The Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) is a coalition of residents, community and campaign groups, and trade unions in the north London borough of Barnet who want to protect our quality of life, our public services, and our local democracy. We believe we should participate in and contribute to the place in which we live.
That is what we have in common, but we come from a range of backgrounds: young and old and in between, shopkeepers and union members, workers and retirees, carers and those cared for, British-born and immigrant. Individually, we are of many different political persuasions but together we are non-partisan.
BAPS opposes the privatisation of public services and the erosion of democracy in Barnet. In the absence of consultation from Barnet council, it has produced newspapers and leaflets and provided public meetings and conferences to inform people of what the council is and has been doing and proposes to do. It has promoted the screening of the films A Tale of Two Barnets and Barnet: the Billion Pound Gamble, and shows the explanatory animation Barnet Casino on its website. Because of the restrictive nature of the Residents’ Area Forums run by the council, BAPS runs open forums where residents from anywhere in the borough can come to air their views on any subject.
BAPS’ biggest battle is against the One Barnet Programme of privatisation, under which the council wants to hand over the many customer services in a single, bundled contract to private firm Capita for 10 years, and to form a joint venture, possibly again with Capita, to run our development and regulatory services.
Our members have read the published plans and business cases, and have asked questions and made presentations at council and council resource, cabinet and scrutiny committee meetings in repeated efforts to make the councillors aware of the risks of the proposals and the residents’ opposition to them and desire for consultation. We have presented a petition with more than 8,000 signatures asking for a referendum. The Tory councillors have responded with contemptuous remarks, insults, name-calling and a stubborn refusal to listen to the people.
But the people’s voice has had an impact. BAPS was and continues to be instrumental in the campaign against the privatisation of and changes to parking enforcement, which have angered residents and businesses and badly damaged our local economy. So far the campaign has resulted in the defeat of Brian Coleman, who was responsible for this policy, when he ran for re-election to the London Assembly in 2012, and a decrease in some of the parking fees.
BAPS’ campaign in the Brunswick Ward by-election in 2012 helped turn the Tory majority into a resounding Labour victory. BAPS supported the Save Friern Library campaign, which prevented the building being sold against the wishes of the community. BAPS campaigns to save the NHS and to oppose cuts to benefits.
BAPS has held marches and rallies to support its campaigns in 2011 and 2012. The latest ‘Barnet Spring march’ to save our services will be this Saturday, 23 March, just days after current judicial review against Barnet council’s proposed contract with Capita is heard at the High Court. Whoever wins, there is likely to be an appeal; whoever wins, there is still the proposed joint venture for development and regulatory services to oppose.
Privatisation of public services affects all of us, not just people in Barnet. Barnet’s One Barnet Programme of privatisation is the government’s pilot scheme for dismantling the welfare state – If it succeeds here, it will spread like a plague across the country. Join the Barnet Spring march to show the government that we will not accept this vandalism. There are positive alternatives to the cuts to the NHS, libraries and benefits.
Meet on Saturday 23 March, 11am, at Finchley Central Tube Station. Supported by the Barnet Alliance for Public Services, the Occupy movement, Unison, the TUC and many more. The march will move off at noon and proceed to the Friern Barnet Community Library.
Glenn Greenwald was interviewed by Amandla Thomas-Johnson over the phone from Brazil. Here is what he had to say on the War on Terror, Trump, and the 'special relationship'
Andrew Dolan on how the left must match the anti-establishment rhetoric of the right, but with a different politics
In the first of a series of interviews with migrants' rights and racial justice activists from the US, Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Peter Pedemonti, co-founder and director of the New Sanctuary Movement in Philadelphia
Yasmin Gunaratnam reflects on John Berger’s gut solidarity with the stranger
Charlie Clarke and Heather Mendick discuss how to work through the tensions within Momentum
In 1972 David Widgery wrote about the bitter intensity of love in capitalism
Emma Snaith speaks with directors Emer Mary Morris and Nina Scott about the power of theatre to encourage community resistance to estate demolitions.
Photos from The World Transformed festival in Liverpool, by David Walters
A short story by Kirsten Irving
Nadhira Halim and Andy Edwards report on the range of creative responses to the housing crisis that are providing secure, affordable housing across the UK
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
Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility
Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports
From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices
How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed
In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design
Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform
Who owns our land?
Guy Shrubsole gives some tips for finding out
Don’t delay – ditch coal
Take action this month with the Coal Action Network. By Anne Harris
Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen
Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant
Bike courier Maggie Dewhurst takes on the gig economy… and wins
We spoke to Mags about why she’s ‘biting the hand that feeds her’
Utopia: Daring to dream
Imagining a better world is the first step towards creating one. Ruth Potts introduces our special utopian issue
A better Brexit
The left should not tail-end the establishment Bremoaners, argues Michael Calderbank
News from movements around the world
Compiled by James O’Nions
Podemos: In the Name of the People
'The emergence as a potential party of government is testament both to the richness of Spanish radical culture and the inventiveness of activists such as Errejón' - Jacob Mukherjee reviews Errejón and Mouffe's latest release
Survival Shake! – creative ways to resist the system
Social justice campaigner Sakina Sheikh describes a project to embolden young people through the arts
‘We don’t want to be an afterthought’: inside Momentum Kids
If Momentum is going to meet the challenge of being fully inclusive, a space must be provided for parents, mothers, carers, grandparents and children, write Jessie Hoskin and Natasha Josette
The Kurdish revolution – a report from Rojava
Peter Loo is supporting revolutionary social change in Northern Syria.
How to make your own media
Lorna Stephenson and Adam Cantwell-Corn on running a local media co-op
Book Review: The EU: an Obituary
Tim Holmes takes a look at John Gillingham's polemical history of the EU
Book Review: The End of Jewish Modernity
Author Daniel Lazar reviews Enzo Traverso's The End of Jewish Modernity
Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
Ida-Sofie Picard introduces Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants – as told to Jenny Nelson
Book review: Angry White People: Coming Face to Face With the British Far-Right
Hilary Aked gets close up with the British far right in Hsiao-Hung Pai's latest release
University should not be a debt factory
Sheldon Ridley spoke to students taking part in their first national demonstration.
Book Review: The Day the Music Died – a Memoir
Sheila Rowbotham reviews the memoirs of BBC director and producer, Tony Garnett.
Power Games: A Political History
Malcolm Maclean reviews Jules Boykoff's Power Games: A Political History
Book Review: Sex, Needs and Queer Culture: from liberation to the post-gay
Aiming to re-evaluate the radicalism and efficacy of queer counterculture and rebellion - April Park takes us through David Alderson's new work.