An awkard moment for anti-drag protestors
Embarassment aside, it's clear far-right demos against drag queens in London aren't going away
Morning – here’s what we’ve spied in the capital on Sunday, March 12, 2023:
😳 A bizarre follow-up to our previous issue on anti-drag protests in London — a protest outside an event that wasn’t even taking place. On Friday both far-right group Turning Point and counter-protestors from Stand Up to Racism descended on a south London pub under the impression a drag story hour was being held inside. The pub’s website had a listing for an event at 10am, but this was actually out of date. Staff had forgotten to stop the repeating entry in the pub’s calendar.
Awkward — but nonetheless it’s the third protest against drag queens reading to kids in London in a month. The first was outside a (real) event in the Tate Britain on February 11, which saw one arrested. Two weeks later things escalated with a protest outside the Honor Oak pub in Forest Hill, which led to five arrests.
No one was detained this time, though Met had been called out for crowd control. The Spy suspects any embarrassment felt by anti-drag protestors will be short-lived, and more demos are probably on the way to the capital.
🚅 There’s been a lot of frustration about the two year delay to HS2 due to soaring costs, but despair is most keenly felt by residents in Camden. As the BBC reports, the borough has felt the brunt of construction for the new high speed rail link between London and Birmingham. Hundreds of homes have been demolished and businesses have been forced out, leaving congestion and a ring of blue fencing that physically divides the community. There’s a foreboding sense it’s all been for nothing, now that HS2’s terminus in Euston and the station’s overhaul seems even further away from reality. There could be knock-on impacts from the delay for Elizabeth Line users too. Sadiq Khan has warned the service will become just as overcrowded as the rest of the underground if Birmingham commuters can’t make the full trip into central London via HS2. It’s not all bad news for London’s infrastructure though — a new shuttle service opened at Luton airport this weekend.
💸 Any hope Croydon might avoid its eye-watering 15% rise in council tax was snuffed out this week after councillors approved the hike. The council has been given special permission by the government to charge the typical resident an extra £4.50 a week on account of its dire finances. The council has gone bankrupt multiple times in the past few years after risky investments backfired. Earlier this month councillors from Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens had blocked the 15% rise, but on Thursday they gave way to the fact law requires councils to set budgets on time or risk punishment.
🔎 The government has underlined it’s looking closely at the implications of the fatal crush at the Brixton O2 Academy. Culture minister Julia Lopez told MPs she’s looking at whether wider action needs to be taken on venue safety.
👮 The Met has been handed £3m by the mayor to overhaul the way it treats victims of crime. Meanwhile two officers have made headlines this week over misconduct allegations: Stephen Kyere, who is facing a retrial after jurors failed to reach a verdict on his rape accusations, and Jorden Brown, who appeared in court to deny raping and assaulting a woman. Both were off-duty when the alleged offences took place.
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