Saturday, 30 October 2010

United Family and Friends

Today I joined the demonstration organised in London by the United Family and Friends. We kept to the ritual followed by the previous annual demonstrations. They take place on the last Saturday in October. We gather at Trafalgar Square with banners and walk slowly down to Downing Street. I still have the banner that belonged to Pauline Campbell commemorating the death of her daughter Sarah who died in Styal prison, January 2003. Since Pauline's own death in 2008, I have taken the banner to London joining others grieving for the men and women and children who have died in custody. Today's demonstration was very moving. Families took it in turn to tell their story as they stood outside the gates of Downing St. A letter that was to be handed in to the Prime Mionister was read out. The police refused to open the gate and accept the letter. A copy was posted on the gate and another will be delivered by post. All this took place with a policeman with his machine gun at the ready on the other side of the gate. The protestors voiced their disapproval. So much for demoocracy and our right to peaceful protest.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Pauline Campbell

It is so sad to remember that Pauline died two years ago today. During her brief and passionate campaign she opposed the injustice meted out to vulnerable young women. Her aim was to abolish prisons which she could clearly see did not work. They are used simply as a dumping ground for the sick and mentally ill who are abandoned by a society with no time for them.

What would Pauline have made of the outcome of this election? The present government is made up of rich privately educated white men. There has already been talk of building more prisons.Pauline did not put her trust in politicians but preferred to work with anyone and everyone to shine a light on the darkness of our present prison system.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Our Children

Three or four years ago I read Margaret Humphrey's book "Empty Cradles"She described the mass transfer of little children in our orphanages to the Commonwealth countries. I was appalledat the callousness and the lack of regard for the future welfareof these our children,that successive government showed The book haunted me and when I was next on trial in Helensburgh for demonstrating against theTrident nuclear submarine I waved the book at the magistrate to prove that politicians do not neccessarily act in the interests of the citizen and for some reason in this country almost certainly not in the intrests of of our children.
We have more children in prison than any other European country.Report after report comes out damning our Young Offenders Instituitions now all being run privately for profit. Not one public inquiry has ever been made into the death of a child occurring in one of them even though the death might have been caused by restraint.Now Mr.Aynsley-Green has concerns about the imprisonment of children in the immigratinon detention centre at Yarl'sWood where some mother's are currently on hunger strike.Even the Church's are calling for better treatment for the children.
Itis good that Gordon Brown apologised last week for what happened to our orphans in the past but surely lessons have been learned.But some of our most vulnerable children and their families are suffering now and action shold be taken now. An apology in the distant future is not enough.