Saturday, 6 January 2007


I wish Blogging were not so like walking backwards to christmas. My first posting to this blog touched on a number of matters which might not ordinarily be expected to fall within the compass of STOCKWELL TOILET WATCH. That pattern is bound to repeat itself.

For thereabouts 20 years public toilets across London have been closing. Not because of their inadequate facilities as such but for other reasons – to cut budgets. They were a soft target. Sonya and Joe Public could suffer in isolation and silence. As a local government officer with (pre New Labour) Greenwich Council’s long since disbanded “Community Affairs Dept” my particular number through the 1980's was to work in support of the Council’s political objective of seeking greater local and London wide police accountability than had ever existed. We now have the (post Thatcher and post Greater London Council) “Metropolitan Police Authority” and while that is a step in the right direction it most certainly isn’t anything like up to scratch on a number of fronts and all manner of issues continually arise both locally and nationally which may or may not demonstrate its shortcomings.

The police slaughter of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube Station in July 2005 has very much been a case in point. The MPA’s political response, which has has been abysmal, has confused and confounded many who'd assumed far better things from Mayor Livingstone and his entourage. There has never ever been such a nationally orchestrated and sus
tained media campaign of criticism specifically fingering a Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service. The problem is that aggrieved critics have not appreciated the politics and so have simply not grasped what has happened beyond their feelings of utter betrayal.

The "STOCKWELL sCRAPBOOK” was mainly produced to help expose the bare faced lack of progress being made locally to re-introduce public toilets. However the sCRAPBBOOK message was also intended to signify that that lack of progress was equally symptomatic of shortcomings on many other fronts too – including policing with the local slaughter of Jean Charles de Menezes being very much in mind and so his death, and the follow-up whitewash of the killer-police operation, was marked by the sCRAPBOOK inclusion of an item of Stockwell Station Menezes artwork.

Starring exBrixton exCommander Brian Paddick the STOCKWELL TOILET WATCH label was originally used as an ironically satirical description for one item (among others) of May 2005 pro toilet local election campaign ephemera and was intended to embarrass the Lib Dems for their total lack of initiative. No doubt police would much prefer STOCKWELL NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH.


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