Saturday, 29 May 2010

The dispossessed...

Whist still comparatively fresh in my mind: I thought it would be a good idea to report on the recent developments in regard to the police operation that’s been ongoing here in Canning Town and for the last few months. Now I can’t say what exactly the police operation is or what it’s really about as I’m not privy to the finer details of that information, but as I reported in my last post on this subject the police have been targeting young people and street drinkers, the latter is not a very good description of people who partake in a social drink with their friends basically outside on the street, and that’s not to say that they are alcoholics or anything like that! I suppose I’m using the same words (stereotype) that the police and others use when attaching a label and creating a stigma or more to the point symbol of disgrace or infamy.
When I look at it this way; I begin to see how easy it is for the powers that be, to divide and rule, that’s locally and nationally!
Sometimes I think that sections of our society are treated as if they were low hanging fruit to be cut away and disgracefully brushed aside. It happens all the time, and it’s not a question of people not fitting in or a rebellion to conformity, but rather a culture stocked and increasingly practiced whereby many are relegated to the lower echelons and marginalised. I see this all the time, it intrigues me like a clandestine love affair, and I need to discover and lean more.
During the last year; I’ve made friends with some very remarkable people, they are my neighbours in as much as they domiciliate and live in Canning Town; mostly middle aged male’s although Raymoss is a 74 year old pensioner from St. Lucia. Now I’ve mentioned Raymoss because I can’t really proceed without putting some names to my friends and describe their recent experiences. Raymoss is but one of a group of seven close friends, who regally meet up for a drink and a chat on the streets around Canning Town and have done so for about five years, they are all local and live in their own council accommodation; all are unemployed or in the case of Raymoss retired. Now I’m not going to hide the fact that two of them have a drink dependency problem, and I know that one in particular Dave, would tell you that freely, but that apart, they never give rise to; or cause anyone a problem, in fact Dave and Raymoss are both well liked and loved by many who live in Canning Town and of the times that I’ve spent in their company I’ve heard people greet and acknowledge them with such complementary esteem and respect.

They have their little fallouts, as friends often do, but it never last long and it’s soon swept under the carpet and forgotten as they truly treasure friendship and togetherness, they really are such personalities, and I’ve had many a memorable laugh at their banter and antics, sometimes the manifestation of laughter has been almost painful and yet still joyful. It always amazes me how working class people in the face of poverty, deprivation and want still manage to find comedy and humour raising sprits.

The thing is that this band of friends (and as I’ve posted previously)has fallen foul of the long arm of the Metropolitan Police and Newham Council, and a concerted effort to get them off the streets, using the pretext of ante-social behaviour and street drinking. It started a few months ago when a team of Police Support Officers were billeted in an office in Canning Town tube station and began to patrol the area calling by and targeting the group, at first just an introductory or getting to know you visit, and then they stated to take names and addresses and issuing tickets, Dave holds the record 15 to his name. I think that I should say that the PSOs have always been polite and courteous whenever in engagement with the lads, and that respect has worked both way and always!

However last week that rapport of mutual understanding or trust and agreement between the two sides broke-down when on a hot-late afternoon the PSOs accompanied by four police officers swooped on them, and I mean swooped as in a military manoeuvre or naval tactic in order to secure an advantage in attack. I had myself just returned to Canning Town, and spotted my friends sitting on the wall of a raised green on the Barking Road and as is my usual custom, went over to see how they were, so I became part of the swoop, as the raptorial bird swooped down on its prey.

They approached us from three different directions, hats off so as not to give their game the chance of escape they pounced on us, although we did spot them coming, nevertheless they must have been disappointed to discover that none possessed a drink or even had a drink that day, still this didn’t stop them from taking names and details, checking criminal records and yes, issuing us with tickets.

Now I initially started this post at the start of this week, but unfortunately, tragedy hit this group of friends when on Tuesday an acquaintance collapsed and died of a hart attack following a drug related incident, the news of which has left everyone gutted and I haven’t really felt very much inspired to write anything, and whilst trying to be supportive towards my friends, shock set-in, any life taken through the use of drugs legal (alcohol) or otherwise is a waste, and that the realty is always others are left with the pain and grieving to deal with; such as the grief-stricken Mother or his young Teenage-Daughter just for starters!

I will wright more about this after a respectable period of time.

When I chew over the week that just was, more than ever do I conclude that the stuffing that holds people together, that holds community together, is falling apart, forget that imbecile of a Prime Minister and his broken Britain strumpet of trollop!

If Britain is broken, then the incriminating evidence points to the 1979 general election, it points to the 1997 election and New Labour. Between the two parties of capitalism and now we see not surprisingly; the Lib/Dems join in the kicking; that workers are getting. They between them all’, have taken, broken or sold off that which sustained the majority. Shipbuilding, Mining, Car-Manufacturing and Steelmaking all broken or gone!

I think that just over 30 years ago, you would find people like my friends working in shipbuilding, mining, car-manufacturing and steelmaking – all broken and gone, that’s why I see my friends now standing on the street!
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