Tuesday, 26 August 2014

We support Malorie Blackman

We support Malorie Blackman's call for more diversity in children's books. We deplore the fact that some news outlets distorted what she said and went further and claimed that she said things which she did not say. At a time when children's books receive very little support from the main news outlets, we find it ironic that the only matter that makes the news is a distorted news report giving false information of what our Children's Laureate actually said. We offer full support to Malorie Blackman and wish to affirm our belief that she has been a magnificent Laureate and continues to be a great champion for children's literature.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Poem: Promised Land


A family arrived and said they had papers

to prove that his house was theirs.

No, no, said the man, my people have always lived here,

my father, grandfather .... and look, the garden,

my great-grandfather planted that.

No, no, said the family, look at the documents.

There was a stack of them.

Where do I start? said the man.

No need to read the beginning, they said,

turn to the page marked ‘Promised Land’.

Are they legal? he said, who wrote them?

God, they said, God wrote them, look -

Here come His tanks.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

For the thousandth time…(Gaza, London)

For the thousandth time
we have heard Israeli spokespeople tell us how
if you were living in London and getting rockets coming over
wouldn't you want to defend yourselves?
So we will reply that
if we are living in London and every way in and out
of London is guarded, checked and controlled by you,
every inch of airspace above us, every inch of sea-space next to us
is guarded, checked and controlled by you,
wouldn't we want to do things to stop you doing this to us?
And for doing this
we get massacred?
And this is fair? And right? And good?

Friday, 25 July 2014

Regeneration is Degeneration

Regeneration blues

Once upon a time
In days of old
Great minds tried to figure
How to turn metal
Into gold
They dreamed of the day
When a chunk of iron
Could make them rich
Turn junk into treasure
A magic formula

They failed
Never found it

But the news is: it's happened near you.
In the city centres
Along by the canals
And the old railway yards
Land worth a little
Is now worth a lot
The same patch of mud
Sitting under a shed
Under an old shop
Car park or cinema
Has turned into gold.

In the town halls
Councillors get excited:
“That old street
full of shops
run by people from
Africa, Turkey, the Middle East
With flats up above –
Aren't they on short lease
Cos we were once
Going to put a road through there?
That old pool
That old school
Don’t we own that?
You know what?
We could demolish the lot
Get developers in:
No time to wait
Reeee – generate.

put up high-rise

Buy to rent
For young professionals
Yo-pros, don't you know.
Change the geography
Change the demography


So the developers arrive
With their brochures
And sharp shoes
Their power points
and bullet points

They've done the sums
They can make it work
If the council plays a part:
If it compensates
Covers losses
Shares the load
Builds a road
It's a partnership
Public private
Private public
The area will be
Our money will

The deal is done

But the law says 'Consult'
A meeting is held
And on the screen
The derelict sheds
And the crumbling shops
'Look!', they say, 'The area will die.
We'll build towers of steel and glass
To the sky.'

Towers full of the salaried and sleek
Towers with no old people or babies
Towers for people who need gifts and coffee
Only available from brand-name shops.

'Transport links will improve'
Say the councillors we elect
'Everyone will benefit, don't object
There'll be a new library.
In there...

The meeting is noisy
The shopkeepers say
The tenants say
They want to stay

People say
They want the Turkish bread
And the Indian rice.
Someone says that the buildings are old
They could be restored
Why take away memories
They used to make places
Where we could walk about
Squares and cul-de-sacs
Not canyons between tower blocks.

Someone says
We're desperate for places where families can live
Places where kids can play
Clinics on hand, not miles away
And ground floor flats for the old and disabled

The meeting ends in a riot
When one of the councillors
Says: people round here have no ambition
They want to live in a dump
And the people in it
Are the dregs on drugs

It goes to committee
And five men sit and take a vote
It goes 2- votes to 2
even stevens
So the chair says he must decide
He’s in favour of high-rise
A great leap forward for the community
A revolution in thinking, a retail opportunity.


Within a week the bulldozers hit
the shopkeepers and tenants have to quit.

Someone digs in files and papers
And finds that the chairman of the committee
Is on the board of a firm
That will supply the locks
In the high-rise blocks.

But it's too late to stop.
He says he forgot 
to declare an interest
but it’s too late to stop

History doesn't matter
The people who live there don't matter
The people who run shops don't matter
People who need places for people who have kids
Don't matter
Nurseries, clinics, opens spaces, good cheap housing,
Don't matter

Look say the councillors
And they don't mean

of the developers’ bank accounts

As the blocks go up
It's income up
But it's us who subsidize
Private high-rise
Regeneration is a lie
Regeneration is a lie
Regeneration is
Is degeneration

Merciful bombs

Thanks to our new rigorous testing procedures

some missiles and bombs have been designated as 'smart'.

All these armaments leave with a world class qualification

which show that they have reached a gold standard

level of attainment.

What happens after that is beyond our control.

It's not fully understood that Israeli shells, bullets and bombs

are more merciful than other people's shells, bullets and bombs.

Israel has selected the finest and greatest of Jewish thought

and Jewish ideas and poured them into the shells, bullets and bombs

enabling them to produce an especially spiritual and humanitarian


Regev: narcotics experts are 'concerned'.

Narcotics experts are becoming increasingly concerned by the pattern of addiction being shown by the world's media companies to the dangerous drug: Mark Regev. The companies are said to be attracted to the slow, calm tone of voice and educated Australian-English speech which disguise the deadly effects of Regev. Once Regev enters the companies' body, the drug cuts off all sense of compassion. This results in a massive imbalance as the companies go into what is known as 'parrot mode', repeating over and over again Regev's own words. Research also shows that the addiction to Regev prevents the companies from telling the truth and revealing things that they already know - for example, that there is and never was any intention to allow any sharing of land or power.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Undercover Police

‘Undercover police spied on grieving families of de Menezes, Groce and Reel’

(Guardian 24/07/14)

If you are a person of colour

if the police think you are a person of colour

if the police think that you might be a person of colour

if one of your family is killed

if one of your family is killed by the police

you should assume that the police

will dress up in plain clothes

and hide amongst people you know

and watch what you do

while you grieve for the person who was killed

and you should assume that they will make notes

about you and your family

and that they will keep these notes for as long as they can.

If you wonder why or how this keeps you safe

if you wonder why or how this keeps the rest of us safe

do not ask the police why they made notes about you

do not ask the police why they kept these notes about you.

If you do ask the police any of these questions

do not assume that you will get an answer.