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Clicktivism would not have won women the vote

08 February, 2018

THE Suffragette victory anniversary has captured the imagination of feminists and activists across Camden. It has provoked theatre, art exhibitions and history talks across the borough.

The milestone is one that should serve as a reminder of how you get things done in this country.

Theirs was a vibrant rebellion. One that grew so big and became so all-consuming that it could no longer be ignored.

There were, of course, many other factors at play. The situation in Europe, the First World War.

But there is no doubt that women would not have won the right to vote without the relentless protests, marches, public rallies, direct action and political organisation of the Suffragette movement.

Shouldn’t we all take a leaf out of this book? If you don’t like the cuts, get out there and oppose them. It was encouraging to see so many out on the march for the NHS this weekend, but too often now is the fight lost in an online fog. An internet petition. A post on social media. A click here. A click there.

Local councils, mainly Labour held, across the country, outwardly criticise Government cuts and austerity. And yet they continue – often meekly – to implement them, approving budgets year on year, anxious of stepping out of line and upsetting the status quo.

It is, partly, why we have an unwanted railway crashing through homes and businesses on the Regent’s Park estate. It is why we have two skyscrapers going up in Somers Town and Swiss Cottage. How many deaths does local democracy have to die before there is a Suffragette-style rebellion here in Camden?

Shouldn’t the Labour Party be more rebellious if only to keep public engagement with politics alive? Have a little more militancy about it? Sound management is often mistaken for good leadership. Big transformation schemes, like the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), are thrust upon neighbour­hoods.

Was it really, as its proponents claimed, the only alternative to “doing nothing”? The scrutiny that scheme has undergone would never have happened without the resident-led campaign behind it.

And this week that is also something worth celebrating.

Gondar glory

GONDAR Gardens shows no signs of giving way!

Another developer scheme has been sent packing more than 20 years since the first attempt was made to transform the reservoir.

Congratulations to the Gondar and Agamemnon Residents’ Association and its supporters. They have proved to be worthy custodians of this green gem in NW6 and its protected slow worms.

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