28 05 2010

There are a lot of really interesting events coming up in London soon, I’ve listed a few of them below:

Thursday, 3 June: the Forum on Religion Seminar on ‘Home-grown terror, anti-Muslimism and the politics of fear: the rise ofthe far-right in today’s Britain’

Christopher Allen, Institute of Applied Social Studies, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham Even before the summer disturbances in the northern mill towns in 2001 and the subsequent impact of 9/11, British far-right groups had begun to campaign against Muslims and the religion of Islam. After 9/11, and bolstered by the atrocities of 7/7, various ‘terror plots’ and other Muslim/ Islam-perceived issues, these same groups have employed increasingly more explicit campaigns to gain unprecedented electoral success. With the British National Party having secured victories in the European Parliament, the Greater London Assembly and various local councils across England, and with the English Defence League routinely marching across a range of different towns and cities against the ‘Islamification’ of Britain, the far-right’s anti-Muslim, anti-Islamic rhetoric can no longer be dismissed. This paper seeks to explore the issues raised by the rise and recent political success of the far-right by contextualising itwithin the wider discursive landscape. Drawing upon theories of Islamophobia, cultural racism, and the politics of fear, this paper will consider the extent to which the messages and meanings of the far-righthave found resonance and relevance across a much wider constituency in today’s Britain.

This seminar is free and open to the public; no reservation required. They
will take place from 5:30-7 pm in the Cañada Blanch Room (J116), LSE, Cowdray House, Portugal Street, London WC2A 2AE

Black Skin White Marx?

Goldsmiths Centre for Cultural Studies present a special intervention:

Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (University Professor and Director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University,USA) and Professor Fred Moten (Professor of English, Duke University, USA) will be speaking in dialogue with Karl Marx on issues of race, critique and the possibilities for a radical politics to come.

4th June 2010, 1pm-4pm, Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, Goldsmiths, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW

Beyond the Ghetto (day long event at UCL)

The workshop Beyond the Ghetto – an interdisciplinary perspective on patterns of ethnicity in the built environment aims to make progress towards interdisciplinary work in the field of cities and migration.

Looks fascinating – more information here or email Dr Laura Vaughan

This year’s Nikos Stangos Memorial Lecture is entitled “The Humanities and the Anxiety of Violence” and will be delivered by Professor Homi Bhabha (Harvard University)

Monday 14 June, 6:00 PM, Christopher Ingold Auditorium, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT



Museum of London and Olympic site photos

19 05 2010

A room is papered in sections of the Victorian social campaigner Charles Booth's Maps Descriptive of London Poverty. First completed in 1889, they were coloured street by street to indicate poverty and wealth. Photograph: Sarah Lee for The Guardian

There are two interesting galeries of photos on the Guardian website today, both relevant to up coming events in London. The wonderful Museum of London is to open a new wing on the 28th of May, which documents the history of London from the Great Fire to the present day.

The Olympic Stadium and Zaha Hadid's Aquatics Centre are close to each other on the Olympic Park. Photograph: ODA/HO/EPA

There is also a small collection of aerial photos of the epic construction project going on in East London on the Olympic site.

The no less epic ethnic and cultural diversity of East London will not be represented in the food consumed at the Olympics as McDonalds has brought the right to be the only branded restaurant at Olympic venues, so much for the lasting legacy of the games for East London which is likely to be some slightly more obese than usual tourists and a lot less park space. Not very sporting in any sense of the word.

London in the General Election

17 05 2010

As the dust settles after the dramatic general election and a new government takes its place in Westminster, I’ll belatedly having a look at what the general election means for London.

Dave Hill had a couple of good roundups of campaigning and the results and ramifications of the national and local elections on his blog. Basically, Labour did quite well, or less worse, in London than they did in the rest of the country. Like in the European Elections last year, London was to the left of most of the rest of the country.  The BNP, who put their leader up for Election in Barking and Dagenham, were annihialated, losing both the national election and all their councilors. Well done to everyone involved in the campaign against them!

Simon Jenkins has an interesting take on the election and hung parliament, arguing in the Evening Standard that London should move for more autonomy from the rest of the UK and ‘rise above’ the chaos in parliament.

London has its Mayor, its assembly and its boroughs with their leaders and their councils. It is by far the most democratic zone in the UK. It has an alternative vote for its Mayor and a modified list system for its assembly. What need has it of the scheming, twisting, self-serving party bosses milling about Parliament Square? Let them hang their parliament, draw it and quarter it as they wish.

London politics is now way in advance of Westminster. Its Tory leader, Boris Johnson, has had to negotiate his programme with a separately elected assembly. Until last Thursday, London has had hung borough councils galore, most of them working smoothly, as at Camden, Brent and Southwark. In places such as Barnet and Hammersmith & Fulham, there is two years’ experience of the sort of spending restraint that is still a bad dream in Whitehall.

In Bethnal Green and Bow, which I discussed on this blog before the election, Rushanara Ali triumphed, bringing the Respect party’s reign in the constituency to an end.

The election did not go without problems, there were widespread allegations of fraud, including in Tower Hamlets, and many voters were prevented from voting due to high voter turnout in places such as Hackney and Lewisham.