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Thousands of Londoners protest against the housing bill

Yesterday, thousands marched through central London against the Housing and Planning Bill.

Yesterday, thousands of people gathered in Lincoln's Inn Fields for a rally and march against the Housing and Planning Bill.

The Bill, like all the other recent government policies, is yet another vicious assault on public and common assets. As such, it is hardly a surprise, as the privatisation of public/common has been going on for decades, regardless of party political allegiances.

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The route of the march, as it was pre-approved, was definitely odd (going south across Waterloo Bridge first then coming back up Westminster Bridge) but the protesters definitely made the point, as, sadly, you are 'never more than five feet away from a regeneration in South London.'

What made much less sense was what some refer to as 'taking cognitive dissonance to a new level'. A number of Southwark 'Labour' councillors attended the march, because they 'opposed' the Bill which has, as we know, been their own policy for the last six years. The arrogance of Cllr Fiona Colley (former Cabinet Member for Regeneration, responsible for the Heygate scandal), Cllr Mark Williams (current Cabinet Member for Regeneration), Richard Livingstone (Housing, responsible for the ongoing gatekeeping and distress of many without a home) expecting understanding? support for their 'brave stand against the Bill'? beggars belief. A bit later, Simon Elmer of Architects for Social Housing spoke about some labour councils' (see also: Southwark, Lambeth) attempt to justify their social cleansing as the 'inevitable consequence of the tory cuts'. Even though the cleansing most certainly precedes the cuts.

As the march crossed Waterloo Bridge, a group of people got rightly angry with a couple of FIT police officers, and managed to temporarily disrupt and prevent them from filming, so the two police officers moved on. When we got to Westminster Bridge, a dozen or so police ran up the bridge to the sneers of the protesters - it later turned out that the reason for the 'commotion' was a Sisters Uncut sit-down. 

We left shortly after the march got to Parliament Square. What happens next will have to involve calling a spade a spade and building a real alternative.

See also:

More photos from the day

Independent report

Architects for Social Housing, No platform for labour lies

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