Presentation by Janine Booth at AutismCon, January 2015
Stuff about the city where I live!
A Petrarchan sonnet (yes, really) on getting a night bus to catch an international train ...
I used to but I haven't missed this bus
At 5a.m., a half-full cart to take
The staff who clean and guard before you wake
Who start the engines 'fore the rest of us
From brief repose unwilling exodus
Hold open half-mast eyes on work-worn faces
Resignedly wishing they weren't going places
No chat, no caucus, nothing to discuss
But then I disembark and change my routes
And switch dimensions through a boarding gate
Some two hours later morning, bright debate
White, coffee-charged commuters sporting suits
While most of those on night bus 38
Were black and wearing hi-vis, smocks and boots
In 1921, thirty Labour Councillors in Poplar went to prison to protest at an unfair rating system that penalised poor boroughs. They eventually won their fight. Here are the parting messages from the Councillors (well, most of them, anyway) as printed in the Daily Herald on 1st September 1921, the date that arrests began.
(Swearing appropriate to the tone of the verse)
Why the fuck did you nick my bike?
What have I ever done to you?
Since Eighteen Ninety
In all of its finery
Stood Gibbons the furniture sellers
London’s last such attraction
With cash-only transaction
Until plastic caught up with the fellas
They eventually gave in
To modernity’s whim
With a sign saying ‘We accept Visa’
Through bombings and raids
Gibbons still stayed
Hackney’s very own Tower of Pisa
- a discussion and comparison of and commentary on tactics then and now - 1921 and 2021
One hundred years ago, the Labour council of the east London Borough of Poplar went to prison rather than inflict cuts or rate rises on its impoverished population. Poplar Council won.
How did Labour win big in the local elections after the First World War, and why did this lead to the rates crisis in Poplar in 1921?
About this Event
Janine Booth tells the story of a working-class borough’s fightback against austerity and thirty councillors who went to prison for refusing to levy rates that their citizens could not afford to pay. Celebrate the centenary of an inspiring struggle which holds lessons for today.