Dear ‘Old Holborn’
Look closely: that’s not a tab, it’s a spliff – and can you see any smoke?
Auntie did hope that spliffs would be exempted from the smoking ban but the Health Act 2006 specifies that it includes ‘smoking any other substance’. (So that rules out crack, smack and dried banana skins, too, in case you’re tempted.) In fact, the act prohibits merely ‘being in possession of [tobacco or] any other lit substance in a form in which it could be smoked’, even if you don’t actually smoke it. That unlit spliff of mine is about as far as you can go in a designated ‘smokefree place’ without defying the law.
There are exemptions. These include hotels, care homes, prisons and ‘other places where a person may be detained’. So there’s nothing to stop you lighting up in a police cell, then. It’s also okay for ‘those participating as performers in a performance’ to light up ‘if the artistic integrity of the performance makes it appropriate for them to smoke’. You could always become a performance artist in residence at your local, with performances repeated at, say, 30 minute intervals, and see where ‘integrity’ gets you.
Auntie will mention only in passing that Hitler once suggested that the Nazis would never have come to power if he hadn’t given up smoking. Or that one of the few acts of Pope Urban VII’s 13 days in office involved a threat to excommunicate anyone who ‘took tobacco in the porchway of or inside a church, whether it be by chewing it, smoking it with a pipe or sniffing it in powdered form through the nose’. (Watch out for a sudden boom in the snuff business, by the way, as a byproduct of the ban.)
These little nuggets may be worth sharing with the rest of your fellow slow-suiciders on 1 July. Auntie would have given up smoking years ago if the Health Fascists weren’t such an unattractive bunch.
Grassroots posters giving an alternative take on the general election
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Laying out the case for Labour's leadership of a Progressive Alliance, Jeremy Gilbert argues that far from posing a threat to the Left, the Progressive Alliance offers a golden opportunity to end Tory rule and build a 21st century government committed to social justice
The Greens have stood down in Brighton Kemptown to clear the way for Labour, and the Lib Dems won’t stand in Brighton’s other seat, Green-held Pavilion. Davy Jones, who would have been the Green candidate in Kemptown, says this shows the way forward
The snap general election represents a unique opportunity to defeat this terrible government. We believe that visual artists have a crucial role to play!
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For the past 3 years, Barby Asante and members of London-based artists' collective, sorryyoufeeluncomfortable, have been responding directly to the vision of James Baldwin. Ahead of the nationwide release of a new film about the American activist and author, they reflect on the enduring relevance of Baldwin in Britain today.
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A new Espionage Act threatens whistleblowers and journalists, writes Sarah Kavanagh
We need an anti-austerity alliance, not a vaguely progressive alliance, argues Michael Calderbank
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Michael Calderbank looks at the results of yesterday's local elections
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Amy Corcoran and Sam Walton ask who helps refugees when it matters – and who stands on the sidelines
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Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 24 May
On May 24th, we’ll be holding the third of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Our activism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit…
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West Yorkshire calls for devolution of politics
When communities feel that power is exercised by a remote elite, anger and alienation will grow. But genuine regional democracy offers a positive alternative, argue the Same Skies Collective
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For the first time in history, we have a mass migration of labour without an actual migration of workers. Mark Graham and Alex Wood explore the consequences
The Digital Liberties cross-party campaign
Access to the internet should be considered as vital as access to power and water writes Sophia Drakopoulou
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In the final article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr gives a few pointers on how to be a good ally
Event: Take Back Control Croydon
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Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 19 April
On April 19th, we’ll be holding the second of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Changing our attitude to Climate Change
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology spells out what we need to do to break through the inaction over climate change
Introducing Trump’s Inner Circle
Donald Trump’s key allies are as alarming as the man himself
#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part II: a discussion of power and privilege
In the second article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the silencing of black women and the flaws in safe spaces
Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond
On the right side of history: an interview with Mijente
Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Reyna Wences, co-founder of Mijente, a radical Latinx and Chincanx organising network
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The City of London Corporation is one of the most secretive and least understood institutions in the world, writes Luke Walter
#AndABlackWomanAtThat: a discussion of power and privilege
In the first article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the oppression of her early life and how we must fight it, even in our own movement
Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
Ian Hodson reflects on the Copeland by-election and explains why Corbyn has the full support of The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
On 15 March, we’ll be holding the first of Red Pepper’s Race Section open editorial meetings.
Social Workers Without Borders
Jenny Nelson speaks to Lauren Wroe about a group combining activism and social work with refugees
Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides
The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari
Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next
Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace
Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill