Ten Years Since the Global Financial Crash of 2008, We’ve Been Screwed by Austerity, and Now The Predators Want Our Homes, pointing out how the 2008 crash led to the current housing crisis. We also spoke about the erosion of the middle class, and the burden of university tuition fees, and how that is eroding social mobility.

From 33:00 to 42:00 we turned our attention to the political situation in the United States, and a discussion of how the world of work is changing, and the over-bureaucratisation of our lives, and from 42:00 to 47:30 we steered back to the story of the Old Tidemill Garden and Reginald House, explaining how, recently, we discovered some shocking statistics about the “managed decline” of Reginald House  — how, on average, tenants have paid over £100,000 in rent and service charges each year for the last two years, but have had only around £3,000 spent in return on repairs and maintenance.

At 47:30 we started talking about ‘Grenfell’, the new studio recording by my band The Four Fathers, produced by the legendary Charlie Hart, who also plays accordion on it, which we’ll be releasing soon. From 48:48 to 52:50 ‘Grenfell’ was played, and from there, from 52:50 to 1:04:00, we discussed protest music, creativity, my photo project ‘The State of London’, songwriting, and Roger Waters, a great force for political music-making, and a great supporter of various Guantánamo campaigns I have been involved in, including We Stand With Shaker, the successful campaign to secure the release from Guantánamo of the last British resident in the prison.

From 1:04:00 to 1:20:30 we discussed the significance of activism, and Tidemill (again), and how it is, to some extent, an experimental lab for alternative methods of living, where discussions of cheap, ecologically sound housing alternatives keep being taking place. We also spoke about how activists tend to think creatively, the Occupy movement, the criminalisation of squatting, Colin’s involvement in the occupation of Battersea Park adventure park a few years ago, fracking, and domestic terrorists.

From 1:25:30 – 2:00:01 we discussed Guantánamo and the campaign free Shaker in detail, and in the last five minutes, from 2:00:01 to 2:00:06:30, we discussed Tidemill again, and the current state of the judicial review that we’ve launched to try and stop the council in the courts.

At that point, I cycled back to south east London, while Colin and Andy continued the show for another hour, including discussion of Colin’s involvement in campaigning for the NHS.

My thanks to Andy and Colin for having me on the show, and I hope to take part in another show sometime soon.

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 music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (click on the following for Amazon in 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), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from six years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London.

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, The Complete Guantánamo Files, 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.

3 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to the Wandsworth Radio show I did last Saturday with Andy Bungay and Colin Crilly, and annotating our two-hour long freewheeling political discussion, in which we talked about Save Reginald Save Tidemill, the occupation of a community garden in Deptford (now in its fourth week) to prevent its destruction for an inappropriate housing development (which I’m part of), London’s broader housing crisis, #Grenfell, and also Guantanamo and the successful campaign to free Wandsworth resident Shaker Aamer. The show also featured the world premiere of ‘Grenfell’ by my band The Four Fathers, produced by the great Charlie Hart, who also plays accordion on it, which will be released very soon as an online single.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Sanchez Montebello wrote:

    Hello Andy,
    I would like to update you on the housing crisis in Southern California. As you are aware, apartment rentals are through the roof and are becoming unaffordable. So, now … People DARE list TRAILERS as “Apartments for Rent”. This little trailer just popped up on Facebook Marketplace. A trailer. Not a room inside a standard brick and mortar building. A trailer. It’s not exactly a bargain either at $750 per month, either. But, thanks to greed and deliberate manipulation of the local market, that’s what is now passing as affordable housing in LA.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Everything about this story is grotesque and unjust, Sanchez. It’s bad enough that rental prices have been ramped up so high that people have to resort to living in trailers, but when the greed then pursues them to the trailers it ought to be time for a revolt. Sadly, however, that’s extremely unlikely, as capitalism’s cheerleaders have spent so long and used every media weapon at their disposal to convince people that turning a profit is the only purpose in life and the only measure of success.

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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 and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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